Studies in Personnel and Industrial Psychology

By Edwin A. Fleishman | Go to book overview

Conclusion
Frequently, the traditional, formally defined vertical relations in business and industrial organization prove inadequate to cope with modern technology. New technologies require new organizational setups, and it is being found increasingly that industrial processes require horizontal and diagonal relations which are not patterned or clearly defined.Such lack of clarity can impair the production process. The work flow can create difficulty where the vertical lines are strongly emphasized and where the flow violates those lines--as was the case in the restaurant example cited. But when the formal organization is permissive, nonformal relations in the horizontal and diagonal planes arise to cope with the technological process. We saw that the more successful assembly- line foremen learned to relate with other foremen and their workers. But these relationships were not usually recognized formally; they existed on an individual and nonformal basis.Management can work toward an integration between technology and organization in several ways: (1) by changing the technology, (2) by changing the organization, and (3) by introducing mechanisms. All these methods have been used effectively to some degree, but the difficulty occurs in that management's attempts toward integration generally lack a systematic and purposeful approach. They may just happen over time, arise as temporary expedients, or emerge as a solution to a crisis situation. Many managers have yet to explore the deeper relation between technology and the organization.The advent of electronic data processing and integrated machine processing has forced some managers to reorganize departments to meet technological needs. Many such revisions, however, are limited to a small portion of the organization, to the areas of greatest immediate pressure. Cannot more be done? The case studies cited, as well as the successful partial steps taken by businessmen and industrialists thus far, indicate a need for a systematic analysis of technology and organization. This analysis might include the following steps:
1. Examine the work flow of the technology to determine what relations are required.
2. Identify the points where the formal organization meets these requirements and where it does not.
3. Discover what nonformal relationships exist at present to meet the technologically required relations which are not encompassed by the formal organization.
4. Determine what formalization does exist to cope with relations falling beyond the traditional vertical planes.
5. Decide which of the nonformal relations might be profitably formalized.
6. Provide measures to facilitate the nonformal relations which are still required but which may best remain nonformal.

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