Mintzberg’s Five Types Of Organizational Structure

When an organization has an organizational structure, it becomes easy to assign work and responsibilities. Everyone knows about the hierarchy, and they know whom they should report to. 

A suitable corporate structure model allows the company to stimulate productivity and finish the work quickly. 

Understanding Mintzberg’s five types of the organizational structure becomes relevant here. There is a description of five types of organizational structures. It helps to determine which structure best suits your strategy. 

Again, having an organizational structure in the company is crucial because only then can the company make effective decisions, assign specialized roles and succeed in every nuance.

There is better coordination and collaboration among the workforce. Considering all these things, here’s the detail on Mintzberg’s five types of organizational structures.

Five Types Of Organizational Structures Based On Mintzberg’s Theory

1. An entrepreneurial organization or a simple organization

This organizational structure model is one of the most followed models. In this model, you will see that the leader or the founder makes the critical decision. The leader directs all the teams, like the marketing team, the sales team, the HR team and the product team, and the accounts team. 

The entrepreneur has invested most of his funds in the company, so it becomes imperative that he make the crucial decisions on his own. He doesn’t like to delegate such things.

He has team leaders, and if some decision is to be taken, he will take it jointly with the assistance of these leaders. Whatever is vital for the organization is big enough for him too.

The partners or the prominent people of the company will allot tasks and assign goals. The staff must approve the same if there is some innovation or development in a team. Even though the structure looks quite simple, the drawback here is that one person might need to improve at everything. 

Thus, when most of the power lies in the centre, there would be lower productivity and satisfaction among the staff members.

But when the company grows, it has to shift to a better model. When more layers of management are added, there would be a shift to another structure model. Only then can the company achieve success with innovative and dynamic steps?

2. The machine organization

The machine organization is also called machine bureaucracy. The work in such organizations is relatively standardized. 

There are too many rules, regulations and protocols. To do one thing, one to approve one thing, there will be many procedures. Due to such machine bureaucracy, things take a long time, decisions get delayed, productivity suffers, and performance gets affected. 

However, some functional lines are so strong that they make running such an organization easy. There are automatic audits and budget control; everyone knows what should be done. 

Government agencies and large organizations run efficiently in this way. This kind of machine culture works well in a place where precision in the specification is crucial, and there are procedures in everything.

3. The professional organization

When an organization relies on a few experts, it follows the professional organizational structure mode. 

This holds specifically for law firms, exceptional tech firms and consulting firms. There are a few professionals who give identity and innovation to the organization. There is a need for executive management that sets objectives and goals for the firm. But there will be reliance on the professionals, who also control many things. 

But there are some negatives, too, regarding this type of organization. These are complex structures, and hence there would also be decentralized power. There will be a need for approval and permission to develop or innovate something new. Thus, the procedures work like machine structures.

4. The divisional organization or diversified organization

Some companies have separate business lines or departments. They share only a few departments in common. The best example here is General Motors. The company is a car company but has various divisions that operate separately, including Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick etc. 

One more example is a sports company with only its HR department, accounts department and registered office in one place. But for the other things, there was product-wise distribution. It means that the sports company’s shoe department, clothing line, and sports products departments are all at different places. 

Each product line has its managers who have reasonable control over the objectives and economics. These organizations work well if there are good teams and the right leaders to head each department. 

5. The innovative organzation

Whatever structures are discussed, they all fit well with traditional organizations. There would be a need for innovative strategies and structures for the new and innovative ones. 

The new organizations run on ad hoc structures depending upon the condition of the moment. Thus, it is said that these organizations practice adhocracy. 

There are project-based departments, so it becomes easy to finish the projects. The best example is the filmmaking structure. In this structure, you will see that the specialist teams have the artists or the professionals who take up their work and finish within the stipulated time. 

There will also be collaboration and coordination of various departments when needed. These are innovative organizations that take up research and innovation in their way. Once they are done, they will coordinate with the other team. The new pharmacy companies also fall into this kind of structure. 

