What Is a Mechanistic Organization?

A mechanistic organization is a company with a highly organized, rigid and bureaucratic structure. It is epitomized by formal procedures, constant business activities and slow response to change. Centralized authority in management is another key trait.

In a mechanistic organization, workers are typically organized into distinct divisions or departments where each department has a specific function. The organization is vertical, meaning there is little collaboration among the departments and the reporting responsibilities run from the bottom to the top of the organization. The centralized authority of the organization allows for efficient decision-making and the ability for the company to have its top experts making most critical decisions.

The bureaucratic and predictable nature of the mechanistic organization limits its ability to respond to external forces and to innovate. If government regulations, economic fluctuation or technology evolution impact the industry, a mechanistic company struggles to take the necessary precautions or to take advantage of opportunities that come about with the changes. In contrast, an organic organization is more equipped to react efficiently. Limited creativity and problem-solving authority may also lead to negative morale among the work force. Employees at the lower levels of the organization can become frustrated with their inability to offer input or operate outside of the rigid structure.