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MGT 201 - O'Neal: Assignment Overview and Company Examples

This Guide will help you find material to complete your organizational structure assignment.

Overview and Selecting a Company

Your first task is to understand what you are looking for. Your instructor has given you a list of structural elements for the two types of corporate structure - mechanistic and organic.

Many companies have elements of both structures. First, think about modern corporations and their general "styles" or public profiles. I am going to use the examples of General Electric and Amazon for mechanistic vs. organic.

General Electric (GE) is a classic industrial corporation, with a fairly rigid structure that has served it well over more than 100 years of existence. However, nobody would characterize GE as being nimble and flexible.  In fact, their structure did them severe damage during the 2008 financial crisis, when their GE Capital division essentially collapsed. GE has been downsizing GE Capital ever since (see the charts in the short obituary on Jack Welch in a recent Economist article below or at the Economist Website).

Amazon (AMZN), on the other hand, has a looser culture. It is certainly more nimble. Just 20 years ago, Amazon was mostly an online bookstore. Now, they sell almost everything imaginable (I got a garbage disposal through Amazon!). And they keep expanding into unrelated areas (think Amazon Web Services, logistics, etc.). It's hard to imagine FedEx selling computer server space or food, but Amazon does. Read this fascinating profile of Amazon (see below) from the year 2000!


Choosing a Company to Research

Browse the following lists of companies to find a company with a mechanistic or organic structure:

  • The Dow Jones Industrials Index - many companies in this index are old-line industrial companies, such as Boeing, Caterpillar, and United Technologies.
  • The NASDAQ 100 Stock Index - there are many technology companies in this group, which tend to have more organic structures (for example, Adobe and Amazon).
  • The Business Source Elite database has a large list of companies to look at. The Company Profiles lists hundreds of companies and features detailed Company Profiles. This link is in the green bar at the top of the page (see below).

Once you find a company, you'll want information to describe it and its corporate structure. The Company Overview, Business Description and History sections often have very good information.


If you need any help searching library or Internet resources, please email . I can walk you through some strategies. Also, don't forget to ask your instructor Nancy O'Neal for advice or help in selecting companies for this project.


Good luck!