Organisation Notes | Study Public Administration Optional for UPSC (Notes) - UPSC

Document Description: Organisation for UPSC 2022 is part of Public Administration Optional for UPSC (Notes) preparation. The notes and questions for Organisation have been prepared according to the UPSC exam syllabus. Information about Organisation covers topics like Introduction and Organisation Example, for UPSC 2022 Exam. Find important definitions, questions, notes, meanings, examples, exercises and tests below for Organisation.

Introduction of Organisation in English is available as part of our Public Administration Optional for UPSC (Notes) for UPSC & Organisation in Hindi for Public Administration Optional for UPSC (Notes) course. Download more important topics related with notes, lectures and mock test series for UPSC Exam by signing up for free. UPSC: Organisation Notes | Study Public Administration Optional for UPSC (Notes) - UPSC
Table of contents
1 Crore+ students have signed up on EduRev. Have you?


Organisation is the framework. It facilitates proper utilisation of men, material and money for the achievement of the goals. You will come across organisations in the; pursuit of every day activities. The post office, the municipality, the bank, the office of the agricultural extension officer, the panchayat office, the railway station, etc., are. _ examples of organisations Which serve the community. When certain goals have to be achieved and when individuals have to come together and share the work and act with. ' understanding over a period of time, an organisation is fonnpd. In this unit, we will examine the nature and importance of organisation, formal and informal organisations and their characteristics and the relationships between the two types cf organisations for effective delivery of services.

Organisation: Meaning and Definition

  • The earliest form of organisation was the,family and over the period of time other forms of organisations also came up. The industrial revolution ushered in the era of mass production of goods., Machines replaced men and factories became centres of production ushering in an era of big organisations.
  • The term organisation is viewed differently by different authors depending upon the emphasis the author would like to lay upon. When you read a few definitions you will come to know the significance attached by different authors. Morstein Marx defines organisation as structure developed for carrying out the tasks entrusted to the chief executive and his administrative subordinates in the government. The emphasis in this definition is on structure. J.D. Mooney on the other hand, defines organisation as the form of human association for the attainment of common purpose. The family, the mahila mandals, the youth welfare associations, etc., can be cited as examples. In this particular definition, the author lays stress upon the cooperative endeavour of human beings.
  • According to L.D. White, organisation is the arrangement of personnel for facilitating the accomplishment of some concrete purpose through the allocation of functions and responsibilities. The working of a public transport system can becited as an example. The maintenance staff are entrusted with the responsibility of the upkeep of the vehicles. The movement of vehiclesis the sole responsibility of the running crew and the support services are provided by the auxiliary staff consisting of the clerical; stores, personnel, finance, etc. It would be evident that different units are assigned specific responsibilities and are held accountable for the purpose of specific task. Gladden defines organisation as the pattern of relationship between persons in an enterprise so arranged as to fulfil the enterprise's function.
  • The functioning of an organisation depends upon the formulation of policy, preparation of plans in accordance with the policy and their implementation. In an organisation the top management is responsible for policy formulation, the middle management for programming artd planning and the rank and file for implementation. The principle of hierarchy ensures that, the rank and file is accountable to middle management and middle management is accountable to the top management. Thus the superior subordinate relationship made' possible through hierarchy ensures the tasks are assigned and responsibilities are fixed for different levels that facilitates the smooth achievement of goals.
  • It would be clear from these definitions that organisation consists of structure, working arrangement between the people who work in the organisation and the relationships between them. In today's world one's life is inextricably interwoven with organisations whether it be governmental, church, army, school, club, public or private. It is in fact very difficult to think of organisations without persons and vice versa. People in fact work in organisations, derive benefits from organisation and are influenced by them. Some times, the organisations may even produce frustrations and oppression.
  • We have noticed that organisations have been in existence from time immemorial. The nature of organisation has undergone modifications and with the passage of time, we find that there are different types of organisations. Based on the number of people working hi an organisation, they are classified as small or big. A school, with a single teacher, can be cited as an example of a small organisation. On the other'hand, the Indian Railways which employs over twenty lakhs of personnel is a good example of a large organisation. Base'd upon the nature of relationship, organisations are also categorised as simple or complex. The family, where the nature of relationship isdirect and the activities are few is good example of a simple organisation. On the other hand, the defence ministry, which is responsible for safeguarding the sovereign interest of the nation, renders a wide spectrum of services traversing land, sea and air coveripg different sectors both public and private is a good example of a complex organisation. Organisations are also classified as formal and informal based upon the significance attached to the structure or the human side of the enterprise.
  • For a proper understanding of working of the organisation, it is imperative to understand the characteristics and the functions of formal and informal organisations.

