1. Has a friend, family member, or faculty member ever described UNT as, “it’s just another big bureaucracy.” In other words, in our frustration and in an attempt to say something negative about a large organization, we sometimes describe the organization with the term, “bureaucracy.” What is a bureaucracy and what are two or three characteristics of UNT that suggests our university is a “bureaucracy?”
The term “bureaucracy” is often used in a negative context, although the term itself is neither positive nor negative. A bureaucracy is really just the system of administration necessary to keep an organization operating smoothly. In some organizations, the bureaucracy is overly complicated and the method of administration may seem heavy-handed or overly complicated. Often, as organizations grow larger, the bureaucracy expands to assist in the administration of the larger organization. As a remote student, my interaction with the university has mostly been impersonal. From my experience, UNT is not overly bureaucratic, and it seems likely that anyone that describes it as such is merely doing so in response to the university’s size.
2. Continue to think about UNT’s structure and then answer this question: Is our university’s structure a good example of Organic or Mechanistic structure? Or, would you pick another of our Chapter 13 explanations of organizational structure to describe UNT? Defend your answer.
I believe UNT is an example of a mechanistic structure. The university is very organized and highly formalized. The span of control seems narrow, although UNT seems fairly decentralized. That decentralization may be deceiving as UNT is likely tightly controlled by its governing body and decisions are not made at the departmental level.
3. After you have listen/read our media story for Lesson/chapter 13, you will be reminded of the problems General Motors have had with car’s ignition switches. Using Chapter 13 material on ‘designing organizational structures’ pick out any item that you feel might be used by GM executive branch to correct problems such as the ignition switch debacle. Explain your logic/choice.
In describing the matrix structure, the textbook describes the possibility of multiple managers resulting in a loss of accountability (p. 387). In what the textbook calls “ambiguous accountability,” it becomes easier for managers to blame others for mistakes in order to protect themselves. The ignition switch debacle at GM seems to fit this scenario perfectly. At any point, the 15 employees, many of them executive level or higher, had the ability to fix the problem and start the recall process. Obviously, none of these employees were willing to be attached with a multi-million dollar recall and hoped that someone else would do the right thing.