A comparison of knowledge age (post-modern) organizations with traditional, industrial age organizations.

Essay by anhthUniversity, Bachelor'sB, July 2004

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A comparison of knowledge age (post-modern) organizations with traditional, industrial age organizations

Over recent years there has been a shift in thinking regarding the structure of organizations within the business field. Rather than business being designed in the same manner that they had been for many years, i.e. a traditional structure, there are signs that some businesses are thinking in a significantly different manner; reflecting current knowledge and thinking, i.e. a knowledge age or post-modern structure.(Ancona et al (1999), Blacker (1994), Overholt, Stever (1998)) Here we are going to examine a selection of the elements which are associated with traditional business structure such as management style and control, levels of management within the company, and structured bureaucracy. Once the traditional organization has been identified, we will continue with a look at some of the major changes which identify a company as knowledge age, such as flat business structure, diversity and openness to change, and the ability to cross function.

(Ancona et al 1999) Finally we will compare these differences and attempt to identify advantages in the post-modern structure for the current business environment.

Traditional business structure relied heavily on clear lines of organizational control and division. The shape of the internal workings of the business were pyramid in form (Overholt, Cravens 1994) with the General Manager at the top and gradually increasing layers of managerial staff below; all with compartmentalized positions that did not cross over one another. Below managerial staff was administrative staff, followed by the general staff, e.g. production staff or clerical officers. In this style of organization, everyone knew who their direct superior was and those in 'higher' positions had authority and control over what others in their department 'below' them did. Often information only passed from the top down, with no allowance for ideas or information...