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Homogeneous and Heterogenous Environments of Organizations

management, organizing, entrepreneurship, organizational environments, product differentiation, selling skills, profits

Complexity is the degree of similarity or diversity between the factors in an organization's environment. When factors are similar, the environment is referred to as homogeneous. When factors are diverse, the environment is referred to as heterogeneous.

Organizations operating in homogeneous environments can specialize in producing one good or service to be distributed to the market. Homogeneous environments also allow an organization to simplify its operations as the knowledge and skills required of managers and workers are related to one product. Heterogeneous environments, on the other hand, require an organization to provide diverse products and services to the market. Managers operating in heterogeneous environments, therefore, must be knowledgeable in many areas and develop multiple skills to be effective. When organizations expand their market, they often move to a more heterogeneous environment.

Hospitals operate in a heterogeneous environment. Providing health care to patients requires the use of multiple skills and techniques depending on whether patients need diagnostic services, surgery, or treatment for diseases. In addition, many hospitals are now providing patients with "wellness" programs including exercise programs, health seminars, and rehabilitation. Hospitals are responding not only to complexity among patients but also to a wide range of regulations, economic conditions, and diverse technologies. In contrast, many chiropractic clinics operate in a relatively homogeneous environment by offering one service to their patients.
Published: 2007-05-12
Author: Martin Hahn

About the author or the publisher
Martin Hahn PhD has received his education and degrees in Europe in organizational/industrial sociology. He grew up in South-East Asia and moved to Europe to get his tertiary education and gain experience in the fields of scientific research, radio journalism, and management consulting.

After living in Europe for 12 years, he moved to South-East again and has worked for the last 12 years as a management consultant, university lecturer, corporate trainer, and international school administrator

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