Daniel A. McFarland and Charles J.

Gomez

Organizational
Analysis

Acknowledgements

The material presented in this textbook consists of lecture notes that agglomerated into
their present form after nearly a decade of teaching organizational analysis at Stanford University. If there are positive features of the text and the course, then we think it fair to attribute such accolades to the scholars we heavily draw upon. In particular, the theoretical
work of Dick Scott, Graham Allison, Herbert Simon, James G. March, John Kingdon, John
Seely Brown, Paul Duguid, Joanne Martin, Deborah Meyerson, Gideon Kunda, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Gerry Salancik, John Padgett, Mark Granovetter, Paul Dimaggio, Woody Powell, Arthur
Stinchcombe, Michael Hannan, John Freeman and Glenn Carroll (and many more!) have all
been an inspiration to us and we have relied heavily on their work and its insights. We encourage all the readers of this text to go out and study these authors’ primary works and to
take their classes wherever and whenever possible.
DM and CG
September 2013.

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Copyright Notice

© The authors have made a concerted effort to ensure all appropriate attributions have
been made and copyright clearances obtained prior to publication of this work.  If you find
any errors and copyright concerns please contact the lead author. We will make special
efforts to correct errors and address concerns as quickly as possible. Similarly, if you
have any comments, or would like to request permission to use this work or a part of it,
please contact the lead author (mcfarland@stanford.edu).  And thank you for your interest
in Organizational Analysis!
Front Cover Source http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2/23/Hong_Kong_Skyline_Restitch_-_Dec_2007.jp
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... 122 Neoinstitutional Theory ...................... 144 Organizational Ecology .. 71 Organizational Culture ....... 163 ........................Table of Contents ! ! Introduction to Organizational Analysis ...... 38 Organized Anarchy ................................... 16 Coalition Theory ............ 52 Organizational Learning ............... 89 Resource Dependency Theory ................ 106 Network Forms of Organization ............ 1 Decision-Making in Organizations.........................................................................

1 Introduction to Organizational Analysis Source: http://commons.jpg .org/wiki/File:Skyscrapers_of_Shinjuku_2_7_Desember_2003.wikimedia.

In so doing. goals. For example. would disaster relief or schooling be possible without organizations focused on these efforts? Organizations are so common that they have become the medium of modern social life – we cannot imagine existing outside them. porous boundaries and fluid participants. What Scott means is that organizations are groups whose members coordinate their behavior in order to accomplish shared goals or to put out a product. Take for example. businesses. Roles. And this is why we need courses on organizations – all so we develop a better understanding of the world we live in and how to better manage it.” There is a lot packed in here. Organizations are the means by which many of our collective goals are pursued and accomplished. companies and factories. What Is and Is Not an Organization? Let us begin with our preconceptions and understandings. from tax collection. communication. Given this. voluntary clear boundaries. and even street gangs? What qualities make something an organization or not? One of the best writers on organizations has been Richard Scott. it will become clear that organizations are everywhere and come in many different forms. social movements No roles. At some point. But what about families. whose work we will draw on heavily from time to time. protection and soldiering. service provision. schools.or pattern by which participants associate . and even recreation. we can start reflecting on how common and important organizations are. What is an organization? What is not an organization? When most of us consider organizations. goals. Organizations accomplish most of what society wants and needs. Some features of the definition may be lacking. preservation of culture. associations Random collections of persons. you will be introduced to the concept of an organization. to production and distribution of goods. rules. or boundary. rules. the key features defining an organization grow unclear – they are less of a group.is emergent and can change dramatically from one event to the next. while other features may be present. we encounter cases that are unclear. Their variability and complexity require study. families and recurring behaviors. public administration. Table. isolated individuals Street gangs. stores. Organization as Concept Varieties of Organizations Now that we have some sort of idea what is and is not an organization. and /or are less goal-oriented. Less clear roles. we think of hospitals. rules. And then in cases that are not organizations. Many social movements have specified goals. Examples Organizations Not Organizations Ambiguous Cases Qualities Companies. so let’s simplify it some. As we reach ambiguous cases like these. we see all these features no longer apply. Their ubiquity means that many pressing social problems are organizational in nature. friendship groups. pattern of recurrence. schools. a social movement. but the social structure . We live in a world greatly made up of for2 . and goals. Scott defines organizations this way: “Organizations are conceived as social structures created by individuals to support the collaborative pursuit of specified goals (Scott 2003: 11). various voluntary associations.Organizational Analysis In this introductory chapter. let’s reconsider what is and is not an organization. involve less coordination. From socialization (in schools) to re-socialization (in prisons and mental health care facilities).

Many reforms fail long before they are ever implemented. Organizations vary by market sector. and government regulation fails to prevent corruption. their rules. and instrumental efforts. women have become half the labor force. In sum. often end up looking like something very different from what they were planned to become. while a community youth organization may be run out a basement and employ only a few individuals. They vary in size such that some are huge and others are small. They are either rejected outright or they are dramatically adapted to the local context.. goals. Most of these reforms fail. own property and enter contracts. the main idea here with “environment” is that the same organization may not have the same effect in a different time. Those that are implemented. you will gain a better appreciation of organizational complexity and the difficulties of redirecting organizations in desired directions. adopted in very piecemeal fashion. they are very important to the functioning of society. For example. Much of my research focuses on educational organizations like schools and universities. For example. They have also changed a lot over the last 50 years and have altered the modern world as a result. For example. they are often a source of consternation and social problems. Sometimes coordination and contracts fall apart and need to be renegotiated. so many of the reforms I see try to change the nature of schooling. part time subcontracting has grown. Here is that list: 3 . IBM employes hundreds of thousands of employees. Organizations are everywhere and they vary tremendously. and religious groups. and set of participants. our problems are organizational ones and we want to reform the firms we interact in. Euro-Disney worked very differently than California’s Disneyland and required a different organizational model and approach for relating to the local population. members. Some are hierarchical like the military and football teams. while yet others are horizontally differentiated into many different divisions and relatively autonomous units like university departments. Firms also experience regional differences reflecting different cultural contexts. a military may be gender biased and need to change. Through this course. and they are very diverse.mal organizations. All too often. culture. the context for the federal government is very different today than it was in 1790. structures. whether private industry or public sector not-for-profits. parent-teacher associations. and a time of recession is very different for most firms than a time of economic boon. The “organizational world” we live in is changing right underneath us. Organizational Problems and Reform Because organizations are everywhere and varied. Their social structures also vary.S. others have flat governance structures like consulting firms. Organizations are everywhere. Organizations vary by their context or surrounding environment. schools do not live up to expectations and need reorganization. Participants frequently propose and implement reforms in an effort to change an organization. In fact they fail so routinely that a teacher gave me a list of 45 “failed” school reforms. They are groups that have attained “thing” status. Organizations are also collective actors (or social entities) that take action. some are centralized dictatorships like perhaps Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie managed in the 192030’s. use resources. For example: manufacturing has given way to a service industry in the U. and so forth. that went through his school over the span of 20 years. Some firms vary by the temporal context or era in which they are in. They can even be voluntary associations like unions.

but they often target change efforts on certain organizational features over others. Unfortunately. the reform’s goals may not be valued by the local managers. the social reality of organizational life is pretty messy and complex. and considering a variety of means by which they can be managed is an important skill most everyone today should develop. and emphasizes a goal of equality. The course focuses on actual cases of non-profits. what should you pay attention to? What matters? What does not? Where do you begin if you want to study and change them? This course 4 . Most of these reforms are developed and tested in one school and then packaged and applied in many other contexts. This course attempts to provide you with such training.g. thereby supplanting others or shifting attention. Since organizations are in great part complex systems. So in stead of just having faculty and then a department chair. etc). We live in an organizational society. there is now an additional level of Lead Teacher in between. there is a governance structure in place within most schools and districts that is threatened by change efforts (especially those with external origins) usurping their established coordination patterns. 27). and a change in one element can frequently result in problems elsewhere. Other reforms present a technology or schooling process that caters to a particular goal. Now I want to sell you on why organizations matter: learning about organizations. and PhD’s interested in organizations. Therefore. private firms and the policies aimed at changing them. So let’s cut to the chase – what is the utility of this course to managers. reflecting on how they operate. Yet other reforms attempt to manage pressures from the external environment (#12. The reform calls for group-work instruction where different task roles are rotated (e. “Failed” School Reform Lingo Many of these are jargoned and hard to interpret. note-takers. the local environment of each new context often differs from the original testing ground. government agencies. and many of the problems we confront are organizational in nature. We need to better understand and manage organizations if we are to evolve as a society. some are focused on the social structure. For example. It is an introductory course on organizations that helps you grapple with the complexity of institutional life. or the targeted change may disrupt other valued tasks and missions. every reform emphasizes certain rules. In addition. participants. “Lead Teachers” #8 is one such attempt. For example. “Heterogeneous Grouping” #13 gives students an active role in their education. speakers. For example. The goal of that reform is to insert an additional level in the flat hierarchy of faculty roles. master’s students.roles. As a result. Why Understanding Organizations Matters Table. The course material is designed for advanced undergraduates. To this point I have presented a working definition of organizations and explained just how common they are. and goals. educational institutions. In short. and what factors likely contribute to their success or failure. policymakers and analysts? Why should you care? Organizations are everywhere! You cannot change society or understand much of it without knowing something about organizations and how they work. the features are interrelated.. we need conceptual frameworks to help us make sense of it. This textbook and course will help you think more deeply and clearly about how organizational reforms are generated and implemented. Unfortunately.

understanding. and perhaps better ways of managing. To help you think in new ways about organizations so that when you go out and study one or manage one. • Then they have to worry about outputs – dispensing ideas. In many regards. materials. and managing the complex reality of organizations. and come to certain conclusions as to why things hap- pened the way they did. 5 . knowledge (input).confront. So this course provides you with different perspectives you may not have considered before. attribute causal force to certain elements and certain actors over others. Think of them as experiences from which you have developed different accounts or interpretations. and funds to the environment (output). There are so many problems that arise in an organization that it is hard to relate all of them. Why? To help you develop accounts that are different from the ones you already know. Through this textbook and course. When you look at an organization now. products.offers you conceptual frameworks and tools by which to do this. Finally. it may seem unbearably complex and composed of an endless array of features. non-profits and private firms -. In most cases. For example.like schools. you do not just draw on rules of thumb that will likely never work in a particular case. but here we can name a few: • Organizations confront problems of defining objectives (goals). to discern which tool (or combination therefrom) best applies. You will not be given a laundry list of advice of rules of thumb that soon go out of style or fail to apply to the novel situations you will likely confront. By implication. • Organizations worry about the coordination of lots of people trying to accomplish these tasks. Each theory picks up on different features of organized life and renders them into explanatory narratives you can use. • Organizations even worry about relations outside the firm – ties to neighbors and fits with the surrounding environment (environmental fit). Many of you have organizational experiences that will be of great value to this course. and the actual organizational cases that interest you. you will better understand the problems that organizations -. But as we all know people have different accounts of the same phenomenon. Walmart cannot just up and move into any neighborhood! This course exposes you to a variety of actual organizational cases and then organizational theories that help make sense of what you have observed. and the same explanation or way of seeing organized life cannot be universally applied. • There is always a concern of drawing necessary resources from the environment – organizational inputs like money or revenue. • Organizations struggle to get people to show up and perform services (tasks). Through this course you will learn there is nothing more practical than a good theory. my hope is that you will learn different. This textbook and course exposes you to multiple theories of explaining and managing organizations. training. it is not enough to adopt one theory or one perspective on everything – in whatever career you pick. universities. You will be given a set of tools – ways of seeing. this textbook and course are designed to enrich your understanding of organizational phenomena and your experiences within them. you will learn to listen for different kinds of music in all the noise. you will confront new problems and new situations where your previously generated explanation does not apply or where another perspective altogether is needed. your accounts focus on certain features of the organizational context. Those accounts are in many ways a folk-theory (or proto-theory). I will leave it up to you. and even how to coordinate different tasks with one another (coordination / implementation). and replacing members as participants move thru these organizations (participants). There are no silver bullet solutions here. Through organizational theories. • There is also the concern with selecting. but adopt different ways of seeing and thinking about the organizational phenomenon in focus.

These social structures can vary in their degree of formality. If you recall. the formal structure might reflect the prescribed roles we briefly mentioned above: principal. we have an organization’s participants. we have an organization’s social structure.Features of Organizations We will now identify some core analytic features of organizations. firms can be participants in one another’s affairs. their various forms. and even parents and politicians connected to the school in various ways. Formal structures entail clearly prescribed and demarcated social positions while informal structures emerge and are unplanned relations that persist. These can vary in form. cafeteria workers. Scott 2003:18) In this diagram. For example. some teachers may be popular and a locus of authority even though they lack such a formal 6 . and considered unitary actors. a social structure by which they interrelate. teacher. and they typically assume roles like administrators (superintendent. department chair. so it helps to have a concept space. and stakeholders. The informal structure might be the actual advice relations and friendships that arise between participants. Participants are social actors that make contributions to and derive benefits from the organization. in the technology industry. Let’s take each of these elements of an organization in turn. Participants First. and so on. Elements of an Organization Organizations are complex. Second. and it is through these relations that they influence one another’s affairs. This requires some abstraction from the details of our personal experiences in organizations. These are a firm’s social actors. staff (from custodians. Every organization has certain elements: it has a set of social actors or participants. This concerns features that regulate and establish the usual pattern of relationships between participants. These analytic features give us a language or terminology we can use to make sense of firms. an organization is represented as having a boundary and being placed in a wider environment. shared boards of director. So social structure concerns the persistent relations existing among participants within an organization. etc. firms often contractual relations. a set of things. principal). Features of an Organization (adapted from Leavitt 1965: 1145. assistant principal. partnerships. employees. teachers. All are roles with relational obligations. from some being vertically differentiated with lots of status levels. counselors. EN VI RO NM EN T) EN VIR ORGANIZATION) ON ME NT ) Social Structure Social)Structures) Technology) Goals) VI EN Par6cipants) RO T) EN NM M ON R I V EN T) EN Figure. students. and their prevailing problems. Participants can also be organizational actors. students. As such. counselors. For schools these social actors are adults and children. goals or a mission. In a school. For example. Scholars like Leavitt (1965) and Scott (2003) identify a finite set of organizational elements for us to consider and focus upon . while others are horizontally differentiated with many different departments and divisions. and a set of technologies or tasks it performs in order to render inputs into desired outputs. nurses. to administrative assistants). or elements to focus on in discussing them. we noted that organizations are often “things” listed in contracts. like firms in a particular industry.

peer cultures. Social structure can run even deeper and reflect cultural cognitive beliefs and understandings. we can see a historical change in what goals are in place: from one of student training.com/3303/3527073630_a9abc78619. curricula. The belief that every school has to have those roles is a deeply ingrained belief.wikimedia.gif) Technology Fourth. If we look at concrete missions.. we're obligated to deliver profits and growth to our shareholders. the technology consists of lesson plans. In fact.flickr. and they can come into conflict.). Like any other public company. adults in classrooms often follow norms and ideals concerning how a teacher or manager should interact with others. to community service.g. organizations have goals – Desired ends that participants attempt to achieve through the performance of task activities (goals of schooling – e. and this belief is distinct from our sense of better or worse ways to perform those roles. Levi’s and HarleyDavidson.. (Source: http://commons. they vaguely relate some of these ends.http://farm4. ioral coordination. For example.org/wiki/File:5/54/Citiipblogo. we have a sense of better and worse role-performances. tasks.. to one of resource acquisition. Likewise for students: some may hold undue authority and influence the manner in which curricula are taught. For example. or is it one of task adaptation via the informal organization? Goals Figure. etc.g. What is processed varies from material inputs of manufacturing equipment to people being processed. in schools. Of equal importance is to deliver those profits and generate growth responsibly. Tasks are often called “technology” because machines and factory lines accomplish many tasks. But organizations also vary in the extent to which their goals are focused or multifaceted. Other social structures are at play – like those of gender roles. The belief may invoke particular behavioral norms of teaching (say traditional or progressive). this may partly shape the behavioral patterns witnessed in an organization like a school. to that of research production. an organization has a technology – or a means by which organizations accomplish work or render inputs into outputs – e. educated or coordinated to become more knowledgeable and active citizens.position. But it need not do so perfectly. and they can cloud the clean appearance of prescribed forms of behav- Third.static. Many organizations have multiple goals. For example. technical and moral socialization of youth. and 7 . and in turn. if we focus on faculty in universities like Stanford. Our goal for Citigroup is to be the most respected global financial services company. and organizations tend to reward performance that most coincide with the ideal. class differences.jpg) Social structures are more than recurring behavioral patterns – they are also cultural systems that entail normative principles and cognitive beliefs (Scott 1995). Companies often relate general goals such as Citi. Formal and Informal Social Structure (source . clear or ambiguous. we find it hard to imagine schools without teachers and students. What principles and beliefs give shape to these structures so people’s behaviors adhere to them? Is it one of authority and control in the formal organizational chart. these cultural aspects of social structure often guide behavioral patterns. That is.

while in other schools it may be the provision of equal opportunities. For example. they vary in their salience from environment to environment. In some communities the safety of students may be of greater concern than their achievement. Goals-environment linkage: the social value we attribute goals varies. Environments can vary technologically – such as having an office in Silicon Valley where everything is wired for internet access and videoconferencing. elite schools may worry more about “stress” and progressive models of teaching. Environments can vary culturally in the sense that Euro-Disney initially did not work because an American version of Disneyland could not just be plopped down in Europe without some changes. technological. but different communities espouse different beliefs and norms about how these roles should be performed. they have to adapt to the norms and pressures of larger occupational structures and professions. Technology-environment linkage: no organization develops all of its own tasks and technologies. While many of these same goals arise across settings. in comparison to say my parents home where they are still figuring out a compact disc player. concerns about suicide will matter. Environment Last is the Environment: the physical. Very different pressures emerge because of these distinctive physical environments. They borrow many of them. and practitioners in other schools? 3. Table. cultural and social context in which an organization is embedded. and social context in which an organization is embedded. Participant–environment linkage: how porous is the boundary for participants in the school? Is it a total institution like a boarding school or monastery. cultural. Environment The physical. 4. In fact. Do schools get most of their curricula from textbook publishers. Also. university faculty. Elements Description Actors / Participants Organizational participants that make contributions to and derive benefits from the organization. they depend on the neighborhood they are situated in for clients and student populations. or is it a loose commuter campus like a community college? 2. Technology / Tasks Means by which organizations accomplish work or render inputs into outputs. they rely on trained workers and teachers from local universities. what is the environment a school confronts? Schools are often dependent on state and city governments for resources and funds. For example. Social structure-environment linkage: most schools look the same in terms of roles. Goals Desired ends that participants attempt to achieve through the performance of task activities. Social Structure Persistent relations existing among participants in an organization. in some communities. Physical environments also matter – consider for a second something as basic as your firm’s location in a cold region versus a hot dessert. technological. 1.courses that transform students (input) into socialized adults (output). 8 . while struggling schools may see the best teachers as ones who meet “standards”. In one neighborhood. Overview of Organizational Elements Environment Linkages All of the internal features of an organization can come into relation with elements in the environment (Scott 2003: 23-24). Let’s take each in turn. etc. the ideal form of instruction may entails wrote learning and traditional modes of teaching.

An ensuing class of organizational theories characterized organizations as natural systems – here. it is feasible to consider the linkages between goals and participants. In fact. Most recently. In a natural system. natural. the theories related an organization as collectivities whose participants pursue multiple interests. In effect. All these features were likely there. Children spend most of their day in school. so it is a relatively contained environment in comparison with other organizations. simple features in real world cases. Also. For example. but it’s far from clear that particular tasks and lessons lead to certain desired outcomes and which do so more effectively over others.All the organizational elements tend to have various relationships with one another. however. Degree of Ambiguity These abstract elements are seldom clean. Now one could argue that these theories reflect the organizations of their day. one can find that these features of organizations form a system of interdependence. Another view might be that organizational theories expanded their focus as our understanding of firms and instrumental social groups grew. This class of theory focuses more on the environment than any other organizational feature. organizations are congeries of interdependent flows and activities linking shifting coalitions of participants embedded in wider material-resource and institutional environments. but it also describes how theories in different eras focused on certain organizational elements over others and characterized their in- terrelation in certain patterns (Scott 2003: 2630). the analyst acquires a deeper understanding for form functioning. such as how goals can lead participants to self-select into a firm. By identifying that system. and open system qualities persist in many organizations. forged in conflict and consensus. Richard Scott’s review of organizational research not only identifies organizational elements. This class of theories regarded an organization as an adaptive organism. 9 . While we only list the interrelations with environment. natural and open system perspectives entail. participants can belong to multiple organizations. and perhaps shifted some in salience. behavior and management. but to this day rational. Most organizations still entail all these features and the processes that rational. But I am not sure that is the case. These theories tended to focus on the administrative units of organizations and their process of rational decision-making. children bring with them all sorts of baggage and experiences from elsewhere (family). Nonetheless. he recognized three classes of organizational theory. schools are often described as having “uncertain technologies” for accomplishing technical and moral socialization. In short. and for it to form a company reputation and identity. How Can All of These Elements Work Together as a System? Fortunately. and these can influence their behavior in school. but who recognize the value of perpetuating the organization as an important resource (they want to survive). We have courses or course labels.. the theories characterized an organization as a collectivity oriented toward the pursuit of specific goals and whose behavior exhibits a formalized structure.g. so the question becomes which organization most influences them. ambiguity is more often the reality we confront. emergent relations and coalitions which matter: the informal structure of relations that develops among participations is more influential in guiding behavior than the formal structure’s role expectations and guiding principles. we have ambiguous indicators of accomplishing said goals – e. organizational theories have come to characterize organizations as open systems – here. with each case. do we use achievement tests or citizen tests? Are these tests biased and inaccurate? Furthermore. it is the unplanned. The earliest class of theories regarded organizations as rational systems – Here.

Classes of Organizational Theories (adapted from Scott 2003: 26-30) Case: Overview of the Adams Avenue School Using Organizational Elements Adams Avenue School At this point. This magnet school serves middle school students 10 . I draw on the example of a school organization because most everyone has experienced one.Rational Single organization. The case was not written for organizational analysis. more emergence & environmental determinism (legitimation) Environment Ignored Major role Primary Unit of Analysis Organizing Concepts Minor role Table. or administrative unit (organization as unitary actor) Natural Open Single organization Multiple organizations w/multiple actors and (organizational field) divisions (organization as coalition) Actors / Participants Leaders. Regardless of how old you are or where you are from. Hence. I want to discuss the case of a school reform effort and identify the organizational elements being discussed within it so you have a concrete sense of their application. the writer – Mary Metz – selects the features she thinks characterize the case. but rather for educators (Metz 1986). Adams Avenue School is a case about the creation of a magnet school. we can see how the case draws our attention to particular details and how they interrelate – that we see the beginnings of an organizational theory that helps explain the case. and in direct environment and even mass consumers Social Structure Formal & planned / hierarchical Informal & emergent > formal (external seeps in/ norms enter) External world permeated internal organization (beliefs enter) Goals Specific missions / objectives Multiple. organization (admin unit) Participants across roles Stakeholders. What elements are the point of focus? Which are characterized as having an interrelation and being changed? Through such an application. We want to identify the organizational elements in the case and see if they help us understand what sort of account it is. you have some sense of how a school operates and how an organizational reform might operate in them. A magnet school is a pubic school that offers a specialized curriculum so as to draw students from across zones of a city. conflicting goals Survival / legitimacy in environment Technology / Tasks Maximization / Decision Contingent decisions / trees / Standard operating Unintended outcomes procedures (efficacy) Less decision. I hope you will begin to see that even when we take off the book shelf a nearly random case. employees.

Faculty found it far from clear in implementation. the school seemed established and had a coherent program in place by year 3. As the school’s reputation grew. Teachers in each school had an hour a day for common planning and the lead teachers met with the principal as an “instructional improvement committee” that enabled two-way communication between teachers and the principal. the faculty was sent for training in this program. an overcrowded school with an African American population in the poorest part of the town. it attracted the interest of lower-middle-class families and ordinary families. Eventually the curriculum was defined on two sets of requirements. Adams Avenue attracted well-educated parents (mostly for the gifted program) who had an influential role in the school’s 11 . Upon opening. Before becoming a Magnet School. Before the school opened. These skill groupings were to be fluid and reconfigured when a new objective was introduced. students proceed at their own pace and complete a series of individualized tasks showing mastery of the material. The first specified a number of concrete learning objectives for each subject in each grade.(grades 6-8). and it was planning a new magnet school program. Individually Guided Education The textbooks for the IGE curriculum was not as clear as it might seem. The Williams Annex was selected as a great site for becoming a new magnet. These parents were not afraid to tell the teachers what to do and check up to see that they followed through. Second. but it was tailored toward elementary school students. called “Adams Avenue Magnet School. the school received funds and faculty received more training in IGE. the very high achieving kids of the initially aggressive parents were now in 8th grade and would soon graduate. Mrs. so they were illprepared when the school opened to 6-8 grade students. By their second year. the faculty lacked materials but made due the best they could. In addition. Adams Avenue School was a 7th grade annex to Williams Junior High School (Grades 7-9). Williams Annex was established to relieve overcrowding as well as severe problems of discipline and under-achievement. According to Metz. By the third year. the magnet school’s population reflected that of the surrounding community and had less of a bifurcated population of highly educated families and working class families. the district was going through change. In the IGE curriculum. Michaels was selected as the principal. children were grouped according to the progress they had already made (pretest) and instructed from where their knowledge left off. given it was a specific plan written by a specific group of educators. Hence. to bring into the fold lower academic performing students. Meanwhile. By the third year of operation. She and her colleagues decided that the annex should follow a multi-unit plan and be divided into 3 small schools of around 100 students each. When Adams Avenue opened. better building. The school kept its small school layout and each school had 4 homerooms that travelled through all the same classes together. they campaigned for the school at board meetings and with the district office to retain an assistant principal position and to get a larger. and students were to be tested on them before and after instruction was given. and uses a particular curriculum that will hopefully serve both struggling and high achieving students. the principal had broad discretion in how it was defined. The Williams Annex was voluntarily staffed by young faculty who lacked seniority at Williams Junior High. It is meant to build a sense of community. Parent Involvement affairs and took up a good deal of the principal and assistant principal’s time. and this progress was to be monitored carefully. and to improve student achievement.” Mrs. and the faculty decided to adopt an individually guided education curriculum (IGE). Michaels led the annex and she had a good deal of say in how they developed their program (But she was not an official principal).

Some teachers were relaxed in their application of IGE. Some rotated students through the same set of tasks in spite of being in differently skilled groups. parents. and a rich extra-curricular experience. The program in practice The teachers and principal followed the two sets of practices believed to be the core of the IGE program. not where they were moving forward from. but as stated earlier. Instruction also involved a lot of field trips. IGE Influences on School Character Metz reports that the imposition of IGE changed the character of the school – especially the relations of low achievers with teachers and students of different races. but they remained relatively heterogeneous and the interactions between students and teacher with students were task-oriented and respectful for the most part. so they did not have differentiated work. but they were handled informally (and this in turn reinforced positive relations). This added a personal element. A few other teachers resisted IGE. That is IGE induced a communal ethos and denser positive relations. and instead positive relations persisted between the faculty. Their energy was directed toward planning and teaching. but there was still some variation in teacher compliance with IGE. and then formal referrals to administrators for discipline which was noted in the child’s record. IGE influences on Traditional Curricular Structure The IGE curriculum removed grade-level differentiation from view. and students. They argued their subject matter was ill-suited to IGE and required fundamentals. Metz reports that these yellow cards were issued less than two times a day for all 300 children over the course of the year. they spoke of them in terms of their relationships with the students. but the school was mostly in harmony by year 3. or too many skill demonstrations. There was a general absence of conflict at Adams Avenue. Classes were heterogeneous in composition. and how to track progress. This conflict goes back to the end of year 1 when some teachers did not strike with the rest (and sided with the principal). and so on. Instructional differentiation was rendered more individualized. Even if they didn’t use the explicit features of the curriculum. and suspensions totaled less than 1 out of 10 kids. Teachers charted progress and the principal checked it. Lower skill groups had more African Americans. The school was notable in that potentially volatile relations were not evident. The union leaders were especially bitter over this. These teachers said they adapted IGE like this because it was a lot of work (more than regular teaching) and they were unwilling or unable to do all of it. running lots of extra-curricular activities. Discipline was often a simple matter. If there was any conflict it was likely between the principal and some teachers. There were exceptions that suggested a harder past (in years 1-2). they seemed in-line with the general philosophy and focused on skill development in their subject. and it removed both the stigma placed on a student performing at 4th or 5th grade level and enabled accelerated students to work at a level beyond grade level. 12 . projects. Students themselves reported having interracial friends and seemed open to heterogenous relationships. Disciplinary problems were more common than these formal indicators suggest. Rather than speak of students in terms of IGE. they were internally divided into groups on the basis of skills development with relation to each learning objective. All that matters was forward movement for every kid. they had relatively well formed understandings of each kids skills and deficits. thought carefully how to get that across to varied kinds of students.School Character Metz reports that teachers focused their attention on their work with students. Some produced charts on estimates of student progress rather than pretest-posttest scores. Faculty issued yellow cards as warnings. They didn’t comply as a matter of principle. But even these relaxed and resistant teachers were influenced – they conveyed clear purposes for each day’s instruction.

