Organizational Theory for U.S. EPA

These aspects should be addressed to make it more effective.

Life Cycle Stage

Organizational life cycle is a concept that “suggests that organizations are born, grow older and eventually die. Organization structure, leadership style, and administrative systems follow a predictable pattern through stages in the life cycle.” (Daft, 2009, p.340). There are four stages involved and they are Entrepreneurial stage, collectivity stage, formalization stage and elaboration stage.

The EPA is currently in the elaboration stage because it is mature, large and bureaucratic. Daft has defined this stage as “large and bureaucratic with extensive control systems, rules and procedures. Organization managers attempt to develop a team orientation within the bureaucracy to prevent further bureaucratization. Top managers are concerned with establishing a complete organization.” (2009, p.344). All these characteristics correspond to the EPA and it is definitely in this stage.

Organizational Change

Similar to any other organization, the EPA is also undergoing changes from time to play a more effective role in the protection of environment and human beings. Many employees within an organization resist change because they are used to a particular way of working and they feel scared and intimated to make changes. It is mostly the older employees who are resistant to change especially those related to technology. The younger group, on the other hand, is always looking for ways and means to prove their worth and advance in their career and they use organizational change as a potent platform to move up the ladder.

Organization Chart

The organization chart of EPA looks like this.

Based on this structure, we can infer that the EPA has many different bodies or organizations working under it. Though the overall control vests with the EPA, each sub-organization has its own agenda and list of administrators.

They are in effect an independent organization with periodic reporting to the EPA. This structure is highly democratic and partitioned.

New Structure

The existing structure is fragmented and it becomes difficult for the EPA to exercise the required amounts of control over its sub-divisions. To make the entire organization more effective, the EPA should have more control over the activities of its child organizations and all of them should work together towards the achievement of its goals. In such a case, a centralized organization will work better without a lot of divisions. This will also make accountability easy and will prevent the blame from getting shifted from one department to another.

The existing structure is highly chaotic and gives rise to numerous internal conflicts and bureaucratic problems within the EPA. “At the regional office level, enforcement duties are generally divided among senior career civil servants who head divisions that have responsibility for regulatory matters in one specific environmental medium (air, water, hazardous waste, etc.) as well as regional counsel. These officials report to more than one superior. On the one hand, they are all supervised by relatively autonomous regional administrators, senior officials whose appointments and outlooks are often influenced by state governors and environmental officials.” (Mintz, 1995, p.13). All these give rise to numerous bottlenecks and it is time the EPA changes its structure have a more effective role amidst the changing global and political face of the 21st century.


Nadeau, Louis. (September, 1997). EPA effectiveness at reducing the duration of plant-level non-compliance. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. Volume 34(1), Pages 54-78

Daft, Richard. (2009). Organization Theory and Design. Publisher: Cengage Learning

Mintz, Joel. a. (1995). Enforcement at the EPA: High stakes and hard choices. Publisher: University of.

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