The Relationship Between Organizational Structure and Organizational Control

By William G. Ouchi
1975| Working Paper No. 276

This paper reports on the nature of control in 78 retail department store companies. It begins with the argument that control and structure have not been clearly distinguished in the literature on organizations. Control is not the same thing as structure. Control can be conceptualized as an evaluation process which is based on the monitoring and evaluation of behavior or of outputs. Another study (Ouchi and Maguire, 1975) has established that approximately 25% of the variance in these control mechanisms can be explained by task characteristics and other variables at the individual level of analysis. This set of data takes the organization as the unit of analysis and seeks to uncover the relationship between structure and control. The results show that approximately 33% of the variance in control can be accounted for by structural characteristics, as well as by a characteristic of the environment: nature of the clientele served.