This occurred in several ways during team meetings and faculty lounge conversations. New recruits got socialized through these experiences so the culture was passed on. and renewed. deemphasizing initial differences in skulls and this served to build interracial ties. But the principal encouraged it in a variety of ways: in her speeches she 13 . Metz argues the context put everyone into shared spaces. They also equalized persons more. units enabled the teachers to know students individually and have a healthy rapport with one another. Metz is quick to point out that these teachers were relatively negative. The honor roll was based on effort grades. students knew who they were and responded to them negatively. This conversely lowered the rewards experienced by high achieving students. and created more of a warm atmosphere. Physical space School location in the downtown area of the city lent itself to field trips to businesses and the museum district. Her point is that the school culture is a fragile construction that needed to be reproduced and was far from a sure thing. In addition. IGE’s reward structure worked to equalize social prestige and include lower performing kids and give them academic legitimacy. IGE influences on Classroom Task Structure and Relationships All the instruction was done in groups based on skill where the students worked independently. Metz reports than everyone felt they got the attention and assistance they needed. All the teachers reported that the school's small size and partitioning into 3 Leadership: Principal's influence The principal Mrs. and its heating was not always certain. The building was small. The teachers did not misidentify with their students.IGE Influences on Reward structure Adams Avenue used report cards that emphasized effort and the level at which the student worked in each subject. and they regarded the mutual rapport as normal. Teachers tended to interject positive comments into conversations that spun in negative directions. With few exceptions. In this manner. and some teachers worried these students were not pushed enough to excel higher. but not noticeably so in comparison to say traditional schoolteachers and in other contexts. Faculty culture and school ethos Faculty regarded good relations with students and each other an end in itself and helpful to learning. That said. They redirected attitudes so as to be one of respect and building students up. a hardworking student with 5th grade skills levels may receive an “I” for superior effort and progress while the lackadaisical 6th grader with 8th grade skills might get an “E” for inadequate progress. These teachers tended not to use group instruction but rather whole class and recitation. but controlled the IGE curriculum and its instruction via direct and formal means. These relations built into ones of trust between teacher and student and lessened conflict. and achievement and schoolwork was more a matter of private accomplishment and few opportunities for public embarrassment. Michael. Teachers spoke with students as a group for instruction and then guided progress individually. That said. Informal leaders respectfully sanctioned new teachers adopting a negative view of students. influenced the tone of interpersonal relationships via indirect and informal means. not skill level grades. Hence. passed on. few cultures are uniform. In spite of this they did not want to move to another building. This faculty culture was rebuilt. lacked sufficient space for a gym. This meant no one performed before everyone publicly. It was not official doctrine to have positive relations with students. There were exceptions and Metz remarks on 5 teachers angrily confronting students. teachers viewed all students as essentially good children.

and sought integration. Faculty were upset some since they felt the involuntary transfer wasn't too fair. The IGE program was imposed from the district and the faculty felt they had no choice or discussion over it and felt a degree of resistance. the principal’s relations with faculty and the students mirrored that of the school culture. In short. In the faculty meetings of the first two years. and that many didn't know how to implement IGE the first year. but they reinforced each other for certain. Organizational Elements in Adams Avenue School valued building up students. she encouraged ethnic pride and was involved in those groups. 14 . and the principal resorted to more positive reinforcement and lessened her use of official powers. The principal's relation with faculty over IGE was a different matter. Whether one influenced the other is not clear. Michael's resorted to formal hierarchical authority to implement IGE. and this led to a lot of conflict. teachers were more comfortable with IGE and resisted less. she reminded teachers they had to implement IGE or find a job in another school or district. Mrs. she wanted relative assessments to occur (over objective / universal ones). By the 3rd year. Eventually 2 were persuaded to leave and the 3rd filed a grievance. At the end of the first year. She publicly appreciated teachers who led extracurricula and made it a point of giving them institutional resources they needed for such endeavors. she even demanded 3 teachers transfer. she wanted teachers to do field trips.Main Story-Line (dominant pattern of inference) Technology ! Structure in good way in spite of population disadvantage and potential for divisiveness.

15 . For example. Chicago: Rand McNally. Routledge: New York. collegial ethos). The teachers believed the small schools contributed to their getting to know their students individually and this was the secret to their success. The lack of training and rush to get IGE going led the principal to use her formal authority and to push IGE through. 57-103) in Different by Design: The Context and Character of Three Magnet Schools. The pride of slow learners was protected.References Teacher resistance A minority of teachers criticized the principal for her reliance on hierarchical formal authority to push through the IGE program. “Applied Organizational Change in Industry: Structural. Technological and Humanistic Approaches. 1986. The technological (task) arrangement of the school did not work alone. and the effort to nurture individuals and relationships via supportive skills groups. March. and the positive relationships seemed to reinforce the elements of IGE that seemed consistent with it. NJ: Prentice-Hall. but the faculty and principal did find ways to work respectfully and productively together (again. Summary The distinctive feature of Adams Avenue was the constructive relationships. London: Sage. It required a faculty culture and school character that assumed respect would breed further respect. and special activities built a sense of fun and camaraderie. Natural and Open Systems. “Adams Avenue School for Individually Guided Education. W. ed. 5th Edition. 1995. Scott. 2003 (1981). the focus on individual or relative performance was reinforced. They did not notice the contribution of their culture (students too) or the technology (tasks). The school implemented the formal IGE program to a moderate degree. Organizations: Rational. 1144-70. This pressure from the principal led the faculty to be resistant and upset at first. Leavitt. the aspects of IGE that rendered negative judgment private were reinforced. Mary Haywood.” in Handbook of Organizations. A minority remained somewhat angry even. Richard. and it was not a pressure from the district office per se. Their benign belief (unconscious even) seemed natural to them and the culture operated at its best effect. The principal believed it was her choice to do this in response. The minority's anger was recognized by the majority of teaches. James G. 1965.” Chapter 4 (pp. Metz. Englewood Cliffs. Institutions and Organizations. Richard. Harold J. but it did not diffuse. partly a result of the small schools and positive. Scott.

jpg .wikimedia.2 Decision-Making in Organizations Source: http://commons.org/wiki/File:EXCOMM_meeting%2C_Cuban_Missile_Crisis%2C_29_October_1962.

or “logics of decisionmaking” as he calls them: the logic of consequence (or rational choice theory) and the logic of appropriateness (what Graham Allison might call “organizational process model”.org/wiki/File:) Rational Actor Approach The rational-actor model is essentially a model that follows the logic of consequence. what happens if I take each option? 17 . The core distinction between these logics is that one is concerned with choices and instrumental efforts and the other one is concerned with rule-following and interpretive activity. it gives you an initial sense of what we mean by decision-making. Figure. Fortunately. Logic of Consequences .http://commons. 1969). so we are okay. Value-rationality contends that regardless of the cost (or without attention to them). this particular image of a decision tree was taken off Creative Commons. or leaders of organizations. March concerning decision-making (March 1999. The former entails means-end rational action. March describes two general classes of organizational decision-making. I will present a general introduction and discussion to decision-making in organizations. Here a decision maker asks. March has spent several decades studying actual decisionmaking behavior in organizations.Decision-Making in Organizations In this chapter. 1994: chapters 1-2). we often make decisions. Both are intentional forms of behavior. Rational decisions basically entails four aspects: (1) The first is knowing your alternatives. what are the options available to me? (2) Second. one asks. He classifies types of organizational decision-making that helps situate real world cases of organizations further – particularly the rational and natural classes of organizational depictions Richard Scott relates.wikimedia. it is important to know the consequences of these alternatives. Here. and freely viewed.Rational Choice Theory This week we draw heavily on the work by James G. A simple example of organizational decisions can be found in the following figure showing a decision tree. The choice is whether to upload a picture or not onto my Coursera course. Nonetheless. I will relate various rational system views of organizations that tend to focus on administrative units. In the lecture. Decision Tree (Source . and the latter entails value-rationality or duty-driven behavior. A variety of criteria apply and help us decide.

and there is no rain. so we value that a plus eight. and that means it will be the rainy season. The first. let’s say that when we don't bring an umbrella and it rains. then weI have to carry it around all day. We can give that consequence a negative ten. we rejoice because we did not have to carry it all day (yea!). and then affix values from positive ten to negative ten so as to depict our preferences for them. In the case of not bringing an umbrella and it rains.4 Rain EU=3. and knowing. Let's say that not bringing an umbrella and it does not rain is a positive six.0& Figure. So. This individual is typified by clarity. The second is a boundedly rational person. and it is no fun sitting around wet all day. The first branch in the tree lists our options of bringing an umbrella or not.4)&=&0. (4) The fourth aspect concerns a decision rule.2& Net& Expected& UMlity&=&0. And.(3) Third. to see these aspects and distinct types of choice processes.6& No& Ra i n &( 0 . By contrast. We are happy to not have to carry the umbrella all day. and inconsistency in preferences or objectives.6& EU=3. we get wet. if we bring an umbrella and it does rain. then we are prepared and stay dry. 6)& McFarland&Lectures& EU=33. you weigh the value gained or lost by taking each option. say we do bring an umbrella. On the other hand. And last. Decision Tree for Umbrellas Now all of this can be readily illustrated in a decision tree. and knowing incomplete information.4)&=&3. In the case of not bringing the umbrella and it doesn’t rain. Soon it will be winter in California. We may even feel pretty pleased with ourselves! Let’s put these alternatives and consequences in a matrix below. so let’s give that a negative five. Now let’s say you see certain consequences to these alternatives. we get wet and we find that that terribly disconcerting. traditionally called “economic man” by its critics. Two decision rules are commonly discussed and reflect different notions of a rational actor. and is typified by ambiguity. Don’t&Bring&Umbrella& Bring&Umbrella& Rain((40%)( Net(Expected(U7lity( +6& 310& (6*0. there is a 40% chance of rain. Carrying around a useless umbrella all day is somewhat of an inconvenience. if we bring an umbrella and it rains. here we have individuals who are more like the real persons we all know.6)&–&(10*0. many Stanford students will be faced with the alternative of bringing an umbrella to class or not. and there is a cost to that.4 Rain Examples of the Rational Actor Model Let’s use a very simple example of rational choice in action.4& No& Ra i n &( 0 .0& Net& Expected& UMlity&=&3. For example. and consistency of preferences and objectives. then we are kind of pleased with ourselves for being prepared.6)& )& &(0. b. then we have to carry it around. so the consequence is 40% it may rain.6)+(8*0. If we bring an um- No#Rain((60%)( D a& rell mb g&U n i r t&B on ’ Brin g&U mb rell a& EU=34. Here. At the end of each branch is the preference or 18 . brella and it does not rain. a. or a choice process (Graham Allison refers to this as an “inference pattern”).6& )& &(0. you have ordered preferences or ranked goals and objectives in terms of greater or lesser value. the choice process is a rule by which an alternative is selected on the basis of its consequence for preferences. and uncertainty. Here.4& 35& +8& (35*0. The second branch list the consequences where there is 40% chance of rain and a 60% chance of no rain. Now let's say we see certain costs and benefits to each scenario and we prefer some over others. As a result. and 60% it may not. they're an ideal form of a rational actor. is an ideally rational person.

That is a downer. all we have to do is multiply the chance of rain (which is 40%) by the preference we have for the scenario of not bringing an umbrella and it rains (which is -10).6 times 6 = 3.that is a downer. If we go through the math again like before where we don't ask them out and get a yes. And last. That's the expected utility of not bringing umbrella if it doesn't rain. there is the last scenario which is you ask them out and they say “yes”. Let’s say you find it mortifying to be rejected. As such. But say it does not rain and we do not bring an umbrella. Let’s even say they are very attractive so our chances are low at 10%. the we have 0.4.9. We feel miserable over that.6 = -0.10& +10& (.dating! Many of you are single and perhaps looking for love. Let’s consider the scenarios. you ask people out all the time and you do not see much cost to it. low-cost person? Meaning.given our preferences or our sense of costs and rewards for each outcome – is better than not bringing an umbrella because we really do not want to be wet. you miss out on someone quite interesting and wonderful.8& EU=&1. (i) Not asking someone else and them saying “no”.10*0. In that case. So. If we compare the two. p Acce EU=&. (i) You do not ask them out when they would have said no. (iii) You do ask them out and they say “no”. so it is a negative ten. we have a net expected utility of not asking people out equal to one.8& (2*0. How would you value each of these options from positive ten to negative ten? It all depends.9)& about)consequences)and)costs?)) EU=&. right? That may be terrible. Or are you a low-interest. (iv) us asking them out and them saying “yes” is a plus ten and that couldn't be better. Are you a high-interest.8& Net& Expected& UClity&=&1& 9)& )& t&(0. asking them out.8 expected utility. That’s the expected utility of not bringing an umbrella and it rains on us.10 (10% chance). then it is clear that bringing umbrella . we can predict the net utility of each option of asking someone out or not.6. mortifying.1)&=&1& .8& Reje ct&(0 Ambiguity)or)uncertainty) .8.value we affix to these scenarios. negative 8 times .9)&–&(8*0. Best of all worlds right there! Don’t&Ask&Out& Ask&Out& No#(90%)# Yes#(10%)# Net#Expected#U4lity# +2& . In the logic of consequence model. Or are you a high cost person? Here you see it as risky no matter what happens. Let’s give that a negative eight. and they would have said “yes” . you seldom ask people out and you do not worry about it. that is good for us.0& Net& Expected& UClity&=&. hey. We can depict this in the table you see here. Then we multiply that by the probability of yes at 0. Decision Tree for Asking Out If we go through the decision tree again. right? You're not embarrassed! (ii) You do not ask them out and they would have said “yes”. When that happens it is quite gratifying. that equals negative eight. Pretty bad. That is kind of.0.1 EU=&1. (iii) But then.9)+(10*0. Now let’s do this for a more interesting case . It saved us the trouble.1 ept& Acc Do n t& &Ou &Ask ’t Ask &O ut& Reje ct&(0 .8& )& (0. we will find the net expected utility to be 0.1 = -0.0& Figure. As such. (iv) And then.6. That is good.then we get the net expected utility of not bringing an umbrella = -4. and you are a high cost person. so it is a plus two. (ii) Not asking them out. If we add the two together – of not bringing an umbrella in both cases . To do this. lowcost person? Meaning. but not terrible. Say you are wondering whether to ask someone out.1)&=&. The opposite of not asking them out and they reject you has a positive utility of 1. If we go through the same kind of operation in the lower branch for bringing the umbrella.0. and them saying “no” is just awful. 19 .0 + 3. Then we take the chains of no rain (%60) and multiply it by the value we affix to that outcome (+6). we calculate the expected utility of each scenario. That gives us the first value of -4.

when we follow orders in war and march to our 20 . we start with one that is most near us e. In reality. their types of decisions. and we have to consider the expected utility of asking them out and them saying yes. Order)of)Choices) By contrast. that March relates.g. potential consequences. So search is stimulated by a failure to achieve a goal and it continues ex- A) Threshold) EU=)310) C) E) B) EU=)34) EU=)35) EU=)310) G) F) D) EU=)3. That will bring this closer to a real world organizational case. one that may offer a more accurate description of how we usually make decisions as boundedly rational persons. That is considered a satisficing decision. the Cuban Missile Crisis will be discussed as an example of this. we have an unexpected utility of negative eight. Herbert Simon related a theory of satisficing as a potential alternative. plus. In most instances of satisficing behavior. the ordering of preferences is not so clear. For example. are two individuals who we would have selected if we had considered them. In that case there are clear choices. only deciding to ask them out as soon as we reach a person above our expected utility threshold of say. then we move on to the next option down the list. Because we have not considered every option. so we stop searching. In the model below we look at the dating example again from a satisficing perspective. then a competitor or client has a probability of reacting in a certain way. Instead of calculating all the alternatives (would we ever really ask out everyone in a room?). then given the probability that they will say no and that we would be mortified. In all these cases there is clearly a ton of ambiguity. But if we do not meet our threshold. we think about a choice threshold.3) J) EU=9. we begin with the nearest persons and move further afield (A to J). we have not optimized our decision.5) EU=)10) McFarland)Lectures) Figure. That's pretty severe. three. After all.ploring alternatives until it is good enough to satisfy it. Rather than discerning the consequences for each. especially in J. In fact.and then we see if that option has a satisfactory consequence.. most of us are boundedly rational. we have related two simple examples of decision trees. so of course we just avoid the whole effort altogether. not bringing an umbrella or not asking someone out like we always do . the rational actor model is an idealized model that assumes herculean abilities of decision makers. if we actually ask attractive people out. if a company does X. When we hit D. But there is a second class of models. H and J.0) EU=)0) EU=)31) I) Point)of)Choice) H) EU=)3. and their kinds of options. Most of the time in organizations. A was not good enough. Here we have to choose from ten different people. So what would a bounded rationality model look like? What’s the choice process there? There an actor is uncertain about consequences and costs. As soon as we hit that three we have our point of choice. or a second class of decision making. we find they are good enough. we could have found a more optimal choice. and we stop somewhere along our sequential search of options when we find a choice that is “good enough”. who has the highest expected utility. Thus far. people follow rules even if it is not obviously in their self-interest to do so. of how boundedly rational models can be performed in a logic of consequence way. and it is an example of. In the figure we can see that threshold out here on the vertical line. we really have little evidence to go on in deciding if someone might be receptive to being asked out or not. Moreover. Weather reports are not that accurate. we have discussed the logic of consequence. and then B and C are not either (< 3). or rational actor models. You can extend this to organizations. To depict this. Later. Satisficing Decision Logic of Appropriateness So far. He calls it the “logic of appropriateness”. For example. and preferences affixed to each one. Thus far.

In addition. but the type of inference being performed is frequently implicit and taken-for-granted. Unfortunately. norms. in his reference to temporal orderings. the rule-following process is less about finding a desired outcome than making sense of situations and discerning what rules apply and why (e. a lot of behavior in organizations (and social life) is specified by rules . Here we are just remarking on these theories in 21 . and heuristics (like rules of thumb). Three factors are involved in the sort of rule following that characterizes the logic of appropriateness. rule-following is a less conscious form of decision-making than means-end rational calculation. March suggests that a two-stage decision model is often inaccurately depicted: stage 1 is the process of bargaining and coming to consensus. and change. routines. They match rules and identities to kinds of situations. It is intended action we do not reflect deeply upon. Rule-following behavior is intentional behavior. Instead of valuing alternatives in terms of their consequences. and stage 2 is the decision when understandings are executed. There are many compounding decision moments and consensus waxes and wanes. Rule-Following Let's take a moment to think about what this involves. rulefollowing matches situations and identities. Here the theory of coalitions comes into play as does the negotiation and bargaining process (This will be akin to Graham Allison’s “Bureaucratic Politics Model” and reviewed in the next chapter). When ambiguous. which is the depiction of decision making from a fully dynamic perspective. these two stages are seldom discrete. and organizational culture. than the decision process establishing social meanings and the identities of participants. They say “this is an x situation for y people to manage”. (1) Situations are classified into categories associated with rules and identities (roles). The setup of a system and its implementation are intertwined. So one can say here. What kind of problem is it? Who usually addresses it? How has it been addressed in the past? (2) Decision-makers have official identities and roles that are evoked in particular situations. sense-making and meaningmaking). Last.. or standard operating procedures. pre-existent rules or standard procedures. When a problem or issue confronts an organization. professional standards. Who usually addresses this kind of stuff? Who's the appropriate person? (3) Decision makers match rules to what they see as appropriate to their role in the classified situation. organizational learning.take for example how we follow rules in tasks. the world of alliances is not one of precision and formality. March also alludes to the fact that both the logic of consequence and appropriateness get further complicated when one considers that most organizations are composed of multiple actors with inconsistent and often conflicting preferences / identities. the decision process or theory explaining organizational dynamics suggests they do not necessarily arise for reasons of improving consequences but for engaging in a meaningful process. cultural norms. but one of informal. advice of others. but rather a lack of clarity and ambiguity in agreements. However. imitation. And yet. the ambiguity here does not concern consequences and preferences. March evokes the theory of Organized Anarchy (Garbage Can Theory). hunches. Decision-making via rules can be as ambiguous as decision making by means-end calculation. experience. we merely follow rules like duty.g. This process will be most evident in 4th-6th chapters of this textbook when we discuss processes of organized anarchy. Hence.death. it seems hard to see much utility in that! In those instances. The primary product of decision-making may be less the decision outcome. it often becomes a question of finding the appropriate rules to follow. loose understandings and expectations. One notices rule-following and the logic of appropriateness being used in organizational decisions whenever people follow traditions (path dependence).

from Robert Kennedy. was worried the U. In fact. The events occurred back in 1962. would attack again after its failed effort in the Bay of Pigs (1961). war was averted. the president at the time. and readied Soviet field commanders to Figure. Take for example the American effort to reform public schools (No Child Left Behind Act) and the crisis schools are confronting in order to meet standards (many are being closed!). That is a little too close to armageddon. we can turn to Graham Allison’s study of the Cuban Missile Crisis (Allison 1969).S. In April 1962. or human resource departments coping with an onslaught of harassment and grievance claims. is quoted as estimating the chance of failure at 1 in 3 or even 1 in 2. the stakes of policies and decisions are enormous. crisis management is common in organizations. use battlefield nuclear weapons to defend Cuba if invaded. Fidel approved Khrushchev's plan to place missiles on the island and saw them as a deterrent to a US invasion of Cuba. And in many instances. 1962 when U-2 reconnaissance planes photographed Soviet missiles under construction in Cuba. John Kennedy.passing – decision in coalitions and organized anarchies – but please note them. as we will come back to them over the next few chapters. Quite a few key actors were in this group.jpg) A little context may help – back in 1962. coalitions. U2 Planes (Source http://commons. Case . Kruschev thought the placement of intermediaterange missiles in Cuba could deter a potential U. the US Secretary of 22 . attack against the Soviet Union.The Cuban Missile Crisis and the Prospect of Armageddon Now that we have some idea of March’s logics and passing references to culture. President John Kennedy was informed of these installations and he convened the EX-COMM. They want to get a better sense for how to prevent disasters in the future. analysts want to understand how national governments and their organizations maneuvered the crisis. Fortunately. It was arguably the closest we came to World War III when well over 100 million people could have died. In these circumstances. Fidel Castro. many organizations face punctuated crises. Why the Cuban Missile Crisis? It has lots of nice qualities applicable to nonprofits and government agencies. like NASA facing the Challenger disaster. missiles could reach the entire Soviet Union. Upon meeting with Kennedy at a summit. on the other hand. the Soviet missiles could only reach Europe while U.wikimedia. and to possibly manage these crises better. a group of his twelve most important advisors. who was the Attorney General. Let me give a brief summary of the Cuban Missile Crisis so as to familiarize everyone with it. or companies coping with deaths or massive worker turnover. EX-COMM met for seven days and Kennedy decided to impose a naval quarantine around Cuba.S. and anarchic decision environments. Dean Rusk. In the summer of 1962 the Soviet Union began to secretly build its missile installations in Cuba. Similarly. In fact.S. and they led the United States to be on it highest state of war readiness ever. Because of this. what do you do? How can you describe what happened? How can you “successfully manage” in such a situation? More importantly. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev walked away thinking little of Kennedy as a statesman and thought he might have the upper hand. the Cuban Missile Crisis was a huge event.org/wiki/File:U2_Image_of_Cuban_Missile_Crisis. The crisis began for the United States around October 15.

and acquiring very different perspectives of it.State.org/wiki/File:P5M_VP-45_and_DD-835_with_Foxtrot_sub_ Allison’s Three Models at_Cuban_Missile_Crisis_1962. and was the security of defense. In so doing. John McCone.e. On the 26th EX-COMM received a letter from Khrushchev proposing the removal of Soviet missiles and personnel if the US could guarantee they would not invade Cuba. logic of consequence model). Kennedy ordered low-level reconnaissance missions once every two hours. to the Soviet Union. the former US ambassador. Kennedy announced the discovery of the missile installations to the public and his decision to quarantine the island. and is describes the kinds of actions that occurred during this conflict. and Kennedy raised military readiness to DEFCON two on the 25h.wikimedia.S. Graham Allison does this interesting thing which is very emblematic of the this course’s ambition in teaching you to apply multiple theories to the same phenomenon. On the twenty-fourth. and Robert McNamara. and boarding any craft that might trigger a nuclear war. logic of appropriateness model). Naval Blockade (Source http://commons. George Ball. Russian vessels turned away from the blockade so. to sea. It is kind of an interesting ploy and an effort to get an advantage in a compromise situation. missiles in Turkey in exchange for Soviet missiles in Cuba. prevailing models at the time: (1) the rational actor model (i. Tensions were pretty high at this point. At this point the “Trollope ploy” was done where the United States responded to the first letter accepting the conditions and both sides largely agreed. Figure. they saw eyeball to eyeball.. On October 22. And then Llewellyn Thompson. On October 27 a U2 was shot down over Cuba and EX-COMM received a second letter from Khrushchev demanding the removal of U. and (3) the coalition model (multiple actors with inconsistent preferences). expressing his trust that the United States would not invade Cuba. Ted Sorenson. Once the crisis was public. because Kennedy and his Naval commanders were worried about mistakes. ambassador at large. (2) the organizational process model (i. And then on the twenty-fifth. On October 23. tensions grew. special counsel to the president. as Dean Rusk said. Allison presents three models that he thought were the most useful.. He also proclaimed that any nuclear missile launched from Cuba would be regarded as an attack on the United States by the Soviet Union and demanded that the Soviets remove all of their offensive weapons from Cuba.jpg) The Cuban Missile Crisis is a case of an international crisis that almost led to war. who was the undersecretary of state. he comes to a deeper understanding of what happened that informs policy experts and persons in such crises. the blockade was pulled out further 23 . Further negotiations arose to implement the October 28 agreement and the US secretly removed missiles from Turkey.e. the National Security Advisor. Khrushchev wrote Kennedy stating that the quarantine constituted an act of aggression. George Bundy. propelling humankind into the abyss of a world nuclear missile war. Tensions eased on October 28 when Khrushchev publicly announced he would dismantle the installations and return the missiles to the Soviet Union. who was the only Russian expert on EX-COMM. a very important figure who was pretty domineering in the meetings.

they reverse the United States’ advantage of power at time. A fifth option is an airstrike. and the clear objective here is national security. The fourth option is to invade. A third option is that we approach Castro. one option is do nothing. then we have to break it down further. we know the actor is a unified national actor. Looking at the table below. And there's Rational Actor Model 
 a cost here -. a naval engagement in the Carib- (Adapted from Allison and Zelikov 1999:391) The Paradigm Model 1 National government Black!box! National state labeled…! Generic state Identified state Personified state Basic Unit of Analysis Organizing Concepts Governmental action as choice Unified National Actor Problem – motivates action Action as a Rational Choice Goals and Objectives Options and Consequences Choice Dominant Inference Pattern General Propositions Action = value maximizing means towards state’s ends Increased perceived costs = action less likely Decreased perceived costs = action more likely ! 24 . if we then look at action as a rational choice. And last. or a retaliatory strike is possible with nuclear weapons.The Soviets outflank the early warning system. we assume every choice option or alternative (serves a purpose. we see these basic organizing concepts. The options and their consequences. The problem that motivates US action is that the Soviet Union’s placement of missiles in Cuba needs a response. and we predict their consequences and our preferences for them (costs). America loses credibility in Europe. the cost here is that the Soviets are in control of the missiles in Cuba. or the United States. So here. Time matters. so we cannot really wait. Now. we look at the goals and objectives. The cost of the blockade is that they could retaliate with a blockade of Berlin. And the cost here is that the UN veto is probable because the Soviets hold a seat. and Khrushchev has time to think and consider that a nuclear holocaust is possible. From Allison’s retelling. And. and here the cost is the probability of knocking out all the nuclear weapons is only 90 percent since they are spread out all over the island. so Castro's influence is somewhat moot it seems. retaliation is. is highly likely and a massive strike would be needed to make that option succeed. So. basically concern the courses of action available and the results that could arise from adopting them. Second. The benefits are that you get extra time. First. and so on. let's think about what those were in the case.Rational Actor Model (Logic of Consequence) When we use the rational actor model. The sixth option is a blockade. we have another option which is. and the costs here are that the Soviets could parallel with an invasion in Berlin. and the missiles are already deployed. So there's big risk there. Let’s deconstruct what they mean for the Cuban Missile Crisis. Moreover. we can make a diplomatic response.

