Term Paper: Life Cycle of Organizations Anthony

Pages: 5 (1355 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Biology  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] When compared to new organizations, old organizations such as bureaus have advantages as well as disadvantages over them. One of the known advantages of being an old organization is that it has a unique nature and character. Therefore, people would not have any difficulty in knowing the bureau and identifying its function as an organization. Another advantage of being an old and aging organization is that the same structures, processes, and culture is conserved, thereby tasks and activities are accomplished efficiently (if the bureau indeed works efficiently).

A disadvantage of being an old and aging organization is that it ceases to keep up with the changes that occur in the external environment of the bureau. An aging and old organization may fail to keep up with the technological changes influencing organizations nowadays. New organizations, moreover, are more flexible and mobile, which makes the processes and structures within it as dynamic or ever-changing. In effect, new organizations grow because they are exposed to various organizational arrangements and structures, thereby making them more receptive to change, inducing development and more importantly, improvement.

Comparing Downs' life cycle of bureaus to the life cycle of organizations nowadays, a remarkable difference emerges. According to Downs, "As a bureau grows older, the number and proportion of administrative officials therein tends to rise," and " ... A bureau experiences a period of relative stability in total size following a period of rapid growth, the average age of its members tends to rise as the bureau grows older." Both observations and arguments contradict the life-cycle model of organizations at present. Recent studies on organizations showed that their life cycle is best summed up as follows: "As organizations mature, they tend to become larger, more formalized, and more differentiated (fragmented)" (Kreitner, 1995:508).

This life-cycle model of new organizations is developing and is growing bigger as organizations develop. Bureaus, meanwhile, tend to shrink over time because the lack or absence of development would mean the decreasing number of people needed to accomplish the tasks and activities given to the bureau. And with a shrinking number of members, bureau members resort to multi-tasking, in order to accomplish tasks without needing more members than they really need or can afford to have. Bureaus that have reached the aging stage are at a disadvantage because even though they do not wish or want to dissolve the organization, it would simply cease to exist, because it would no longer have a function considered important and significant to the people.

Despite its being more formalized and differentiated institution, new organizations have greater flexibility because their culture promotes change and differences among people. This kind of thinking promoted in new organizations allow them to become more receptive to new ideas, not to mention the introduction of new structures that might emerge out of their dynamic nature. New organizations, when they become old, adopt new ideas and accept changes, thereby making them new organizations again -- with a different characteristic or identity.

The life cycle of new organizations are divided into the following stages: (1) inception; (2) high-growth; (3) maturity; and (4) decline. It has a similar cycle as Downs' life cycle of bureaus, but the nature of each stage radically differed from bureaucratic organizations. Throughout the stages of its life cycle, a new organization is rapidly changing from an improving to growing and finally, to a declining organization. In order to prevent its decline, members must 're-invent' the structure and arrangement of the organization, thereby killing its old identity and conceptualizing a new one. In effect, the life cycle of new organizations does not actually end with the "death" of an organization, but the 'reinvention' of a new one that functions more efficiently than the previous organization.

Downs' ideas about bureaucratic organization and his life cycle model of bureaus are still considered relevant and vital in analyzing the nature and dynamics of organizations today. Downs' life cycle model served as the benchmark for scholars and analysts in knowing the nature and dynamics that organizations go through over time.

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