Utilitarian Organization: Definition & Overview

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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

A utilitarian organization is one of three types of formal organizations. Learn more about utilitarian organizations from examples and test your knowledge with a quiz.


A utilitarian organization, also known as a remunerative organization, is a group of individuals join in order to receive the monetary reward or some other benefit that is offered to members of that organization. It is one of the three types of formal organizations, which are large, secondary groups that are structured in a particular way as to allow for organizational goals to be completed efficiently. A secondary group is a group based on relatively impersonal and temporary relationships.

Formal organizations have the ability to bring together the right people with the right resources and the necessary technology that is needed to accomplish goals. Formal organizations have a dominant presence in modern society. We see formal organizations all around us. Formal organizations include political organizations, military groups, educational institutions, and public committees. Formal organizations are divided into subtypes based on their membership:

  • Coercive organizations consist of a majority of involuntary members. Members are tightly controlled through force. There are strict rules and regulations that members are forced to follow. An example of this is a psychiatric institution.
  • Normative organizations, also referred to as voluntary organizations, consist of voluntary members. Individuals join these organizations based on shared goals and interests that they deem morally worth pursuing. An example of this is Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).

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