In addition. etc. Standard operating procedures. capacities. Innovation G! Governmental action as organizational output Organizational actors – multiple! Problems . Programs and repertoires. programs and repertoires Leaders neglect administrative feasibility at their peril Limited flexibility and incremental change Long-range planning Imperialism Directed change ! 25 . repertoires. air force.bean actually favors the United States in this circumstance. Uncertainty avoidance. This leads Organizational Process Model (Logic of Appropriateness) Organizational Process Model (Adapted from Allison and Zelikov 1999:391) The Paradigm Model 2 National Government Leaders! Basic Unit of Analysis Organizing Concepts B! C! D! E! F! ! A! What actually occurs. Conflicting goals addressed sequentially Implementation reflects previously established routines. But. By doing that we accomplish desired outcomes. and routines General Existing organized capabilities influence governmental choice Propositions Organizational priorities shape organizational implementation Special capacities and cultural beliefs.divided up parceled out to various organizations (Matching!) Organizational missions – independence & parochialism! Action as organizational output Objectives – compliance. Let’s go down the list of organizations here. The actors are a constellation of loosely allied organizations. and they are going to conduct affairs according to their own missions (e. then the costs to that consequence are so high that even if it is highly improbable. what was the actual choice? If we did a decision tree of all these things and we looked at value maximization. If Armageddon occurred. then organizations develop the capacity to do it better and by experience. So. we can somewhat interpret the series of events in the eventual decision or choice that was made. The problem is cut up and parceled out to various organizations (matching and the logic of appropriateness!). each with identities and standard operating procedures for handling aspects of the problem. We cue them to do things they have always done and are good at.. Structure of situation. Range of choice. it would reveal that the blockage is the solution. it is likely that the actors will not select it as their choice. Problem-directed search Organizational learning and change Central coordination and control Decisions of government leaders Dominant Inference Action (in short run) = output close to existing output Pattern Action (in long run) = output conditioned by organization view of tasks. SOPs. programs. Think here for a moment: if we are limited problem solvers. the navy.) and capacities. the problem is not confronted as one thing. What are their missions and capacities? The organizational process model will see each organization as quasi-independent. Sequential attention to objectives. why? Well. through the rational actor model. consider the decision trees earlier. Therefore.g. To great extent that is why we rely on organizations. How does an organizational process model apply? There are multiple organizations involved.

instead of 180 miles off the coast as Kennedy commanded. Let me give an example: It took a long time for the report on sighted nuclear missiles to reach to president. which means they have built in routines they tend to train with and follow repeatedly..org/wiki/File:Soviet_missile_equipment_beeing_loaded_at_po rt_in_Cuba_1962. over a month before the actual report was made to the president.to organizational parochialism where each organizations conducts its affairs according to its own interests and defines success by whether they meet those objectives. the Navy could do a blockade. Only on October 14 was there a flight that confirmed their presence of missiles and that is used to inform the president. and the transfer of the actual message took a long time because it followed standard operating procedures. The Air Force could not guarantee success. Simply put. This was even done after the President got angry over it. Larger programs are then clusters or repertoires of SOP (e. having regularized contact. Organizations also perform problemdirected searches. and ad hoc players? 26 . how do you get the Air Force and Navy to coordinate their activity?). Figure. In addition. there is a mechanical delay fro ensuing U-2 flights over Cuba to confirm these suspicions. That is said even when there are clear problems with each proposal. and conventionalized means of processing information. Similarly. Another example: The EX-COMM leaders are organizational representatives. but they did it the way they trained to do it . followers. Organizations attempt to reduce uncertainty by ignoring details. and Kennedy (a World Ware II veteran) did not like the idea of enacting a “Pearl Harbor” on another nation. When each one is asked their opinion. and they get good at them. Coordination and control across different organizations and their SOP clusters is always an issue (e. fighting entails multiple SOPs). This information was lost in tons of inaccurate information. this all leads to distorted information.g. The Air Force is a proponent of an airstrike and the Navy a blockade.500 miles out . On September 19. organizations rely on standard operating procedures (SOP). However.g. they respond as organizational representatives and state what a representative of their organization could do. there is territory dispute between the Air Force and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The first photos were taken on September 12.. On October 4 they began to believe there were missiles there. Executives merely call into play different organizations and their SOPs. Surveillance Photo of Missiles Being Loaded at Port (Source http://commons.PNG) Bureaucratic Politics Model The bureaucratic politics model asks the following: Is the government composed of multiple actors with different problems and objectives? Is the choice an outcome of bargaining games that unfold over time? Was power and skill a factor that was involved? What compromises were had? What overlapping games were being played? Who were the leaders. analysis of the photos suggested the presence of the missile silos. At that point. To accomplish objectives. staffers. the Navy invoked their SOP’s. whereby each search is guided by available and familiar organizational routines.wikimedia.

This coalition fell apart due to a lack of guarantee. the President. preferences. Deadlines and faces of issues Power What is the game? Action-channels. the outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis might have been different. take the actors and their stances: Kennedy’s weak spot was Cuba due to the Bay of Pigs fiasco. and they are compiled over time into different outcomes. and Ted Sorenson are all for the blockade. So the bureaucratic politics model assumes a variety of views and actors alignments create different camps that duke it out. In contrast. wanted to reprise the Bay of Pigs but this time succeed. on the other hand. stakes and stands (n-z) Power Action-channels Government action as political resultant Players in positions Factors shape players’ perceptions. priorities. Action as political resultant Governmental action = resultant of bargaining Political resultants Action and intention Problems and solutions Where you stand depends on where you sit Chiefs and Indians The 51-49 principle International and Intranational relations Misexpectation. and styles of play 27 . reticence. Robert McNamara. the personalities.Multiple players were there with different perceptions. The key features of the Bureaucratic Politics Model are the points of leverage. Rush. So he was very vulnerable there. How players negotiate. all of these are relative judgement. Re-election was key to him and he could not fail on Cuba again. Nitzke. miscommunication.e. the Air Force and Army had very different views of the atomic bomb. However. is how these temporary agreements arise and force a decision. What arose where two coalitions or viable options – adopt the blockade or perform an airstrike. The Air Force saw it positively due to their success in using it in World War II. For example. Goals and interests. One coalition was formed when the defense secretary voiced that a holocaust could be a potential result – i. posit claims and thwart / work for them.. Bureaucratic Politics Model (Adapted from Allison and Zelikov 1999:391) The Paradigm Model 3 National Government A!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!B! !!!z!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!r! !!!y!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!y! C!!!!!!!!!!!!D!!!!!!!!!!!E! !!!n!!!!!!!!!!!!t!!!!!!!!!!!!!z! !!!x!!!!!!!!!!!!y!!!!!!!!!!!!!f! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!F! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!p! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!r! Basic Unit of Analysis Organizing Concepts Dominant Inference Pattern General Propositions ! Players in positions (A-F) Goals. For example. Robert Kennedy. the six chiefs of staff including McCone. the problem of retaliation. and various interest coalitions. and Kennedy’s concern of mirroring Pearl Harbor. and Acheson. the Army saw it negatively due to their experience of it in Japan while on the ground. interests. wanted an air strike. Of course. and focused on separate problems. Stakes and stands. The military. Rules of the game. All of these players contribute to the coalition arrangement. stands Parochial priorities and perceptions. Had different players been involved.

hierarchical. Improve information and analysis. cueing of SOP’s appropriate to problem. Cue sequential routines that accomplish task or solve problem by routines available (supply issue). assesses objectives (goals) with regard to it. Maximization of options (solutions). Formal roles. When does it apply? Rational Actor (RA) Summary Table of Three Theories to Date: . and who cues them.28 Unitary actor or team that confronts a problem. Recognize imperfect info. Exists when the decision is guided by a logic of appropriateness – matching problem to actors with procedures for handling it (routine-process focus). Action guided by processes / available routines. and select wisely. Environment Dominant Pattern of Inference Actors in hierarchical organizational positions. Management Strategies Not salient except as influencing consequences of options. conducting sequential attention to objectives (localized searches until problems resolved). ambiguity. Management by consequences. and clear goals (and time calculate). lots of information. NA Objectives – compliance to SOP’s. identifies options. Know SOP’s. match with problem parts. Know alternatives and their consequences for the shared goal. Summary or Basic Argument Action = Maximization of means to ends. what problems they go with (matching). Management by rules. coordinating / activating organizational actors who have special capacities / SOP’s for parts of problem. Improve rules and matching with problems. Organizational positions Unified team or actor Goals are defined in regard to problem. Variant: Bounded rationality and satisficing. and select first satisfactory option (good enough). and then chooses option that minimizes costs. Organizational Process (OP) / Limited Problem Solver (LPS) Goals (what probs to resolve) Social Structure Technology (how solutions get decided) Participants Key Organizational Elements Exists when there is a unified actor with consistent preferences. the consequences of said options. Dividing up problem. Action = output close to prior output (path dependence). Matching identity and SOP’s (solutions) / programs / repertoires to problem.

Figure. and that’s the sort of case we will focus on in this section. The goals discussed concerned “killing red tape”. like fiscal problems. Another type of case concerns an organizational reform. decentralizing power.lishing teacher accountability..org/wiki/File:Chicago_Sears_Tower. As the reform moved forward. there are shifts in how the Chicago public schools are run. their interests and relations. Mayor Washington (Source http://commons.jpg) Mayor Washington – The First Phase For the case. The first period under Mayor Washington implemented antibureaucracy reforms. The case relates key stakeholders and groups. Bryk 2003). In addition. we made a summary table that lists concrete examples of the organizational elements using Shipps‘ and Bryks separate accounts (Shipps 2003.wikimedia. and there arose other problems. there were questions as to whether the killing red tape and empowering local experts actually improved student achievement. Chicago Skyline (Source http://commons. a crisis).e. For this depiction.Chicago Public School Reforms The Cuban Missile Crisis is a case where an organization is forced to make a decision (i. as well as their responses. and empowering local experts in each neighborhood.jpg/78px-Chicago_Sear s_Tower. The case we review concerns the Chicago public school reforms during the time period of 1986 to 2001. Shipps argues that the anti-bureaucracy reforms began to wain and 29 .org/wiki/File:Harold_Washington_at_the_commissioning_of _USS_Chicago_%28SSN-721%29.jpg) Case . The two works describe the reform efforts under two Chicago mayors: Mayor Washington in the early period (1986-1994) and then Mayor Daley in the later period (1994-2001). These authors describe two distinct periods of organizational reforms that experienced a wax and wane. the political and economic context changed. we draw heavily on the accounts of Shipps (2003) and Bryk (2003).wikimedia. Both phases and both approaches are different means to solving the problem of low-achieving schools in Chicago. The basic change that occurred was an initial effort at antibureaucracy. As these two mayors institute different reforms. and then this was followed by a period of managerialism and reforms aimed at estab- Figure.

fail because people came to realize there was little
evidence for their success. Moreover, reform efforts at decentralization rendered the Chicago Public Schools inefficient, and it struggled to achieve
coordination in the face of a growing fiscal crisis.
There were a variety of key participants in
this early phase: the democratic legislature, Mayor
Washington, and the local school councils (LSC).
The LSC’s were a conduit through which the decentralization of power and the empowerment of
local experts could occur. Teacher unions were
also a pretty powerful group in Chicago, as was
IBEC (Illinois Business Education Committee).
IBEC had been prevalent in local Chicago politics
for a long time. That committee was composed of
business leaders who mostly wanted the education
system to create workers they could use in the local economy. There was also school board nominating committee which nominated principals and
the like.
The social structure of participant interaction
was decentralized during this period. As such,
there arose a coalition across political parties and
interest groups that extended to local district and
neighborhood wards.
The technology and the tasks that were being
applied to accomplish this decentralization was a
reform effort to restructure governance of the education system. Power and budgetary discretion
was allocated to local school councils. This in
turn influenced the nature of educational legislation and standard operating procedures within the
school district during this period. Finally, the environment was one where Mayor Washington, as an
African-American, empowered, AfricanAmericans in the community and there was grassroots involvement in schools. This period was considered to be somewhat of a renaissance for community involvement in Chicago.
Mayor Daley

Toward the end of the decentralization phase
Mayor Washington suddenly dies and there is a
new mayor elected, William Daley Jr. Daley is the
son of a former Mayor who held office for several

decades. Daley is the mayor during the 1994-2001
period that Anthony Bryk writes about. In this period, there is a response to the prior era’s shortcomings, and an effort to reform the system so it can
better respond to the fiscal crisis, problems of inefficiency, and the lack of evidence demonstrating
improved achievement. During the 1990‘s the
goal is to establish greater accountability and more
centralization within the school system. This new
phase of school reform emphasized a form of
managerialism, and it brought in business leaders
who were experts on running organizations efficiently.

Figure. Mayor Daley
(Source http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:thumb/7/71/Richardmdaley.jpg/703px-Richard
mdaley.jpg)

During the second phase there is a shift in
key participants. The Illinois legislature no longer
had a Democrat majority, and it had flipped to a
Republican one. There was a new mayor, and expectations around him were partly defined by his
father’s legacy as mayor. In addition, the school
system had been centralized so that the legislature
gave Daley the responsibility for running the system well. And Daley delegated management of
daily operations to a CEO for the district, Vallas,
and to the school board president, Rico. Certain
players were still present. For example, IBEC was

30

31

Decentralized power: coalition of strange bedfellows for
governance (across parties and interests)

Local School Councils (LSC) / de-centralized cash usage 
decentralized structure, Legislation and SOPs (prior laws)

Larger African American role…
Grassroots involvement

Technology

Environment

Reform – kill red-tape,
Why goals changed: No
decentralize, and empower
evidence of success, little
local experts.
coordination, fiscal crisis
In: Democratic Legislature, Mayor Washington, Local School
Councils (LSC), Teacher Union, IBEC (IL Business Education
Committee), School Board Nominating Committee (SBNC)

1b (Wane-1994)
Creation of fiscal problems

Social Structure

Key Actors

Phases
ELEMENTS
Goals

1a (1986-Wax)
Anti-Bureaucracy

This time: Part I -- look for evidence of theories in the Chicago case (see handout).

McFarland Notes WEEK 2 – Org Behavior and Analysis

2b (Wane-2001)
Problems of implementation

Reform – accountability and
Why goal change: Draconian
centralization (tests, no social effect in implementation
promotion)
felt…
In: Republican Legislature, Mayor Daley, Vallas (CEO), Rico
(School Board President), IBEC & teacher union leaders.
Out – LSC, teacher union members, School Board Nominating
Committee.
Centralized power: coalition of loyalists that push others out.
Same structure of teaching, etc – but new heads from outside
(business).
Legislation / appointments  Teachers adapt teaching to
regulatory factors: decoupling
centralized structure.
of instruction to survive;
High stakes tests / regulatory
subvert reform goals for local
factors (probation, summer
preservation (cheating).
school, etc)  scores go up.
Tests couple technical core to
social structure.
Past: Prior reform failed and
Confound Environment:
created other more pressing
Mayor’s Coalition makes info
problems.
non-transparent to
Politicians enter: Legislature
environment, manipulates
makes laws and shifts power
press – decoupling to survive
to mayor!
and subvert reform goals for
Business enters: Mayor picks political success in
external staff (loyal to him)
environment (hide info! Or
and imposes it on system.
make cloudy!)

2a (1994-Wax)
Managerialism

32

Coalition /
Bargaining

Org Process

Phases
Rational Actor

THEORIES

1a (1986-)
1b (-1994)
Anti-Bureaucracy
Creation of fiscal problems
Actor: Washington & Chicago Public Schools
Problem: low performing schools
Action as RC:
Goal – Reform schools and get rid of red tape
Options – fight, form coalition of IBEC and LSC’s,
Democrats and community activists dominate, etc.
Consequences – no consensus, coalition forms and action
taken, legislature rejects (Republican minority rejects) /
no $ acquired, etc
Choice – coalition of IBEC and LSC’s arises
No data – Shipps does not discuss this much - inferred.
Organizations: mayor office, legislature, Union, IBEC, SBNC
Problem broken up: LSC’s break up problem of reform to be
handled locally.
Missions vary and LSC’s move by their own SOP’s without
coordination  divergence of standards and costs soar.
Players and positions: IBEC and Community Activists –
unlikely bedfellows.
Parochial Priorities: businesses want to implement
“Reaganomics”, and LSC sought greater control/power.
Goals / Interests: better city for business, better schools for
educators and students.
Deadline: mayor dies, new one elected, etc.
Game: negotiating legislation of power, then implementation.
Problem with decoupling and resource allocation.

McFarland Notes WEEK 2 – Org Behavior and Analysis

Business leaders fall back on their own SOP’s (managerial
program), not that of education system. Problem identified
using bus SOP’s.
Disconnect in view of SOP, or error in using them (grade
equivalence scores), creates problems. Lack of ed experts
makes local level further decoupled and resistant.
Players and positions: Republican legislature and IBEC
propose reform – give democratic mayor power
(undermines comm. activists). Mayor co-opts union
leaders…
Parochial priorities / goals: IBEC goals are business focused
and concerned with econ model (educ model / community
activism failed), so impose & regulate (~IMF) – as
environment / power shifts, so does emphasis on which
goals. Mayor reelection is a parochial goal.
Deadline: elections, contracts, fiscal years, etc.
Game: legislating power then implementation. In latter,
decoupling helps, couplingaccountability of power

2a (1994-)
2b (-2001)
Managerialism
Problems of implementation
Actor: Daley & Chicago Public Schools
Problem: broke, bad schools
Action as RC:
Goal – Reform for results and accountability
Options – Daley and Business dominate, prior alliance, etc.
Consequences – $ gotten & action taken, legislature rejects /
no $ acquired / no action taken, etc
Choice – new more centralized coalition forms

so there is an effort to correct that. But it is a pretty dense table listing all the aforementioned organizational elements of actors. it was because many students were retaking the test and for obvious reasons got better as the test became more familiar. technology and environment. If we combine these phases into one table it is useful to someone like me. the state legislature made Daley accountable to them. however. politicians enter to deal with this crisis and the legislature makes laws and shifts power to the Mayor. Underperforming students had to go to summer school if they did not achieve at a certain level. In short. In the second phase. The teachers adapted to regulatory factors. teacher union. the reform wanes as the environment shifts again. new technologies like high stakes testing was imposed. Certain players fell out of favor: the local school councils. In particular. As a result. Initially. but now it had more of a central role. They try to manipulate the press in an effort to report good news and to hide the bad. public opinion concerning educations reforms change. and the public becomes aware of this. the governance structure was transformed. The environment changes in the second phase. but that was greatly the result of teachers now teaching to the test. The hope was that this new form of managerialism could be imported into the education system and improve it. Nevertheless. teachers still did the bulk of the educational work and were called upon to implement managerial reforms entailing more testing and accountability. high stakes testing served to recouple ground floor educational efforts of teachers with the leadership efforts of managers. Business concerns also enter because the Mayor picks external staff from that community. scores went up. Bryk describes how more and more teachers begin to cheat on the test. the systematic portrayal can be very helpful.even when the depictions are not fully true. The administrators did not fully understand teachers or how the school system worked since many of them came from business backgrounds. The context was one where a prior reform (under Washington) had failed. students’ self esteem. the Mayor's coalition makes information nontransparent.pressing problems of fiscal issues. and regulatory factors like “probation” and retaking a grade level was placed on underperformers. and so on. the teacher union leaders were still there. in spite of some consistency in players. the school board nominating committee. Second.managing the environment to survive . Over time. This kind of decoupling . The legislature had control over budgets. new problems had arisen -. In contrast. and they altered the rules so that budgetary power and managerial appointments was given to the mayor. Toward the later period of the reform. social structure. Nonetheless.policies that transformed the system from one of local empowerment to centralized managerialism . Therefore. It rendered social structure related to the technological core of teaching and instruction. their political fortunes had shifted. So we have this interesting account of the waxing and waning of two reform efforts during this 15 year period. even though that success was only in appearance and possibly untrue. The first of which was a change in governance. They claim successes even though there's all kinds of other evidence to the contrary. begins to subvert reform. Several technologies .still there. Contradiction arise in the press and opinions shift. and as such. goals. the workers began to adapt to the reforms so that they could demonstrate success. For the analyst. Goals for political success (getting reelected) begin to eclipse those of authentic educational success. In addition.characterize this phase. In addition. At the top was a coalition of managerial loyalists. Moreover. and they started to subvert the reform goals to preserve their jobs. and possibly to many of you. but now they were sidelined in the decision making. the social structure shifted from a decentralized to a centralized structure. However. In response. the public is for evidence demonstrating improvement and a desire to have a system that stays within budget. Daley responded by further centralizing the education system. 33 . there were some unintended consequences to this. They had less authority and were circumvented in decision making.

The organizations involved are as follows: the Mayor’s office. Shipps and Bryk do not discuss standard operating procedures in much detail. (b) Another option is to form a coalition. they could filibuster any political coalition’s efforts and stop them dead in their tracks. to some degree. The problem is one of low performing schools and red tape that's rendered schooling difficult to assess (i. it is a series of distinct problems for each district.Applying Models to the Case Phase 1 . or fight each other in terms of how resources are allocated. it is reasonable to predict how certain camps will behave depending on the kind of options before them. like mayor Washington. you have a divergence of standards (one district worries about achievement. we can begin to consider their analysis. and use that in our decision calculus. it is not clear this case writeup affords much detail. and daily operations expensive. the local school councils break up the problem so they can handle it locally. so we have to infer some of this. The core problem that commences the need for a decision is low performing schools. When you decentralize a problem and coordinate locally. then there is likely no consensus and it just creates a difficult environment for every side. and how an antibureaucratic. right? The rational actor model seems to begin to provide some insight into why the observed coalition of IBEC and the local school councils emerges. The first phase entails an anti-bureaucracy movement that waxes and wanes. It also helps explain why the grass roots collaboration between businesses and community level participants arises. we would focus on particular actors in administrative circles. another inequality. we need to consider the organizations involved and what they do. localized effort begins to take shape. consistently across schools). the state legislature. Seeing this list we can next imagine how the problem is broken up and addressed by each group.Mayor Washington 1986-1994 Now that we have described all the organizational elements relevant to this case. and one group does not necessarily dominate another. If we apply the rational actor model. and the local school councils adopt their own standard operating procedures. The rational actor model may be the most viable model if we believe there is a true consensus. But conflict and stalemates have huge costs. Given the actors. If you form a coalition (IBEC and local school councils) and take action. As a result.. The Democrats could form a coalition with community activists and dominate because the democrats were in charge of local and state politics at the time. and all those actors you saw in that table before. then that makes some sense. such as one forged between IBEC and the local school councils. the union. For example. The various options that they could consider were (a) fight this reform effort. That said. The legislature could reject everything. Solutions adopted in one area are often not replicable in another community.e. 34 . Instead of it being a “Chicago” problem. decision making inefficient. IBEC. SBNC. If we look at an organizational process model. each of these councils comes up with its own way of dealing with things. If groups fight. Let's begin again with the first era of Mayor Washington and apply each of our theoretical models to the case of Mayor Washington. costs soar as the complexity of coordination across communities grows more difficult. for all we know . so we probably want to work with the Republican minority. another about security and gang violence. the goals vary. We can only estimate the likely risks (we are boundedly rational!) and probabilities for success here. sine that was regarded as the problem that was preventing achievement and preventing buy-in to the schools. If we apply the organizational process model. and his effort at reform. The goal would be to reform the schools and get rid of red tape. There may be certain kinds of cost to that and you may offend the legislature in power. With each district. Decentralization creates local buy-in and commitment. With each option there are likely consequences. As a result. etc). but it does not result in organizational efficiency. the legislature could combat the unions. That's actually how the situation unraveled.

less red tape. etc. Instead. The community activists want support for their neighborhoods and to serve the interests of their local schools. he could fall back on the prior alliance between local school councils. The decentralized system was great for political games like power sharing and legisla- tion of power. then the state legislature will likely reject his efforts and hold back the allocation of education funds. but so as to have a potential pool of more qualified employees. the community activists want their local communities to do well. in spite of their different political leanings. there were different political games going on during this period. So. which was a trendy economic policy of the 1980’s -. so their interests are not so local. IBEC and community activists have parochial interests. parochial priorities surfaced. let's consider Mayor Daley's era.If we apply coalition theory or the bureaucratic politics model. that will improve their business.it entailed less government. and it was difficult to coordinate all their decentralized efforts. There was a problem with decoupling and resource allocation to some extent. Surprisingly. and so on. As such. In addition. The organizational process model provides a different perspective. The business leaders fall back on their own standard operating procedures. Discerning whether schools are performing better or not required coordinate and standardization. they had shared interests they could form a coalition around. they are strange bedfellows in a way (one republican and the other democrat). Mayor Daley comes into office the same time the state legislature in Illinois turns Republican and all kinds of problems like a fiscal crisis start occurring in the state and city governments. The business leaders wanted to implement “Reaganomics”. And the choice was obvious. 1994-2001 Next. THe decoupling arose because local school councils were given power. Phase 2 . the decentralized system failed to coordinate and they offered a cacophony of responses. Using a rational choice model. It was an untimely death and unexpected. but not for the implementation of top-down reforms or achievement assessments. Nevertheless. So.Mayor Daley. As a result. of course. When fiscal concerns arose and requests for accountability emerged. they had to decide where to place their resources effectively. If he sticks with the prior alliance with local school councils. With one option. the goal is to reform the system so you get results (achievement) and there is accountability (support for what works and none for what does not). it was clear he had to form a new kind of coalition and make a new decision here. and this led to a new election and a shift toward recognizing problems with his reforms. If we take a rational actor view here. the two found overlapping interests. this aligned with the parochial interests of local school councils that wanted greater local control over neighborhood schools. As such. The school system has a much more unitary actor under them than in the prior decentralized era. and this enabled them to develop a coalition. As such. And the consequences of each choice. The IBEC wants to support local business. In the first period. Daley's options were that he could coordinate with business and dominate. the schools are broke and they are not very good in spite of having decentralized governance structures. That's why they came up with managerialism as an approach. to go with a more centralized coalition with business leaders and a means of accountability that was more efficient and managerial than the prior local decentralized school council’s efforts. or each kind of option was different. in spite of their differences. They didn't adopt the perspective or the 35 . Unfortunate. they had the redevelopment of Chicago in mind as a means of not only making schools better. We have to think about the players and their positions. There is a deadline in all this. he's sure to get state money and he might be able to take action. and the decentralized system was structured to do the opposite. governance at the city and state level decoupled from the local level. Daley and the Chicago public school system were centralized actors. IBEC is composed of representatives from larger Chicago corporations. we have a different perspective as well. Mayor Washington dies. As a result.

and then as the reform moves forward. they adopted the kind of procedures they had become accustomed to in managing their businesses. organizational routines from different kinds of leaders helps explain the troubles encountered in the managerial era. Through interactions with the media and press reports. the game shifts. With each phase. There is a disconnect in these perspectives and procedures that creates tensions and problems. Members of IBEC press the interests of the city’s business and economy. they afford him power and resources. They do this for parochial interests -. The educators didn't understand the standard operating procedures that business leaders wanted to impose on the education system. he will not be re-elected. so their new model should work. In the initial period. this later period of mismatch across organizations and or. and fiscal years when budgets get done. does the rational actor model only su- 36 . Here. and they emphasize distinct goals of achievement and efficiency. Organization’s aren’t just actor optimizing or organizations following rules. the new Republican legislature comes in and wants to change the system for the better by centralizing authority. Now it becomes a matter of adapting the implementation process to different purposes and the reporting of their accomplishments for different purposes. Finally.which explanation works best? This is a good case to use the forum on. then they can hold the mayor accountable. From an organizational standpoint. and at certain times more than others. A key factor in the coalition / bargaining model is timing or deadlines. They centralize and regulate. then they start to hide it. the mayor’s office and CEO of Chicago schools try to withhold certain kinds of information that might show the model was not effective. With each phase there's an election. decoupling actually helps. If he fails. As such. of course. There. it is not just a matter of meeting the goals. So are the legislatures. But now we come a big question -. we see that certain players and positions matter more than others. From a coalition-bargaining view. The schools on the other hand hold a different view and a different set of standard operating procedures. the objective is to gain power.e. And this is exactly what happens. They feel that an educational model and community activism failed. standard operating procedures that fit different groups. the lack of educational experience in management led to kind of decoupling of understandings and unfamiliarity with educational routines used to keep schools operating and teachers happy. This centralization of power completely undermines the community activists. the mayor coopts the union leaders in various ways (see Bryk 2003). In addition. it's an a loose confederation of ac- tors and organizations with shifting interests dependent on the timing and particular leaders involved. deadlines are dictated by election cycles. If we line them up. Parochial interests come through though. then the mayor is accountable. Some of these purposes fit some actors more than others. the mayor is trying to get reelected. and so are other politicians. a coalition or bargaining perspective also highlights certain qualities of the case.standard operating procedures of the school system. Instead. the bargaining model offers a more dynamic.i. As a result of his participation. other kinds of parochial interest come into play and compete. we can ask things like. In addition. But if things do not go well and they cannot find results that validate the accountability model.. And so. political characterization of the reform process. contract renewals. or enacting operating.. If administrative efforts are carefully linked to the ground level reform efforts. They're pushed out. In the later phase. does the rational actor model work better in a centralized phase like Daley's? Or. each of our three models has applicability here. Those all have schedules with punctuated effects on relationships and actors interests. The new mayor falls back on their parochial interests (re-election and getting power). In sum. As such. we can see how they compare and which one seems to explain certain phases of the reform era more than others. If they give money to the mayor. The Republican legislature and IBEC propose reforms and they form a coalition with the mayor.

and Philip Zelikov. 1994.jpg) 37 . Bryk. Washington. 3:689-718.org/wiki/File:7/78/Decentralization. M. or two theories complement one another in some way to afford a richer understanding of how Chicago public school reforms manifested and died. “No Child Left Behind. UK: Blackwell Publishers. 16-34. James G. 1999. Dorothy. ed. pp. March. March. as is arguing one theory works best under particular circumstances and phases. The Politics and Practice of School Accountability.” in Powerful Reforms with Shallow Roots. A Primer on Decision Making: How Decisions Happen. and West. James G. Allison. Figure. NY: Teachers College Press.wikimedia. Graham T. 242-268. 2003. Chicago-Style. P.” In Peterson. Tony. Decentralized and Centralized Networks (Source . I think it is best to leave it up to you and see how you grapple with the issue.” The American Political Science Review 63. DC: Brookings Institution Press. “Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis. NY: The Free Press. The Pursuit of Organizational Intelligence. New York: Addison Wesley Longman.Figure. W. Oxford.perficially apply? Or we can ask if most of the decisions followed an organizational process model of heuristics and routines? Rather than me telling you what the right answer is. Decentralized versus Centralized http://commons.. “The Businessman’s Educator: Mayoral Takeover and Nontraditional Leadership in Chicago. 1999. Larry Cuban and Michael Usdan. 1969. Graham. Trying to implement these theories to actual cases and seeing evidence for one over the other is an exercise in itself. pp. 2003. References Allison. Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (2nd edition). Shipps.

