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Organizational Structures: Coordination and Control


Marsden, Peter V.; Cook, Cynthia R.; & Kalleberg, Arne L. (1994). Organizational Structures: Coordination and Control. American Behavioral Scientist, 37, 811-29.


Measures of coordination and control techniques—including structural complexity, formalization, decentralization, and firm internal labor markets—are related to one another in theoretically anticipated ways for the diverse set of establishments in the National Organizations Study. Quite strong differences in structure between large and small organizations persist even after statistical adjustments for effects of contextual features, including auspices, environmental complexity, the presence of unions, and branch/subsidiary status. There are appreciable differences, net of size and complexity, in formalization and decentralization between public-sector, nonprofit, and private for-profit establishments. Branch/subsidiary establishments display higher levels of formalization and centralization than do comparable independent workplaces. The end of this article identifies five common profiles of coordination/control strategies. Two of these are variations on simple structure used predominantly in small, independent firms. The other three are varieties of bureaucracy found in large nonunionized, large unionized, and small branch establishments.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

American Behavioral Scientist


Marsden, Peter V.
Cook, Cynthia R.
Kalleberg, Arne L.

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