Basic Dimensions in Organizations

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    Common Dimensions in Organizations

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    © Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.

    When we think about a house, we usually take certain features into consideration, e.g., how many rooms it has, the color of its walls, slope of its roof, etc. A person can consider the following dimensions when analyzing an organization.

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    Richard Daft in his book, Organizational Theory and Design (West Publishing, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1992), organizes these dimensions into categories of structural and contextual.

    Structural dimensions:

    – the extent to which functions are dispersed in the organization, either in terms of integration with other functions or geographically

    – regarding the extent of policies and procedures in the organization


    – regarding the extent and configuration of levels in the structure


    – regarding the extent that organizational processes are standardized


    – regarding the extent to which activities are refined


    – regrading the extent of activities to equip organization members with knowledge and skills to carry out their roles

    Contextual Dimensions

    – the values and beliefs shared by all (note that culture is often discerned by examining norms or observable behaviors in the workplace)

    – the nature of external influences and activities in the political, technical, social and economic arenas


    – unique overall priorities and desired end-states of the organization


    – number of people and resources and their span in the organization


    the often unique activities needed to reach organizational goals, including nature of activities, specialization, type of equipment/facilities needed, etc.

    Additional Perspectives on Dimensions of Organizations

    For the Category of Organizational Development:

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