3 Coalition Theory (Source: http://commons.wikimedia.JPG/) .org/wiki/File:Sikh_Coalition_Im.

Bargain with players (log-roll. cueing of SOP’s appropriate to problem. and clear goals (and time calculate). identifies options. Much of this is review. Review of the Three Theories Covered so Far Summary Table of Three Theories to Date: When does it apply? Summary or Basic Argument Rational Actor (RA) Exists when there is a unified actor with consistent preferences. people) and stakes in game. and then chooses option that minimizes costs. the Cuban Missile Crisis. If we line up these theories side by side (see below). Learn others’ interests / weaknesses so you know how to manipulate and win. Action guided by processes / available routines. Recognize imperfect info. Parochial priorities. Dominant Pattern of Inference Action = Maximization of means to ends. and select wisely. money. hierarchical. and bargaining processes between them that establish agreements / coalitions. Bargaining. Unitary actor or team that confronts a problem. Coalitions / Bureaucratic Politics (BP) Exists when there are multiple actors with inconsistent preferences and identities. ambiguity. Organizational Process (OP) / Limited Problem Solver (LPS) Exists when the decision is guided by a logic of appropriateness – matching problem to actors with procedures for handling it (routine-process focus). hinder opposition’s coalition formation. horse-trade. Direct management of relations via bargaining. match with problem parts. Actors in hierarchical organizational positions. Variant: Bounded rationality and satisficing. stakes / stands. Action = result of political bargaining. so I will not cover it in detail here. Matching identity and SOP’s (solutions) / programs / repertoires to problem. 39 . conducting sequential attention to objectives (localized searches until problems resolved). Management by rules. or playing the game (within its rules). their resources (expertise. the consequences of said options. I just want to highlight how each theory implies certain management strategies. we can see how they compare.Review and Coalition Theory Thus far in the course. and none of whom can go it alone without assistance of others. assesses objectives (goals) with regard to it. Management Strategies Know alternatives and their consequences for the shared goal. lots of information. For the purposes of this part of the chapter. Focus on the players occupying various positions. Objectives – compliance to SOP’s. NA Deadlines and wider array of stakeholders. Action = output close to prior output (path dependence). and select first satisfactory option (good enough). Cue sequential routines that accomplish task or solve problem by routines available (supply issue). or political maneuvering. Dividing up problem. We applied these theories to cases like the Adams Avenue School. Organizational Process. Management by consequences. Improve information and analysis. Key Organizational Elements Technology (how solutions get decided) Maximization of options (solutions). their parochial interests (their conceptions of problems and solutions). Know SOP’s. coordinating / activating organizational actors who have special capacities / SOP’s for parts of problem. and Bureaucratic Politics. Social Structure Formal roles. Improve rules and matching with problems. we have covered three organizational theories: Rational Actor. Participants Unified team or actor Organizational positions Players in positions Goals (what prob’s to resolve) Goals are defined in regard to problem. etc). and who cues them. and the Chicago Public School’s Reform efforts in the 1990’s. what problems they go with (matching). goals/interests. Coalitions – enemy/friend Environment Not salient except as influencing consequences of options.

Lawsuits were filed afterwards against the U. In this chapter. resulting in the resignation of Federal Emergency Management Agency’s director. which hit the city of New Orleans in 2005. hopefully you will form a more concrete sense on how to apply theories to real world cases. As a manager adopting an organizational process approach. Michael Brown. state. Hurricane Katrina (Source http://commons. I also know we have 20-20 vision in hindsight. Figure. Several agencies performed well and were commended – the US Coast Guard and the National Hurricane Center. Governor Blanco and Army Corps of Engineers (Source: http://commons.org/wiki/File:6/67/FEMA_logo. Army Corps of Engineers who designed and built the levee systems that failed.svg. I want you to get used to applying theories as lenses to cases. and then make exchanges to acquire their support. It is pedagogical.wikimedia . You will identify the key players. But the point is not to achieve perfection here. and Bureaucratic Politics As a manager using a rational actor approach. Organizational Process.wikimedia.http://commons.S. and then assign them pieces of the problem they are best suited to address. over 1800 people died. I want to take the example of Hurricane Katrina. With that in mind. and New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Eddie Compass. you will need to know what organizations are involved. Hurricane Katrina was the costliest natural disaster for the United States (estimated at 81 billion dollars in damage) and in its wake. So each theory implies a different sort of managerial strategy.jpg) Figure. and 80% of New Orleans was flooded. You will work relationships and alignments to your advantage. let’s consider a new case and use it as a thought experiment for trying out these managerial styles. you are more of a negotiator.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:thumb/9/90/Hurricane_Katrina_GOES_August_29. You will want to improve the quality of information you receive so you can make a wise decision based on the consequences you expect each option to have. and local governments. 40 . what standard operating procedures they have in place.Review of Management Approaches – Rational Actor.jpg) I know it is an event that has already happened. and there was an investigation into the responses of federal. But it is often hard to acquire adequate amounts of material on a case that reflects the depth of knowledge that leaders and analysts might have on an organizational crisis and decision they are immediately involved with. Your job is to match pieces of the problem to organizations capable of addressing them effectively. With every new example we consider. As a manager adopting a bureaucratic politics approach. you will want to consider alternatives and their consequences. learn their interests. The information we can glean on Katrina from reading online material begins to approach what I think involved participants or experts might have on the ground floor.org/wiki/File:BushVitterBlancoPoint. and there has been a great deal written about it online. President Bush. identify points of leverage and weaknesses so you can successfully bargain with them.

serve/protect all the while. National Guard. delivering needed supplies. evacuate after. others will think 10 or even 100 deaths will not need a response. evacuate before. and the president of the United States. Police. He would think about all the other actors involved (FEMA. Organizations Involved (Source . we know the Na- 41 . In looking to these seemingly peripheral organizations..wikimedia. etc that he can commence and coordinate. Some actors and organizations may think the walls will hold.g.wikimedia. Here we would hope to get National Guard support in evacuating remaining citizens (helicopters). Nagin may have to invoke identity expectations. But will their ability to perform SOP’s remain if they are overwhelmed? What if their homes and families are flooded too? Will they privilege their family identity? (So perhaps having police/fire family protection plans set is a very good idea – as well as drills to prepare fire/police for the worst) Also.et’s role-play and imagine we are mayor Nagin -. FEMA director. We will also need to appeal to the Army Corps of Engineers so as to be ready with equipment to repair any walls after the flooding occurs. After all. as mayor. .gif) That said.org/wiki/File:Hurricane_Katrina_President_Bush_with_New_ Orleans_Mayor. At the other extreme. From a bureaucratic politics perspective. Figure. He has various options to treat the problem – do nothing. Nagin would consider the problems and his goals with relation to them: e. But we know this may not work – actors and organizations have parochial interests.jpg http://commons. people’s lives are at stake and you want to do the best job possible: • Which theory would you use to help you prepare for the hurricane? • Which would you use to help you manage the situation after it hit? Applying the Models to the Case of Hurricane Katrina As a rational actor. etc). nor are they always motivated by consequences. But we know people do not always have the same goal. and drain/rebuild afterwards. As rational actor. Gov.svg/. http://commons.what would we do? After reading this textbook. . Fire Dept. By relating the consequences of various options (or not taking the ones proposed) and identifying how the least cost in life is accomplished.wikimedia.g. we begin to adopt a bureaucratic politics model.the logic of appropriateness! From an organizational process standpoint.org/wiki/File:FEMA_logo. so we need to appeal to other organizational actors who coordinate a wider array of participants and relevant SOP’s– e. he would assume his staff and others are on the same side because they too see the costs or consequences of flooding and lacking a good response – any death toll is too much. Governor Blanco. and maintaining order. we might predict it is likely the city be overwhelmed anyway.wikimedia. He knows police and fire departments will assist there.. he needs to start partitioning the problem up so the appropriate organizations with experience and SOP‘s are assigned to each part – the city has evacuation plans. We might even explain our reasoning via the Rational Actor Model (costs).Therefore. We ask these other actors to commence SOP’s that are under their jurisdiction. Red Cross.http://commons. you might want to put in your toolkit as many theories as it can hold.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_the_Red_Cross. build up the levees better. the storm is coming and will likely flood the city and create problems he can only partially address. they may be so overwhelmed with the flooding that they will act on other instrumental grounds (for example: the National Guard may be flooded themselves!). Army Cops of Engineers.svg http://commons. notions of duty. Nagin might know that some of these SOP’s work better in some neighborhoods (rich) than others (poor) and can allocate more where needed to make it work better.org/wiki/File:National_Guard_emblem. he should be able to get everyone to mobilize and respond in an optimal way.

You know other histories. you are able to allude to other facets of the organization – other actors. prejudicially). They will want you to help them figure out what is going on so they can propose solutions on their own. Hence. If they do. Within organizations. 42 . it will likely fail in implementation. You can also offer another form of explanation – that actors are just following SOP’s and there is a conflict between those emanating from different units of the organization. influences from the environment. and there seems to be a man- ager who is really trying to drive a wedge between everyone. and by placing them as central actors in the decision process they are more likely to adopt some kind of solution and reform that resolves at least some of their issues. They are descriptive and feasibly prescriptive if you so wish. In this manner. you help them better understand what it is they think they are seeing. in a more useful way as well. you have a broader range of experiences. and accounts that are different from your own personal experiences. In short. we can bargain with them. Coalition Theory In the second chapter of the course you got a good sense for how the rational actor perspective and organizational process perspectives differed. Those theories nicely corresponded with March’s notions of decisions by the logic of consequence and decisions by the logic of appropriateness. You can help with that process. etc. Many of you are welcome to consider this case in greater detail and how our theories might apply.” You will hear that and understand that this is a problem with regard to social structure and that the current interpretation is that the conflict is intentional or driven by a particular actor. it is feasible to plan better and improve our management of these recurring problems. you help the client see things in a different way – and most likely. technologies. There is a multitude of information about Hurricane Katrina online. Through the careful study of cases and application of organizational theories. etc. companies. FEMA will not want to look inept or totalitarian. and focus on its core process of exchange and coalition formation. examples. their beliefs. Most every organization seldom wants an outsider to come in and tell them what to do. As an analyst trained in this class. Your training in organizational theories gives you a few useful skills: First. competing goals. What do we bargain? We can offer our public statement that they have worked appropriately and diligently (not neglectfully. It is a case well worth analyzing – and especially since many more hurricane’s will hit the gulf coast and eastern seaboard of the United States in years to come. etc. why would you want to learn these theories and apply them? I see at least three huge benefits – imagine you are called into an organization to help them with a problem. All this is a caricature of course. and the Governor will not want to have her authority circumvented by outside organizations. the Army Corps of Engineers will not want to be blamed for faulty walls. You probably walked away with a less clear understanding of the bureaucratic politics model. By relating that back to them. but hopefully it gets you to think more about how to apply theories to cases. Why Theories Matter? If you were an analyst or manager. Now you probably don’t want to use such academic jargon to relate this to them. The same could be said for earthquakes. tsunamis. tornadoes. our theories offer you ways of organizing and ways of getting coordinated action. you have a systematic way of thinking about an organization and its problems. What’s likely to happen is that the employer brings you into their office and explains their problem: “We have a problem with how the employees relate to each other. Second. This chapter will give a more elaborate depiction of that model. but you can recognize that this is an issue they see as focused on certain aspects of the organization and has one kind of explanatory logic applied to it. or worse.tional Guard will have its own problems if flooded.

There are even organizational coalitions. where a variety of groups (or even distinct religious sects) coalesce around an issue of mutual concern.wikimedia. There is politics and change. the rational actor view assumes people have the same goal and that is seldom the case in reality. throughout this chapter we will draw heavily on the writings by James G March (1962. where different agencies and organizations coordinate their provision of services due to a great deal of overlap. For example. Finally.svg) Examples of Coalitions Let’s start with something simple. A coalition ends up being a temporary alliance into a unified party.you will frequently confront coalitions of interests. and each has certain shortcomings. but it doesn’t last long. Figure: New Zealand Political Parties (source http://commons.org/wiki/File:ChristianPoliticsNZ. and how many of the routines being suggested and enacted have parochial interests behind them.http://commons. Some of the parties find mutual interest and gain from working together. Unfortunately.wikimedia. For example. Therefore. In most instances. Also.png) We have already read some discussions of coalitions in chapter 2 of the course – both March and Allison discuss them in various ways. Instead we have a power-struggle or tenuous coalition that describes the decision process. so they form a coalition – like the “coalition for change” (all the blue’s) or the “coalition of parties for democracy” (most of the rest). and you will come to realize that collective action and organizational reforms are impossible if you do not build and manage a coalition to get things done. Other coalitions can be interest group based. This week we will spend more time elaborating and explaining how coalitions can be managed. there are many political parties as shown in the diagram of circles. in Chile. 43 . we did not discuss thoroughly enough how interests are negotiated and how collective decisions are reached. To this point. To relate this theory. This leads us to an organizational / rule-following view. Another example might be seen in this decent tree of Christian political parties in New Zealand. we have covered three theories. many people are not motivated by the consequences of options. this is the theory of week 3: Coalition theory. 1994: chapter 4) and Kevin Hula (1999) concerning coalition formation. coalitions are social systems led or organized by mutually inconsistent decision-makers (Cyert and March 1963). and rule-following is too static and path dependent to catch it. Figure: Senado de Chile (Source . but this perspective fails to take into account how peripheral organizations can matter.org/wiki/File:Senado_de_Chile. What are some examples of coalitions? The most common ones are political and international coalitions. we have the bureaucratic politics model – and here we see more nitty-gritty politics driving decision coalitions. Here it becomes difficult to see the decision-makers as a team. We will zone in on coalition dynamics and its core process of exchange and negotiation.

This is the central organizing process of Allison’s Bureacratic Politics Model and Hula’s Incentives Theory – or what you and I will just call “coalition depictions. we simply add up the expected utilities weighting those of more important or powerful actors. and the deadlines rushing them to decide.g. and they enter a game of exchange or bargaining according to rules. So the force idea of just extending our pure Rational Actor Model to sets of people does not really apply well. collective choices are produced by voluntary exchanges – e. His focus. To calculate the decision a coalition makes by the force model. power is seen as explaining why they got it. information. There are various factors that shape their preferences and stands – e. then add everyone up – we should have our collective decision. and rule-establishment of external actors like regulative agencies). (3) The process of choice is one where mutually acceptable trades are arranged (within the rules ~Allison’s “bargaining”). the goals of someone in their position. fulfilling their preferences / identity as best they can until no more legal or mutually acceptable trades are possible (this presumes bargaining with no time limit – but Allison and Hula add the reality that we often face time-limits). A force model is an extension of the expected utility calculations we did for individuals last week. bridging roles. and it has sometimes been analyzed and operationalized as a simple force model.. knowledge. Here. except this time we have multiple actors with different preferences (or different values placed on the outcome) and they are given different weight in making decisions. The end decision or organizational action is the result of bargaining across these actors. management (capital).g. Exchange Model A better way to study power-struggles is through exchange models (Emerson 1962). It is also a tautological model and explanation: when people get what they want. property. March 1962. rights. Hula 1999. skills. take our old example of the umbrella and the expected utility of bringing it or not (or even the dating example of asking someone out or not). worker expertise.g. (4) Each actor trades trying to improve their position. But power is not a personal trait (think triads [dependent notions of rank]) and it changes over time. Plus. however. stakes specific to them. The first process – which I want to relate as background. The exchange process as described above is the core of the bureaucratic process model and to coalition formation more generally. Each actor has certain resources or power (things people want). March argues that scholars describe coalitional decisions or coalition formation as following one of two processes (among others). For example. it is hard to measure as one construct everyone agrees upon. March describes coalitions in a nice way that compliments Allison’s Bureaucratic Politics Model and Hula’s notion of coalitions (Allison 1969. is more on the central organizing process of a coalition – the process that creates and sustains a coalition.ownership.. not as something you need to learn – has been called a power-struggle. The problem with this procedure is that power is depicted as a stable personal trait we can actually measure.” The process of exchange is relatively simple: (1) Every actor enters into a voluntary exchange relation regulated by rules (Allison’s “rules of the game”). (2) Participants bring resources to the table (e. As such.Looking back to our table of Allison’s theories and the outline of the Bureaucratic Politics Model. money. access to others. If we calculate that for each of you and then weight your score by the relative power you have.. 1994). we see there are multiple players in different positions. 44 . power can refer to many different things persons acquire. their particular interests. trading and bargaining. etc ~similar to Allison’s notion of “power” – Please also note that Scott [2003] describes these powers or control over resources as resting in various roles and positions in an organization -.

let’s go back to coalitions and explain how they work (keep in mind that exchange is the generative process of a coalition). within the context of a coalition. The third is that people therefore have to make exchanges. Another example of how to manage and win exchanges is to control resources. All we wanted to talk about now is the larger context of multiple exchanges or a larger group. This is what members get in return for joining a coalition. agreements as to what decisions we made by the coalition. However. As a rule-follower you seek coalitions that match your identity and the standards you adhere to. you join the minimal winning coalition so you can reap the most rewards. and build a better mousetrap!” (March 1994: 150) Exchange Process in Coalitions Now that we have a better sense of the exchange process and how to manage and win it. deals. or render their identities (in)compatible with the core interests of the coalition. They are often juxtaposed so they require bargaining. Here. This follows the core process we described above of exchange. Do you have resources others want? Do others have the resources you want? If you depend on others. that exchange is still the generative process of coalition formation. follow the old saying – “get rich. because of all the internal consistencies within the group. we will see all the same features I am relating here were coarsely related there. helped promote them. Robert Caro’s account of Robert Moses in The Power Broker – an unelected bureaucrat who ends up controlling politicians. information. Do you write the laws? Who defines the rules of the game? Take for instance. Second. your ability to fulfill your preferences / identity depends on a few things: The first is your ability to control the rules.How to Manage and Win at Exchange As a participant in exchanges. The third thing is control over preferences and identities. You want to create demand and define others preferences. He does this writing himself into legislative rules and as the person who controls the transit construction budget (arguably the largest chunk of the city budget). And finally. As an instrumental actor. he controlled the election of new officials.Something we will discuss more in the next lecture. coalitions are social systems wherein decisions are made and reforms are pursued within a context of potential conflict. resources are extracted through such coordinated action and distributed to competing coalition members. Through this. Above we described some of the means of controlling exchange which can be extended to controlling a coalition. some important questions follow: Who will be in the coalition? And how are the spoils divided? This can follow both the Logic of Consequence (which seems primary here) and the Logic of Appropriateness. and this is obviously difficult. the objective of members is to form a coalition capable of making decisions favorable to them. So to control exchange. This is obviously difficult because of all the internal inconsistencies. Such leverage puts certain parties at a disadvantage. and he tore up the whole city and made the modern day New York city landscape (Caro 1975). You may need to exchange far more of your unvalued resources for those you really need. However. Here. coalitions entail actors with mixed preferences and identities that do not always align. you want to transform persons wants so others demand the goods you provide. the manager or developer of a coalition is primarily con- 45 . If we look back at the Bureaucratic Politics model. then there arises powerdependence relations. or they depend on you. These four characteristics help us understand the nature of larger coalitions and how the process of exchange sustains them. Keep in mind that. Participants have parochial interest. That means. and symbolic benefits . That has not changed. Hence. most coalitions will require negotiation and bargaining more than anything else. The resources Hula will cite are strategic incentives. It is just that here I have tried to anchor the description more in the process of bargaining or exchange. seize a hostage.

exhibit an odd dynamic. clarity and resolution is not always good for a coalition’s survival.. or when the coalition actually begins to adopt and implements things. to management of information. Second. but it seemed highly salient to those of you wanting to be leaders and social reformers. Building them requires constant bargaining (e. wrangling. the issue is more about selecting a level and type of involvement. For instance. There are variety of things that threaten them. coalitions are a dynamic accomplishment through forms of exchange. For example. much like we discuss in the prior lecture and is similar to Richard Emerson’s notion of social exchange theory (1962). forming alliances. They entail all sorts of wrangling and bargaining. As such. logrolling. They start strong and end weak. So why do other people – aside from the lobbyist . Interactions that Create and Destroy Coalitions What kinds of interactions create coalitions? There are a variety of interactions. members tend to leave a coalition. fall apart in implementation. we will see Hula call these “hanger-ons”). Coalitions. First. Hence. he argues that groups benefit from being able to reference an explicit policy or goal to 46 . It is an exchange of acquiescence. Managers of coalitions really need to focus here! Let’s take a look at “log-rolling. And then finally. not whether they get involved or not. Most social reforms in the United States or any democracy require legislative decisions. persuasion. free riding is less relevant because they have already made the decision to be involved with a cause in some form.Kevin Hula and Lobbying In this part of the chapter we look a little more closely at Kevin Hula’s book on interest group coalitions and their lobbying efforts in the United States Congress (1999). log-rolling. ambiguity is good thing for coalitions (March 1994). etc). when there is a faculty meeting and we have a vote. (Later.cerned with the interaction process by which exchanges are negotiated. You have to over-estimate positive consequences of coordinated action when you are trying to bargain for a coalition. Participants engage in exchange for some benefit. Why lobbying? It is not focused on a single organization or within one. horse trading. bribing. members often exaggerate their support. Coalition brokers then work incentives to get people to participate in different ways so as to effectively accomplish their interest. therefore. they no longer care to continue offering support. and they range from horse-trading. All these weakly aligned people find that once the initial formation is hard. So. But if you violate log-rolling. This often leads to post-decision disappointment and danger of dissolution during implementation. Case . or worse. Hula uses an exchange model. And much of that starts with lobbying and interest group coalitions that succeed in influencing and establishing laws.join a coalition? Let’s look at this more carefully: Hula gives multiple reasons why groups would join an organization. suddenly people will make a stink over something they normally do not care about and that can create issues of trust and all kinds of problems. When the “rubber hits the road”.” What is log-rolling? It is a coalition of individuals largely indifferent to each other’s demands. it begins to fall apart. Maintaining them requires ambiguity and control over resources until implementation is complete. When issues get cleared up or resolved. I agree to not care about a hire in policy research if they do not care about a hire in basic research. And above we list a variety of them. But the point here is that in order to manage a coalition. you need to think about a series of exchange logics that have different kinds of allocations and contingencies to them.g. and making threats. Logrolls are particularly attractive for single-issue participants with weaker feelings on most issues. The dynamic nature of coalitions means they are often under threat. outcome optimism is often needed (recall Allison suggesting one look up/down/sideways and build support?). With lobbyists. and joining associations.

the players wanted a paragraph. Large interdisciplinary research centers seem to 47 . and precedent exists for previously worked out conflicts of interest (“why open that can of worms again”-kind of thing). Now that we have some idea why members join a coalition. By contrast. and a broader coalition’s goal may be useful to their efforts. Most issues get ironed out earlier in a coalition’s formation than later. we can start to ask and explore why members vary in their commitment. joining symbolically can be seen as paying off a debt (reciprocation). Understanding whether a group joins a coalition for strategic reasons or selective benefits helps determine whether it will become a 'core member.' a 'specialist/player. that deal with new issues. I have been studying how research center’s and new academic departments get created here at Stanford. it helps to get on committees that make decisions. reputation. and a symbiotic relationship was formed. you can shape its agenda and platform. imagine coauthoring. Therefore. and commitments to the coalition. their narrow focus may turn others off. powerful actor invests most into the coalition. First. in the Hula text. Notably this model of coalitions ends in an almost Hobbesian view – only the most central. CEF is a coalition with a broad goal. money. Many organizations see something as important and join to show that. Finally. Moreover.' or a 'peripheral. he discusses CEF (committee for education funding). They bring few resources. and I see many of these distinctions. The in- centives a particular group responds to in joining the coalition will strongly influence the ultimate role the group will play in the coalition structure. By subsuming a more particularistic goal under that of an umbrella goal. This is especially of value to smaller groups with small staffs. so they often bring expertise on a specific issue as their political capital (piggy-back effort). specific programs). Members want to know of any future threats to their perceived interests. They have the least interest. and know the latest about bills being proposed on Capital Hill (in congress). by joining a coalition early. It serves higher ups in the organization who are more concerned with company affairs. they can strive toward the larger one partially accomplishing their narrower aims. Information is a selective benefit of membership – it fits parochial interests.) Let’s look at the types of members and how Hula describes their level of interest. And they commit to the coalition more than other members. and many of the member group’s parochial interests can be subsumed under it and listed (e. and the tag-alongs wanted a picture for their newsletter. For example. They bring to the coalition a high level of time. Core members view the issue as very important and are interested in a broad range of issues on it. Some kind of symbolic benefit of membership comes from it. goals. Showing something is an important issue is not the same as making it one. expertise and membership. Therefore. Each lobbyist defined his or her essential interest. etc.g.which they and others agree on and can say they are for or against. let’s look at the core members in the first column (or Founders). while other less powerful actors invest much less (king and citizens in Leviathan). setting an example. but you are the 5th author who does not do as much. the players (or specialists). care about their specific goals and attempt issuehoning. but they are willing to let others use their name. Second. You can claim responsibility and rewards from that collaboration or coalition. but they do not have the resources to devote core membership activities to it. resources. there are symbolic benefits. Then there are the tag-along’s. Plus – it looks good to say you were involved and busy. they stay on with the coalition. The usually bring enough resources to get a seat at the negotiating table.. The core players are interested in getting the bill passed. And you can also claim credit when something goes well . and their goal is to acquire coalition byproducts. In-so-long as their specific issue is at stake. tag-along member' of that coalition. Their goal is an overall strategic victory on the issue. (Peripheral groups aren’t free riding because all groups have entered into a transaction and the other participants have agreed to the legitimacy of the exchange. So reasons for existing are reinforced. For example.

g. the center can invite them to be an affiliate. and they even lend their expertise on issues related to that. You do not want to mobilize any opposition. In some cases. Interestingly. However. But in building the center. but they have related projects. like targeting their specialists and tag-alongs). Who would be interested? Second. and use their name. however. they join and lend their name and reputation. Because of this. It is feasible one can view this variation in commitment in another. First. a former employer might be a better connection than a former employee – up-chain con- 48 . they give the impression of a larger. . core members want nothing less than the stag and players will jump for the rabbit if they can. I try and encourage the methodologists and computer scientists (or specialists) to send of papers to conference proceedings and methodology journals. and recognition by colleagues (all by-products). Consider related issues. Nevertheless. an school newspaper article on their work.” In the coalition. etc. Now the concern is going outward and managing this larger. levels of interest and commitment to the coalition. So given all this how do you develop and manage a coalition? Earlier. or used. respectable. Asymmetries are allowed at different levels because different exchanges are had. many of whom only have a specific interest. Because of this. Leaders must be able to welcome tag-alongs and differentiate real players willing to go the distance. 49) – the 1994 passage of the California bill aimed at illegal aliens. For example. but they do not attend all the events. Trust was hard to establish when there was little commitment to the coalition. and only garner support. but they join to get selective benefits of information and symbolic clout. and they invest all they have into the effort. collective effort.and keep in mind a friend of a friend is a friend. The danger for tagalong’s is that they might feel betrayed in the end. I have to point at “rabbits” along the way. I talked about managing exchange. For example. They won’t commit much energy to it. thereby enacting a revolt. Keep in mind that staff members have histories and inter-group linkages you can draw upon.. Here. Tag-along’s are the third group in the woods – discount hunters along for the beer and company. Tag-along’s are of course the least committed to a coalition. Hence. What do these commitments mean for the maintenance of a coalition? Hula uses this nice Rousseau quote to articulate this concern on page 43 (1999): “when hunting. like performing a particular research project that relies on expertise of some subset of faculty in the center. Our larger research question is not methodological. etc. this can result in some minor research funds going their way. Opponents can target less committed individuals and pick off members of a coalition – you can show them alternative legislation where their issue is subsumed (amendments!).have core members hell-bent on addressing an broad goal and specific issues regarding it. they need to draw in other adherents. but even more so as a variety of goals and tasks must be accomplished – from establishing a program to establishing funding of faculty positions. more Machiavellian way. nor do they work hard at forging the larger research community. you want to think about and identify all the interested actors / organizations in the environment. ask yourself why they would be interested and whose side they would be on. So members can have different goals. This occurs in Hula’s case of proposition 187 (pp. a similar process arises when forging a new department. But these members seldom attend or do much of anything to promote the community. a coalition manager needs to make sure the broader goal is the route to an occasional rabbit. and the foe of a foe may also be a friend. those pursuing a rabbit will not share. And then there are the tag-alongs or ‘affiliates’ who are tangential to the center and not dependent on it for much of anything. These can be effective conduits for coordination. you may want to consider possible responses to oppositions (e. as the manager of this loose coalition. those pursuing a deer will be willing to share. but many of these specialists hope the collaboration on a new topic will help them innovate their methods along the way.Friend or foe kind of stuff . fleeting group of exchanges and their alignments in some kind of consistent way that meets your (core’s) interest. when I run a large research project focused on a larger issue.

and ambiguous. the basic rule in coalitions is one of immediate usage of ties as their cache is now. exaggerated. Nonetheless. and their relationships can serve as points of action and information collection (or “receptacles”). You can negotiate and work the coalition into the shape you need. so long-term coalitions are relied upon more heavily. Some people even belong to multiple coalitions. alliances and options. log-roll and so on. Use them as well for information. Now that you know interests. there are fewer links and developed networks. From this a history and wealth of contacts develops -. Last. With more linkages. as our earlier discussion made clear – work exchange. you need not develop lasting coalitions because you always have access to new members and their resources.nections are likely better than down-chain ones.they can efficiently identify potential partners and adversaries. 49 . Commitment is fleeting. by bargaining and negotiating. you can begin to horse-trade. In the field of education.

