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Traditional vs Contemporary

Leaders must work to develop a leadership style that is a “fit” with the organizational style of our church or corporation. We must understand that there is no one size fits all theoretical approach to organizational structure; however, classifying our organization as traditional or contemporary will help us in this process. Traditional organizations tend to be more bureaucratic and are identified by characteristics such as autocratic authority, adherence to a legal code, expectation of uncompromising obedience, compartmental specialization among workers, and a clearly defined hierarchy of offices. Contemporary organizations are less formal. They tend to embrace the idea that the organization is best served by adapting to its environment. The value here is to strive for a fit between the organization’s structure, its size, its technology, and the requirements of its environment. The dominate thinking in the contemporary type is that organizations whose structures are not fitted to the environment (which includes other organizations, communities, governments, etc.) will not perform well and will fail. Further clarification of this distinction can be gained by seeing traditional organizations as having a rigid structure with an expectation that the environment will adjust to it. Contemporary organizations are more fluid and place a value on adapting itself to the environment.