Organizational Communication

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last updated 9/2/2013

Classical (Mechanistic) Strategies of Organizing

In organizations run by those thinking of management in the terms of the classical model, the primary focus of organizational structures and managerial activities is on the coordination and control side of the central dilemma.  The needs of the individual are largely ignored except as they facilitate the goals of the organization.

The Mechanistic model is based on the idea that all organizations function like military units - with orders coming from the top and going down and reports (of outcomes) going up so top commanders know what's going on through a clear chain of command.

The Premises of this Model include:

    1. Efficiency of tasks (coordination and control)is the most important feature of organizational functioning.
    2. Effective transmission of messages is essential.
    3. Formal channels are THE way messages are transmitted and authority is maintained.
    4. The system depends on standardized rules.
    5. Motivation is provided by use of punishments and rewards (only?).
    6. Decision-making is largely centralized at the top of the organization, thus relying heavily on downward orders and upward reporting of results.


Henri Fayol was the first genuine management theorist.  His "administrative" theories are prescriptive.

  1. He describes five elements of management:  planning, organizing, command, coordination, and control

  2. His 15 principles of management (See OC 19-22) deal with four areas (in detail):  organizational structure, organizational power, organizational rewards, and organizational attitude.