Exists when the decision is guided by a logic of appropriateness – matching problem to actors with procedures for handling it (routine-process focus). Management Strategies Know SOP’s. hierarchical. Action = Maximization of means to ends. the consequences of said options. and who cues them. and bargaining processes between them that establish agreements / coalitions. Objectives – compliance to SOP’s. Variant: Bounded rationality and satisficing. Organizational Process (OP) / Limited Problem Solver (LPS) Maximization of options (solutions). Learn others’ interests / weaknesses so you know how to manipulate and win. Exists when there are multiple actors with inconsistent preferences and identities. Action = result of political bargaining. identifies options. people) and stakes in game. what problems they go with (matching). stakes / stands. assesses objectives (goals) with regard to it. or political maneuvering. Coalitions – enemy/friend Parochial priorities. Direct management of relations via bargaining. and none of whom can go it alone without assistance of others. Management by consequences. Improve information and analysis. and then chooses option that minimizes costs. cueing of SOP’s appropriate to problem. their resources (expertise. Action = output close to prior output (path dependence). Unitary actor or team that confronts a problem. Coalitions / Bureaucratic Politics (BP) . etc). conducting sequential attention to objectives (localized searches until problems resolved). Formal roles. Recognize imperfect info. Not salient except as influencing consequences of options. horse-trade. Cue sequential routines that accomplish task or solve problem by routines available (supply issue). ambiguity. Improve rules and matching with problems. and clear goals (and time calculate).50 Exists when there is a unified actor with consistent preferences. Focus on the players occupying various positions. lots of information. money. their parochial interests (their conceptions of problems and solutions). Players in positions Bargaining. match with problem parts. Organizational positions Unified team or actor Goals are defined in regard to problem. NA Actors in hierarchical organizational positions. goals/interests. Deadlines and wider array of stakeholders. and select wisely. Dividing up problem. and select first satisfactory option (good enough). coordinating / activating organizational actors who have special capacities / SOP’s for parts of problem. hinder opposition’s coalition formation. Know alternatives and their consequences for the shared goal. Dominant Pattern of Inference Environment Goals (what probs to resolve) Social Structure Technology (how solutions get decided) Participants Key Organizational Elements Summary or Basic Argument When does it apply? Rational Actor (RA) Summary Table of Three Theories to Date: Bargain with players (log-roll. Action guided by processes / available routines. or playing the game (within its rules). Management by rules. Matching identity and SOP’s (solutions) / programs / repertoires to problem.

51 . Lobbying Together: Interest Group Coalitions in Legislative Politics. pp. “Goals.References Allison. 3-7. and Control”. Natural and Open Systems. 1963 [1992]. 122-135]). 1962. 93-107. Cyert. NJ: Prentice-Hall. Washington D. James G. 1962. Hula.1-77. March. 7.: Georgetown University Press (chapters 1-5. NY: The Free Press." American Sociological Review 27:31-40. 1969. Richard. Pp. Vintage Press. March. 5th Edition. “Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Emerson." Journal of Politics 24: 662678. 1999. Ch. 33. 3:689-718 – review 3rd model from last time. 2003 (5th ed). 291-324) of Organizations: Rational. Robert. "Power-Dependence Relations. Scott. A Behavioral Theory of the Firm. James G. March. Englewood Cliffs.” The American Political Science Review 63. 139-174. The Power Broker (especially ch. Graham T.C. Richard and James G. Kevin W. "The Business Firm as a Political Coalition. Prentice-Hall. and 9 [pp. A Primer on Decision Making: How Decisions Happen. Richard. Chapter 11 (pp. Chapter 4. 1994. Caro. 1975. 703-754). Power.

fi/pmg/viewer/images/photo_2801526484_6f0480b4a2_t.jpg) .4 Organized Anarchy (Source: http://nopsa.hiit.

or what some call a “garbage can theory’ of organizations. problem of achievement for businesses). Some groups even back-tracked on prior deals when they saw a better solution and coalition emerge. problem of equity for African Americans. opportunities. for example. the bargaining was in connecting solutions and problems in a way that convinced other groups. some of them have a hard time coming up with their group’s platform and identity (what’s the platform of lower income parents in Milwaukee?). more funding. situations. During the week on coalition theory. Many students felt the ordering of pair-wise meetings greatly affected which bargains arose and which were dropped. Every year. But a lot of what they experience goes beyond what coalition and exchange theories of organizing capture. Most organizational theories underestimate the confusion and complexity surrounding actual decision-making. Each group tried to make a case for why another group’s problems could be addressed by their solution. Almost all of the groups thought in terms of an identity and what that entailed. March and Olsen (1972). and throughout this chapter we will draw heavily on their conceptualization (March 1994: Chapter 5). technologies (or tasks) are uncertain and poorly understood. Many things happen at once. while others mentioned several problems (educators). Then every group has a pair-wise encounter with each other where they can apply a variety of exchange techniques so as to try and forge a dominant coalition behind certain solutions like universal vouchers. As such. problem of choice for Republicans. people. problems. Some groups brought up problems that fit their interests (e. Also. Organized Anarchy .. magnet schools. Some of the students got up and went to the restroom and their voice was lost in pushing for certain problems and solutions. Garbage Can Model A lot of what I have described pertains to an organized anarchy view of organizational decision-making. Instead.g.g. solutions. the solutions were matched with multiple problems and those connections were negotiated. Groups created additional solutions to those arising in the Milwaukee case (e.. targeted vouchers. I ask students in my classroom to assume the role of different organizations that have a contradictory stake in an issue like that of the Milwaukee Voucher Program (Quinn and McFarland 2006). Some pairs of groups took longer to finish their exchange and were rushed to make a deal before their time was up and that seemed to affect decision outcomes. or what some organizational theorists call “the Garbage Can Model”. ideas. class size reduction or do nothing. sliding scale Vouchers). There is a far more chaotic and dynamic quality to their discussions and decisions that seemed more consistent with an organized anarchy model. the student groups do a great job of playing to their organization’s parochial interests and manipulating other organizations into joining some sort of collective resolution. Problems seemed to be brought up in a much more dynamic and contingent manner.Organized Anarchy Model This chapter introduces you to the basic features of decision making in organized anarchies.Introduction What do I mean that the decision process resembled an organized anarchy? Well. The same occurred for solutions. The debates and decisions also followed a temporal dynamic. Some solutions they never took up (do nothing). None of the solutions and problems seemed to arrive as set pairs. some of the group’s proposed solutions changed over the course of bargaining – some initially proposed universal vouchers only to promote targeted vouchers in the end. This theory was proposed by Cohen. preferences and identities change and are indeterminate. and outcomes are mixed together in ways that make their interpretation un- 53 . And they also thought about other’s identities and interests when trying to manipulate the situation in their favor. And then they presented the problems in different orders.

multi-goal soccer field on which individuals play soccer. sloped. while they are in the game. The slope of the field produces a bias in how the balls fall and what goals are reached. They require a means through which irrelevant problems and participants can be encouraged to seek alternative ways of expressing themselves so that decision makers can do their jobs. Here. Given this chaos. and that allow people to understand to which of many competing claims on their attention they should respond. give them a variety of experiences. but the course of a specific decision and the actual outcomes are not easily anticipated. 264). He describes the university as a prototypical organized anarchy – and especially the faculty groups like departments and the academic senate. They should also be able to “keep people busy. provide pretexts of storytelling. That is kind of an interesting. and decision makers looking for work (1972:2. Taken in broad perspective. causality. and decision makers wander in and out of decision arenas saying one thing and doing another. p. detailed.” One can view a choice opportunity (or meeting with decisions) as a “garbage can” into which various kinds of problems and solutions are dumped by participants as they are generated. “an organization is a collection of choices looking for problems. the story of decision-making moves away from conceptions of order concerning reality. decisions are seen as vehicles for constructing meaningful interpretations of fundamentally confusing worlds (logic of appropriateness!). as we increase the complexity of decision situations so they more closely reflect reality. So here we have this understanding that organized anarchies are a context for meaning making not consequence generators. occasionally entertain them. In Garbage Can Theory. 276). keep them off the streets. policies often go unimplemented. decisions at one time and place have loose relevance to others. Hence. but meaningmaking ones… (439): Organized anarchies need structures and processes that symbolically reinforce their espoused values. Ambiguity and Choice in Organizations. Italicized text added). March. Some people can throw balls into the game or remove them. aspect of organized anarchies . and Olsen (1972) describe organized anarchy in a relatively simple model that describes the more chaotic reality of organizational decision-making. Organizational decision making often looks like a mess! With ambiguity.certain and connections unclear. is there any way to theorize so as to get beyond interpretive. contextualized accounts? Cohen. and allow socializing” (Weick’s The Social Pyschology of Organizing. Individuals. and usually normatively reassuring (March and Olsen 1976. solutions have only modest connection to problems. What is an example of an organized anarchy? Robert Birnbaum uses GCT to describe the American college or university. solutions looking for issues (problems) to which they might be the answer. they may look rather obvious.that we need these contexts within organizations so that we feel like we have reasons and identities for be- 54 . Many different people (but not everyone) can join the game (or leave it) at different times. that provide opportunities for individuals to assert and confirm their status. After the fact. they become meaning generators instead of consequence generators. issues and feelings (problems) looking for decision situations (choice arenas) in which they might be aired. p. not as outcomes produced by a comprehensible environment. Garbage Can Theory (or GCT. He views them as not decision-making organizations. as I will be referring to it) suggests the following possible metaphor for decision making within an organization: Consider a round. try to kick whatever ball comes near them in the direction of goals they like and away from goals that they wish to avoid. and intentionality to conceptions of meaning.

Meetings come and go on their own schedule. subject to chance. and participants come and go for other reasons (e. programs. all solutions [old and new]. and so on where the opportunity and capacity to make a choice are possible. Each stream flows relatively independent of the other. and choices coincide. These do not need to be real problems or even the most important ones. national and international exam reports. These choice opportunities and policy windows can be seen as “garbage cans. teachers come and go with tenure or leave the profession altogether). Imagine three continual streams of “trash” flowing through each “can. waiting for a problem that suits it some day.. bills. and participants. faculty senates. These can be meetings. s2. Second. organizations make choices by attaching solutions to problems. see Kingdon 2003). p3 ~ Kingdon’s “problems”). problematic preferences and inconsistent identities. solutions. Many of these features also seem to be interrelated in the process of choice.. school boards turn over. character education and heterogeneous groupwork).” It is all chaos in the garbage can. and problems are attached to choices by participants who happen to have the time and energy to see them through.g. solutions. How do we know one when we see one? What qualities do they have? The most common things people reference are. It is unclear what the consequences are for each proposed solution or alternative. problems get generated in public opinion (e. timing. A decision situation (or choice opportunity / arena) is like a garbage can into which various kinds of problems and solutions are dumped by participants who attend the meeting. (4) There are quasi-independent streams of problems.. s3 ~Kingdon’s “policies”). There is participant turnover. That is.g. organized anarchies entail (2) distinct flows. In short. a3 ~Kingdon’s “participants” and as 55 . p2. participants and choice opportunities. They can lead or lag problems. some form of organized anarchy is likely occurring. many of which may not be consequential.ing there and for addressing all kinds of concerns. Within organized anarchies people come and go. problems seem to be noticed and related in ways independent of the persons present or the possible solutions. Within organized anarchies it is unclear which problems mater and which do not. (2) Unclear technology. Garbage Can Theory is about the social construction of meaning attached to a choice. educational crises like school shootings. etc). The places we see organized anarchy are meetings (faculty meetings) and those kind of settings. and participants enter and exit depending on theirs. That is. and who happens to be on the scene. a2.. decisions happen when problems. Now that we have some sense of where organizational anarchy resides. but order is in the larger flows and their confluences.. let’s look more carefully at their particular features. solutions are constantly generated by academics and vetted even when their problem is not recognized yet (e. and solutions are attached to problems. Take for example. The third stream is one of participants or actors (a1. And they don’t need to pertain to any existent problem. we can begin to identify their characteristics. committees. (1) Ill-defined goals. First. These pertain to ideas. participants.” The meaning of a choice derives from how the “trash” is organized within a can . (3) There is fluid participation. Now that we have a general sense of organized anarchies. standard operating procedures that are revisited and even changed. The timing is right. it is unclear how to solve problems because the proposed solutions lack evidence. and and the kind of general world it is. solutions. Let’s look at each of these streams in turn: The first stream is one of issues or problems (p1. The second stream is one of solutions (s1. they entail (1) Choice opportunities (~what John Kingdon calls “policy windows”.g. In such a meeting. When these qualities arise in a choice arena.or the mix of problems. They need to be perceived as such by the participants in the choice arena. and solutions seem to hang around.

This can arise in two ways. people make choices and select solutions before problems reach the meeting. while unimportant issues are addressed by the rank and file employees. Here a choice is made and the problem is resolved. people wait for the problem to go away in order to pick a solution. Hence. For example. while journal costs might be brought up in the library committee. in these cases you will see later. the original problem may move to another choice arena (like another meeting or department). or meeting. no decision gets made. Here. but they mean little until a choice opportunity arises. This increases conflicts and time devoted to problems – you get greater anarchy! Another structure entails hierarchical access. Of course. the case we are most interested in as managers of organized anarchies is when a problem actually gets resolved: these are instances where problems are brought up in a choice opportunity or meeting. The second means by which an adopted solution fails to affix to a problem is by Flight: Here problems are affixed to choice opportunities for a while and exceed the energy of the decision makers attuned to them. Therefore. the right confluence of flows may not arise. engineers with technology concerns). important actors. The right problem and solutions enter.. So. “politics”). in my school. All too often.g. big decisions may occur in executive meetings. people table a decision or send it off into a subcommittee. and people are allowed to enter. In these instances. and solution can enter or not. but it also allows problems. The first is by Oversight: sometimes choice opportunities arrive and no problems are attached to them. In the government arena. solutions and participants to interfere with each other. 1972:5-7) 56 . politics determines what actors show up. In both of these instances. but all the wrong participants are there and the decision lacks energy and momentum. In many cases. The diagram below shows the differing access structures for participants. Figure: Access Structures (Adapted from Cohen et al. the problems do not get attached to a solution. The loosest structure allows for unrestricted access. On many occasion. In these instances. This occurs when special problems and solutions have access to certain meetings.stream. the opportunity just is not there. and this creates more energy. One idea after another is shot down and thrown away. has different access rules. Even if a decision is good for a congressperson’s constituents. every choice arena has an access structure or social boundary of sorts that influences which persons. solutions. etc. the costs students incur when printing their papers on school printers may be an issue that goes to the school’s technology committee. For example. and the decision makers attending that meeting bring enough energy/ability to meet the demands of the problems. All the problems. And even if there is a meeting. In other instances. the solutions adopted do not address a problem. choice opportunity. most people lack access to it. So there are these three streams. they may pass up on the meeting due to political concerns). Later. we will show you such a case where the school board and the administrators of a district cannot attend meetings about a desegregation court order and its implementation because they must focus on other concerns like a teacher strike. there is specialized access. Each garbage can. what interests are represented. problems. This is why timing and finding the right moment matters so much! Now the outcome of choice arenas can vary. Why might this happen? It can happen if all problems are attached to other choice arenas. In particular. There is no meeting. problems and solutions are given priority access. Finally. you can hold a meeting and no one can agree on a problem or solution. certain specialists have access to certain choices that fit their expertise (e.

but the actors never see the endowment decline being solved by increasing enrollments. Which actors or participants attend? Let’s say it is an executive committee meeting where access is hierarchical. And finally we have various solutions: s1 could be a solution concerning minority recruitment. Another problem could be the need for additional money or resources (p2) and whether the school has enough grant money to function well. tenure cycles. p5 is ultimately unconnected to a solution. (v)p1 through p5 could have affixed to s1. solutions. Hopefully you now see how these streams collide in the garbage can. or even a research center losing staff (p4). decision by “problem resolution”). Let’s take the example of a faculty meeting again and work through the features I have mentioned and see what they look like. thereby imposing a deadline. To this point. so it might be relevant (p1). I think this will afford you a more concrete sense of what the concepts mean and how to see and apply them in various cases of organizational decision making on your own (or rather.. and how their ordering and deadlines matter. and so on. For example. So those are our potential problems swirling in the environment. Or rather. So the faculty who attend agree that the problem of not enough resources can be solved by increasing MA enrollments – thereby increasing the funds gotten via tuition. If it had been picked without connection to a problem. Deadlines characterize temporal boundaries and the timing of decision arenas and what flows enter them. Now all of them might not enter the choice arena. 57 . (iii) p5 is also linked when they discuss p2. There can also be constraints on the arrival of solution. there are seasonal problems like the flu or cold weather. Other problems might concern a student advising issue (p3). or concerns about the university endowment and how it lost 1/3 its value in the recession (p5). and therefore only the dean and associate dean can enter (a1-2). So the deadline affected its discussion. a1. such as the meetings dictated by yearly budget cycles and student admissions. (iv) And then p3 and p4 is never even brought up before the meeting ends. and participants (decision-makers). There are even deadline constraints on choice opportunities or meetings. And there are constraints on the arrival of participants. school years. Let’s begin with some of the problems that might flow in an academic environment. I have covered a lot of concepts in a short amount of time. So that is the choice decision that occurs. (ii) p2 on the other hand connects. One problem might concern space usage – we have more people than we have space at Stanford.Another constraint influencing access to choice arenas are deadlines. then we would say it was decided on via “oversight”. such as that defined by the timing of work days. but no actors latched onto it. s3 might be a new tenure policy. So let’s think about this diagram and what we see: (i) Let’s look at p1. They get enough energy to be decided upon (i. and the meeting agenda might have a certain order and have a finite timeframe of 1 hour. a2. The blue circle is the choice arena or faculty meeting. A plan for minority recruitment could then be regarded as having underwhelming support. “meaning-making” where a decision might not get made!). it is linked to s1.e. Here there can be constraints on the arrival times of problems. and s4 might be an idea to find new donors for the school. The figure on the next page captures this space. So it is another decision by “flight”. such as when we propose and implement 1 or 5 year plans. Decisions arise from the interaction of constraints (access structures and deadlines) and the time-dependent flows of problems (or issues). It does not really seem to go anywhere and not decided on before a solution enters (decision by “flight”!). All of this compounds and characterizes decisions in organized anarchies. s2 could be a plan to increase master’s student enrollments.

Problems Participants (who attends) (space needs) p1 a1 (dean) ($ needed) p2 p1 (ctr decline) p4 (endowment!) p5 a2 (assoc dean) a1 (std advising) p3 p2 a2 p5 s2 a3 (fac memb1) a4 (fac memb2) s1 (minority recruitment) s1 (increase MA enrollment) s2 (new tenure policy) s3 s1 s2 s3 s4 Solutions (plan to find new donors) s4 Decision Situation Managing Organized Anarchy With all this in mind. uncoordinated action. In a way. how do we approach it? Several types of reactions can emerge. and then pressing the case is how you’d approach it. the manager can view temporal sorting as a way to organize attention. and confusion. you can try and be a Reformer: eliminate garbage can elements from decisions. Reformers create greater “systematicity. the manager needs to realize the planning is largely symbolic and an excuse for interaction. rationalize. First. etc.. If we see an organization that resembles a garbage can. and control.” order. you can be an Enthusiast: here you try to discover a new vision of decision making within garbage can processes. we come to the question of how to manage organized anarchies. It’s ok not to 58 . Here. Recognizing who is present. fix streams and access. Oppositely. The order can indicate what is more of a concern for collective discussion. The arena is more for sense-making and getting observations than making decisions. Last the enthusiast would see advantages in flexible implementation. An enthusiast will focus on the flows of problems and solutions and regard them as a matching market where energies and connections are mobilized. and sensemaking. It is a way to make people feel like they belong and to learn about views and identities. This is sort of what March & Birnbaum argue people should do in choice arenas like the faculty senate. where links / time and energy are sufficient. this is what Daley and Vallas did in the Chicago public school case – centralize. Also.

and elaborate further. I find it especially helpful because it renders pathologies of choice theoretically consistent. extend. It fits the policygovernment world. real choice arenas are messy and this theory embraces that mess and affords us a framework for making sense of it. and it concerns San Francisco Unified School District’s desegregation plan adopted in the 1970s. and most any distributed. research and development groups. In this way you open up time for the issues you are concerned with. desegregation court cases emerge in the Southern United States and later 59 . I want to discuss John Kingdon’s book “Agendas. Understanding how these arenas operate afford you different levers to try and hopefully the ones related here give you a sense of how to start. The San Francisco Unified School District The case I want to discuss first was written up by Stephen Weiner. All too often. I understand many of you will not be familiar with some of the particular cases I am relating. overload the system to protect your interests: bring up other problems and solutions. slowing the process and making it more complex. I want to show you how that case can be elaborated using the garbage can framework laid out in the last lecture. Be sensitive to shifting interests and involvement of participants.” Kingdon writes a nice summary of Garbage Can Theory and its application to the policy world and how legislative agenda setting is performed. Just view the ones I relate here as models and caricatures that you can apply. Here you can time the arrival of solutions knowing attention is scarce. This last case concerns an federal act to reform the American primary education system. Put last the ones everyone knows need to be passed but you do not want discussed so you can rush the decision. Following that. You can be opportunistic and when certain people are not there.decide at times. If an agenda arises that does not suit your interests. press on issues and solutions you care about that they would oppose if they were present. In sum. crisis management situations. you will see greater relevance and form a more concrete understanding for how this theory can be applied. I have three examples I want to discuss. Here is the general story: In the 1960’s SFUSD experiences white flight. and to make choice arenas into a space of meaning-making. Or. At same time. using materials most people can find online. Hopefully with each example. Last. move on. The point of the examples is to get you thinking as an analyst and manager by applying theory to cases. Alternatives and Public Policies. Examples of Organized Anarchy We will now cover a series of examples and applications of organized anarchy. I find garbage can theory especially helpful in explaining all sorts of meetings where there are ecologies of choice and where problems and solutions are fluidly discussed. Last. It might be a good exercise for many of you to try applying these theories to cases of your own choosing. you can set the meeting agenda and work the order of issues – put ones you want discussed up front. so I will try to afford a bit of overview and summary so you get their gist. I will discuss the recent case of Title V in the No Child Left Behind Act. The first concerns the case of San Francisco Unified School District’s effort to undergo desegregation in the 70’s as told by Stephen Weiner. where the white middle class families start leaving public schools. It is a great read that I hope all of you will experience. I hope you find the organized anarchy model useful. you can provide other choice opportunities (other meetings) to attract decision makers and problems away from choices that interest you. I recount this briefly. you have options on how you want to confront organized anarchy situations. you can be a Pragmatist and try to use garbage can processes to further your agenda (idea being that organized anarchies are susceptible to exploitation). Otherwise. decentralized social system trying to deal with issues. As such. you can abandon initiatives that are entangled with others – if streams get tangled and the opposition is present.

Certified Staff Committee. SFUSD appoints one staff member and 3 committees: Staff Committee. SFUSD develops a desegregation plan that is immediately rejected in committee due to cross-town busing fears. Instead. The third committee has the most energy and committed members to this cause. but few connected with energy Choice Arena for Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) Deadline! arise in more Northern and Western states. In the meantime. They fear such a plan would be hard to manage and would be unwanted by the district’s stakeholders. respects comm / less deseg) Solutions that enter (s1-24) Solutions (s1-24) Many solutions were proposed and discussed. In 1970 the NAACP files a suit demanding all 102 elementary schools within SFUSD be included in the desegregation plan. The US district judge would not rule until the Supreme Court ruled (arguing SFUSD made a small effort with 2 schools and therefore showed good faith). So it is a case of partial decisions and little or nothing happening – a pretty common occurrence when it comes to policy and school district reforms! Can GCT apply here and help us understand the process of relative indecision? 60 . a citizens committee forms and develops a desegregation plan for only 2 elementary schools. No action is taken by SFUSD during this period and the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) warns the district it is too segregated.Participants (a1-6) Problems (p1-10) Problems that never enter but draw SFUSD to other arenas… p7 – Tch-Std Boycott p8 – LatAmerOrg Sues p9 – Financial Probs p10 – Teacher Strike Actors that never make it into the choice arena: a4 – SFUSD consultants & admin a5 – working minorities a6 – working men Problems that enter arena: p1 – Integrity of comm schl p2 – Bilingual ed p3 – Busing ! white flight p4 – SES integration p5 – Deseg 2ndary p6 – Deseg primary s1 – Tristar (3 zones bussing / more deseg) Actors that enter arena: a1 – community int grps a2 – fed consultants a3 – CAC (MC-WF) s2 – Horseshoe (7 zones. the judge advises SFUSD to devise a desegregation plan. and Citizens Advisory Council (CAC). In 1971 the US Supreme Court rules SFUSD must desegregate its elementary schools and must devise a plan in 2 months.

Let’s identify the problems mentioned in the case as related by Steve Weiner. different committees form and dissolve. Only the threat of a lawsuit creates a choice opportunity! So the case of SFUSD has many qualities that suggest it is a case of organized anarchy. the participants were not sure what integration should look like.. Many are quite severe and draw necessary attention and resources.JPG) p5 . Moreover. At the outset. the 61 .Bilingual education needed p3 . All the schools need to have a racial compositions within 15% of the district average.org/wiki/File:Beverly_Hills_Board_of_Education. Because meeting times are scheduled during the day. there is a tight deadline and the participants in this case keep changing – judges turnover. Teacher strike (not SFUSD) (source .Lawsuit filed by Latin-American organization (demand for bilingual education) p9 . The figure on the prior page identifies the problems. there is an unclear solution and an unclear technology or means of bringing it about.Financial problems are apparent with teacher contract disputes p10 .wikimedia.Keeping integrity of school complexes p2 .Teachers and students boycott schools in disrepair (budget woes) p8 . A variety of participants are also involved. They eventually adopt a state standard that is very strong. First. solutions.Bussing disliked by whites (white flight) p4 . since it is the arena in which a decision is ultimately made.SES integration wanted Figure. The focal arena is the Community Advisory Committee. A bunch of problems enter the CAC choice arena and are interrelated by participants: p1 .Teacher’s go on strike So while the courts demand SFUSD go through desegregation. School Board Meeting (not SFUSD) (source http://commons.Desegregate elementary schools (the key problem!!) Other problems arise but they are not taken up in the CAC: p7 . The key problem for this arena is that of desegregating the elementary schools – p6. a1 – Community interest groups a2 – Federal consultants a3 – CAC a4 – SFUSD consultants and administrators a5 – working minorities a6 – working men Of these groups.org/wiki/File:London_Cuts-Demo_5704. it is ambiguous as to what desegregation means.http://commons. the federal consultants are outsiders with little understanding of constituent concerns and who cannot always attend.Figure. but only some of them enter the choice arena that takes up the problem of desegregation.jpg) In many regards this is an instance of organized anarchy. The problems and preferences for desegregation are unclear and it is ambiguous how to accomplish desegregation. etc.wikimedia. How does one know desegregation has been accomplished? In effect. and actors involved with SFUSD desegregation. they are contending with a variety of other issues and problems.Desegregating secondary schools p6 .

the CAC is composed of mostly white. The deadline of the court decision pushed prevented other problems and participants from fully Kingdon and What Becomes Part of the Government’s Agenda. Here are a few: s1—s24 Twenty-four solutions developed and narrowed down to two. Their attention and energy is on p1 – sustaining the integrity of community schools and this is related to p3 – how busing might lead to white flight.flickr.most active CAC members tend to be white middle class women (stay at home moms).Tristar (3-zone plan written by technocrats) s2 . the tristar plan as the best because it most fully addresses the desegregation order. but they do not connect the solution to the problems other participants find salient in the choice arena. And finally. middle class females. Figure. By contrast the federal consultants see s1. If we put it all together we begin to see what happens in the CAC arena. these participants raise and discuss a variety of solutions: twentyfour of them to be exact (too many to list). In the arena. In a way the diagram sums up the decisions that arose and how the deadline affected the outcome. while other actors just cannot make the meeting times (a5 and a6).com/photos/brad_holt) 62 . while working men and minorities are unable to attend due to their day jobs (less energy to devote it). the SFUSD consultants and administrators are drawn away by other problems that do not enter the choice arena for desegregation (a4 attend to p7-p10). At the actual meetings. They see s2 – the horseshoe plan as partially addressing the desegregation order (p6) as well as the problem of sustain community schools (p1).http://www. Only a1-3 attend the meetings. United States Capital Building‘ (Source . s1 . Certain actors get pulled away (a4) to other problems arising in other choice arenas.Horseshoe (7-zone plan – less drastic) What is not considered is the solution of simple cross-town busing.

g. labor. Here.. Second. we ask is there unclear technology? Kingdon says how the government attempts to solve problems is often unclear. Kingdon and Government Policy Let’s next turn to the Kingdon text (2003). He does so by first asking who are the participants? -.C. First. plus the cabinet. • • • • Academics and other researchers Media Voters General public/constituents So you have all kinds of other actors and participants that can affect the legislative process and they turnover somewhat rather variably. ill-defined)? And here. We have an initial origin and if we follow that origin. D. There is not a clearly defined way to desegregate schools. He does this in his focus on American health and transportation policies that arose during 1976-1980 presidency of Jimmy Carter. Next – what is the process of policy formation? In what ways can we consider how a policy originates and develops? Here. is it a context of problematic preferences (inconsistent. An idea’s time comes via a process of organized anarchy. Rather than starting from scratch. but they do not describe the process of policy formation as completely as Garbage Can Theory (GCT). etc. His election cycle is every 4 years. Let’s look at how Kingdon regards federal agendasetting as such a process. there is Fluid participation and there is a 63 . plus congressional staff – they have scheduled election cycles of 2 and 6 years so there is some turnover. the view is that we define the goals. identify alternatives. we will have some understanding for its development. The case of SFUD’s segregation plan could have been different had there been a different deadline. Outside the government: • Interest groups: lobbyists. • The president. new policies build on existing policies. the policy in question. Changes are made at the margins and what we see today is an adaptation of prior ones. and turnover then is likely even if he is re-elected. • Last there are civil servants: bureaucrats who have longevity and expertise. staff. Where did the idea and policy come from? How did the idea spread? The assumption here is that it started somewhere and got taken up more and more. professional societies. They turnover less frequently. eliminate the achievement gap. the answer is yes . end child poverty: “it’s not like making widgets” (2003:85). Kingdon asks how does agenda setting resemble an organized anarchy? Let’s take a step back like we did in the SFUSD case and see if it fits the criteria. different meeting times. A second view is that of rational choice: We saw this earlier in the course. The first concerns origins. and different problems interfering. its adoption should be based on predictions of the policy’s consequences. Kingdon does a nice job of summarizing some of the major tenets of organized anarchy. and choose the optimal alternative – e.Action is often taken before identifying preferences.Let’s start by identifying the various participants in Washington.entering the discussion and decision. Kingdon asks: Why do certain issues become part of the government’s agenda while other issues do not? Kingdon’s research finds that policy proposals are not necessarily written in response to a particular event. Therefore. public interest/advocacy organizations. Kingdon considers a few different models by which scholars have characterized policy formation. Rather. at any given time. we ask. Third. there exist a multitude of proposals ready to go and waiting for the best opportunity for their introduction. and his political appointees. Kingdon argues that each of these descriptions has some value. The President has a large say in agenda setting but less control on alternatives. Participants even disagree on their preferences and priorities.: Within government there is … • Congress: Upper and lower house. A third view is that of incrementalism.

good deal of turnover in personnel. read Kingdon as Figure. policies (solutions). Kingdon’s adaptation of GCT conceptualizes three independent streams of problems. Department of Education Building at Launch of NCLB (Source . That is.com/photos/dchousegrooves/) 64 .. These three streams must converge when a policy window is open.. And the opportunities for decisions (i. as defined by Cohen. The political stream is not necessarily dependent on identified problems. For example. March and Olsen. the federal government would seem to be an organized anarchy. It is this process that sets the agenda.e. problems flow in and out of focus in the news and for legislative actors. And as Kingdon says on page 88: Advocates develop their proposals and then wait for problems to come along to which they can attach their solutions. the importance of participants does not match their job description and the executive branch is often involved in legislative processes. Participants outside the government enter and exit the decision making process all the time. The independence of these streams is a key point I want to reiterate: policy solutions can be developed whether or not they respond to an actual problem. only when the conditions are right will an issue find itself on a policy agenda. If you have the chance.http://www. choice arenas or garbage cans). These streams converge (“couple”) at critical points. and access varies. In sum.flickr. Policies are generated and sit around for years. 88). Moreover. p.. and politics (participants). or for a development in the political stream. arises at different times.that makes their proposals more likely to be adopted” (Kingdon. circulating without a home. He sees the streams as somewhat independent. No Child Left Behind Participants come and go.

