Original Research

Network organizations: The structural arrangement behind new organizational forms

José L. Alvarez, M. Anton Ferreira
South African Journal of Business Management | Vol 26, No 3 | a829 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajbm.v26i3.829 | © 2018 Jose L. Alvarez, M. Anton Ferreira | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 October 2018 | Published: 30 September 1995

About the author(s)

José L. Alvarez, IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Spain
M. Anton Ferreira, Graduate School of Business Leadership, University of South Africa, South Africa

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Abstract

This article elaborates the main meanings of the concept 'network organization' and the underlying structural arrangement behind most of the new organizational forms and the main alternative to the still dominant bureaucratic organizational structure. The concept is applied to four levels of analysis: macro economic and business systems; inter-organizational collaborative arrangements; intra-organizational structures; and informal intra-organizational social systems. Through this taxonomy, an attempt is made to disentangle the different meanings of the concept 'network organization'. Throughout, we seek to highlight the main variables that managers should take into account when making decisions and conducting operations in networks. The article commences with a brief historical overview of the evolution of organizational forms and the driving forces behind current development in the field.

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