Lessons from the indigenous east for western organisations? Mechanistic and organic approaches to organization and management
Elkin, Graham; Štrach, Pavel
There are two common sets of underlying assumptions about organizations and their management - Mechanistic and Organic. The mechanistic paradigm has led to the adoption of a scientific rationality which makes whole human beings marginal to an enterprise, and regards people as interchangeable, replaceable parts of a structured system. This implies the treatment of employees as less than fully human, in terms of skills and the full extent of mind, body and spirit. The reduction of employees to roles and tasks may affect not only their working life but mental wellness and perception of personal fulfillment. This paper argues for the adoption of an organic view of organizations focused on complete human beings at work. It sees organizations as existing through networks of whole people in relationship with one another. The indigenous evidence presented here suggests the adoption of the organic paradigm has been more common in less industrialized settings. The turbulent world may increasingly require organic approaches in order to achieve competitive advantage.
Publisher: University of Otago
Series number: 06/02
Keywords: managment; organizations; mechanistic management; organic management; managing employees; networks; competitive advantage
Research Type: Working Paper