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What do we mean by an organisation?

 Stoner, Freeman, and Gilbert describe that at an organisation, two or more people work together in a structured way to achieve a specific goal or set of goals. Through this description, certain salient features of an organisation emerge. These are:

• Organisation is a conglomerate of multiple number of persons;

• Relationship among people working together is defined through a structure. Through structure, communications take place among persons working in the organisation. Such structure may be

relatively rigid, as in the case of formal structure, or the structure may be relatively loose, as in the case of informal structure;

• Organisation strives to achieve planned goal. The goal(s) may be singular or plural. Goal is one of the fundamental elements of an organisation.

Robbins describes an organisation as a consciously coordinated social entity, with a relatively identifiable boundary, that functions on a relatively continuous basis to achieve a common goal or set of goals. The additional salient features of this description of organisation are following:

• The activities at an organisation are consciously coordinated. It means affairs at organisation are properly managed. It implies importance of management in organisation;

• The term relatively identifiable boundary implies that organisation works within a flexible yet definable boundary. Any organisation with a significant size has three layers of boundaries. The innermost boundary contains of the internal stakeholders i.e. employees, shareholders, and board of directors. The next layer consists of external stakeholders i.e. customers, competitors, financial institutions, suppliers, government, labour unions, media, and special-interest group. The outermost boundary consists of major macro variables like economic variables, technological variables, political variables, legal variables, and social variables.

Brown and Moburg describe organisations as relatively permanent social entities characterised by goal- oriented behaviour, specialisation, and structure. This description of organisation suggests that organisations have four basic features:

• Organisations are relatively permanent social entities though many changes which might be taking place within the organisation- thus continuity is at the core of existence of any organisation;

• Goals remain an integral part of any organisation;

• Organisations need highly specialised skills to attain goals,

• In order to bring together various work activities, organisations need to have structures.

Hicks describes an organisation as a structured process in which persons interact for objectives. This description indicates five facts that are common to all organisations:

• An organisation always include persons;

• These persons are involved with one another in some way;

• The interactions among persons can always be ordered or described by some sort of structure;

• Each person in the organisation tries to meet personal objectives also through organisational activities;

• These interactions can also help to achieve compatible joint objectives, i.e. organisational objectives and personal objectives.

Schein describes organisation as the planned coordination of the activities of a number of people for the achievement of some common, explicit purpose or goal, through division of labour and function, and through hierarchy of authority and responsibility. According to this definition, Organisations have following characteristics:

• Coordination of efforts;

• Common goal;

• Division of labour;

• Hierarchy of authority.

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