Category Archives: Books – Organizational Theory

Book | Social Networks and Organizations by Martin Kilduff and Wenpin Tsai

51Oeh96Ee9L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_Kilduff, Martin, and Wenpin Tsai. Social Networks and Organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2003.

The Authors


Martin Kilduff


Wenpin Tsai


“According to the social network perspective we have elaborated in this book, the complexity of organizational systems inheres not in rationally-planned structures but in fluid participations and understandings between actors. Identities are preserved within well-understood boundaries around elements that appear and disappear over time as self-determining actors connect around tasks and within contexts that are rich with meaning. Research that captures the often-fleeting networks of meaning creation is likely to draw upon a variety of intellectual traditions. Thus, we offer this book in the hope that it will inspire cross-disciplinary work and more enriching conversations between everyone interested in the social world, and in the practice of research. In our view, the study of social networks in and between organizations encompasses just about everything that is of interest concerning human behavior in such settings. Human beings are by their very nature gregarious creatures, for whom relationships are defining elements of their identities and creativeness. The study of such relationships is therefore the study of human nature itself.”⁠1



1 {Kilduff, 2003 #115@131}

Book | Organization Theory by Mary Hatch

Organization-Theory-Hatch-Mary-Jo-9780199260218Hatch, Mary Jo, and Ann L. Cunliffe. Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic, and Postmodern Perspectives. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

The Author

mary jo hatch

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.[1]


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.”[2]

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)


Prehistory 1900-1950’s

Modern 1960’s and 1970’s

Symbolic-Interpretive 1980’s

Postmodern 1990’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)

Multiple Perspectives

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




Social structure

Pysical Structure


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

      • traditional
      • charismatic
      • rational-legal

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.

Symbolic-interpretive influences

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

Michel Foucault

Deconstruction, Difference


Simulacra and Hyperreality






[1] (accessed August 21, 2013)

[2] Mary Jo Hatch and Ann L. Cunliffe, Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic, and Postmodern Perspectives, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), ix).


Book | Reframing Organizations by Bolman and Deal

51i4Xgfv6KLBolman, Lee G., and Terrence E. Deal. Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership. 4th ed. The Jossey-Bass Business & Management Series. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008.

The Authors

Lee Bolman

Lee Bolman is an author, scholar, consultant and speaker who currently holds the Marion Bloch Missouri Chair in Leadership at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

bolmanHe has written numerous books on leadership and organizations, including the forthcoming fifth edition of Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice and Leadership, expected in August, 2013, and Reframing Academic Leadership (2011), with Joan Gallos.  His other books with

Terry Deal include The Wizard and the Warrior: Leading with Passion and Power (2006);  Leading with Soul: an Uncommon Journey of Spirit (1995; 2001; 2011);  Reframing the Path to School Leadership (2002; 2010); Escape from Cluelessness: a Guide for the Organizationally-Challenged (2000);  Becoming a Teacher Leader (1994); and Modern Approaches to Understanding and Managing Organizations (1984). Bolman and Deal’s books have been translated into more than ten languages.  His publications also include numerous cases, chapters, and articles in scholarly and professional journals.

Lee consults and lectures worldwide to corporations, public agencies, universities and schools. He holds a B.A. in History and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Yale University. Prior to assuming his current position, he taught four years at Carnegie-Mellon University  and more than twenty years at Harvard.  His administrative roles at UMKC have included  Interim Dean of the Bloch School of Business and Public Administration, and chair of the department of Organizations, Leadership and Marketing.  At Harvard he served as director and principal investigator for the National Center for Educational Leadership and for the Harvard School Leadership Academy, with a total of $3 million in external funding.  He was also  educational chair for two Harvard executive programs — the Institute for Educational Management and the Management Development program.

He commutes to Kansas City from his home in Brookline, Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife, Joan Gallos, and an irrepressible Cockapoo, Douglas McGregor.

Terrence Deal

TERRENCEE.DEAL,PH.D.Terrence E. Deal, Ph.D., an author, teacher, and consultant, has written seventeen books including the bestselling Corporate Cultures. He has taught at Harvard and Stanford and currently teaches at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Deal consults with a wide variety of organizations, including banks, hospitals, and schools, in the United States and abroad.


