Notes on
Trends in Organizational Structure


Mechanistic vs Organic Organizations

Burns & Stalker (1961) studied several firms varying in the kind of technology and environment faced. Examples:

Rayon mill

Engineering Firm

Medium-Tech Electronics Firm

High-Tech Electronics Firm

Burns and Stalker saw the firms as occupying distinct positions along a continuum they called Mechanistic/Organic. You can think of it as machine versus biological models of organization.

< Mechanistic         Organic >

Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Model 6

In order of increasing Organicness (i.e., decreasing Mechanisticness), we have:

Copyright 1996 Stephen P. Borgatti Revised: February 05, 2001 Go to Home page