CPSC 689/602--Spring 1997
Computer-Supported Cooperative Work


Paper Report

Title: A Typology of Organizational Structure
Authors: Henry Mintzberg
Citation: Mintzberg, H. (1984). A Typology of Organizational Structure. In Miller, D. and Friesen, P. H. (Eds.), Organizations: A Quantum View, Prentice-Hall, pp. 68-86.
Reprinted in: Readings in Groupware and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work: Assisting Human-Human Collaboration by Ronald M. Baecker on pp. 177-186


This article detailed five basic organizational structures that all organizations gravitate toward. The forces and primary challenges of an organization's environment push it toward one of these structures. The structures are the following: These organizational structures arise any time when more than one person must coordinate different tasks to get a single job done. There are five ways to effect such coordination. They are listed below: All of these organizational structures are, to varying degrees, made up of the following five parts: These various parts have more influence and are of greater size in the different organizational structures.

Hybrid structures can be found where an established company is being forced to change by changes in its environment, or where a younger company is coming of age. Some examples of where the different structures might be found and their environments are listed below:

The article was to a great extent simply about management theory. The main point that I think it brings up for CSCW is to consider which of these structures would benefit most from which kind of computer support systems. It is also worth considering which structures might even be disrupted by certain types of computer systems being introduced.
Report prepared by: Tom McCollum, Email: tommc@cs.tamu.edu
Discussion date: 1/31/97            Report date: 2/3/97