“A frame is a mental model—a set of ideas and assumptions—that you carry in your head to help you understand and negotiate a particular ‘territory.’”[1]

The Four Frames

  1. Structural Frame – Organization as Factories
  2. Human Resource Frame – Organizations as families
  3. Political Frame – Organizations as jungles
  4. Symbolic Frame – Organizations as temples, theaters, or carnivals




Multiframe Thinking

“Multiframe thinking is challenging and often counterintuitive. To see the same organization as machine, family, jungle, and theater requires the capacity to think in different ways at the same time about the same thing. Like surfers, leaders must ride the waves of change. Too far ahead, they will be crushed. If they fall behind, they will become irrelevant. Success requires artistry, skill, and the ability to see organizations as organic forms in which needs, roles, power, and symbols must be integrated to provide direction and shape behavior. The power to reframe is vital for modern leaders. The ability to see new possibilities and to create new opportunities enables leaders to discover alternatives when options seem severely constrained. It helps them find hope and faith amid fear and despair. Choice is at the heart of freedom, and freedom is essential to achieving the twin goals of commitment and flexibility.”[2]

My Visual Notes






[1] Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal, Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership, 4th ed., The Jossey-Bass Business & Management Series (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008), 11.

[2] Ibid.,  437-438.

Book | Leadership and the New Science by Margaret Wheatley

Leadership& New ScienceWheatley, Margaret J. Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World. 3rd ed. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler, 2006.

The Author

WheatleyMargaret Wheatley earned a Ed.D. From Harvard’s program in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy with a focus on organizational behavior and change. Her masters in from New York University in systems thinking. She began in education, both in teaching and administration, and now works as a consultant and speaker with all types of organizations and people. She is a co-founder and the president emerita of the The Berkana Institute, a global charitable foundation founded in 1991.[1]

This Keynote Address summarizes her arguments well – Wheatley-Chaos-and-Complexity

My Thoughts

This book contributes greatly to my research in that it provides scientific language for the concepts of relationality, indwelling, perichoresis, and social Trinity that I am pursuing. Wheatley explores three areas of the new sciences—quantum physics, self-organizing systems, and chaos theory—and applies them to the study of organizational theory and leadership.

The argument of the book is set in contrast to Newtonian physics and a mechanistic structure of the universe. Newtonian physics perceived the universe as a closed system that was subject to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This law states that all systems eventually run out of energy and die. The new sciences claim that the universe is not a mechanistic, closed system. Rather, the universe is a dynamic, living, open system that is constituted by the interrelationship of its parts. The space between parts is not the cold, lonely void of the Newtonian construct, but is vibrant and filled with fields of invisible energy that influence the movement of the parts and create positive feedback loops that allow new information to form and reform the whole system in a perpetual re-creative process.

The leadership of organizations should, according to Wheatley, be aware of the wholistic, self-organization nature of systems thinking and empower the organizations toward creativity and freedom. With communally held values acting as fractals with the organization, the principle of chaos theory will bring order out of apparent chaos through the process of free-flowing communication and a vision of love and co-creation.

Wheatley summarizes her findings in this way:

“I believe in my bones that the movement towards participation is rooted in our changing perceptions of the organizing principles of life. Everywhere in the new sciences, in living systems theory, quantum physics, chaos and complexity theory, we observe life’s dependence on participation. All life participates in the creation of itself, insisting on the freedom to self-determine. All life participates actively with its environment in the process of co-adaptation and co-evolution. No subatomic particle exists independent of its participation with other particles. And even reality is evoked through acts of participation between what we choose to notice.”[2]


  1. Discovering an Orderly World
  2. Newtonian Organizations in a Quantum Age
  3. Space is Not Empty: Invisible Fields That Shape Behavior
  4. The Participative Nature of the Universe
  5. Change, Stability, and Renewal: The Paradoxes of Self-Organizing Systems
  6. The Creative Energy of the Universe—Information
  7. Chaos and the Strange Attractor of Meaning
  8. Change: The Capacity of Life

9. The New Scientific Management

Three Areas covered in this book:

  • Quantum physics
  • Self-organizing systems
  • Chaos theory

Important Shifts

  1. We cannot look at a system by looking at its parts. We must think in terms of the whole system.
  2. We must rethink our ideas of organizing dynamics in a living system, not entropy in a closed system.
  3. We must look at the invisible rather than the visible; at the processes that gave birth to the things in an organization.