But there can be conflicts and challenges, which can become hurdles for organizational development. In these structures, power and authority are both ambiguous. These can lead to confusion at times. But it seems that young organizations are ready to face such challenges, so they do not mind having such an organizational structure.

How Do You Use Mintzberg’s Five Organizational Structure Concepts For Your Company?

If you want to apply this theory to your business, you have to check what kind of structures your company has. How is decision-making? What are the protocols? What negatives can you see in the structure? 

Can centralization or decentralization of power provide a better solution? Is there a need to create departments? Does cross-team communication need to be stronger? Is there a need for more innovation in your company?

Think of all these matters and see how you can adopt one of the organizational structures or some good properties from them.

Knowing which organizational structure you are in and which one will suit you further will provide you with sound guidance. Like, suppose you are a startup with a straightforward structure, and now there is a need to add some layers of management. In that case, there will be a need to get updated regarding organizational structure. 

It is important to note that after these five configurations were discussed, many other thinkers took this theory as a framework and developed the same further.

Key Takeaways

  • Mintzberg identified five main types of organizational structures: simple structure, machine bureaucracy, professional bureaucracy, dimensionalized form, and adhocracy.
  • The simple structure is the most basic type of structure and is often found in small organizations. In this structure, the owner or manager has direct control over all aspects of the organization.
  • Machine bureaucracy is a highly centralized structure that is characterized by a clear hierarchy of authority, standardized procedures, and formalized rules.
  • Professional bureaucracy is a structure that is based on the expertise of highly trained professionals. In this structure, decision-making is decentralized and based on the professional knowledge of the employees.
  • Divisionalized form is a structure that is organized around specific products, projects, or geographic locations. In this structure, decision-making is decentralized to the divisional level.
  • Adhocracy is a flexible, decentralized structure that is often used in highly innovative or dynamic organizations. In this structure, decision-making is decentralized, and there is a strong emphasis on creativity and innovation.
  • Each type of organizational structure has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the best type of structure for a particular organization depends on a variety of factors, such as the size of the organization, the industry in which it operates, and the organization’s goals and values.
  • It is important for organizations to periodically review their structure and make changes as needed to ensure that it is aligned with their goals and objectives.


Knowing about the five organizational structures gives you an idea of where your organization stands and where it should stand. If you are continually growing, you will have to determine whether the current structure suits you. 

In this article, there was a discussion about the five organizational structures based on Mintzberg’s theory. These five structures include simple organization, machine organization, professional organization, divisional organization and innovative organization. 

It is crucial to understand each type as it would form the foundation of your knowledge to decide which organizational structure will best fit your business. 


What are Mintzberg’s five types of organizational structure?

Mintzberg’s five types of organizational structure are simple structure, machine bureaucracy, professional bureaucracy, divisionalized form, and adhocracy.

What is a simple structure?

A simple structure is characterized by a low degree of formalization and centralization, with decision-making concentrated in the hands of a single individual, usually the founder or CEO.

What is a machine bureaucracy?

A machine bureaucracy is characterized by a high degree of formalization and centralization, with decision-making based on rules and procedures rather than individual judgment.

What is a professional bureaucracy?

A professional bureaucracy is characterized by a high degree of standardization and specialization, with decision-making based on the expertise and professional judgment of individual specialists.

What is a divisionalized form?

A divisionalized form is characterized by a high degree of decentralization, with decision-making dispersed across semi-autonomous business units or divisions.

What is an adhocracy?

An adhocracy is characterized by a low degree of formalization and a high degree of decentralization, with decision-making based on the expertise and creative problem-solving of self-organizing teams or individuals.

Which type of organizational structure is best?

There is no one “best” type of organizational structure – the most appropriate structure for an organisation will depend on a range of factors, such as its size, industry, and strategic goals.

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