Technology Structure and Social Boundaries
Organizations have become part of our life in the modern days. They play a significant role in our social life due to the interaction we have with them. The organizations’ influence has created a challenging aspect in our minds to the extent we need to study them and understand how they function. Understand the significance of the organizations and know how they operate; it is vital to understand their technical, social structures, and boundaries. These elements will give a clear perspective on the vagueness surrounding organizations. Organizations are divided into different systems like rational, natural, and open systems, and understanding the influence of the systems on the technical and social aspects of the organization will provide more information about the characteristics of the organizations.
To understand any organization, one has to know the structure it possesses. The structure of an organization is the way communication happens so that different duties can be passed down to the required executer (Root III, 2020). Such communications are essential since they enable a company to adapt to any changes that may occur. Technology is one of the elements that influence the structure of an organization. Technology cannot be termed as the machine complexity of the company or the complex processing ability of the company, but it is the combination of the intellect and knowledge people possess to use the technology in the company to change the input to output. The reason for the combination is machines cannot dictate what to do, so humans’ knowledge is required to calibrate and ensure they perform effectively (Weick, 2000).
Technology structure has revealed that there is a need to use humans to control the technology in any organization. The reason is technology cannot work without the knowledge of humans. In social boundaries, we determine to what extent a person should be involved with the organization and where the border should be placed. Therefore, it is essential to decide on the boundaries of social life and organization life. In the past, it has been challenging to differentiate social and organizational boundaries. Therefore, social barriers are there to distinguish between the social environment and the corporate environment, especially in matters of recruitment criteria (Powell & Soppe, 2015).
Technology Structure: Rational System Approach
The technology structure follows a particular criterion in a rational structure. First, a sensible system says that an organization is an entity whose leading role is to achieve the desired results. In a rational system all the parts or elements of technology are arranged in a series to ensure they achieve maximum efficiency. Achieving these requires organizations to seal the industrial structure from external disturbances that may cause stalling in the effectiveness of the machines.
The organization can seal through coding, labeling, and sorting out the material to be used in the process to prevent delays when inserting then in the technical core. Stockpiling involves having the materials needed in the professional core so that the person can control the time of insertion. Stockpiling also applies to the outputs since they are required in plenty when it is time to release them into the market. Leveling is also a way to reduce the time variance between the supply and demand of the inputs and outputs, and this is done through advertising or conducting exclusive sales (Scott & Davis, 2013). Forecasting is the process of trying to ascertain what factors influence supply and demand. The forecast is done with records on environmental fluctuations. All the sealing steps are to eliminate any uncertainties that may occur in the technical core. These elements also contribute to an increase in personnel, but this is a risk the company has to take since employees prevent any unexpected uncertainties to the technical core.
Technology Structure: Natural System Approach
In the natural approach, organizations are guided by goal complexity, informal structure, and functional analysis. At the same time, organizations pursue several interests common to the organization or disparate, but all consider the organization more significant. Participants in this system are guided by their behavior and interests (Scott & Davis, 2013).
In the field of technology, the natural system shapes technical aspects in three different ways, which are social and cultural factors, informal structure, and the need for tacit knowledge. Under the social and cultural factors, organizational culture between different companies dictates the level of performance of the two companies. The culture in the organization depends on the technical specialization of the workers, hierarchy, complexity of the technology, and power differences. All these aspects affect the productivity of workers in the organization. For example, with sophisticated technology and less specialized workers, the employees will seem to withdraw from technology and prefer handwork.
In the informal structure, technology is regarded as a medium for helping people achieve the goals of the organization. Therefore, people should not be replaced with machines since they require the same people to run the tools. Thus, unlike in a rational system that is controlled by a formal structure, the natural system the workers can handle or deal with any unexpected uncertainties that may occur to the machines. That is a shortage in supply or demand since the system is less restrictive.
The essence of tacit knowledge is advocated in the natural system approach. Unlike in the rational system where the machines or technology are programmed to run under the watch and control of engineers with no permit to other employees, the natural system criticizes that system. The natural system advocates that employees should be given a chance to learn, gain knowledge and experience, which will help them when dealing with the technology in times of uncertainties.
