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Theory of Mechanistic and Organic Systems


Definition: the Theory of Mechanistic and Organic Systems is a theory by Burns and Stalker (1961) contrasting 2 management systems suiting different conditions: mechanistic and organic forms.
A mechanistic management system is considered appropriate to stable conditions, while the organic form is suitable to changing conditions.
The first is typically a contractual, hierarchical organization, the latter would typically be a network organization or a presumed community of interest.
Don't confuse with McGregor's Theory X and Y. See also Mintzberg's Organizational Configurations.


More on organization types: Contingency Theory, Functional Organization, Hierarchical Organization, Non-governmental Organization, Nonprofit Organization, more on organization types...

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