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Mechanistic, Organic, and Purposeful Organizations

By their very nature, organic organizations evolve as do the individuals within the
organizations. Natural adaptation is a component that brings about change and
with change, comes turbulence as both the systems and the individuals learn to
“rest within” even as the exterior environment rumbles. It is through the
turbulence and by “doing” that we all find out what we are made of, what we are
capable of achieving, and through which that we uncover extremes, limitations,
challenges, achievements, unravel our own mysteries, and grow with new
perspectives and confidences. Within the turbulence comes the pain of
unknowing through which we find meaning and a new multi-faceted identity that
“fits” a system. We often do this totally unaware at the time, but later become
more conscious of how we evolve and how our evolvement shapes and renews
our exterior environment and influences. Iron sharpens iron. The messiness is a
necessary component of change and without it, we become complacent.
Complacency is a breach of authority and breeds contempt not only within
individuals, but within their respective cultures as well.

In research and development, our very nature thrives upon the turbulence and
challenges as each of us rise to new levels not only of knowledge and humility,
but also in consciousness. Our work is often our identity. Our work is a lifestyle
of continuous learning, trial and error, growing and relearning, sharing, and of
bonding in learning concepts with others on our team.

I have prepared the table below that summarizes my understanding of

mechanistic and organic organizations. This table is not all inclusive, but is
rather a brief and informal review. For informational and relational purposes, I
added a third dimension of organizations that I refer to as “purposeful”. The
greatest leader of all time was the author of purposeful organizations and it is
through this ancient wisdom, that organizations can begin to move even beyond
organic into purposeful that offer a new meaning to their environment and enrich
the lives of individuals, communities, and the world, as did He.

Type of Organization
Mechanistic Organic Purposeful
Environment Stable Changing Steadfast and everlasting
Tasks Functional Totality (project centered) Relationship oriented
Hierarchy Tall Wide Equal
Culture Competitive Cooperative Unity
Mood Complacent Yielding Submitted
Goal Individual Teamwork Corporate
Processes Rigid Flexible Empowered
Power Delegation Empowerment Faithful / Obedient
Authority Centralized Decentralized Individual
Motivation Materialism Self Fulfillment
Organization Corporate Teams Fellowship
Communication Formal Informal Will-directed
Character Policy oriented Process oriented Principally guided
Perception Complex Multi-faceted Simple
Mission Prosper / Competitive Prosper / Converge Multiply
Decisions Slow and at the top Quicker and wide Participatory and balanced
Action Best interest of the Best interest of self, Compassion
organization or self project, and organization
Judgment Strict Biased Condition of heart
Foundation Money and power Performance and results Truth
Leadership Autocratic Participatory Transformational
Vision Single Shared Global
Industry Type Declining Mature / Growth Growth

C Straubel