Formal Organisation

  • One of the areas in the field of organisation theory that has engaged the attention of scholars is the role of formal and informal organisations. Formal organisation is one which is deliberately planned and designed and duly sanctioned by the competent authority. It is the organisation as shown on the organisation chart or as described bymanuals and rules. It is an organisation as it appears to the observers from outside. It is customary for any organisation to prepare a chart forming the structure, The following chart would serve as an illustration.
    Organisation Notes | Study Public Administration Optional for UPSC (Notes) - UPSC
  • According to Chester Bernard formal organisation is a system of consciously coordinated activities or forces of two or more persons. Barnard explains that individuals agree to work in an organisation because they are prepared to contribute their services and receive in return certain benefits. The working of the postal departmertt can be given as a good example. The delivery of mail depends upon certain inter-related activities like sorting of the letters, distribution of mail to the concerned postmen and delivery at the door step of the individuals concerned. Louis Allen defines formal organisation as "a system of well defined jobs, each bearing a definite measure of authority, responsibility and accountability, the whole consciously designed to enable the people of the enterprise to work most effectively together in accomplishing their objectives".
  • Thus formal organisation enables designing of an organisation, identification of various levels for decision-making, allocation of duties and responsibilities and ensuring smooth performance.

Characteristics of Formal Organisation

Formal organisation is the frame through which organised effort is directed for achieving the goals. It has certain distinct characteristics. They are:

  • Legal Status
  • Division of work
  • Primacy of structure
  • Permanence
  • Rules and Regulations

A study of these characteristics would enable you to understand the nature of formal organisations.

Legal Status

  • A distinctive feature of formal organisation is that it is backed by legal Sanctions. The establishment of any organisation at the government level requires the enactment ty parliament o r legislatureThe Incometax Department owes its existence to the Income Tax Act. The Municipal Corporations of Bombay, Delhi or Hyderabad have come into existence on the basis of legislation enacted by the respective state legislatures. Pliblic sector organisations like Life Insurance Corporation, Food Corporation, etc., were established on the basis of enactments by the union parliament.
  • The law which enables the organisation to come into existence also confers authority. The personnel Working in the various departments in the discharge of their official work are backed by the authority of law, For instance,, various enforcement agencies which regulate the activities of either individuals or organisations do so only through the exercise of authority vested in them: Legal status, is an important feature of formal organisation.

Division of work

Division of work, which is the very basis for organisation to come into existence', is made possible through formal organisation. Formal organisation which indicates the levels of management, the designation of officers and their area of operation makes it very convenient for: the division of work. This enables, as we would see in a later unit, the .organisation to specialise in certain tasks or activities and realise the goals effectively. For example, the managing director of an organisation is responsible for the achievement of the overall objectives of the organisation. However, it would be impossible for him to accomplish the task without dividing the work amongst his colleagues. When there is division of work, there is also specialisation because each unit concentrates on the specific task and the officials acquire expertise.

Primacy of Structure

In formal organisation, the emphasis is laid on the design and structure. As Urwick has noted that "absence of structure is illogical, cruel, wasteful and inefficient". The structure is clearly defined and the roles of individuals working in organisations is clearly spelled out. The structure also describes the communication flows and the relationships between members.'


In formal organisations are relatively permanent than others. Though they adopt to environmental conditions and change the structure and even objectives, they are generally created to last a long time. The formal organisations not only last long, but they also grow over time.

Rules and Regulations

Another important feature of a formal organisation is that it functions in accordance with well-formulated rule's and regulations. Officials working in formal organisations cannot act as per their likes and dislikes but should function within the framework of the stipulated rules and regulations. For instance, if the hank has 'to sanction a loan to an ' entrepreneur, the rules and regulations regarding the sanction of the loan should be followed and the entrepreneur has to fulfil every condition laid down. The officer incharge of sanctioning loans strictly follows these rules and regulations. Rules and regulations limit thediscretion of the officials who exercise authority and ensure objectivity.

