Traditional Organizational Models

Hierarchical traditional organizational models have given way to more egalitarian models.
Hierarchical traditional organizational models have given way to more egalitarian models. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Organizations have to be structured in a certain way so as to best manage them. There are different ways of structuring an organization. Changes in the business world have meant that the traditional organizational models have given way to newer models that introduce change. Each organization chooses a model that works best based on its particular needs.

Characteristics of Traditional Models

Traditional organizational models are more geared to a hierarchical order. There is a procedure for formal communication within the company. Managers in this sort of setup communicate down to their subordinates. The communication tends to be formal and follows the company’s set procedures and policies. It is geared to the goal of accomplishing specific tasks. This means that not all employees have a say in terms of how the business is run.

Types of Traditional Models

There are different approaches in using a traditional organizational model. The scientific approach to traditional organizational models was based on cutting down on the costs of production. This method focused on a bottom-up approach, managing employees at the bottom of the organizational structure. The bureaucratic approach to traditional organizational methods focused more on management issues. This approach was geared to making management more efficient. This would make the company a better place to work.

Use of Traditional Models

In the early twentieth century, as more large businesses were started in the United States, managers needed a framework to manage them. The same is true today. A variety of different organizations tend to use traditional organizational models. For instance, government agencies, private organizations, and even educational institutions use this sort of model. This sort of structure may be particularly suitable for governmental agencies, which have their rigid procedures and are not geared to creating an informal environment.


As the world became more egalitarian, there was a move away from the traditional organizational models towards newer models. The so-called transformational model is more geared to the needs of employees, recognizing their humanness. The goal is to make large organizations feel less impersonal. Managements do this by communicating with employees and connecting with them as individuals, rather than going through a rigid hierarchical communication process. The organization tries to create trust between employees and managers.

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