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A BRIEF HISTORY OF

ORGANIZATION THEORY
Chapter 2

Mary Jo Hatch with Ann L. Cunliffe

Why A History of OT?


Because it provides a basis for:
Understanding the current field
Understanding how and why the three
perspectives emerged
Understanding the relationship between theory
and practice
Avoiding reinventing the theoretical wheel

Organization Theory At Its Inception

Organization theory emerged as a


recognizable field of study in the 1960s.
Two major sources of thought that formed
the prehistory of organizational theory
were Sociological and Managerial.

Modes of Reasoning

Inductive

developing theory from


practice.
(interpretive epistemology)

Deductive

testing theory against practice.


(positivist epistemology)

Adam Smith, Political-Economist


(1723-1790, Scottish)

Looked at techniques
of pin manufacturing
to illustrate how
the division of labor
can produce
economic efficiency.

Image from "The Warren J. Samuels Portrait


Collection at Duke University

Karl Marx, Philosopher-Economist and


Revolutionary (1818-1883)
Regarded as one of the
founders of sociology.

Theory of Capital
Managerial Control
Exploitation
Alienation
Image from "The Warren J. Samuels Portrait Collection at Duke
University

MARXS THEORY OF CAPITAL (1867)


Humans interact with the physical environment

Physical needs emerge


Power relations
(capitalists/labor)

Labor need for collective work

Emergence of society & culture

Emile Durkheim, Sociologist (1858-1917)

- Informal (social needs) and


Formal organization.
- Development of objectivist
research methods; objective
measurement, statistical
description and analysis.

Max Weber, Sociologist


Types of Authority:
Traditional

~ inherited

Charismatic

~ attraction

Rational-Legal ~ technical abilities

(1864-1920)

Max Webers Theory of Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy can rationalize social order:

Formal Rationality

- calculative techniques

Substantive Rationality

- desired ends

Frederick Winslow Taylor, Engineer (1856-1915)

Founder of Scientific Management applying scientific methods to work to


maximize the benefits to employees,
employers, and society.
Developed work standards, uniform work
methods, order-of-work sequences,
methods of placing workers, methods of
supervision, and incentive schemes.

Mary Parker Follett, Scholar, Social Reformer,


Consultant (1868-1933)

Promoted employee
involvement and
democratic forms of
organization.
Developed the principle
of self-government of
groups.

Henri Fayol, Engineer, CEO,


Administrative Theorist (1841-1925)

Developed administrative principles including:


Span-of-control

~ number of subordinates supervised by a


manager.

Departmentation

~ grouping similar activities.

Unity-of-command ~ one person - one boss.


Scalar principle

~ linking organizational members in a


hierarchy.

Luther H. Gulick, Administrative Theorist


(1892-1992)

Developed a science of administration:


-

Organizational efficiency through the division of work


into small, specialized segments; clear task definition,
instruction etc.

Defined the work of the chief executive through POSDCoRB.

POSDCoRB
Planning
Organizing
Staffing
Directing
Coordinating
Reporting
Budgeting

Chester Barnard, Executive and


Management Theorist (1886-1961)

Organizations as
cooperative social
systems:
-

the communication of goals


worker motivation

Modernism - Enlightenment

(Kant, Descartes, Locke)

Replace superstition with reason


Control the environment through scientific
knowledge
Human progress through scientific knowledge
The modern organization

General Systems Theory (von Bertalanffy, 1968)


General Systems Theorists focus on the law-like regularities
underlying and uniting all phenomena across the various
branches of science.

Hierarchy of Subsystems
Interdependence
Holistic view

Table 2.1

Bouldings Hierarchy of Systems

Level 1 Framework
Level 2 Clock work
Level 3 Control
Level 4 Open (living)
Level 5 Genetic
Level 6 Animal
Level 7 Human
Level 8 Social organization
Level 9 Transcendental

A System
Environment
feedback

System
(input

transformation

output)
feedback

Subsystem
Subsystem

Subsystem

Subsystem

Subsystem

Socio-Technical Systems Theory

Human behavior and technology are interrelated,


therefore any changes in technology will affect social
relationships, attitudes, and feelings about work.
Both need to be balanced.
Autonomous work groups
Psychological needs of individuals

Contingency Theory

(1960s)

Contingency theorists believe that the most


appropriate way of designing and managing an
organization depends upon the characteristics of the
situation in which the organization finds itself.

Contingency Theory
Identify contingent
factors.
Determine the best
fit.
If . then

Goals
Technology

People

Environment

Symbolic Interpretive Influences

1.

The crisis of representation: questions our


relationship with our social world and the ways in
which we account for our experience.

2.

Social constructionism: we construct our social


world and our knowledge of that world in our
everyday interactions.

Symbolic-Interpretivism
Challenges objective science and modernism.
Applies ethnographic and interpretive approaches to
organizations.
Uncovers multiple interpretations of organizational
members.
Emphasizes the role of context in shaping and
interpreting meaning.