Functions of Formal Organisation

  • Formal organisation undertakes several functions. In the first place, it facilitates determination of goals and objectives in the absence of which it would be difficult to direct skills of men and women to accomplish the stated goals. For instance, the objective of the postal department is to ensure speedy and efficient delivery of mail to the citizens. The objective of the defence ministry is to protect the sovereignity and integrity of the country against any form of external aggression.
  • Formal organisation spells out the nature and scope of the activities of different units within the organisation. In the case of the defence ministry, the army, navy and air force are assigned specific roles to guard the land, sea and air.
  • Formal organisation also facilitates the fulfilment of another important function,namely, coordination. For instance, the sub-inspector of a police station coordinates the activities of several head constables. The circle inspectors coordinate the activities of several police stations each under the control of a sub-inspector. Every higher level functionary coordinates the activities of the officers immediately below him.
  • According to Allen, formal organisation sets up boundaries, sign posts and pathways which must be followed. It provides basic structure through which the government or any other enterprise functions. The distinctive feature of formal organisation is the impersonal relationship. Impersonal relation contributes to objectivity and dispassionate examination of issues involved so that the decisions can be taken on-the merits of the case. For example; in a court of law, judgements ate delivered on the basis of evidence presented before the judge rathern than on any other extraneous consideration. In financial matters, an auditor who is examining the financial transactions should be guided by the financial rules, receipts and vouchers and documentary evidences.

Formal & Informal OrganisationFormal & Informal Organisation

Informal Organisation

  • To obtain a total picture of any organisation, we must also consider the informal structure. This is found in those aspects of structure which, while not prescribed by formal authority, supplement or modify the formal structure. As in the case of formal organisation, Chester Barnard also highlights the significance of informal organisation. According to him, informal organisation is the aggregate of personal contacts and interactions and the associated grouping of people. Informal organisation is also-defined as the pattern of actual behaviour of people working in an organisation. While the formal organisation emphasises on the structure, informal organisation emphasises on personality and human emotions. The superior-subordinate relations between important officers may be influenced by the commanding personality or the powerful connections of the subordinates.
  • Most of the administrators are fully aware of the inevitability of the informal structure. Administrators at all levels normally associate themselves with one or more informal groups "buddies" from inside or outside the organisations. Presidents and Prime Ministers have kitchen cabinets to aid and assist them. Members of this group may be more influential than the more visible and formally established cabinets and their committees. In any organisation, in addition to the formal channels of communication, the executives also rely upon informal communication lines. The 'grapevine' provides very important information to the administrators about what the official actually feels about the tasks and responsibilities and vice-versa.
  • Thus informal organisations are often viewed as shadow organisations and as silhouettes of formal organisations. They are ill-defined and difficult to determine. They do not have definite organisational goals. The relations between members, therefore, are not specific. Spontaneous, unofficial and unstructured relations lead to favourable sentiments which in turn increase the interactions and strengthen the bonds of identification. Because of informal nature, absence of goals and unstructured relationships, the formal system of controls do nqt operate in informal organisations.

Why Informal Organisation?

  • Hicks and Gullett identified several factors that cause the emergence of informal organisations. We will now discuss some of these factors. Firstly, the individuals join an informal organisation to satisfy their social needs. As we have discussed in Unit 13 individuals desire affiliation, relationships and desire companionship. If these needs are not satisfied, he feels isolated and gets dissatisfied. Similarly we have seen in Unit 10 hov/Mayo explained that individuals when working in groups derive greater satisfaction. Thus, informal organisation comes into existence to fulfil social needs of individuals.
  • Secondly, as Chester Barnard has noted, individuals derive personal comfort in social relations which is called solidarity, social integration or social security. Through social contact, individuals satisfy a need for identification and belonging. Informal organisations provide greater opportunities for the individuals to prove their capabilities which the formal organisations cannot provide.
  • Thirdly, every individual experiences tensions and frustrations in the organisations while performing their jobs. To overcome this, they seek compassion and understanding. These are provided by the informal organisations. They serve as ‘release valves’ and in them individuals find sympathetic friends who had similar experiences.
  • Fourthly, informal organisations enable the members to get assistance in meeting their organisational objectives. As a student gets assistance from his fellow students, members of organisations get the assistance and guidance from their colleagues and co-workers to fulfil their organisational objectives.
  • Fifthly, informal organisations provide opportunities to individuals to release their creative talents. Spontaneity is encouraged and even protected by informal organisations.
  • Sixthly, every organisation has certain values, preservation of which is dearer to the group. These values have to be developed and perpetuated. In a formal system this is not possible as the values of the individual may not be in consonance with the values of the organisation. But informal organisation provides such opportunities.
  • Finally, members of an organisation always want to know what is going on in their organisations. 'The formal channels of communication are always slow, sometimes the information is poorly transmitted and even blocked. The informal organisations develop systems or channels of communication which travel very fast. This has the advantage of enabling the members of the organisation to know about the forthcoming events and adjust themselves to the requirements.