“problems” may not necessarily be true problems. It also adds a new incentive program to help charter schools meet their facility needs. urbanicity . The Elementary and Secondary Education Act has been reauthorized several times since its original passage in 1964. and actors are affixed to these kinds of problems. Title V provides federal grant support for Innovative Programs and Public Charter Schools. What matters is that a subsection of a population does . So. NCLB is the name of the 2001 reauthorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (which was part of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty”). not just one. That is. When originally passed. Included in this section is a provision that provides transportation and other support that allows students attending schools that do not meet “adequate yearly progress” for two years to transfer to a charter school or other public school. and exist beyond our own opinion. usually for approximately four. the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was expanded to include bilingual education. Rather than rehash his application of GCT to particular instances of agenda setting. Charters are free public schools of choice.) ! Charter school funding (Claim by charter school proponents that they receive a disproportionate amount of per pupil funding from the state). midnight basketball. What problems could Title V purport to solve? ! Failing schools with no sign of improvement. What are some of the indicators to this problem? ! International comparisons (USA behind) ! Achievement gap literature (by race. ! Lack of innovation in public schools (charter schools may be an incubator of innovation) Public ! There is a lack of competition. No Child Left Behind My last example will concern a recent policy decision: Title V of the No Child Left Behind Act – the Promotion of Informed Parental Choice And Innovative Programs (or NCLB). President George Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act of 20011 into law on January 8. the primary focus of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was on improving the education for economically disadvantaged students who met federal definitions of poverty.to six-year periods. education to indigenous communities. In most cases we would agree that these problems are probably true. Over time. I want you to understand that it does not necessarily matter if you think it is true or not.disparities exist) ! Government evaluations and other studies show many problems in schooling All these indicators suggest the problems of our education system are more than our biased view. a set of problems may rise in prominence and capture the attention of governments. They merely have to be “problems” in the minds of some subsection of the public in order to be considered. education in correction facilities. However. income. ! Unequal opportunity for lower income children (these families have fewer options because they can’t afford private schools. foreign language programs. At any given time. 2002. magnet schools. Briefly.he does a wonderful job applying theory to this particular instance of agenda setting. schools are not pressured to improve. What is the public’s perception of this problem? 65 .that there is energy behind it. how would we use Kingdon’s model to describe how Title V entered the agenda and ultimately became law? First we would look at the problem stream. I want to apply garbage can theory to a new case many of you might not be familiar with – in this way I can afford you numerous examples so you see how the theory can be applied in many instances. often not because of political pressure but because of systematic indicators that purport to prove the existence of a problem. and migrant education.

Summary of the Problems.http://commons. Alternatives.wikimedia. NCLB Symbol (Source . and Open Policy Windows.jpg) (Source . Politics. Figure.http://commons.jpg) 66 .org/wiki/File:Nochild. Bush Signing NCLB Figure.org/wiki/File:No_Child_Left_Behind_Act.wikimedia.

But how? Here the issue is “unclear technology”. These policy alternatives in many cases were developed independent of the problems we have identified. including accountability provisions. March and Olsen’s participants/decision-makers stream. Another way would be to structure the schools better like seen with some forms of ability grouping. In the case of Title V. we next look at the competing policy alternatives being proposed to address the problems above. Recall from our discussion of solutions or policy alternatives. and you just need to remember in Kingdon’s model. Political factors such as partisan concerns. no matter how complementary it may be to a policy problem. class size reduction.like simply throwing money at the problem and existing programs. Even when a policy solution attaches to a problem. There is also a stream of solutions (policies) that is occurring. Another would be accountability: where one assesses adequate yearly progress or conducts annual testing with rewards and punishments. The political stream described corresponds to Cohen. professional development training. districts. speeches made. bills introduced. extended school days. the political environment was accepting of the provisions of 67 . Although original versions of NCLB contained voucher proposals for private schools. The third feature of NCLB we would look at are the participants (politics) involved. above. There was little Congressional criticism of the final version of the bill (it passed 87-10 in the Senate and 381-41 in the House) and received support from even some of the most liberal members. ! Bush presents rhetoric picked up in media: “soft bigotry of low expectations” In sum. One could focus on improving instruction (e. policy does not necessarily follow problems. teacher preparation programs. p. there are streams of problems in the environment that relate to the No Child Left Behind legislation. So lets look at this more closely. including Representatives George Miller and Barbara Lee and Senator Ted Kennedy. was developed under Clinton.! Public opinion is that schools in general are failing (constant media bombardment of this) ! They see their own schools as a little better than most (bias) ! Market forces make sense to people. 117). much of NCLB. proposals are drafted. but here students are limited to public schools. Congress and the Clinton Administration began work on the reauthorization process in 1999 and in 2000 but failed both attempts to finish the work.W. etc. staffers. Education was a central component to candidate G. Here a student might get so much money from the state. researchers. Or you can ignore the problem and play the blame game. much like NCLB adopts. Within governments.g. He vowed to “Leave no child behind” which was hard to argue against on rhetorical grounds. the reauthorization of Elementary and Secondary Education Act was signed in 1994 and was scheduled to expire in 1999. In other words. cities. There are other less ambitious solutions too . One could argue it is not the role of federal government to mess with schools and it is the responsibility of the states. To see these. Bush’s platform. schools and school teachers. In fact.. What are the policy alternatives that speak to the problems identified above? First there are school vouchers. then amended in response to reaction and floated again” (Kingdon. And when Bush entered office. advocacy groups. one of his first actions was to send to Congress a broad outline of his education proposal. One could view public school improvement as a policy and solution. All these are viable alternatives. which is somewhat like promoting vouchers. specialists including lawmakers. or new curriculum). ideological distribution of policymakers and interest group lobbying can work against any proposal. they could use that money to apply to and attend another school of their choice (public or private). that school vouchers are an alternative. Another potential solution is to promote charter schools. passage is not guaranteed. They like the idea of choice and think it could lead to improvement. and academics concentrate on developing policy proposals: “Ideas are floated. this was given up in order to make the necessary concessions for the Democratic support required for passage.

But these streams must converge while a policy window is open in order for legislation to move. to be replaced with a new set of decision makers at the start of the next term who may be less willing to support the provisions of Title V. In addition. TX. policy alternatives. The final feature of NCLB we would look at is the Policy Window. Decisions typically must be made by the end of the legislative session. but the public is still supportive of the general measures of the law. So if we put all 4 features of Kingdon together. others) But most of the time. and politics. There are deadlines which constrain the amount of time problem-alternatives have in order to be implemented. there has been some criticism (mainly around funding issues). the policy window is closed. The same is true under Kingdon’s model. In the case of Title V. Failure to do so means that the process would have to begin from scratch at the start of the next session. legislatures are systems composed of decision makers that can change from one election to the next. The Policy Window was open when there was a… • Republican majority in Congress • Republican president • Frustration with public education • Promising start of the charter school movement • Strategic use of language by proponents of NCLB • “Success” of state accountability laws (CA. A favorable set of decision makers may disappear.NCLB as it was passed. The policy window is not indefinitely open. NASA has a ‘launch window’—a time period in which a particular rocket must be launched. we see the following table and understand better how that legislation’s time occurred under Bush’s presi- 68 . Since that time. We’ve discussed the three streams of problems. which concerns deadlines and the convergence of streams. If they miss the launch window. NASA has to wait for the next one before it can go. There are particular times in which a policy window is open. dency in its particular form and not well before under a different guise and during Clinton’s era.

Exists when solutions are unclear. Players in positions Bargaining. Coalitions – enemy/friend Parochial priorities.g. ambiguity. Focus on choice arenas (when choice opportunities / windows arise). participants turn over. money.. Learn others’ interests / weaknesses so you know how to manipulate and win. etc). etc. Maximization of options (solutions). and participants. When does it apply? Rational Actor (RA) Summary Table of Five Theories to Date: Know SOP’s. Action guided by processes / available routines. NA Actors in hierarchical organizational positions. or political maneuvering. their resources (expertise. conducting sequential attention to objectives (localized searches until problems resolved). the consequences of said options. Deadlines and other choice arenas (e. hierarchical. stakes / stands. the distinct and decoupled streams of problems. Exists when there are multiple actors with inconsistent preferences and identities. Action = result of political bargaining. and none of whom can go it alone without assistance of others. decision in current arena may be means of access to another choice arena…) Access rules – segmented. lots of information. Deadlines and wider array of stakeholders. people) and stakes in game. Environment Management Strategies Formal roles. and their access rules to the arena (whether structural or timed). Management by rules. cueing of SOP’s appropriate to problem. Dividing up problem. know how to overload system for policies you detest. assesses objectives (goals) with regard to it. what problems they go with (matching). prominence / vocalness of problems in firm. and clear goals (and time calculate). their parochial interests (their conceptions of problems and solutions). Direct management of relations via bargaining. Improve rules and matching with problems. and generate choice opportunities that work to your interests (access/timing). abandon entangled initiatives. Goals (what probs to resolve) Dominant Pattern of Inference Unified team or actor Participants Technology (how solutions get decided) Exists when there is a unified actor with consistent preferences. Problems stream determined by public opinion. and then chooses option that minimizes costs. and bargaining processes between them that establish agreements / coalitions. Coalitions / Bureaucratic Politics (BP) Time when your solution is raised (to coincide with right participants and cycle of problems) to maximize energy. identifies options. and select wisely. match with problem parts. Objectives – compliance to SOP’s. Summary or Basic Argument Know alternatives and their consequences for the shared goal. Confluence of multiple streams. coordinating / activating organizational actors who have special capacities / SOP’s for parts of problem. Participant stream shaped by political / career cycles & unplanned departures. horse-trade. Organizational Process (OP) / Limited Problem Solver (LPS) Bargain with players (log-roll. Organizational positions Matching identity and SOP’s (solutions) / programs / repertoires to problem. Action = output close to prior output (path dependence). Indirect managing of situations. and preferences/identities are inconsistent. hierarchical. Exists when the decision is guided by a logic of appropriateness – matching problem to actors with procedures for handling it (routineprocess focus). Social Structure Action = Maximization of means to ends.69 Unitary actor or team that confronts a problem. Organized Anarchies / Garbage Can (GC) . Recognize imperfect info. such that solution is connected to problems and enough actor-energy to see it through. goals/interests. Focus on the players occupying various positions. Management by consequences. Cue sequential routines that accomplish task or solve problem by routines available (supply issue). Action / decision = result of streams collision in choice arena. and select first satisfactory option (good enough). or democratic. Variant: Bounded rationality and satisficing. or playing the game (within its rules). hinder opposition’s coalition formation. Improve information and analysis. Goals are defined in regard to problem. and who cues them. Not salient except as influencing consequences of options. solutions.

(eds) March. second edition. alternatives. 1994. 1972.References Birnbaum. 2003 (1995). 225-250) in Ambiguity and Choice in Organizations. NY: The Free Press. Weiner. W. Cohen. pp. James G. March. 175-218. A Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice. Kingdon. Chapter 5. Longman. Bergen: Universitetsforlaget 70 . A Primer on Decision Making: How Decisions Happen. and public policies. and Olsen. 1976. Deadlines. Administrative Science Quarterly 17(1): 1-25. March. “Participation. Stephen S. Robert. Michael D. 1989. “The Latent Organizational Functions of the Academic Senate: Why Senates Do Not Work But Will Not Go Away?” Journal of Higher Education 60 (July/August) 4: 423443. James G. Johan P. James and Johan Olsen. and Choice” Chapter 11 (pp. Agendas. J.

5 Organizational Learning Source: http://commons.jpg .wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Organizational_Learning_and_KM.

The ambiguous nature of solutions. I ask them to identify various problems (i. and possibly even redirect the discussion in ways that meet your interests! An Introduction to Organizational Learning Of course. As a capstone experience of organized anarchy. Before I begin. or exemplary papers be shared. will they merely follow that format and not be creative? If I allow for group projects and group grades. And the last one: what does the posting of exemplary papers solve? Only the solution of posting lectures actually addresses a problem they list – that my lectures go by too quick.e.Organizational Learning In this chapter I will describe the theory of organizational learning and what it entails.. this is why there has never been a drastic change in my class’s grading policies. In fact. Very quickly we see the energy affixed to certain solutions. If I give students my lecture notes. I even tell them I will adopt a new class format and grading procedure if they can all agree on one and convince me it will improve the learning experience. they can do individualized projects. a solution stream is created): often they ask I allow them to rewrite papers. the class tends to agree on minor changes: students can revise their papers once. but then in discussion. we have a deadline pressing on us. I want to briefly revisit our theory of organized anarchy by retelling how one of our inclass exercises went. what does the policy of giving everyone 10 points do if they are graded on a curve? Someone may even notice that if everyone gets an A that it creates another problem: how will I write recommendations for students hoping to get into doctoral programs. the next thing we do is discuss each solution. and lecture notes are posted after we meet as a class. In many ways. And again. It is also a tactic used by people trying to prevent the group from taking up a particular solution. Students – not just me! – raise new problems with every proposed solution. that is often the kind of discussion that arises in organized anarchy. if you will!). We only have 20 minutes of class time to decide. their connection to new problems. a problem stream is created). I call a meeting with the students and ask them to discuss the course and its grading policy.you just never realized it until now. etc. As a result. lecture materials go by too quickly. All too often.. I try to create a garbage can situation for students to experience in class. new problems are affixed that render them less feasible. this chapter is not about organized anarchy.What is the organizational 72 . not enough time for group projects and discussion. I then ask students to create a list of policy changes they would like in the course (i. or jobs if everyone got an A? What distinguishes them? Same for the other solutions. To help with the process. and try and remember your lesson from organizational analysis – many of you now have the capacity to enjoy and understand the process anew. In this chapter. does it mean they will stop doing the readings? If I give them exemplary papers. but rather about organizational learning.e. Every year. And simple solutions can also quickly seem complex. sometimes they ask that everyone gets 10 points added to their grade. there is little connection between the problems and solutions they select. Most of you have experienced organized anarchy like this firsthand . not enough time for individualized projects. Anyhow. the first two solutions of rewriting papers for a better grade and giving everyone 10 more points do not address any of the problems they listed earlier. it may not be fair because some people do more of the work than others. how can I write individual recommendations for graduate schools and jobs if students have group grades? With each solution. Moreover. In the end. Go to your next meeting where a bunch of equals with different opinions try to make a decision. we ask . it dissipates as people identify additional problems the solutions may incur. For example. we never discuss all the solutions and only the most outspoken students concerns get voiced. Watch the process unfold. The problems they identify are as follows: there is too much reading. and the lack of time all compounded to render ambitious reforms minor (amended legislation. or that my lectures be posted online. For example.

March et al 1991). In my discussion of the organizational learning perspective. beliefs) that guide behavior. 2000).http://www.com/photos/usfwssoutheast/8392695372 Organizational Learning . One text in particular. Julian Orr (1996). Understanding. It is important to emphasize that organizational learning occurs at the organizational level. contrast organizational learning with an organizational process model (if you recall. the organizational learning perspective concerns adaptation and learning from experience. organizations reflect on what works well or not. March 1991. But how does an organization learn? Organizations learn by encoding inferences from history into organizational structures (so best practices into rules. and roles). 1994. and others. to James March (Levitt and March 1988. routines.Practice. Brown and Duguid (2000). and then encode that knowledge into its organizational elements (participants. people. social structure) so it can remember. this was Allison’s Organizational Process Model where organizations are 73 . I draw on the writings of many writers – from John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid (1991. I merely want to afford you a general framework you can get your mind around and apply in the organizational settings you participate. and culture (norms. Linda Argote (1999). That is. There is no doubt that individual and team learning are related. and Organizational Memory learning perspective? In the most general terms. Lucy Suchman (2007).flickr. technology/tasks. but we need to keep in mind that it is the formal organization and firm that is making efforts to learn from experience and pass on that knowledge to its employees in the hopes of constantly improving performance.Source . technologies (curricula).

you have no “real” knowledge about working. Here.jpg/ 74 .viewed as following routines and standard operating procedures). those that are in conflict with each other. and those that are pointless. in Connecticut you can not eat pickles on Sunday. where inputs and outputs are unclear. According to Brown and Duguid. For example: in Kansas there is a law saying you can not eat snakes on Sunday. receiving. but it focuses on the practice of these procedures. Example of Blue Laws http://commons. on the other. and understanding are points of contention and highly valued. Brown and Duguid describe two characterizations of routines or SOP’s – On the one hand they are ostensive rules applied as a guide and computer program (SOP ~ organizational process model). But experiential learning will matter dearly for management. making sense. shipping. Cows can not graze in the Boston Commons. interpreting. but are practiced and applied before the student becomes an expert fighter. many organizational procedures can not be looked up in a book or manual. You constantly have to adapt rules and procedures so as to fit changing situations and actual work experiences.org/wiki/File:Ontario_Sunday_Laws. organizational learning differs from the organizational process approach in that it regards experiential learning – learning by doing (not learning about) . but then they are practiced in bouts and used in relation to other routines. Without practice and experience. As such. and in Massachusetts.as the central means to making complex organizations work. and research and development where life is less sequential and linear. learning of this sort may not matter much for simple tasks like procurement. That is. Now arguably. To get at this. relevance. they are not just read in a book. In fact. A good example of a “pointless rule” might be what we term blue-laws in the United States. Finding the right routine is hard (it may not even exist). one needs to look at the actual activity and practice within routines and work processes. These are laws created many years ago that are still in the legal texts even though they no longer apply nor are they enforced. And even if they can be found in a manual.wikimedia. warehousing and billing – as this band of operations have really well-defined processes with measurable inputs and outputs. merely reading about them does not result in understanding and knowledge for most persons. They are learned as a routine. They remove SOP’s that are redundant. and argues it is through their practice that they have meaning. The organizational learning perspective agrees that organizational processes and SOP’s matter. it is their lack of practice that make routines irrelevant and forgotten). a manager of organizational processes will get a company to streamline their SOP’s to those concerned with the core task and then spell them out so they are clear. Take the example of self-defense routines. and effect (and conversely. they are enacted practices (the heart of understanding or knowledge). and enacting it well is even harder as each new situation will differ from the one before.

it involves talking to clients. And these are understandings of what happened and why. and fixing them so they afford the output desired. As persons perform an activity.flickr. You can write out procedures for every problem a Xerox machine can have. interacting with machines. Brown & Duguid give the example of computer help-lines and Xerox machine repair experts to illustrate this point (Much of it is drawn from work by Julian Orr and Lucy Suchman). and it is still terribly inefficient (and painful) to ask people to read those manuals as a means to becoming experts on repairing or using Xerox machines. and expertise. Instead.com/photos/kretyen/2460134871 Xerox and Organizational Practices So enacted practice is a route to understanding.Source . etc – and hopefully many of you will understand these theories via case-applications! There are several characteristics about enacted practices that distinguish them from ostensive rules you read in a textbook: First. Practice entails collaboration that leads to an indivisible product. For example. practices are shared and understood through stories. This type of learning is central to many professions: think about how doctors learn in through residency training. Second. a great deal of professional understanding comes from practice – actually doing the repairs and work yourself. teachers by student-teaching. they develop accounts or stories.http://www. no matter how much you codify things. lawyers by internships. these are like 75 . emergency personnel by simulations. practices are inherently collaborative and interactional. shared knowledge. in the case of Xerox machines. In many cases. This line of research finds that the machine manuals often don’t tell you what you need know.

a short life. They not only tell of specific information but principles of causation and process! As such. etc). then those adaptations will happen anyway and as a form of resistance to the formal organization. how do we engineer an organization that learns? There are many things you can do: 1. The Xerox representatives learned tricks to get by and understand a problem. There are “Endless small forms of practical subversion taken up in the name of getting work done” (Suchman 1996:416). Second. models. then how do we encourage their occurrence and transfer within an organization? That is. How do you retain the knowledge generated in collaborations? How do you pass on what works well? Improvisational knowledge has an informal quality. Same for teachers and students: they adapt lessons to the situation. Encouraging Organizational Learning If successful practice and knowledge involves improvisation. Put successful adaptations and knowledge into organizational memory. and help members use it so it need not be rediscovered and reinvented every time. Third. and accessed by others. You should embrace improvised practices and develop a means of noticing which improvisations worked well and then try to pass them along to others. This example presages a third means of enabling organizational learning. and it fades from memory! Then people reinvent the same fixes again and again from scratch. the type of knowledge and its representation has a special link to memory. A central aspect of organizational learning is individual adaptation and learning to apply a rule. they can overhear experts. So again – Xerox’s structuring of the help desk by placing novices and experts together helped pass knowledge on to new personnel. Even if organizations do not recognize this process of adaptation and improvisation. but look for decoupling between routines and their improvised enactment – where does that occur? Where do the standard operating procedures say one thing and personnel do another? You should focus and revise those routines! 2. an organization that develops a practitioner database does: recognize and value practical knowledge creation. First. 3. ask quick questions. It affords lateral linkages and opportunities to discuss work practices. We improvise rules and routines so they can be applied to the world as encountered (we relate particulars of the world to general schemas of the organization). If an organization ignores or devalues improvisation and rule-adaptation. create collaborative practices by which useful improvisation is generated and transferred. passed on. in today’s technological world. we can use listservs and gen- 76 . In addition. and then makes sure it gets shared and stored? An organization that supports collaboration does.formalisms – represented arguments (we do this all the time in tables. figures. tell the same joke to different effect. they had experts placed at the same help desk as novices – such as giving them neighboring seats or the cell phone numbers of Xerox experts In this way. What social organization encourages improvisation and the generation of knowledge and understanding. For example. they had a help desk that took calls from clients struggling with their machines. etc. Rather than ask the employees to look each question up in a manual. you can value improvisational efforts. They can be readily remembered. Do not penalize improvisation. The valuation and learning of successful improvisation allows for continual improvement and organizational memory to be passed through participants. in the Xerox case. it continues to happen. practices entail improvisation and adaptation via use. Hence. it is important to develop means of passing the knowledge on and remembering it. Also. and acquire their built up organizational memory of adaptations and improvisations of the manual that works. stories.

co. But the same could be done for schools in terms of the number of arrests or office referrals here on the y-axis. a school reformer may want to move on from one reform to another. they may want to focus on improving personnel – such as getting fresh talent. we learn to resolve the simplest problems first and acquire large gains. where curricula and lessons are posted.Learning Curves One can even imagine curves like this for different instructional formats or even curricula. What are some indicators schools could use to denote that they improved and accumulated useful knowledge? Some examples might be test score gains. And then one can envisage this for multiple firms or schools. The manager may want to improve work routines – such as getting better-designed tasks. and so forth. I want to discuss various topics that are discussed from an organizational learning perspective. All too often. How do you generate gains in learning curves? What might be some tricks that can generate more effective/efficient ways to teach class lessons in a school? I raise this because a manager of organizational learning will need to consider means by which participants learn and improve. or improving recruitment so as to attract better talent. This is sort of what we would want to see. For example. but then switch to some other concern. Examples of this can be found at quora. and office referrals. estimating learning curves and deciding when to put in place organizational memory / stable procedures to ensure gains are retained.com. discerning which has a steeper learning curve. but some of them are technical and/or practical.org or tes. you may want to shift your firms focus after learning begins to plateau. The&Rela3onship&Between&Labor&Hours&Per& Teacher time per pupil (hrs) Labor&Hours&Per&Vehicle& Vehicle&and&Cumula3ve&Output& Cumulative test score gains Cumula3ve&Output& Figure . They can also consider ways of improving their technology – such as getting better designed textbooks. but then this can improve.com or even stackoverflow.uk. We might want to see teachers becoming more efficient at getting students to learn (say teacher time per pupil [hrs] per instruction type x cumulative gains). It might be easier to envisage this for manufacturing – say for producing cars or airplanes and reducing the number of complaints or recalls. For educators an example could be found at curriki. suggesting that the organization is reflecting on its performance and developing means to improve or foster expertise. Organizational Learning In-depth For the remainder of the chapter. Here. Firms tend to improve on the indicator and ignore other issues. develop a better physical layout. it is important to keep in mind that learning curves often plateau. as a manager of organizational learning. The manager may also want to afford opportunities to discuss routine improvements and document that. how do we know organizational learning has occurred? Let’s use a school as our example.erate practitioner knowledge repositories that may become an accessible database to others. and allowing tasks to become familiar (efficient). There you can post any kind of question. preventing initial startup costs via a mentoring program with experts. organizational learning experts ask. Then the improvements peter off and we get bogged down in complex issues that have smaller gains. For example. Even if you do generate gains. it is common knowledge that 77 . attendance. Hence. since it is an organization most of you are already familiar with. For example. Notably teachers might be inefficient at first giving students much time for little test score gain. Another problem with learning curves is that they are only as good as the indicator used. The first topic concerns learning curves. removing stale ones.

