Natural theorists question the importance of formal structures over informal
ones. "Informal structures are those based on the characteristics or
resources of the specfic participants" (Scott p. 54), and can be distinquished
from formal basis by observing the changes resulting from a change in personnel
at a particular position.
"Individual participants ... enter the organization with individually
shaped ideas, expectations, and agendas, and they bring with them differing
values, interests, and abilities". (Scott p. 54)
Yet interestingly, this informal structure is also stable. "Participants
within formal organizations generate informal norms and behavior patterns:
status and power systems, communication networks, sociometric structures,
and working arrangements" (Scott p. 54).
These informal systems are necessary, because no one can devise a formal
system that can function under all possible contingencies or remain adaptive
"In sum, natural system theorists insist that highly centralized and
formalized structures are doomed to be ineffective and irrational in that
they waste the organizaiton's most precious resource: the intelligence and
initiative of its participants". Scott p. 55
Early natural theorists tended to overlook the impact of the environment
on organization structure and behavior (the Hawthorne studies is a good
Reliance on Informal Rather than Formal Structure
"The rational system response to increasing task demands is to shorten
and straighten the leash -- provide superiors with more and faster information...increase
the ratio of superiors to performers to process info more quickly."
While increasing complexity often brings decentralization, it also causes
The natural theorists emphasize the advantages of the informal system to
confront increased complexity and uncertainty. They recommend more "enlarged
roles, internalized control, and informal structures to confront high levels
of uncertainty and complexity" (Scott p. 249).