• Workplace

    Does IT operate better within a mechanistic or organic structure and why?

    Thu Feb 25 2021
    . 3 min read

    Do IT departments have a standard operation style that works better for them? What’s the difference between mechanistic and organic structures, and does one work better than the other?

    The BizFluent website defines the styles thus: “Some businesses are more suited to a hierarchical structure that adheres to rigid guidelines and procedures, while others benefit greatly from a structure that allows for free-flowing ideas and linear communication styles. The mechanistic organizational structure uses a top-down approach to management, while organic organizational structure uses a more flexible management style.”

    Based on these definitions, it seems like most IT departments would benefit most from following a more organic structure. The mechanistic structure is stricter and strongly delineates levels of management, enforced standard operating procedures, and routines.

    Here’s what BCOpenCampus has to say: “In contrast, an organic bureaucratic structure relies on the ability of people to self-organize and make decisions without much direction such that they can adapt quickly to changing circumstances. In an organic organization, it is common to see a horizontal organizational structure, in which many individuals across the whole system are empowered to make organizational decisions. An organization with a horizontal structure is also known as a flat organization because it often features only a few levels of organizational hierarchy.”

    With this in mind, IT departments deal with situations and technology that can change rapidly – more so than many other departments. Whatever flexibility they can use for operations is probably going to benefit IT departments more than trying to follow a stricter mechanistic formula.