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The Four Mainstream

Fundamentals of
Fundamental 1: Standardization
Fundamental 2: Specialization
Fundamental 3: Centralization
Fundamental 4: Departmentalization

Introduction to Organizing

The management function of organizing refers to ensuring that tasks

have been assigned and a structure of relationships created that
facilitates meeting organizational goals.

According to Max Weber, the essence of organizing involves managing four

fundamental issues which are:
- Ensuring that the work activities are completed in the best way.
- Ensuring that each members subtasks contribute to the whole.
- Ensuring that there is orderly deference among organizational members.
- Ensuring that members work together harmoniously.

The Four Mainstream Fundamentals of

Mainstream managers emphasize four basic elements of organizational structure,
each of which corresponds to one of the fundamental elements identified by

Standardization emphasizes on developing uniform practices for

organizational members to follow in doing their jobs

Specialization emphasizes on grouping standardized organizational tasks into

separate jobs
Centralization is having the decision-making authority rest with managers
Departmentalization refers to grouping organizational members and
resources together to achieve the work of the larger organization.

Fundamental 1: Standardization
Standardization is a way for managers to design basic work activities so that
members perform tasks in the best way to accomplish the overall work of the
organization, and to spend their time productively.
Mainstream managers try to ensure that members perform the activities that are
most appropriate for achieving overarching organizational goals.
When we thinks of standards, we think of formal standards. The more written
documentation there is, the higher the degree of formalization. Informal standards
that govern and give meaning to members behaviour are also important.

Fundamental 1: Standardization
Standards serve as guidelines for decision making, and they provide an overarching
framework that gives members confidence and ensures coordinated decision making
across departments and over time.
- Standards also provide direction and motivation for members.
Having too few standards may result in haphazard decision making, and may lead to
endless debates on which goals should be pursued and how tasks should be
Having too many standards may also leave members feeling suffocated, and may also
undermine the organizations credibility and legitimacy.

Fundamental 2: Specialization

Specialization involves ensuring that all organizational members know

the specific subtasks they are required to perform.
Specialization entails taking standardized organizational tasks and
allocating them into separate jobs that can be narrow or broad.
Optimal levels of specialization are evident when each members
specific tasks are clear and help to maximize productivity.

Fundamental 2: Specialization
- Too little specialization means that tasks are not being performed as
efficiently as possible, which results in underperformance. It may also
lead to ambiguity in terms of decision making, and may also create
difficulties in recruitment and training members.
- Too much specialization can lead to situations where specialized tasks
displace the overarching work of the organization, cause a gradual shift in
the overall goals of the organization, result in jobs that are repetitive and
boring which leads to increased turnover and absenteeism, and can cause
members to focus only on completing narrow tasks.

The Four Multistream

Fundamentals of



Fundamental 1: Experimentation
(versus Standardization)
-the emphasis on an ongoing voluntary implementation of new ways of performing
tasks on a trial basis.
a) Ensures that work activities are completed in the best way
b) Focus on dynamic process of organizing (experimenting) rather than on the
static outcome of organizing (standards)
c) Concern for multiple stakeholders and multiple forms of well-being
d) Problems with too little experimentation: stagnation, rigidity, complacency,
lack of growth and new knowledge
e) Problems with too much experimentation: chaos, uncoordinated efforts

Fundamental 2: Sensitization
(versus Specialization)
-the emphasis on searching for and responding to needs and opportunities to improve
the status quo
a) Ensures that members know what subtasks they should perform
b) Encourages members to be sensitive to new needs and opportunities and to
continuously adapt and improve how they do their jobs in harmony with
c) When tasks are divided into separate jobs, Multistream managers tend to do so
at the group level while Mainstream managers tend to do so at the individual jobholder level
d) Optimal levels of sensitization yield greater feelings of purpose, meaningful

Fundamental 3: Dignification
(versus Centralization)
-the emphasis on treating everyone with dignity and respect in
a) Ensures orderly deference among members
b) Providing people with appropriate choice and freedom
c) Dignification is more likely in relatively decentralized organizations
authority resides in groups rather than in a few individuals
d) Optimal dignification enhances decision making, encourages
between and across organizational levels, and motivates members

Fundamental 4: Participation (versus

The emphasis on mutuality and giving stakeholders a voice in how
the organization is managed and how jobs are performed
a) Ensures that members work together harmoniously
b) Focus

Multistream managers tend to prefer divisional rather than functional

Multistream managers tend to prefer relatively small (120-150 members)
divisions where each member has a sense of the overall goals of the unit and
how members roles fit together

Fundamental 4: Participation (versus

c) Membership

Multistream managers include and invite participation of external stakeholders



Participation refers to the emphasis on mutual discernment and giving stakeholders a voice
in how the organization is managed and how jobs are performed

Virtual departments can facilitate communication among members across the


d) Optimal level of participation is needed


Problems with too little participation: dictatorship, less enthusiastic following of

members, poorer decision because fewer perspectives included
Problems with too much participation: death-by-meetings or inefficiency from seeking
input for every minor decision, and some members may wish not to participate