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Formal Organizations

Formal Organizations

Author: Paul Hannan

Differentiate between the types of organizations. 

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Source: Intro Music by Mark Hannan; Public Domain, Images from, Public Domain

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to this episode of Sociology, Studies of Society. Today's lesson is on formal organizations. As always, don't be afraid to pause, stop, rewind, or even fast forward to make sure you get the most out of this tutorial. So today, we're looking at formal organizations. Now a formal organization is just a large organization that works together towards one goal.

So on the screen there, you have a giant box with a question mark. As you can tell, a lot of different things are going to fall under the box of this organization. So in this tutorial, I'm just going to break down the three biggest ways you can break down formal organizations and then talk a little bit about how they interact.

So as I said, there are three types of organizations. There's utilitarian, coercive, and normative. So let's go through what these three things are. Now almost all of us are members of utilitarian organizations. These organizations are ones that reward you with your work financially. So if you have a job, you are a member of one of these organizations.

Now a different type of organization is a normative organization. Normative organizations are places that don't reward you financially. They reward you in some other way. I like to think of it as rewarding someone morally. Normative organizations are places where people volunteer their time to make society better. So you have the picture there of a Red Cross symbolizing the Red Cross organization. A lot of people there donate their time because they think that morally it's something that we need in society.

Now the last type of organization is a coercive organization. These organizations are places where people are forced to be members of. So you don't want to be a member. You don't get to choose to be a member. You are forced to be a member. Mental institutions, prisons-- those are really the best examples of coercive organizations.

Now these three organizations can play together. And there are members of normative organizations-- we think of maybe the Red Cross-- who there's actually a part of people that work for the Red Cross who are paid for their services. So there's a little bit of a fuzzy line in some organizations on what exactly is a normative and organization what's a utilitarian organization.

But regardless of what kind of organization there is, there's factors outside whatever job you're doing, whatever volunteering you're doing that affect organizations. That's what we have here. This stuff outside of organizations that have an effect and can really change the way that organizations run and work, that's called organizational environment. That is the laws, cultural norms-- anything that's outside the organization that still has an affect on the way that an organization is able to function.

So today's takeaway message. We learned about organizations and three different types of organizations. Utilitarian organizations are organizations where people receive financial rewards for their work, normative organizations where people receive moral rewards for their work, coercive organizations where people are forced to be members. And we learned about organizational environment, and these are things outside organizations that affect the way they run. Well, that's it for this lesson. Good work. And, hopefully, you'll be seeing me on your screen again soon. Peace.

Terms to Know
Coercive Organizations

Organizations that are involuntary for their members (i.e. prisons and mental institutions).

Formal Organizations

Large social groups intentionally organized to achieve specific goals (i.e. government agencies, the United States Post Office, corporations, and higher education).

Normative Organizations

Organizations that exist to pursue some goal in common that participants believe has moral value or is good for society (also sometimes called voluntary associations).

Organizational Environment

Social influences outside an organization that affect its operation, and even its existence.

Utilitarian Organizations

Organizations that pay people for their efforts and thereby provide jobs.