Characteristics of Informal Organisation

Informal organisatiOnhas several unique characteristics. Firstly, in these organisations, members think and act alike. Their continuous association leads to shared values. Any violation of these shared values results in group pressure and even ostracism. Thus, informal organisations, standards of behaviour are enforced.Secondly, informal organisation brings pressure on the members to conform to the standards of behaviour accepted by the group. Since members of the group desire satisfaction from their association, they tend to conform to the group pressures. As we have noted earlier any deviation from the accepted standards of behaviour results in punishment and even ostracism.Finally, in informal organisations, one finds a different style of leadership. In formal systems, members follow the leader because of their formal position or exercise of authority. But in informal organisations members follow the leader because of his influence. As Mary Parker Follett has noted, leaders emerge out of situations and they lead as long as the situation warrants. But in informal organisation, leaders must live up to the expectations of the group. If he fails he is thrown out which is nor possible in formal systems.

Dysfunctions of Informal Organisation

  • Informal organisation no doubt, helps the formal organisation in many ways. It contributes the missing elements to the members of the formal organisations. But it has a few problems and dysfunctions as well.
  • We have seen earlier that the informal organisation provides much faster modes of communications. This is no doubt a more constructive role. This communication system, which is often called grape vine, is vulnerable for spreading inaccurate, incomplete and distorted information. Spreading of such rumours creates confusion and consequently several problems to the organisation.
  • Secondly, we have seen that informal organisations come into existence to perpetuate certain values, which in other words may mean perpetuation of status quo. It isand convention in formal organisation quite often measures which are in the interest of the organisation are resisted. Thirdly, insistence of conformity to group standards has also its own dysfunctionalities. Quite often, this may lead to pressure on the individuals to restrict their productivity. Taylor called this systematic soldering . This functionality is not in the interest of the organisations.

Interdependence of Formal and Informal Organisation

  • For a proper understanding of the working of organisations, a thorough knowledge of formal and informal organisations, their inter-relationships and the supportive roles need to be properly understood and appreciated. Formal organisation and informal organisation are two opposite sides of the same coin.
  • A society is structured by formal organisations and they are vitalised and conditioned by informal organisations. What is asserted is that there cannot be one without the other. No organisation can be fully understood by the study of its formal structure only. A meaningful insight into the personalities of its key men and the roles they play are equally necessary to understand the dynamics of a working organisation.
  • Management in future must be able to understand the goals and aspirations of individuals, group dynamics, informal soles, etc. The Informal communication or the grapevine provides important leads to the chief executive in an organisation which may enable him to take appropriate decisions as the situation warrants. Any result-oriented administrative system should be able to achieve a proper blend of both formal and informal aspects of organisation so as to perform effectively.
The document Organisation Notes | Study Public Administration Optional for UPSC (Notes) - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Public Administration Optional for UPSC (Notes).
All you need of UPSC at this link: UPSC
Download as PDF

How to Prepare for UPSC

Read our guide to prepare for UPSC which is created by Toppers & the best Teachers

Download free EduRev App

Track your progress, build streaks, highlight & save important lessons and more!

Related Searches

Extra Questions


Semester Notes






Important questions


Objective type Questions


Previous Year Questions with Solutions


Organisation Notes | Study Public Administration Optional for UPSC (Notes) - UPSC


practice quizzes


video lectures


shortcuts and tricks


Sample Paper




study material


Organisation Notes | Study Public Administration Optional for UPSC (Notes) - UPSC


Viva Questions


mock tests for examination






Organisation Notes | Study Public Administration Optional for UPSC (Notes) - UPSC




past year papers