Hatch, Mary Jo, and Ann L. Cunliffe. Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic, and Postmodern Perspectives. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
Mary Jo Hatch is Professor Emerita, McIntire School of Commerce, University of Virginia. She has been a Visiting Professor at Gothenburg University, Adjunct Professor, Copenhagen Business School and Adjunct Professor, Boston College, and earned a PhD from Stanford University.
Hatch says, in her preface, “I wanted a book that paid due respect to the modernist perspective, but that went beyond mere recitation of the findings of modernist research to explore the contributions of ethnographic studies that often challenge modernist notions, and that would give voice not only to the criticisms raised against organization theory as a tool of managerialism, but also to alternatives emerging from interdisciplinary research in the social sciences.”
Organizations Theory is designed to be a textbook that offers a comprehensive survey of both the history of and dominate theories of organization from three majors perspectives—Modern, Symbolic-Interpretive, and Postmodern. The text is divided into three major parts.
Part One: What is Organizational Theory?
Part Two: Core Concepts and Theories.
Part Three: Practical Issues and New Directions in Organization Theory
Part 1: What is Organization Theory?
1. Why Study Organization Theory? (3-22)
Theories and theorizing organizations
Theories are built from abstractions known as conepts (5)
Modern 1960’s and 1970’s
Concepts and abstraction in theory development
A theory is an explanatioin rooted in the specification of the relationships between a set of concepts (10)
Burrell and Morgan – knowledge is based on different paradigms, each with its own assumptions about the world. (11)
Ontology concerns our assumptions about reality (12)
Epistemology is concerned with knowing how you can know.(13)
Positivist epistemology assumes you can discover what truly happens in organizations through the categorization and scientific measurement of the behavior of people and systems.
Interpretive epistemology assumes that knowledge can only be created and understood from the point of view of the individuals who live and work in a particular culture or organization.
Comparing Modern, Symbolic and Postmodern Perspectives
A Conceptual Model of Organization
2. A Brief History of Organization Theory (25-60)
Organization theory at its inception
Adam Smith, Political-Economist (1723-1790, Scottish)
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776)
Division of Labor
Karl Marx, Philosopher-Economist and Revolutionary (1818-1883, German)
Founder of the field of sociology
Emile Durkheim, Sociologist (1858-1917, French)
Published The Division of Labor in Society (1893)
Proposed distinction between informal and formal organization
Max Weber, Sociologist (1864-1920, German)
3 types of authority
theory of bureaucracy
Weber warned that formal rationality without conscious consideration of substantive rationality would led, in his colorful phrase, to an ‘iron cage’ capable of imprisoning humanity and making every human being a ‘cog in an ever-moving mechanism.’(31)
F.W. Taylor, Founder of Scientific Management (1856-1915, American)
Scientific method applied to maximize efficiency
Mary Parker Follett, Scholar, Social Reformer, Government and Management Consultant (1868-1933, American)
She envisioned self-governing organizations, pointedly suggesting that organizations within a democratic society should embrace democratic ideals, and that power should be power with not power over people. (34)
Henri Fayol, Engineer, CEO, and Administrative Theorist (1841-1925, French)
Responsibilities of the manager: planning, organizing, commanding, coordination, and control.
Luther H. Gulick, Administrative Theorist (1892-1992, American)
Built on Fayol’s theory that organizational efficiency could be increased by dividing work into small, specialized segments, allotting the work to those skilled in that specific segment, and coordinating the work through supervision, clear task definition, instruction, and direction.
His work highlights one of the central tenets of modernism – that universal rules and principles can be found an applied to any organization, in this case any administrative institution whether it be a business, hospital, government, prison or school. (35)
Chester Barnard, Executive and Management Theorist (1886-1961, American)
The Functions of the Executive (1938)
Cooperative social systems
Hybrid of all that had come before him.
Modernist influences on organization theory
From a modernist perspective, effective organizations are able to balance internal and external pressures,develop core competencies, increase efficiency and adapt to hange. Three theories provided much of the logic underpinning modernist organization theory today:
General Systems Theory
Bertalanffy – a system is a thing with mutually interrelated parts called subsystems.
Boulding – hierarchy of systems
Socio-Technical Systems Theory – managers need to find the best fit between technical and social systems.
Contingency Theory – organizational design is contingent upon many factors, including the environment, goals, technology, and people, and effective organizations are those in which these various elements are aligned.
Social construction Theory
Sensemaking Theory and Enactment
Some postmodern influences
Language and language games
Grand Narratives and Giving Voice
Lyotard (1979) criticized the grand narratives of the the Enlightenment Project
Discourse and Discursive Practices
Simulacra and Hyperreality