Technology Structure: Open System Approach
An open system approach sees an organization and the external environment as interdependent that is both rely on each other. The environment produces the materials, information, and energy while the organization processes the materials and feeds the environment back with output.
Concerning technology, the structure in an open system is normalized. That is, some rules are used to govern the technical aspect of the company, that is the rules and regulations set to run the technology. In the open system, the organization is flexible and can self-adjust and self-maintain. The reason is the interdependencies it has with the environment that surrounds it. Organizations in the open system are challenging to control and coordinate due to the multiple subsystems they possess. That means the technology there is challenging to control due to the loose subgroups and lack of boundaries.
Social Boundaries: Rational System Approach
As discussed earlier, social boundaries are the borders that separate the organization from the external environment, especially in terms of recruitment criteria. In the rational system approach, organizations have to be logical in that the recruitment procedure such that the external environment does not influence the process. In this approach, the recruiters do not need to consider the public in positions for the organization; instead, they are determined to recruit people who can make the organization rational. Those type of people can deliver the goals of the organization since the rational approach it is all about goal delivery considering the formal structure. Meaning the employees have to follow the set rules and regulations that accompany the structure stipulated by the organization. Therefore external influence during recruitment may compromise the formal structure of the rational system.
Social Boundaries: Natural Systems Approach
In natural systems, it is too challenging to ignore the role of external influence. Organizations in this system have to ensure they carry baggage from the external environment for them to function effectively. Despite that, the organizations carry the baggage by ensuring the ties with the outside world are cut so that it is the organization and the baggage. The system is mostly found within the army, prisons, and schools. In these organizations, the links to the outside world are cut, stripping of personal possession, and strict rules apply (Fernandez-Gimenez, 2002). The systems allow the recruits, inmates, or students to be in the facility without further external influence.
Social Boundaries: Open Systems Approach
In the open system, it is difficult to differentiate the boundary between the organization and the external environment. The reason being they are dependent on each other, where the external environment offers material, energy, and information while the organization processes and gives an output. What sets the outside and the organization system apart is the structure. In an open order, there is a normative structure that has established rules and regulations that guide the people in the organization to the extent they should pursue organizational goals. The rules also stipulate the boundary between the organization and the external environment. Therefore workers of the organization cannot pursue their interests at the expense of the organization.
Technological Issue for Participants
Technology has several aspects that may prove challenging to the participants. The first being the complexity of the technology. Earlier, we saw participants tend to be demoralized by sophisticated technology, and they opt for handwork, which is easy to perform than using the machines. Therefore, participants in technology require the necessary skills to use with the devices.
The other issue is knowledge; in the rational systems, we said that the experience to operate the machines or technology is left among the few, such as engineers who calibrate the tools to produce effectively. That is an issue for most of the participants, especially in the natural system, since most of them need the knowledge, experience, and skills associated with the technology so that they can perform effectively in times of uncertainties.
Issues with Organizational Boundaries
The first problem with organizational boundaries for participants is to know how to differentiate the boundaries. The reason being the organization and the external environment interact or depend on each other, and therefore it is challenging to know the border of the organization. In the natural system, the organization is viewed as a social unit the same as the participants. Therefore, it has its own needs that need to be performed by the people for it to function, unlike in rational, where an organization is seen as a means to help to achieve the goals of the organizations. Employees in these two kinds of settings will have problems since their work there is viewed differently.
These organizations model rational, natural, and open all serve different purposes in the organization. The first two rational and natural both are the extreme ends advocating for action that is different from the other. For example, in the rational system, the steps are strictly by the book with less consideration for the organization, the goals of the organization being the target. The organization here is viewed as an entity that helps in the achievement of objectives. In the natural system, things are informal. The participants think of their own needs at the same time; the needs of the organization are considered. Technology in any organization is dependent on humans, and therefore people should be taught to deal with the machines as they can avert any unexpected uncertainties. Thus with technology, the best system to use is the natural system. With organizational boundaries, the rational system will be useful as it differentiates the role of external influence from the organizational goals. Such barriers ensure the organization is effective and efficient.
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