From an organizational learning perspective. This community of practice is a world entailing work. with computing we now have the capacity to collect and store practitioner knowledge. Another important topic for the organizational learning perspective concerns organizational forgetting and memory: Why / How does forgetting and remembering happen in organizations? What are the conditions of knowledge depreciation and knowledge storage? Again – if we consider schools. Everyone gets their own room and has little time to share what works well or does not work well with their colleagues. Last. When we consider communities of practice.in schools with high stakes testing that teachers teach to the test. Cultural features like stories and community ceremonies can be great means of preserving organizational memory. it is a database of knowers with experience. interactive forms of knowledge. in poor American schools teacher turnover is dramatic. (Wiki’s. Often it is because exogenous factors create distractions and prevent practitioners from recording what works (teacher strikes. odd schedules.). For example. we are really asking about the microsocial processes that create new knowledge and/or adapt and combine old knowledge in new ways. but they may not get picked up very often or widespread in an organization. annual reports – are all visible. it is clear they are primarily forgetting organizations since what works well as an instructional innovation in one classroom is seldom spread among other classrooms. the general argument is that in order to acquire knowledge. so retaining key personnel who train others is a very important means to engineering organizational memory – and especially if the sort of knowledge needed is tacit or implicit and hard to codify and make sense of in rule-books.com and curriki. but no one ever hears about it. but it is not easy to access and tends to remain relatively static.org are feasible models to use. websites like Quora. I might do something well. team teaching might be a new routine that has great returns in some cases. Teachers get out of date – I need to learn the latest method in order to stay current. It is also because old knowledge frequently becomes obsolete with new audiences (old tricks no longer apply). etc). As I said before. but they might be prone to forgetting (as oral culture can be) and it might focus too much on particular individuals (exemplars and pariahs) than situations – so you might want a database created by working people. A big reason schools (and faculty) forget is because their personnel work in relative isolation. you will hear stories and talk 78 . And again. Communities of Practice Most discussions of organizational learning mention the formation of communities of practice and how they can facilitate and influence knowledge creation. sports. In this world of people who practice and identify with what they do. But it is not always clear these tests measure what we hope – some tests measure only a narrow band of intellectual development and too strong a focus on any single exam may correspond with less time on other intellectual endeavors (like music. you need to enter a community of practice as an apprentice. other events. physics.) Successful tasks and routines can be encoded into the organization but they are less stable than curricula. learning. and communication among people of a common working identity. but they leave and take knowledge with them if they leave! Organizational memory is not just a database of ideas. etc. Turnover is also an issue – it can lead to loss of expertise. But why? How do they forget? There are multiple reasons organizations forget. For example. And even our treatments of sending in temporary teachers (like Teach for America) results in little organization memory – and in the contexts that most need it! So how can organizational memory be stored within an organization like a school? Technology/curricula are great for storing knowledge about successful practice. but how it is enacted may vary greatly and the same positive return may not be observed elsewhere. You need ideas and cultivators of them who are in the know. There a searchable repository and demo presentations and materials can be stored. lawsuits. Personnel (faculty) are great storage units and transfer vehicles.

about practice, and participate in applying and
adapting routines.
In a community of practice, learning is a
demand-driven, identity-forming, social act. As
such, it creates cohesive groups of persons working on the same task (~persons share bonding, cohesive forms of social capital). Here knowledge
can travel rapidly and be assimilated easily, but it
can also be coordinated or negotiated, and then
communicated in applied ways. By entering the
community, the participant enters strong, reinforcing bonds (bonding capital) that generate conformity and shared identity. This means members
identify with the organization, and it becomes
grounds for interpreting and judging, and reflects
an understanding.
A good example of entering a community of
reinforcing relations is when a person learns chess
and becomes increasingly involved in a chess
league. Most of us can not just learn about chess
from a book. We find it much faster and easier to
watch chess players play and then try playing it
with them by assuming the role of a chess player
ourselves. Over time, we may then enter leagues,
increasing our interactions with other chess players and develop further expertise (a ranked, master
chess player!). Over time, we may even become a
core member and take on the identity of chess
player as one central to our selves – it may even
become a profession we embrace as our own.
The leap you need to make is in recognizing
that the same can be said for consultants, lawyers,
teachers, etc. Communities of practice are possible in a variety of organizations. How might we
generate a community of practice? Let’s take the
example of a school again. Our goal is pretty
straightforward here– we want to create a social
structure that encourages learning and remembers
what works well. To do this, we might want to Instill collaboration in a safe environment that allows for risks. We would want to provide training
to the entire faculty (not just part). We would
want to encourage meetings that entail sensemaking without decisions (remember garbage can
theory?). We want to encourage frequent communication whereby standards and procedures can be
learned. For example, we might want to denote

lead teachers and use them as experts in contact
with new teacher apprentices; we might want to
create mentoring and classroom observation opportunities; we might want to encourage storytelling /
cases from individual experience and organizational self-appraisal. Last, we would want to think
about ways to remember individual and organizational practices and knowledge (database), ways
to create a knowledge base (what people need to
know to do their work well), and how such knowledge can be distributed and interpreted (lots of
meetings concerning practice).
Now that you have some sense of what a
community of practice entails, how it is an asset to
a firm, and you have some ideas how to foster
their creation. But communities of practice are not
a panacea. Merely forming one will not result in
an optimal learning organization. COP’s have certain shortcomings that we need to remedy or at
least supplement! COP’s provide collaboration
without reach. Groups are also often homogeneous (heterogeneous has high startup costs). This
generates local maxima (not global) and multiple
equilibriums. Groups often only reach local solutions instead of best ones. And they are susceptible to groupthink (bias and uniformity that harms
organization). Negative social capital can also be
an issue: tight groups with wrong attitudes and
poor knowledge can be a disaster!
Networks of Practice

One needs to look outside the local community to form bridges with other communities and
prevent group think. To overcome these shortcomings, organizational learning theorists speak of networks of practice and knowledge transfer. Networks of practice (NOP) are like professional communities (secondary groups) where people may
never get to know each other but adopt similar
practices, similar resources, and similar identities
(technician, sociologists, etc). Here knowledge
about practice can travel rapidly and be assimilated readily. The reach of knowledge is greatly
expanded. Whereas members of a COP learn by
doing practices together, in the NOP, member

79

Source - http://www.flickr.com/photos/86530412@N02/

Networks of
Practice

learn about ostensive rules by way of books and inter-organizational networks (Learning by talking and sharing).In contrast with COP, NOP’s have
reach. They span COP’s. The inter-COP linkages is viable because members share identities. This allows actors to communicate in relatively similar
ways (info sharing across groups that bridge capital).
How might we generate a network of practice? One way is to Headhunt for experts in other firms. You poach talent, so to say. Another way is
to send your personnel off for training in a new technology (Bootcamp or
summer school!). Many firms will perform reverse engineering of a product
– they will look at another firm’s product and take it apart looking to understand how it can be made for their own COP. Firms can also build NOP by
making sure people transfer across units (people across departments), products, and even organizations. Last, firms can employ people who bridge
communities of practice and facilitate knowledge transfer across them. In
schools, one can find this with professional development leaders who work
at multiple schools trying to retrain teachers.
However, just like COP’s, NOP’s have shortcomings:
1. No community is had, only reach.
2. More “learning about” than “learning to be.”
3. Local adaptations are less of an emphasis.

80

In many ways, NOP’s and COP’s need each other.
It is in their combination and integration that many
organizations develop practices by which they can
continually improve and strive toward global optima of performance.
Exploration, Exploitation and Learning Traps

Many scholars regard organizational learning
to be a varied process, and potentially dysfunctional. For example, James G. March writes
about organizational learning can proceed by a
process of exploration and exploitation, and either
route can result in learning traps or suboptimal
forms of decision making (March 1991).
When March discusses learning by exploration – he means the process of searching, generating variation, risk-taking, experimenting, play,
flexibility, innovating, etc. (the process of generating new practices). In some of the case materials
by Louis and Kruse, we see them describe schools
and school reform as frequently stuck in an exploration mode. There are lots of great ideas but none
of it really sticks or matches what we need! (Louis
and Kruse 1998: 31).
When March discusses learning by exploitation – he refers to the process of refining, choice,
production, efficiency, selection, implementation,
and execution (the process of eliminating inferior
forms). Here, the organization attempts to improve by repeating the same task again and again.
Notably, a firm that constantly explores can not
really get good at a task as it has not really practiced it much. Conversely, a firm that constantly
exploits, gets good at performing one task, but it
does not see new ways to enact it.
This leads March to reflect on learning traps
that many organizations encounter. One suboptimal form of learning arises from what is called a
“failure-trap”. Here, an organization’s failure can
lead to exploration. And because most exploration
often fails, the firm can get trapped in a negative
feedback loop of failed explorations! An opposite
form of learning trap is called a “competency
trap”, and it arises from positive feedbacks. Competency traps can arise in two variants:

(i) If feedback is positive, you stay in exploitation
mode (e.g., a short-term, local solution) and
never search for a better solution (e.g., a longterm, global solution).
(ii) The more you become proficient at a rule /
practice, the better you get at it, so you are
more likely to use it again and again. Positive
feedback makes the substitution of another rule
/ practice less likely – and when you do switch,
you bungle it from having focusing your training so much on one skill.
If firms want to avoid learning traps and to become a successful learning organization, they need
to balance exploration and exploitation and beware
of learning traps that can put push them into suboptimal situations.
Applications of Organizational Learning
Now, let’s briefly review the theory of organizational learning and then introduce a couple
cases for you to ponder. The first case concerns
the implementation of organizational learning in
schools, and it can be found in the writing of Louis
and Kruse (1998). The second case concerns the
World of Warcraft and how guilds operate in that
context.
Before we begin analyzing these cases, we
should first review the basic features of an organizational learning perspective. When does the theory apply? When does organizational learning happen? Organizational learning occurs in an organization when the participants are continually concerned with improving their practice. They are focused on the core technology – how the organization turns an input into an output. As such, it constantly monitors, reflects on, adapts, and remembers practices that work well. In some cases, learning is suboptimal or even false, and this too is of
relevance to the study of organizational learning.
The general perspective of organizational
learning is to view an organization composed of
practices that form the core routines of organization, and to zone in on an organization’s intelligence or capacity to alter and improve them. This
enriches the participant’s identity or role and fur81

From this perspective. teachers have frequent. change and improvement occurs because the individuals and the groups inside the organization are able to acquire. The teachers frequently interact in weekly grade level meetings. its curriculum. This results in a good deal of peer pressure to improve instructional practice 82 . monthly meetings for Kindergarten to 3rd grade and 4-6th grade teachers so they can think more broadly. continual improvement of core practices. Learning schools ‘know themselves’ and take the time to develop a shared vision and vocabulary with which to discuss issues of teaching and learning. and improvisation. And the environment is a source of interorganizational knowledge. 2. The first case affords a description of schools that implement organizational learning. and 30 minutes a month of teacher observation. To garner a learning organization. learning schools share an inventory of prior knowledge about the school. we can begin to discuss some applications of the theory to real world cases. and students. understand and plan around information (or “knowledge”) that arises in their practice and the wider environment. What is the dominant pattern of inference. The principal (as manager) tries to stimulate and encourage such dialogue. improvising. They continually adapt and learn. the authors describe two exemplary schools doing better than expected. where actors alter routines to fit local realities (what Brown and Duguid called “knowledge”). She acts as a facilitator of knowledge more than a director. And finally. as well as networks of practice that span out to other communities and facilitate knowledge transfer.a COP of sorts. instructional methodology. The technology – or means by which org learning occurs – is via internal adaptation. The participants are members within the organization performing the routines and enacting practices. The social structure entails mostly informal. the organizational elements are as follows: 1. Their goal is to resolve application problems – to improve their practice so that it better accomplishes defined goals and identities. The first case is mostly described for us in the reading (Louis and Kruse 1998). and transfers. the manager should consider ways of encouraging dialogue. The teachers also seek to learn from each other. and they should find ways to create bridges to outside groups so they can access distinctive forms of knowledge. They should find ways to create greater communication within the firm so ideas are passed and shared. lateral relations. Participants are involved in both a community of practice entailing local bonding ties and peer pressures. In Agassiz Elementary. or the mechanism of inducing action? Action is the result of local actors searching. analyze. and engage in dense webs of frequent conversation over practice -. They should also find means of creating organizational memory of what works so it is retained. the faculty learn from each other and engage in a dialogue about their instructional practice and how they can improve it. Identities and roles are key and closely linked or coupled with practices. translating and sharing. 3. Case: Agassiz and Okanagon Now that we have reviewed the basic features of an organizational learning perspective. In this reading. They say both schools are learning schools where the faculty reflect and study their practice in an effort to continually learn and improve. According to these authors. The first school Louis and Kruse discuss is Agassiz Elementary.thers their commitment to the organization. the theory affords some managerial implications. while the second I will summarize. Through an organizational learning approach. 5. negotiation and dialogue. 4. Hence. frequent communication. collaborating. but leave mostly for you to consider on your own. close relations over practice. tricks.

The principal (leadership) facilitates and mentors more than imposing her will. her focus is on practice. what we know about the environment is related in the setup of the school and its history. 650 students. Now if we focus on management.” District reforms include openenrollment magnet schools. these are all social structural treatments: e. The second school Louis and Kruse discuss is Okanagon Middle School. The technology in this instance is the tools used to bring about organizational learning. relief from state curricula. Instead. Okanagon Middle School is much larger than the elementary school and with just as disadvantaged a population. Participants Teachers. The participants of this case are members of the school staff and some are parent. and rituals fostering reflection and improvement on it.Organizational Elements Technology Advisory Council of teachers and parents. we see that the school instated several routines and institutional arrangements to foster such a learning community. grade level teams (6) and faculty study groups (2) to coordinate about org curriculum. If we take the case and render it into our organizational elements we will see where the authors place the greatest emphasis (see the table on the next page). it compels the Agassiz teachers to assume the identity of knowledge producers and expert educators. Relations are collaborative – teachers are part of a team. the case zones in on practice. Some of these relations extend into the environment.g. they have some decision-making power and leadership roles. Last. Moreover. All of the means of engaging in learning are relational and cultural. flexible staffing. is an intellectual leader. But the case makes little of it. Agassiz School Organizational Elements and a culture valuing constant improvement (so much so that the teachers even pay to attend conferences and join groups that meet on weekends and evening). The goal of Agassiz is to increase learning and improve teaching – and they hope to do this by reflecting on their practice. students and faculty of core sub- 83 . The social structure is small. Students are not really mentioned. Cole. Environment Context of Desegregation and “White Flight. This not only brings in money. While listening to everyone. team teaching. etc. a variety of meetings. personnel and testing regulations. she still makes some decisions autonomously. but only in order to draw in or send out knowledge on instructional practice. learning) Restructuring Roundup for conferences ! all develops teacher interaction and within-school networks of practices. Reading (what brings Recovery. school-based management. In many ways. teacher involvement in hiring. The school also holds a conference on professional development that teachers from other schools can attend. Mrs. the principal. Principal. Parents Goals Increase student learning and improve teaching Social Structure 36 teachers (moderate size) organized in a semi-horizontal fashion (see committees above). the decentralization of authority and greater input from teachers. Curriculum Committee. social relations. These in turn are feasible managerial strategies to use in other settings. intimate. Okanagon school is divided into 9 families (also called “small schools”). and the relationships are collaborative..

School divided into ten about org “Families” – Core teacher family (science. The school holds a yearly retreat and the families do find some topics of agreement. The school is very concerned with statewide assessments and the faculty have established a variety of powerful school wide committees that perform self-assessments and pressure the faculty to perform well on such exams.are the tools used to bring about organizational learning. etc. is important but not as autonomous as in Agassiz. But the school also has its own standard of sorts – the “Okanagan Standard” where students are called upon to perform community service and conduct research projects. This has created some tension. we can begin to see how Okanagon is similar to and different from Agassiz (see table above). schedules. Stone. 1. some resources. Mr. Social Structure 84 teachers (large) organized in a horizontal fashion. The participants of this case are members of the school staff. but it seems to be helping. and trips to external conferences are common. Students and par- 84 . Each family also has a leader with an expanded teacher role that includes administration and mentoring of other teachers. Hence. there has been a push for greater school-wide coordination. Relations are collaborative – teachers have important decision-making power. Participants Teachers. The technology – as before . These families have wide discretion over what they want to work on and improve. The school has a strong culture. Environment Okanagon Community School initially closed due to poor achievement. There is some issue of coordination across the families and some debate as to where organizational learning should focus and what standards to pay special attention to. These again are all social structural reforms: the school is divided into smaller family units. but they rotate across faculty rather than centering on any single faculty member. External ties are important at Okanagon. a magnet school focused on performing arts. band. and even aspects of the curriculum. history. they form a variety of different committees and councils that encourage frequent interaction and assessment over practice and achievement. Okanagon Middle School Organizational Elements jects are assigned to families and work within them.500 students. School-wide Evaluation Committee. Principal Goals Educational equity and opportunity for poor urban children. If we look to the organizational elements again. Community Council for curriculum with teachers and principal ! all develops teacher interaction and within-school networks of practice. It proudly announces it has a dream to level the playing field for its students. special ed). and render the content of curricula more relevant to their students. Reopened as Okanagon Center for Advanced Academic Studies. the principal. As a result. Teacher discretion over staffing. All of Okanagan’s means of engaging in learning are relational and cultural just as it was for Agassiz. information is found elsewhere and presented to the rest of the faculty.teachers collaborate on the units and work to fit the (what brings curriculum to their students’ learning needs. All the family leaders get together as a community council with the principal to ponder the school’s direction more generally.) and Discovery family learning) (language.Organizational Elements Technology Interdisciplinary Units .

Agassiz’s prof development showcase). Some of these relations extend into the environment. Louis and Kruse argue they aren’t experiencing burn out. Portfolio Committee).. just as with Agassiz. It is currently the world's most-subscribed MMORPG (9. etc in their own school on those topics. Curriculum Committee. The goal of Okanagon is slightly different in that it has a equality and social justice concern more than Agassiz did. So what do we see in general at these reputed “Learning Schools?” The schools frequently seek out internal and external bases of knowledge – in both local peers and experts beyond the setting. (Source: http://commons. what about its relevance to an organization online.ents are not really mentioned.g. heightening identities and worker commitment. in a less traditional case of an organization. But the case makes little of it.).jpg) World of Warcraft Some of you may have no idea what I am talking about here. the case on Okanagon zones in on practice and the social relations. or at Okanagon’s many committees. Hence. what we know about the environment is related in the setup of the school and its history. Both schools create knowledge via self-appraisal and selfassessment (Okanagon’s focus on state testing and the creation of their own standards is evidence of this. They both have processes in place that help transfer individual knowledge and expertise (e. running seminars.1 Million). whereas the principal at Agassiz had greater say. In the end – these schools are cases for how features of a COP and NOP can be formed. Restructuring Roundup. Last.wikimedia. like say. 85 . but dividing into smaller units. Looking at its management. World of Warcraft Game. and gar- nering improvements in organizational performance.org/wiki/File:World_of_Warcraft_-_Mists_of_Pandaria_Box _Art. demonstrating. Both settings search for expertise and knowledge beyond the school and they seek to disseminate their own beyond their own walls.these teachers are showing up on weekends and staying late into the evening (4-7pm) so as to improve their practice. teachers read and attend external groups and then report back. Instead. the World of Warcraft? Figure. but only as a means to drawing in or sending out knowledge on instructional practice. The social structure is large. culture and rituals fostering reflection and improvement on it. we see that the school instated several routines and institutional arrangements to foster such a learning community. Relationships are collaborative and the teachers / families have great influence. so let me explain. Evaluation Committee. Faculty Study Committees. Last. there is systematic learning via structures that facilitate constant contact (Agassiz’s grade level meetings. but is this sustainable? Will they eventually burn out? Or is this a model that will sustain commitment and fulfill identities? Now that we have some sense of an application to real organizations like schools. They encourage constant improvement and features of both community of practice (COP) and networks of practice (NOP). The World of Warcraft (WOW) is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that was created by Blizzard Entertainment. It also sounds like a lot of work! .

One of the main objectives in WOW is to complete quests. or the problem is too intricate to solve without a large collaborative effort. Guild emblem from the World of Warcraft 86 .jpg Figure. power and experience. coordinate quest efforts. The main goal is to interact. Hence. Screen shot of Orc in World of Warcraft http://commons. and to collectively learn and remember what worked well so they can train new personnel to go out and collaborative solve the same and new problems on their own. Many of these quests are difficult to accomplish. Here is a screen shot of what it looks like when you are a lonely Orc in WOW.wikimedia. They log many hours a week in addition to their day-jobs. and so on. They also develop identities as players and as a team. to coordinate their efforts. and that they are such a learning organization that they are able to confront a multitude of very complex problems. I believe there is even a currency that players pay real money for.org/wiki/File:b/be/Ware_guild_original_ logo.The game itself is extremely intricate with many options and rules.com/watch?v=BhuOzBS_OM Brown argues that the guilds in the World of Warcraft resemble a community of practice and network or practice. acquire wealth.org/wiki/File:Male_orc.png John Seeley Brown does a nice job of discussing the WOW and why it is a sort of learning organization. professions. Players can pick races. etc. and they are like communities. http://commons. Many people play this. etc. take a look yourself and see what you think! Figure.wikimedia. characters often form guilds – groups of 100 (small) to 200 (large). and they play it often. And here is an emblem of one of the guild’s on WOW. You can view his video directly here: http://www. The monsters are too strong for a small band to overcome. go on quests.youtube. Rather than recount Brown’s argument. In the communities the players chat.

hinder opposition’s coalition formation. ambiguity. and who cues them. goals/interests. Exists when there are multiple actors with inconsistent preferences and identities. Access rules – segmented. social learning experiences with means to retaining and transferring expertise. know how to overload system for policies you detest. Summary or Basic Argument Not salient except as influencing consequences of options. and participants. Improve information and analysis. money. communication. memory. Environment Objectives – compliance to SOP’s. the distinct and decoupled streams of problems. Informal. participants turn over. Actor identities (demand) important. lots of information. Players in positions Bargaining. and generate choice opportunities that work to your interests (access/timing). adaptations. Direct management of relations via bargaining. Deadlines and other choice arenas (e. Exists when solutions are unclear. When does it apply? Rational Actor (RA) Summary Table of Five Theories to Date: Bargain with players (log-roll. but focuses on practices within them that enable their continual adaptation and change to fit reality – i.g. what problems they go with (matching). Exists when the decision is guided by a logic of appropriateness – matching problem to actors with procedures for handling it (routineprocess focus). Actors in hierarchical organizational positions. Acknowledges routines.. Organized Anarchies / Garbage Can (GC) Find ways to create lateral ties among workers so “knowledge” is passed / transferred more readily / quickly (if possible. Management by consequences. their resources (expertise. Network of practice (professional identity / reach) & community of practice (cohesive group). the consequences of said options. or playing the game (within its rules). Create applied. or democratic. cueing of SOP’s appropriate to problem. Action = Maximization of means to ends. stakes / stands. Exists when there are clear feedback loops. practices reflecting organizational intelligence. Management by rules. Recognize imperfect info. and bargaining processes between them that establish agreements / coalitions. & collective improv. Source of inter-organizational knowledge / tricks / transfers. Organizational Learning (OL) / Knowledge-Practice Model . and clear goals (and time calculate). Deadlines and wider array of stakeholders. and preferences/identities are inconsistent. practice and knowledge Action = result of local actors collaborative search (trial & error / transfer) and adapting rule to situation. identifies options. Want communication.87 Unitary actor or team that confronts a problem. create means to organizational memory of what works. Action guided by processes / available routines. Goals (what probs to resolve) Social Structure Organizational positions Unified team or actor Matching identity and SOP’s (solutions) / programs / repertoires to problem. Focus on the players occupying various positions. such that solution is connected to problems and enough actor-energy to see it through. Know alternatives and their consequences for the shared goal. Dividing up problem. collective improvisation. assesses objectives (goals) with regard to it. Members of organization doing work / SOP’s Application problems – pattern recognition not there (no fit). and select first satisfactory option (good enough). Action = result of political bargaining. Participant stream shaped by political / career cycles & unplanned departures. prominence / vocalness of problems in firm. Indirect managing of situations. Problems stream determined by public opinion. etc. Learn others’ interests / weaknesses so you know how to manipulate and win. decision in current arena may be means of access to another choice arena…) Confluence of multiple streams. negotiation. and select wisely. Dominant Pattern of Inference Management Strategies Know SOP’s. Variant: Bounded rationality and satisficing. horse-trade. Internal adaptation. and none of whom can go it alone without assistance of others. conducting sequential attention to objectives (localized searches until problems resolved). abandon entangled initiatives. hierarchical. lateral relations. Coalitions – enemy/friend Parochial priorities. and support of actorexpertise / adaptations of rules to local reality.. and their access rules to the arena (whether structural or timed). and then chooses option that minimizes costs. or where actors alter routines for the better and fit reality (knowledge). people) and stakes in game. etc). their parochial interests (their conceptions of problems and solutions). Goals are defined in regard to problem. Improve rules and matching with problems. quickly). get decided) Exists when there is a unified actor with consistent preferences. Cue sequential routines that accomplish task or solve problem by routines available (supply issue). coordinating / activating organizational actors who have special capacities / SOP’s for parts of problem. Organizational Process (OP) / Limited Problem Solver (LPS) Participants Key Organizational Elements Technology Maximization of options (how solutions (solutions). or political maneuvering. hierarchical. Coalitions / Bureaucratic Politics (BP) Time when your solution is raised (to coincide with right participants and cycle of problems) to maximize energy. solutions. Action = output close to prior output (path dependence). Action / decision = result of streams collision in choice arena. Focus on choice arenas (when choice opportunities / windows arise).e. NA Formal roles. match with problem parts.

1-19 in Organizational Learning.).. Suchman.” “Learning in Theory and Practice. March. March. Brown. Tokyo: Swets & Zeitlinger. tions.” Chap- Organization Science. 2nd edition. Review of Sociology 14: 319-340. James G. 1998. 1991. 91-146 [and endnotes appended]) in The Social Life of Information. Louis. Michael Cohen and Lee Sproull March. 1996. Talking about Ma- Feb. ILR Press. 1991. Organizational Learning: Creating. Lucy. Orr. Juliann. John Seely and Paul Duguid.” Chapter 2 (pp. 2(1). Human-Machine 1-8) in in Organizational Learning in Reconfigurations: plans and situated ac- Schools. (Concretely 1988. 1991. Feb. “Organizational Learning and Communities-of-Practice: Toward a Unified View of Working. Lee Sproull. chines: An Ethnography of a Modern Job Leithwood. 2007. Knowledge. “Exploration and 2000. London: Sage. ters 4-5 (pp. 1998. 17-46) References: in Organizational Learning in Schools. Karen Seashore and Sharon D. 1991. MA: Harvard Business School Press. (also listed in Organization Science. 221-272. John Seely and Paul Duguid. “Learning From Samples of One or Fewer. and Michael Tamuz. Learning. Brown. Michael Cohen and Lee Sproull (also listed in Organization Science. Eds. NY: The Free Press. “Creating Community in Reform: Images of Organizational Learning in 88 . Boston: Kluwer. and Innovation. pp. 1999. Boston. 2(1). Eds.” Pp. Argote. 58-82 in Organizational Learning. James G. "Organizational Learning.” Pp. James G. Kenneth and Karen S. A Primer on Decision Making: How Decisions Happen. Tokyo: Swets & Zeitlinger. “Organizational Learning in (Collection on Technology and Work).” and Exploitation in Organizational Learning. Chapter 6. Retaining and Transferring Levitt. New York: Cambridge Louis.” Annual addresses many org learning themes).” Chapter 1 (pp. University Press. Schools: An Introduction. 2. Linda. 1991. “Practice Makes Process.).Inner City Schools. 1994. Barbara and James G. 1: 71-87. Kruse. March. London: Sage.

jpg) .6 Organizational Culture (Source: http://farm3.com/2339/1807614622_61a0cdc0f1_z_d.staticflickr.

training sessions. organizational culture is a gloss for an extensive definition of membership in the corporation that includes rules for behavior.. In short. rotating teachers through assignments. Their designs assumed teachers would work extra hours. These are deep structural facets that guide interaction. actors make sense of their existence according to identities and norms.e. As such. mentoring programs. It became clear that a key assumption of the organizational learning approach was that everyone shares the same values. Their main efforts focused on creating opportunities for discussion about the core technology of instructional practices -. one renders it something that controls and represses…a means of capturing souls! What is an organizational culture? What does it mean to engineer an organization’s culture? For managers. All of their design suggestions established interactional settings and routines through which faculty could discuss and study their practice. thoughts and feeling. and is on the same page reformwise. park-like environment. the large campus. we would have zealous workers! We would have the sort of worker buy in that organizational learning seems to need! However. some of whom are in this class from year to year. Exploring Organizational Culture Most of you recognize organizational cultures when you see them. If we could only control this and engineer it. a problem became readily apparent. We also know about the long hours the employees work. storage. the casual atmosphere. to shirts.g.” from pens. The company has a clear logo. it was assumed that the stakeholders would all come together and pick up the slack. to even lava lamps. and these are often constructs afforded by the organization they are in. that there were resources to fund their training. speaker series. and so on. Within an organizational culture. opportunities to transfer ideas -. But what is an organizational culture and how do you study it? That’s what we will cover in this chapter.Organizational Culture I often ask students in my class to perform an exercise where they got together in small groups and developed designs for a “learning school”. and the seemingly endless commitment many of them show for their firm. the great benefits. to put into question the organizational culture ideal. These add up to be a well-defined and shared notion of the “member role. it has a culture and we can see it. having small schools within schools. Each group came up with different interesting designs. the motive in an organizational culture is the expression and fulfillment of an identity – a strong intrinsic motivator! An organizational culture entails normative (valued) and cognitive (implicit) aspects of organizational social structures. In effect. They forged a system wherein they could continually self-assess their performance and make sure their core technology worked well. and means of establishing organizational memory – data collection. Kunda offers a more nuanced account of organizational culture: in making the organizational culture the focus of engineering.” Culture is seen as the vehicle by which we can influence the behavior and experience of others – something to be engineered via making pres- 90 .e. play areas in the work space (like ping pong or bowling). departmental meetings. Take Google for example – they’re here in Silicon Valley and employ many thousands of people. Engineering Culture. and analysis. Think of the culture at firms like Apple or Facebook – all have an identity and norms surrounding their performance of it.g. rule formation. and where resources were lacking. and it is emblazoned on all their “shwag. mentoring.. it assumed participants all share and buy into the same organizational culture. we will look carefully at Gideon Kunda’s book. and so on. That said. as well as gradelevel meetings. to cars. and even Google bikes readily available to Google employees to use and share as they move from building to building. is willing to work extra hours. And those of us in the area have heard about the availability of excellent free food.

