"Technical environments are those in which organizations produce a
product or service that is exchanged in a market such that they are rewarded
for effective and efficient performance". (Scott p. 132). These environments
foster more rational structures, and in the pure sense are perfect economies.
One common environment is the task environment, all aspects of the environment
"potentially relevant to goal setting and goal attainment" (Dill,
1958) but commonly known as inputs, markets for outputs, competitors, and
regulators. "Managers are viewed as ensuring adequate supplies of resources
and markets, designing efficient work arrangements, and coordinating and
controlling technical activities " (Scott p. 134).
The environment is alternatively seen as sources of resources or of information.
Often the amount of uncertainty (of information) and dependency are seen
as two problematic areas for organizations, and many researchers have attempted
to characterize mechanisms that organizations use to cope with uncertainty
Some of the dimensions affecting uncertainty (Scott p. 134-135):
1. Degree of homogeniety-hetergeneity of environmental entities.
2. Degree of stability-variability (extent entities are undergoing change)
3. Degree of threat-security (vulnerability to environment)
4. Degree of interconnectedness-isolation (linkages to other entities)
5. Degree of coordination-non-coordination (entities actions are orchestrated)
Dimensions affecting Dependence (Scott p. 135)
1. Degree of munificence - scarcity (availability of resources)
2. Degree of concentration-dispersion (how evenly spread resources are in
3. Degree of coordination-noncoordination (entities actions are orchestrated).
Note that a high degree of coordination can reduce uncertainty but increase
dependence (Scott p. 135). This framework is only partly reflective of reality,
because different parts of the organizations can experience different levels
of uncertainty and dependence with the environment.
Institutional Foundations of Technical Environments
Remember that "the markets that reward organizations for effective
and efficient performance are themselves insitutionally consituted and structured"
(Scott p. 140). Accounting systems are one of the big institutions connected
directly to task environments. "Institutional frameworks define the
ends and shape the means by which interests are determined and pursued"
(Scott p. 140).