Symbolic-Interpretivists Explore

How people create meanings in organizations


through their interpretation of utterances, stories,
rituals, actions, and so on.
How individuals and groups create multiple meanings
and interpret them from their own cultural contexts.
How multiple interpretations of individuals and
subcultures blend to socially construct organizational
reality.

Social Constructionism

Social reality is both objective and subjective -- an ongoing


interaction of people and their social world.
The process of social construction involves:
Intersubjectivity

created between us via shared


history and experience.

Objectified reality

seemingly objective and stable


but continually reconstructed in
actions.

Symbolic-Interpretive Theories Include :

Social Construction Theory

(Berger & Luckmann, 1966)

Sensemaking Theory & Enactment


Institutionalization
Reflexivity

(Selznick, 1949)

(Clifford & Marcus, 1986)

(Weick, 1979, 1995)

Berger & Luckmanns Social Construction of Reality


(1966)

Externalization
(creating personal & shared social meanings,
routines etc intersubjectively)

Socialization
Objectification

(stable interactions, meanings etc


make the world seem real to us)

Internalization

(taking on social eanings,


roles actions)

Sensemaking Theory (Weick, 1995)


Organizations exist in the
minds of organizational
members in the form of
cognitive maps, or images
of experience.

We make them real in our


actions (reification).
We talk and act organizations
into existence (enactment).

Institutionalization
Organizations compete and adapt to the
demands and values of their environment,
society, and of internal groups.
Institutionalization occurs as actions are
repeated.

Reflexivity - Constructionist Approaches

Every view is a situated one - based on our interpretive


community.
We need to accept that we not only construct our realities,
but also our knowledge of those realities.
We should therefore explore how we construct social and
organizational realities, and the influence our assumptions
and practices have on the research process and on
knowledge (critical self-reflexivity).

Some Postmodern Influences


Critical Theory and the critique of
- the Enlightenment Project (rational, universal knowledge)
- the Progress Myth (progress through science).
Poststructuralism and the critique of language as
accurately representing reality and the idea that
words have fixed meaning.

A Few Postmodern Ideas


Language Games
Grand Narratives
Discursive Practices
Deconstruction
Simulacra

Language and Meaning


Signifier

Bird
Fugl
Oiseau .
The bird is swimming
on the water.

(Saussure, 1959)

Signified

Language - A Postmodern View


Modernism assumes words (signs) are a neutral medium
for representing external objective reality
Postmodernism takes a non-representational view:
language constitutes reality
Saussure: the meaning of words does not reside in what
is signified; words take their meaning from other words
Thus, depending on which other words we use, different
meanings will occur
Therefore, meaning is undecidable and unstable and
language constitutes a world in flux.

Language Games

(Wittgenstein , 1953, 1980)

The meaning of a word depends upon how it


is used.
Language use is influenced by rules - how
words and responses are connected.
Language and rules have stability but also
change in practice.
Meanings and rules are socially situated and
vary across communities, i.e. language
games.

Grand Narratives
Postmodernists criticize Grand Narratives (progress myth, universal
Truth, wealth creation) because they legitimize ways of thinking
and acting that promote:
what is True
what is good knowledge
self-interest

. and silence and marginalize others.


We need to give voice to silence.

Discourse and Discursive Practices


Foucault argued that power/knowledge are entwined and influence /
are influenced by discursive practices.
Discursive practices are systems of rules that determine the
rationality and legitimacy of particular forms of knowledge. These rules
are powerful because they create and regulate:
- social institutions (the university, hospital)
- good knowledge
- who we are (expert or not)
- what we say (discourse)
- how we act.

Power/Knowledge

Knowledge is produced and maintained through historical,


cultural, and discursive codes and practices.

Certain people or groups define what is normal and not


normal by codifying knowledge.

These groups use this knowledge to define and regulate


who and what is normal.

Thus power is exercised through knowledge as


individuals are disciplined and controlled based on
these definitions and codes.

Power/Knowledge

In every society the production of discourse is at once


controlled, selected, organized and redistributed according
to a number of procedures whose role is to avert its powers
and its dangers, to cope with chance events, to evade its
ponderous, awesome materiality
(Foucault, 1972: 216)

Diffrance
Derrida suggested that meaning is subject to the play of
diffrance, because meaning:

Defers ~

is postponed because we explain words by using


yet more words, and so move further away from
the original.

Differs ~

words derive meaning from the interplay with their


opposite, e.g., good/bad, organization/
disorganization

Meaning Defers.
ECONOMY

Powerful in action

potent

thrifty management

growing vigorously

cogent as reasons etc

Deconstruction exposes the


many ways in which texts can
be interpreted: the silences,
absences, and gaps. It exposes
the instability of meaning;
makes visible the other; and is
suspicious of dichotomies.

Reflexivity - Deconstructionist Approaches

Open up meaning and the relationship between


author, text, subjects and reader to reflexive scrutiny.
Question the assumptions underlying management
ideologies, power relations, management theory,
organizational practices, and surface their impact on
social experience.

Simulacra

Copies of copies
of which there are
no originals..

Hyperreality
The collapse of
reality into images.
The production of
simulations or
fantasies of worlds
that do not exist.