Important Quotes

“In the quantum world, relationship is the key determiner of everything…there is increasing support for his [James Lovelock] hypothesis that the earth is a self-regulating system, a planetary community of interdependent systems that together create the conditions which make life possible.”[3]


“Life is about creation. This ability of life to create itself is captured in a strange-sounding new word, autopoiesis.”[4]


“The things we fear most in organizations—disruptions, confusion, chaos—need not be interpreted as signs that we are about to be destroyed. Instead, these conditions are necessary to awaken creativity.”[5]


“Even organizational power is purely relational…Because power is energy, it needs to flow through organizations…The learning for all of us seems clear. If power is the capacity generated by our relationships, then we need to be attending to the quality of these relationships. We would do well to ponder the realization that love is the most potent source of power.”[6]


“The space that is everywhere, from inside atoms to the cosmos, is more like this ocean, filled with fields that exert influence and bring matter into form.”[7]


“If vision is a field, think about what we could do differently to use its formative influence. We would start by recognizing that in creating a vision, we are creating a power, not a place, an influence, not a destination.”[8]


“S-matrices stretch my thinking even more because they demand that I stop thinking of roles or people as fixed entities. They lead me into the world of ‘nothing,’ where who you are depends on who you meet…Roles mean nothing without understanding the network of relationships and the resources that are required to support the work of that person.”[9]


[my thoughts on the above quote] This concept has application to the Social Trinity. It is connected to relational ontology. The particularities of the individual parts do not exist without the network of relationships. The Father is not a Father without a Son. The Son cannot bring glory to the Father without a Father to whom glory to to be brought. The Spirit cannot empower without something that needs to be empowered. And so it goes. It is the interconnected dynamic—the indwelling, or perichoresis—that is life itself and from which life perpetually springs forth.


“The Second Law of Thermodynamics applies only to isolated or closed systems—to machines, for example. The most obvious exception to this law is life. Everything alive is an open system that engages with its environment and continues to grow and evolve. Yet both our science and culture have been profoundly affected by the images of degeneration contained in classical thermodynamics.”[10]


“All life lives off-balance in a world that is open to change. And all of life is self-organizing. We do not have to fear disequilibrium, nor do we have to approach change so fearfully. Instead, we can realize that, like all life, we know how to grow and evolve in the midst of constant flux. There is a path through change that leads to greater independence and resiliency. We dance along this path by maintaining a coherent identity and by honoring everybody’s need for self-determination.”[11]


“Closed systems wind down and decay, victims of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The source of life is new information—novelty—ordered into new structures. We need to have information coursing through our systems, disturbing the peace, imbuing everything it touches with the possibility of new life. We need, therefore, to develop new approaches to information—not management but encouragement, not control but genesis. How do we create more of this wonderful life source?”[12]


“Chaos theory studies a particular variety of chaos, known as deterministic chaos. In an interesting way, this branch of science became involved in a debate that had been going on in philosophy and spiritual thought for many centuries. Is this a deterministic world where our lives are predetermined? But if this is true, what about free will? It was this unresolved tension between predictability and freedom that attracted some early scientists of chaos. The science seemed to resolve this argument; it provided and explanation for how freedom functions in an orderly universe,. The shape of the entire system is predictable or predetermined. But how this shape takes form is through individual acts of free agency: ‘The system is deterministic, but you can’t say what it’s going to do next.’ Or as organizational planner T. J. Cartwright puts it, ‘Chaos is order without predictability.’”[13]


“They recall us to the power of simple governing principles: guiding visions, sincere values, organizational beliefs—the few self-referential ideas individuals can use to shape their own behavior. The leader’s task is first to embody these principles, and then to help the organization become the standard it has declared for itself…The leader’s role is not to make sure that people know exactly what to do and when to do it. Instead, leaders need to ensure that there is strong and evolving clarity about who the organization is.”[14]


[1] (accessed August 5, 2013)

[2] Margaret J. Wheatley, Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World, 3rd ed. (San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler, 2006), loc. 2457.

[3] Ibid.,  loc. 397.

[4] Ibid.,  loc. 496.

[5] Ibid.,  loc. 521.

[6] Ibid.,  loc. 791.

[7] Ibid.,  loc. 944.

[8] Ibid.,  loc. 1018.

[9] Ibid.,  loc. 1211-1230.

[10] Ibid.,  loc. 1280.

[11] Ibid.,  loc. 1473.

[12] Ibid.,  loc. 1542.

[13] Ibid.,  loc. 1886.

[14] Ibid.,  loc. 2027.