A Context-based Representation of Organizational Structures

Alexandre Gachet, University of Hawaii at Manoa; and Patrick Brézillon, University Paris 6

Traditional companies used to be authoritarian and built around hierarchical organizational charts. Facing more dynamic environments in recent history, many companies experimented with newer forms of organization, usually cutting down long decision paths and fostering lean structures able to react to rapid changes in the marketplace. We believe that the future of organizational structures lies in hybrid, dynamic models allowing enterprises to internally move from bureaucratic to adhocratic structures at will, according to changing contexts and focuses of attention. This paper presents a four-level model representing organizational structures in a decision process, including social networks, enterprises, communities of practice, and task forces. Then, it discusses how context intervenes in this four-level model and the role of context at each level. We illustrate our model and context in a scenario inspired by a real-world application.

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