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Organisational structure and decision technology

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With the coming of post-industrial society, organisations will increasingly rely on intellectual technology to aid problem-solving. But those technologies that deal explicitly with uncertainty, such as decision analysis, face special problems hampering their institutionalisation. The main argument of this paper is that success or failure in implementing decision analysis is in part determined by an organisation's structure. Yet, uncertainty is one factor that determines the structure of an organisation, and some structures facilitate an organisation's handling of uncertainty, while others do not. In general, intellectual technologies that deal with uncertainty will be difficult to implement in organisations whose structures do not facilitate the handling of uncertainty. Strong centralisation of decision making, often found in large organisations, creates special problems in implementing decision analysis. Organisational structures that allow the level and type of uncertainty facing individuals to be matched to their personal levels of capability to handle it, will facilitate implementation of decision analysis. Within large organisations, creating specialist programming and technical functions at appropriate levels or introducing matrix structures, which combine vertical and lateral structures, may facilitate the introduction of technologies that deal with uncertainty.

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