Technical Environments

"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 and dependency.

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 environment)
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).