Mintzberg taxonomy of organizational forms

The educational technology and digital learning wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search



  • This model is useful to identify types of organizations and to

The model

The organizational forms

                  simple                   complex
        stable  | Machine                  Professional
                | bureaucracy              organization
Pace            |
of              |
change          |
       dynamic  | Entrepreneurial          Adhocracy
                | startup

The subunits model

Mintzberg defines five basic organizational subunits:

  1. Strategic Apex, e.g. Board of Directors, CEO, president, rector
  2. Technostructure, e.g. Strategic Planning, Training,
  3. Support Staff, e.g. Legal Counsel, Public Relations, Payroll, Mailroom Clerks, Cafeteria Workers
  4. Middle Line, e.g. VP Operations, VP Marketing, Plant Managers Sales Managers
  5. Operating Core, e.g. Purchasing Agents, Machine Operators, Assemblers, Sales Persons, Shippers

Mintzberg then claims that each of the four organizational forms uses fundamentally different coordination mechanisms.

Further stuff

  • Organizations do four things: They find, they keep, they transform and they distribute.
  • They deal with materials, with products, with people and with information.



  • Mintzberg, H. 1979. The Structuring of Organizations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Mintzberg, H. (1983) Structure in Fives: Designing Effective, Organizations", Prentice Hall.
  • Mintzberg, H., J. Lampel, S. Ghoshal, J.B. Quinn; (1991). The Strategy Process: Concepts, Contexts, Cases. Prentice Hall.
  • Mintzberg, H and L Van Der Heyden (2002). Taking A Closer Look: Reviewing The Organization, Ivey Business Journal, september/october.