Information aspects of new organizational designs: Exploring the non-traditional organization



The purpose of the study presented in this article aims at broadening our understanding of information and concomitant aspects of a non-bureaucratic organizational design. With current changes in organizational environments, the century-long domination of the bureaucratic organization is being shaken. New organizational designs have been proposed as alternatives to the bureaucracy, including the information-based organization, networked organization, and adhocracy. Our knowledge of these designs, however, is still meager. This particularly applies to their information aspects, such as the role of information technology (IT), and exchanges of information and knowledge. In order to fill the void, an organizational design which will be called the “non-traditional organization” was created on the basis of relevant literature and was preliminarily tested on a sample drawn from the public accounting industry. The study discovered a strong positive relationship between the amount of IT usage and non-traditional dimensions, invoking the notion of an organic, “informated” organization. This relationship primarily rests on the relationships IT forms with centralization and formalization (both negative), and trust and communication beyond team boundaries (both positive). Information and knowledge-related interactions are in relation with team-based accountability in this networked, “information-rich” organization. Communication beyond team boundaries serves several purposes, including integration and creation of a dialogue-based, adhocratic, “interactive” organization. Hierarchy appears to be the most resilient dimension of the traditional organization in the sample studied. These findings bear implications for understanding new organizational designs.