Managing Complex Organizations Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :


Management Implications Associated with Different Properties of Organization

The authors of the book reframing organizations have described the organizations as having four distinct properties. These properties are: (Bolman and Deal)




Ambiguity (Bolman and Deal)

These four properties require different management strategies and steps in order to ensure the smooth operation of an organization. (Bolman and Deal)


Organizations nowadays have become very complicated. They consist of employees belonging to different cultures, countries and backgrounds. Therefore, it becomes a place with people having different thoughts about different things. As a result, management becomes more difficult. The managers should exercise care about analyzing the situations. In complex organizations, situations that seem to be same are rarely same. Therefore, every situation that requires managerial action needs analysis before action. (Richardson)

Secondly, the management of complex organizations requires agreement of all or at least most of the employees with the decisions. If the employees are not included in decision making, then there is a chance that problems will arise as the employees will have different thoughts about the situation. In addition to that, taking the perspective of majority helps in finding the best way out of a situation. (Richardson)

Moreover, the management should also keep in mind that whatever it does to make the right decision, the decisions still have a margin of error. The complexity of the organizations makes the decision making even more difficult as a lot of factors have to be considered before taking a step. Therefore, after the step is taken, there is still chance of error in it. Furthermore, if the decisions of the management prove to be unsuccessful, they should be prepared to transform with time instead of being rigid. (Richardson)


Uncertain outcomes are a common thing in organizations. These outcomes can arise due to any cause but it requires efficient management in order to tackle the negative effects of these uncertain outcomes. The management should be mindful in order to be able to deal with anomalies. (Eastburn)

The first thing that a mindful management should do is to update and create categories and departments on a regular basis. If the departments and the employees are refined as per the need of the time, the management will be better equipped to deal with uncertain results. (Eastburn)

In addition, information related to a process or decision should be welcomed from all resources. The information related to the processes and decisions is very important as it indicates what the outcome is going to be. This openness in the inflow and interpretation of information gives way to a new management implication which is, respecting everyone's point-of-view. If information given by everyone is accepted, the management is accepting suggestions from everyone in order to avoid unexpected outcomes as much as possible. Lastly the management should be prepared for uncertain events to tackle them. (Eastburn)


Organizations also use unwanted means to hide mistakes that caused accidents. This makes the organizations deceptive as well. The blame is then transferred to someone else in order to preserve the integrity of the organization. The main managerial implication is that the managers should catch and eliminate deception and corruption as it starts. This can be done by using monitoring systems in order to evaluate the employees. In addition to that, reduction in incentives if someone is caught in an act of deception also repels the employees from deceit. Lastly, the number of internal audits should be increased in order to find out anomalies as soon as they are created. (Fleming and Zyglidopoulos)


The aforementioned properties of an organization make it ambiguous as well. All the peculiarities make the decision making equivocal and hence, the management must also be careful about this problem as well. In order to reduce ambiguity, the management must be clear about the goals and future identity of the organization. In addition to that, the management should again take decisions that are supported by the employees in order to reduce further ambiguity. (Lewis)

Challenges in Managing Organizations

Due to the peculiarities the organizations have nowadays, the management is faced with a lot of challenges. First of all, the complexity of the system has made it difficult for the system to make decisions regarding tough situations. As a complex organization consists of a diverse workforce, the problems also sum up. Every diversity brings new problems and hence, new suggestions to the organization's management. Therefore, the management are faced with a challenge to opt for the best way out without harming the interest of anyone. (Richardson)

Apart from that, unexpected negative outcomes also come as a challenge to the management. Unexpected results have the power to shock the management and force them into making wrong decisions. As a result, the management has to work even harder to make decisions and take steps that have minimal negative outcomes. As mentioned earlier, the increased number of people and operations in an organization makes it complex. As the organization becomes complex, it gets related to numerous factors. The management, therefore, has to prepare and plan for the unexpected negative outcomes of all those factors. (Eastburn)

The difficulty of the challenge is further exacerbated by the deceptiveness in the organization. The managers have to counter the lies and corruption as well. This hinders the smoothness with which the management makes decisions. Deception, complexity and uncertainty cause the whole organization to become ambiguous. This leads to further problems in management as the managers do not have an unequivocal point-of-view about any situation. (Fleming and Zyglidopoulos)

Importance of Framing

Framing refers to focusing on a certain set of ideas. It involves the use of skills in order to make the interpretation of a certain situation. Framing something means choosing one interpretation over the other in order to benefit the organization. Frames are very useful in breaking down complex problems. It recognizes the pattern in which the problems are occurring and tries to find a link between them. (Bolman and Deal)

Framing helps the management to focus on the factors and elements that might be causing the problem. Instead of focusing on the whole problem and finding its solution, the managers focus on the different elements that would have caused the problem. According to Bolman and Deal, the ability of a manager to use multiple frames is directly related to his effectiveness. The use of frames helps the management to find their way out of the complex maze of the organizational problems. With these frames, the managers can determine where they are standing in a particular situation and can match that up with the map in their mind. In this way, a manager can work his way out of the problems. (Bolman and Deal)

Structural Frame

The structural frame helps the management in the distribution of responsibilities. It is used by managers to develop a set of steps in order to cope with the environment they are faced with. The structural frame works on the notion that dividing a job into timed portions helps in making it easier. In addition to that, the idea of rationality is also one of the underlying factors of this frame. (Bolman and Deal)

The structural frame works on some assumptions as mentioned in the work of Bolman and Deal. These assumptions are: (Bolman and Deal)

The major and only purpose of organizations is to fulfil goals

Different structural frames can be designed and implemented on different organizations.

Organizations prosper the most when its employees put rationality above personal preferences and environmental turmoil.

Specialization helps an employee to show his expertise in a task.

Management and control are indispensable prerequisites to achieve efficiency. Several techniques and measures can be used in order to attain control over a certain situation.

Lastly, the problems of an organization originate due to the application of an incorrect structure on the organization and can be solved by restructuring the organization. (Bolman and Deal)

After carefully assessing the roles to be fulfilled by the people, the management has to think about how to group people. The people can be grouped on the basis of their knowledge and skill. In this case, a group will consist of people with the same level of skill. In addition, groups can also be made on the basis of shifts or working time. Apart from that, geography, client, products and processes can also be the basis for grouping. After the division, the organization can continue its operation with smaller and manageable groups. The grouping and division of responsibilities should be flexible. (Bolman and Deal)

Human Relations Frame

People working in an organization develop a relationship with the organization providing services and money to the people in exchange for their services and hard work. This relation of mutual benefit is two sided but it is possible for the organization to use and even abuse the people. The human relations frame considers people to be the most important asset of an organization. Managers can use this frame in order to empower the…

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