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The Nature and Design of Post-Industrial Organizations


  • George P. Huber

    (College of Business Administration, University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712)


This paper describes the nature and design of post-industrial organizations. It begins with an assessment of the popular literature on post-industrial society, and finds that this literature is an inappropriate basis for inferring the nature of post-industrial organizations. Partly as a consequence of this finding, the paper turns to systems theory as a basis for determining both the nature of post-industrial society and the nature of the increased demands that this environment would impose on post-industrial organizations. The middle three sections of the paper describe design features that post-industrial organizations will employ to deal with these demands. In particular they examine designs for making more effective three processes that will exhibit increased importance in post-industrial organizations: (1) decision-making, (2) innovation, and (3) information acquisition and distribution. In addition to its conclusions concerning the design features that post-industrial organizations will possess, the paper sets forth three general conclusions. One of these is that, even though the aggregate of the demands on post-industrial organizations will be qualitatively greater than that experienced by previous organizations, there are design features that organizations can adopt that will enable them to cope with even worst-case loadings of these demands. A second conclusion is that the nature of the post-industrial environment will cause decision-making, innovation, and information acquisition and distribution to take on added importance in post-industrial organizations, and that one result of this will be that organizations will attempt to ensure routine effectiveness of these processes through increased formalization. In some cases this formalization will have as its purpose ensuring the existence of informal (or at least unstructured) activities, such as experimentation by "self-designing" organizations or acquisition of "soft" information by top managers. The third conclusion set forth is that during the current transition period between the industrial and post-industrial societies we can expect many organizations to fail, or to flee to less than wholly desirable niches, because they are ignorant of the post-industrial technologies, structures, and processes that would enable them to successfully engage the post-industrial environment and to become viable post-industrial organizations. It appears that an important task of organizational and management scientists during this period will be to aid in the development, transfer, and implementation of post-industrial design features and in this way help reduce the possibility of unnecessary failure or flight.

Suggested Citation

  • George P. Huber, 1984. "The Nature and Design of Post-Industrial Organizations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(8), pages 928-951, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:30:y:1984:i:8:p:928-951

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    Cited by:

    1. Erin K. Melton, 2017. "Testing Turbulence: Exploring the Determinants of Managerial Networking," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 19-37, March.
    2. CHIRIMBU, Sebastian, 2014. "Challenges Of Leadership In Modern Organizations: Knowledge, Vision, Values," Annals of Spiru Haret University, Economic Series, Universitatea Spiru Haret, vol. 5(3), pages 39-47.
    3. Amélie Artis & Simon Cornée, 2013. "Transformation informationnelle, certification et intermédiation financière : le cas de la banque solidaire," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201326, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    4. Luis Eduardo Solís, 2002. "The Post-Industrial Paradigm: An Imperative," Working Papers Economia wp02-06, Instituto de Empresa, Area of Economic Environment.
    5. Bergeron, François & Raymond, Louis & Rivard, Suzanne, 2001. "Fit in strategic information technology management research: an empirical comparison of perspectives," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 125-142, April.
    6. Rockart, John F. (John Fralick) & DeLong, David W. & Management in the 1990s (Program), 2003. "Executive support systems and the nature of executive work," Working papers no. 135, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    7. Amélie Artis & Simon Cornée, 2017. "Composition, Interpretation and Memorisation of the Idiosyncratic Knowledge in Social Banking," Working Papers CEB 17-002, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. Nahm, Abraham Y. & Vonderembse, Mark A. & Subba Rao, S. & Ragu-Nathan, T.S., 2006. "Time-based manufacturing improves business performance--results from a survey," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 213-229, June.
    9. Orlikowski, Wanda J. (Wanda Janina). & Gash, Debra Carol, 1959-., 1992. "Changing frames : understanding technological change in organizations," Working papers 3368-92., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    10. Maltz, Elliot & Souder, William E. & Kumar, Ajith, 2001. "Influencing R&D/marketing integration and the use of market information by R&D managers: intended and unintended effects of managerial actions," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 69-82, April.
    11. Ramaprasad, A. & Rai, A., 1996. "Envisioning management of information," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 179-193, April.
    12. repec:cmj:journl:y:2013:i:29:piturlea is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Rondeau, Patrick J. & Ragu-Nathan, T. S. & Vonderembse, Mark A., 2003. "The information systems environment of time-based competitors," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 253-268, August.
    14. Bernard C. Y. Tan & Kwok-Kee Wei & Richard T. Watson & Danial L. Clapper & Ephraim R. McLean, 1998. "Computer-Mediated Communication and Majority Influence: Assessing the Impact in an Individualistic and a Collectivistic Culture," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(9), pages 1263-1278, September.
    15. Marius PIŢURLEA & Alina Georgiana IANCU & Dorin IANCU, 2013. "Romanian organizations to the new challenges of the knowledge society," SEA - Practical Application of Science, Fundația Română pentru Inteligența Afacerii, Editorial Department, issue 2, pages 197-212, October.
    16. repec:kap:jmgtgv:v:21:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10997-016-9353-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. repec:spr:grdene:v:9:y:2000:i:2:d:10.1023_a:1008758806144 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Ariss, Sonny S. & Zhang, Qingyu, 2002. "The impact of flexible process capability on the product-process matrix: an empirical examination," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 135-145, March.


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