Under normative control. and feelings that guide their actions. In particular. it is the employee’s self that is claimed in the name of corporate interest! (Kunda: 11) Let’s spend a little more time discussing observable features of organizational cultures. Organizational culture is generally viewed as the shared rules governing cognitive and affective aspects of membership in an organization and the means whereby they are shaped and expressed. If you recall. we look carefully at how participants relate to these practices and express themselves through them. We may also notice informal customs that emerge and are not planned.Script for Dancing (Dance Notation) (Source . The difference here is that we do not presuppose persons in an organization buy into and align with the practices being enacted like organizational learning does. textual.http://commons. I want to make sure you see grounded.” Engineering culture is the ability to elicit.entations.wikimedia. norms and values governing work behavior. and direct the creative energies and activities of employees. 91 . and intrinsic satisfaction from work. thoughts. we create a membership role in the firm that employees embrace as their own identity and self! Let’s look more closely at the concept of organizational culture and define it. The traces of an organizational culture are the shared meanings. since they afford the level of concretization I prefer (1988. Engineering an organizational culture is a managerial strategy. the traces of cultural practices can be found in formal scripts or rules of conduct. Organizational culture is a means to normative control: it is an attempt to elicit and direct the required efforts of members by controlling the underlying experiences. writing papers. practices are a central concern of the organizational learning approach. Below is a diagram showing changes in skirt fashion showing hemlines have risen. like a code of etiquette.org/wiki/File:Feuillet_notation. The culture is a mechanism of control! “You can’t make them do anything. and it is found in the structural causes and consequences of cultural forms and their relation to organizational effectiveness (Martin and Meyerson 1988). strong identification with company goals. sending messages. channel. etc. or a procedure or script for dancing. When we reflect on societal cultures we have certain things in mind. running bootcamps. and narrative structures in which norms and values are encoded. giving talks. such as customs of style. assumptions. Martin et al 2004). thereby showing changes in style. they are the symbolic. the discussion of culture can quickly seem abstract. real features you can point to in organizations when you consider what its culture is and how to re-engineer it. With an organizational culture perspective. In short. I am going to draw heavily on Martin and Meyerson’s work on organizational culture. they have to want to (Kunda: 7). Figure . I think this is important because all too often.jpg) In many instances. So how do you study organizational culture? What are the elements of a culture? One thing we can focus on are practices. By engineering organizational culture. members are driven by internal commitment.

Such behavioral and stylistic norms emerge and are not planned. arrowheads. societal cultures often have certain symbols like religious relics and art. historical buildings.Skirt Fashion (Source http://commons.org/wiki/File:KC85-HBS. performance assessments. and habits of interaction. like rules for promotion.org/wiki/File:Hemline_%28skirt_height%29_overview_chart_ 1805-2005. The parallel symbols in organizations are their logos.Figure . Jones”). there is a trend for executives to wear colorful socks. Figure .jpg) Organizational practices can also be informal customs – like norms of communication. and so on. activities. how conflict is managed.wikimedia.org/wiki/FileOrganizational_chart_of_Headquarters%2C_D epartment_of_the_Army. and the parallel tools are the computers and magnetic resonance imaging machines used within the workplace. All are formal policies.svg) What are the parallel practices within organizations? Within organizations. They also reference certain tools. Each signifies the organization and what it does (technology or medicine). Cultures also entail rituals like dances.g. customs of style and conduct. or as here. Examples of formal policies can also be found in organizational charts (here the rules are about positions and their relation). Some workplace customs even concern dress codes and fashion styles. etc). in Silicon Valley. cannons. Organizations also have rituals – but they tend to be different activities and encoun- 92 . roles. and so on. pay distributions. rules. But formal policies can also be standard operating procedures (e. rules for processing prisoners). For example. For example. Or to wear those shoes that look like gorilla feet.jpg/800px-KC85-HBS.gif Figure . Other cultural elements are artifacts – these manifest in multiple forms. workplaces may have different customs of when to talk. ionic columns. or the images placed on regional postcards. and procedures – like job descriptions.wikimedia. For example. how to address each other (“Bill” or “Mr.Manuals (Source http://commons.. these practices can be formal policies. like the ancient artifacts and technologies the region invented or utilized in important historical events (teepees.wikimedia. how to argue (kindly or hotly). Or even manuals for operating software or codes of conduct in an organization. games.Formal Organizational Chart (Source http://commons. bronze spears.

Within an organization. FSI. E-IPER. and so on. for example. we can see similar variation in physical arrangement. we see differences in physical ar- Figure . w i k i m e d i a . One can readily comprehend this when comparing say a Cathedral to a Quaker meeting house – both are Christian religions but of very different architectural styles. to heroic teachers and pariah deadbeats. http://commons. reflecting a particular form of collegiality (whether strict and hierarchical or loose and friendly). We hear two candidates voicing ideological themes that highlight their different values and beliefs (they express normative arguments – vote for “life” and “deregulation” versus voting for “choice” and the “middle class”. The differences in office building versus campus layout.Physical Arrangements ( S o u r c e . They express ideational themes that concern interpretations about the meaning of events. organizations often involve meetings and presentations of work. Cultures frequently entail stories people tell. I cannot begin to tell you how many acronyms Stanford uses for its research centers on campus. gay. Google.ters. These can be of varying forms and styles. and even language or jargon (dialects) that acts as code differentiating them.jpg) Last. Even the seating is very different. But this also extends within the firm. that economic reports are a sign of improvement or a sign of continued problems.org/wiki/File:Office-Cubicals-5205. the difference between closed impersonal cubicles and open desks. Again. etc. Noogler (new google employee) Loogler (employee in legal department) Gaygler (lesbian. For example. as told by the movie: The Social Network. Content themes are abstractions used to organize interpretations of an organization’s practices and artifacts. 93 . bisexual and transgender google employee) Spoogler (spouse of googler) Zooglers (employees in Zurich) Xooglers (ex-Google employees) The use of special acronyms too are common. One can see these content themes or cultural abstractions being used in the 2012 American Presidential Election. such as architecture and placement of objects. ICE. Martin and Meyerson argue that cultures differ in the content themes they highlight. In the Cathedral. Organizations too have stories – we all know the story told of Facebook and its founding.wikimedia. like Waren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway. o r g / w i k i / F i l e : R e d b o x _ O ff i c e . etc). many of which I cannot deconstruct into their compositional terms (SLAC. For example. has a series of terms they use on their campus to refer to various types of employees: rangement that reflects distinctions of culture and meaning.h t t p : / / c o m m o n s . seating is hierarchically arranged while in the Quaker house it is arranged for dialogue. We also know the story of other founders. j p g . SHIPS. Martin and Meyerson also argue that cultures are qualified by physical arrangements. Firms even have their own jargon. that current unemployment is a result of the prior president’s economic policies or this president’s.

This requires reinforcing elements where ideology and practices and themes all align (so consistent elements are mentioned..wikimedia.jpg/. 94 .whether practices. jargon. Martin and Meyerson portray organizational culture’s as amassing in certain types of paradigms or styles: they call them integrated.png. But it was also interesting to see both candidates try to portray content themes as internally held as well. or that Michelle Obama knows the real Barack Obama is the same guy he was 4 years ago.jpg. rituals. http://commons. http://commons. and members deny there is ambiguity). Ann Romney knows the real Mitt is funny. These cultural elements -.org/wiki/File:Jeri_and_Ann_Romney. and that can be reinforcing or undermining). or counter to. procedures. http://commons.org/wiki/File:Obama-harding.org/wiki/File:Bush_Inauguration08.Content themes of last US presidential election (sources . For example.jpg. The most common assumption is that organizational cultures are Integrated.wikimedia. physical arrangements or even content themes – all begin to form a mosaic of a culture.png/. organization-wide consensus exists. http://commons.png) Cultural Content Themes At each political party’s convention. what most of us see in the public image.wikimedia. holistic sense of what that organization’s culture is. recognizable and uniform. stories. differentiated and ambiguous.Figure .e. we saw how these content themes are externally presented to the public (public face).org/wiki/File:RWB-donkey. this internal perspective on content themes is usually the inside view on say a Google: i.wikimedia. what it is really like to live and work there (what we see backstage and in private. The culture becomes a system of these meanings and affords us a larger. symbols. Within a firm. http://commons. Management and public relations often espouse a uniform view– but it is seldom present for long.wikimedia. roles.wikimedia. tools. And these portrayals are made in spite of.org/wiki/File:Romney_Skidmore.org/wiki/File:Michelle_Obama_official_portrait_headshot.http://commons. The integrated culture hides conflict and tensions (repressed existence).

org/wiki/File:Galapagos_archipelago_250m.wikimedia.org. and ambiguous. Schools are great examples of such a decoupled system: the administration of a school tends to show the external environment a school’s test 95 . Turning to Martin and Meyerson again. has various stories.jpg.jpg. that all seem to reinforce and support the existence of egalitarianism. egalitarianism as an affirmative action ideology does not fit the perks and hiring practices being used. has an integrated effort to develop egalitarianism.Integrated Fragmented Ambiguity Figure. OZCO. they find that the firm publicly claims to be egalitarian. rituals. Hence. Rather than a uniform culture.wikimedia. or at least efforts pulling the organizational culture in different directions.uk_-_1433738. That said.http://commons. http://commons.png) The different types of organizational culture: integrated. A second perspective of organizational culture is that of differentiation or fragmentation. fragmented. For example. they would need to identify a series of cultural elements that reinforce and support this claim. Martin and Meyerson (1988) explore whether a single firm. For there to be an integrated culture of egalitarianism. Metaphorical Images for Types of Organizational Culture (Sources clockwise starting with the “integrated” figure . Here. it is possible there are entrepreneurial firms and schools where all the employees are committed to a common vision and purpose/ideology – they may actually have an integrated organizational culture. one can regard an organizational culture like an archipelago or as having different groups or camps with their own perspective and culture.org/wiki/File:4/4a/Uniformity%2C_plantation_on_Black_Hill%2C_Forest_of_Alyth_-_geograph. In many ways the differentiated system is conflicted and has countering efforts. jargon and physical arrangements. there is a differentiated one.org/wiki/File:Confusion_of_Tongues.wikimedia. we see them look for instances where egalitarianism is not seen uniformly and there are questions. http://commons. has formal and informal practices in place to encourage it.

As a result. I get the impression that organizational learning presupposes an integrated organizational culture. exhibits consensus across the organization. exhibits consensus within subcultures of the firm (not between). has issue-specific consensus. and channels ambiguity (denying it for their own subculture. In my mind. By comparing the cultural paradigms. and confusion over what things mean and how to do them. As such. or a jungle. but it might help you grasp the concept).org/wiki/File:Ambiguous_Sign_-_geograph. unclear and confusing. a culture of ambiguity lacks clarity..uk_-_1391048 . Last. If we return to Martin and Meyerson’s example of OZCO – we find that the ideology of egalitarianism is confusing to some. In contrast. After all. Is differentiation a more accurate view of organizational cultures in most firms? Do these different cultures exist in conflict or harmony? Differentiation might work better for a highly differentiated context like a multinational firm. in other instances of organizational learning they espouse the need for improvisation and this might require an organizational culture that lacks clarity. ambiguity equals lack of clarity. an archipelago of cultures. or everyone is speaking different languages and it is hard to make sense of things (e. we have the view that organizational cultures can be ambiguous.g.Ambiguous Sign (Source http://commons. or a steeply hierarchical organization. I see this sort of organization as one that gives mixed signals (like this sign – is the road closed or open for wide loads?). and this creates consensus within subcultures but not across them. Figure . The Tower of Babel is perhaps a silly allegory here. and frequent confusion. different subcultures can emerge. gestalts).scores and extracurricular activities but it does not talk to teachers about educational process (the internal perspective is not the same as the external one looking in). or that the organization can be seen in several ways (e. but seeing it in others). For example. 96 . many cults and instances of group-think do not end well! And in some ways.g.org..jpg) It would be easy at this point to think that an integrated culture is most desirable. For it to work. we get a better sense of how they differ. Each has certain defining characteristics that distinguish them. and channeled ambiguity. Last. However. cultural differentiation entails some inconsistency. lack of consensus. it often seems to require an organizational culture that is much like a “cult”. Ambiguity here is acknowledged. and denies ambiguity. What results is inconsistency. but perhaps not for everything.wikimedia. there are unclear procedures and confusion on how to implement things. In an ambiguous organizational culture the elements are unclear and confused. an organizational culture practiced by integration only mentions consistent elements. One can envision these cultures as seeming to be a hologram.

This depiction of organizational culture as ideology is consistent with anthropological conceptions of ideology. But his primary focus is on interactions. These cultural systems come in many forms. that most of us will recognize this kind of culture (and that is Kunda’s point). It is not clear an integrated form will be the one most desired in every context. symbols. but they can also afford variation and be a hotbed for innovation. In many ways. Also. Also. and sees how they influence surface interactions. Kunda views organizational culture as an ideology. I do not know which company the pseudonym “Tech” refers to. well-articulated. how it is enacted. organized anarchy suggests manager should embrace ambiguity as it is there where creativity can arise. or a self-fulfillment culture. Organizational Culture as Ideology Kunda’s focus is on the context of normative transactions: managerial conceptions of culture. An ambiguous and differentiated culture can create inconsistencies and confusion. An organization situated in a dramatically changing environment may do well to be differentiated or ambiguous so it can more readily adapt and survive. I think many of you can see that the organizational theories we discussed earlier may have a proclivity toward one form of organizational culture over another. Moreover. etc. This may also confuse you a bit and make you wonder how organizational culture differs from organizational learning. rituals. coalition theory suggests managers should embrace differentiation and bargain one’s way to success within such a context. comprehensive. Similarly. By contrast. He sees cultural enactment in terms of rituals enacting the ideology and instilling it. organizational learning seemed intent on developing a particular set of interactions and practices that led to a self-aware and learning organization. My point here is that different paradigms of organizational culture may be more or less useful to a firm and its situation. It took certain surface structures and sought to implement them so they would change deeply held beliefs and understandings (deep structure) and this would result in organizational participants who continually improve their practice. and his main tool is ethnographic observation. As such. the company perspective on the culture is familiar. Gideon Kunda’s Engineering Culture Next. there are so many high tech firms in Silicon Valley that resemble Tech. we will discuss Gideon Kunda’s text. Here we have a case study of an organizational culture formed in a high-tech company that seems to influence control and commitment to the corporation. and associated with the company’s interest. Kunda regards organizational culture as a means to normative control – controlling the hearts and minds of employees! The management is seen as defining organizational ideology (Kunda: 52). I get the impression that an ambiguous organizational culture is the type characterized in the theory of organized anarchy and the fragmented culture is the type characterized in coalition theory. it begins with deep structures. only some of which may be a learning culture! Others may be an egalitarian culture. such as that of Clifford Geertz – all ideologies are schematic images of social order publicly offered in the 97 . “Engineering Culture” (1992). there are reasons to believe an ambiguous or differentiated culture may be more useful. and the responses of members . Kunda approaches organizational culture in many of the same ways Martin and Meyerson describe. In fact.In contrast. So in some ways. Moreover. the organizational culture approach is agnostic as to what kind of culture is best – it may all depend on the context. it is feasible that ambiguous and differentiated forms may be advisable under certain circumstances. etc. thought-out. like content themes. For members. systematic. And he focuses on how members negotiate their need for distance and embracement of the culture and its rituals. organizational culture fleshes out what practices are to a richer extent and identifies how they form larger gestalts or systems of meaning that guide behavior. work relations and company performance. If you recall.

it is related in moral and normative terms with mentions of a strong relationships with customers. complementing and fleshing it out. The image is that there is no conflict between individual and company goals (an integrated paradigm). “mom and apple pie”). Managerial authority is obviously ritualized by senior management. First there is managerial authority which derives it’s authority and influence from the documented views of senior managers. Her register of speech is often open. and heavy selfinvestment in the company affords personal returns and freedom (greater autonomy and authority). and these give personalized and animated views of Tech ideology. and simultaneously sustains the company and affords members a “meaningful” identity. and reflects their views of Tech. Their influence is additive and compounding. the expert is still viewed as partisan by employees.name of those with a claim to authority as maps of problematic social reality and matrices for the creation of collective conscience (Geertz 1973:220. Such experts focus more on the requirements and attributes of a member’s role. their mission. A good place to see this is in the company documents on goals and missions. “us”) as a way of lending the members a moral significance as well shared goals and history. That said. These managers focus on the attributes of the collective (Tech.. and memos that internal experts write. They build a “we” sense by referencing the past.http://commons. Individualism is a way to serve the collective interest. making it a part of your self – or so that is how the senior management performs it.g. People love our clothes and trust our company. They are all catch phrases and abstract ideals (e. They characterize their members as creative. pragmatic. and scientific credibility. good people. and shared values. They entail things no one would disagree with and only want they would want to emulate. 98 . The organization claims to give employees a place to grow and develop. This view is consistent with a managerial perspective but it is less ideal and more real. All of these forms of authority combine to create a company perspective and ideology. product quality and universality. What is not to like about it!? Expert authority is mostly enacted by internal experts. hard working. Personal meaning is derived from participation in the collective.svg) As you can see. practicality. the company philosophy. mentions of trust. experts give an aura of independence. The third form is one of objective authority. taped speeches of the CEO. It is not just Tech who does this. (Source .org/wiki/File:7/75/Levi%27s_logo. reports. A good example of this expert view and identity portrayal can be seen in the Kunda’s account of a native anthropologist’s study of Tech culture (Ellen Cohen). as well as identities of self and others. TV ads. and critical/helpful – so seemingly balanced. Role performance is more based on personal success and self-help. As insiders. but incorporate it and become it. You not only assume a role. Membership in the community is presumed to define one’s social existence and personal experience. The expert even acknowledges downsides and her prescriptions are pragmatic. a moral order to participate in. This type of authority emanates from technical papers. such as news clipping. Her moral tone is not evident and the ideological façade is acknowledged some. and editorials. Take a completely different company of Levi jeans and their mission statement. We will market the most appealing and widely worn casual clothing in the world. The managers present their views through their speeches. company mission statements – all framed in terms of morals and ideals! A second form of authority is expert authority. etc. interviews. So what authority gets across in an organizational culture? Whose image of social order is offered and practiced?The inscription of the organizational identity falls into three distinct categories each of which derives its authority from a different source.wikimedia. Kunda:52). We will clothe the world. This type of authority is comes from selective representation of materials produced by outside observers of Tech.

Many similar themes are addressed. By contrast. All three of these views compound to form one integrated view of Tech! – membership in Tech entails heavy involvement. we see people present and attempt to establish a positive definition of their self. We see these displays most frequently in presentations. A very different notion of organizational self exists in those two parts of campus and one can readily infer it from mere standing exhibits! 99 . consultants. These accounts tend to be edited. informality. Presentation rituals occur everywhere in the participants everyday lives – the performance of such rituals. expecting professional behavior and a style of interaction that makes the everyday reality of living in Tech seem different from elsewhere but seemingly valid and natural. and zeal – leading to collapse in boundary between self and organization. Last.. If you recall Martin and Meyerson’s focus on cultural elements. For example. They are also in the mundane. I know that may seem like a lot of jargon to some of you. in the computer science department. toys and equipment are strewn about. Tech stuff and humorous jokes about the company. selective reviews of the company from outside that are used to reinforce things further. Organizations typically decide which of these perspectives to relate and share. These are standing exhibits of self meant for passerby’s and bystanders.The creation of objective authority comes from outside the firm from academics.” These rituals are used as vehicles for the exertion of symbolic power that defines reality. What I mean here is that every time a Tech employee or man- ager does a presentation. and at the water cooler. They relate the zeal / culture to enhanced performance claims (common sense). Popular books tend to get closer to the manager’s ideal but from an external basis. At Tech these exhibits are found at desks where they display personal mementos. Even people listening in the audience play their role complement. the faculty offices are casual. We just have to look. everyday chatter at lunch. all are decision arenas). private. strong bonding to company. you will see many of the same elements discussed in Kunda. in back offices. and they are mostly positive. and is accomplished by designing an environment based on individual autonomy. they act as an employee (not as a father or mother) and as an agent of the firm. and so on. We can see Tech rituals everywhere. In these interactions. and meetings (notably. At many organizations. but mull it over a bit. Ritual presentations of self are most often observed in persons behavioral displays. and journalists. Academic pieces seem to offer an objective view that the company members (mostly professionals) are oriented toward the firm and its culture (science). walk down the hallway of the law school and the computer science departments. We can also see presentations of self in artifactual displays when we walk by work spaces or observe participant’s dress. but negative / critical pieces are not shown (journalistic observations). Lshaped desks. At the law school their offices resemble a lawyer’s office with cherry wood. voices a slogan. minimal status distinctions. or interacts in a meeting. The company culture and ideology is enacted and instilled in members via presentation rituals of an organizational self. They wrangle and maneuver so as to do a good job and to come off in certain ways. and the professors dress in t-shirts and sneakers (or flipflops). One can see distinct types of artifactual display at Stanford depending on which department you walk through. “is a framing device: members acting as agents of the corporate interest attempt to establish a shared definition of the situation within which reality claims derived from the organizational ideology are experienced as valid (Kunda:154). these are time-bound interactions specific to a particular audience and setting. journalism is the most widely seen form of media – clippings are posted often focused on CEO giving a rational actor imagery. In addition. question-&answer sessions. and seeming disorganization (Kunda:88). they dress relatively formal in comparison to the rest of campus. neat shelves. This accomplishment is seen as leading to economic success..

In short. Here. these mini-dramas of control are an ever-present part of presentation-rituals. silence the deviants. like question & answer sessions in talks where some individuals seem to establish authority (and if you recall – that can be of several forms – managerial. informality. Some people just come off smarter. expert. through observation and recording we get a record of talk. this embracement is expressed whole-heartedly in talks by top level management. the firm hopes to go deep into the persons psyche – to have them embrace their organizational self as their virtual one – and from this all sorts of company gains will result. and shifting reputations – so power seems decentralized. where standards and identities are assessed and redirected in ideological ways. become hard to disentangle. and exhibits. Through active note-taking and involvement. At Tech. and the minor disagreements and gaffes. presentations. and in character-jousts – like disagreements. and so on. the Tech employee suspends their role-embracement in the process of performing behavioral displays. it is through micro- rituals in meetings. rising tension. The dramas follow a predictable pattern – there is a challenge. It is revealed in brief episodes of social drama. We have all seen individuals suspect their formal role and organizational self. and then actors acting in the corporate interest use various techniques to suppress and redefine dissent. we have described how Tech culture is a normative culture developed and imposed as a means of normative control. Kunda comes to observe a persistent pattern or style to these interactions. individual initiative and real feelings. that persons come to exert norms of behavior and guide presentations of self so they reflect and reinforce Tech culture. Individual Reactions to Organizational Culture Thus far. teams. talks. 2. they project a self and statements others identify with. symbolic power is often exerted subtly. I may drop my teacher role at the beginning or end of class. it is reserved and tentative in training workshops. In everyday rituals. Upon observing many such interpersonal rituals and speaking with Tech employees. reputations. The company engineers the culture to acquire greater worker commitment and to increase worker efficiency. Tech rituals have at least two features: 1. interpersonal behavior. All of these devices help us compile evidence on how ritual interactions shape the worker’s organizational self. The most common outcome is the expression of role-embracement – here. When I teach. And these seem to entail many speakers. we can even form understandings of these encounters as if we are participants (as opposed to foreigners). during transitions and 100 . or debates – they tend to win. In this manner. Tech ideology is one of openness. or like they are just playing a part? Do they resist and play an ambivalent self? How do they respond to Tech culture? Kunda writes that employees respond in several ways.We can capture and record behavioral and artifactual displays in a variety of ways – through interviews we get personal accounts of self. And this is accomplished by having members enact a variety of behavioral displays or interpersonal rituals. projects. Participants who embrace their role (like managers) may experience some emotional dissonance. In those instances their perception of an acted role and the experience of an authentic self. But how do Tech employees react to these presentation rituals of self and the seeping in of an organizational culture and identity? Are they fine with it? Do they dearly value the organizational self they portray? Or do they feel like a “tool”. Tech rituals are characterized by a decentralization of power. Hence. changing projects. power arises in the shifting environment of different speakers. and gain support. A second reaction is to engage in role distance. They find it hard to have an identity distinct from the one they have at work. and pragmatic / conflictual in work group meetings. and external).

And this is where it gets interesting! The self-consciousness that can be seen as a fatal flaw is now itself ritualized! This creates a potentially unstable balance between role-distance and embracement that constantly calls into question the authenticity of experiences associated with the member role for persons targeted by normative control. Think of all the managers who effectively do this performance and dance. They are not that unique! It is sort of like the rebellious kid. that they do not want to engage in “pissing contests”. Some Tech employees are aware of all this and show a great deal of social skill and elegance. it makes some of them feel left out and they develop an “estranged view”. “I am just a guy playing my part like you are!” By doing this. The act of distancing oneself from your presentation and manager role does not invert the hierarchy like my jokes might. mention my kids. we connect and there is a communion among the self-aware and talented actors who comment on their roles and performances (Kunda: 158). seriousness and humor. it is not so much a roleembracement as role-distancing. At same time. They comment on their condition and the ritual performance itself. Some members are marginal. they have the controlled ability to shift stances and frames. They say they are “setting up”. Sure they rebel. internal and external viewpoints. They put colorful labels on behavioral scenarios. “hanging by their shoestrings”. but they rebel much like all the other kids and are not that unique. Presentation rituals are vehicles of enacting. etc.timeouts. These brackets intersperse my presentations and are opportunities for rolereversals: I can talk to students as a peer. This is when members assume a reflective and openly self-conscious stance. participation and withdrawal. What is real and prescribed here about your self? Even the contrived self – one that you accomplish by social skill and by switching between embracement and distance – is something the organization prescribes and rewards. enforcing and reinforcing the sanctioned display of member roles and are thus a mechanism mediating normative demands and responses. and an open acknowledgement of the manufactured nature of cultural categories and symbols. In the end. Not all members are invested equally in Tech. and share with others the awareness of the theatrical nature of the proceedings. and so on. you have to wonder if a strong organizational culture leaves room for individual freedom of expression. By enacting role-distance and taking a self-aware stance on your talk and role. but rather they confront the meaning of authenticity (who is “real” and who is not”) and inclusion (who is in and who is out”) that is being enacted. you show you are a person distinct from it. including those that are central to the ritual performance itself. so they are exempt to a degree because demands on their self are reduced. That is. “crucifying”. This is actually more important than many realize. This ability to shift stances is key because members evaluate each other on their ability to express both embracement and distancing and knowing when to stop (Kunda:158). joke. They are not subject to same role demands and organizational ideology. however. The mediating role of rituals is not simple though! They can juxtapose a variety of themes and stances: for example. like temps and what Kunda calls wage 2 class earners. and so on. or engage in “hidden agendas”. affirmation and denial. Kunda calls this a contrived self because participants enact rituals with an explicit awareness of the dramatic mechanisms that underlie the process of framing reality. “backstabbing”. notions of obligation and choice. comment on it. they can juxtapose ideology and common sense. 101 . Switching between embracement and distance forms a web of normative pressures. At Tech. When this occurs members temporarily detach themselves from their performance of the member role.

This can happen by (i) denial. Workers can also distance themselves emotionally with respect to their feelings. you can do some things that leave room for your “authentic self”. Employees do this by being (i) cynical and complaining a lot. you can manage time. or in spheres outside work. and deny an emotional attachment. you can manage your response to the organizational self. and by (iii) adopting a common sense perspective (they effectively try to view the organization from an alternative frame of reference).org/wiki/File:Robert_schonberger. These employees must meet the enormous demands of their member role and face a fundamental dilemma.Figure .jpg/) Other members are fully invested.org/wiki/File:thumb/Marissa_Mayer. In these instances. they claim their motives for membership are purely instrumental. Second. It is used to accomplish goals. Otherwise. This blurs the distinction between work and non-work.wikimedia. Workers can also define their authentic self by what they want to become. and therefore suspect of authenticity. they can regard their emotions in terms of (iii) dramatization. Tech work takes lots of time and energy. Balancing Demands of Organizational Culture To this point you may be thinking the following: if I join a firm with a developed organizational culture and I want to get to the top. You need to be autonomous enough to know what is going on in the company and dignified enough to express such knowledge. or what Kunda calls wage 4 class employees. These are typically higher status members of the firm. In both instances. The high status participant gives up their behavior. The organizational self for Tech managers is one that arises from balancing accep- tance and rejection of the organizational ideology and the member role it prescribes (Kunda:161). I am one thing at home with my kids and another at work with my students. protected.http://commons. By seeking acceptance and higher status. these actors expose themselves to greater demands of the organizational ideology. and they do not take things personally. As a response. people create boundaries around their time and their relationships that develop at work. thoughts and feelings! This can lead to a “cynical view” as these members form a contrived self. by performing (ii) detached theoretical observations (using a lens like a scientist or researcher). Many workers regard over-involvement as a problem. 102 . They must sell their soul! The price of power is submission! Low status participants merely submit their behavior but not their attitude. they distance themselves from emotions experienced at work. Here they view emotional expression as strategically driven. They say they are “have a thick skin”. then I may find myself being brainwashed! Luckily. First. You can prevent the contrived self from being your authentic self in several ways. and kept separate.Images of a Wage 4 and Wage 2 Worker (Source . or talk about their emotions abstractly as “pain” or “warm fuzzies” etc. The organization need not take over all of who you are! We all have multiple identities and selves. In fact. and anything else is undignified (Kunda:177). you will be seen as a zealot or a “tool”. http://commons. Emotional distance can also arise from (ii) depersonalization. Last. Non-work time is sacred. Here. Cognitive distancing and disputing popular ideological formulations is viewed as a good idea. all is not lost. Even if you play the part of a contrived self and are cynical about your self and the firm. like for money.jpg. role-distance is often condoned. I may show role-distance and reveal my character or something about me as a person independent of those identities. They believe that having a fair exchange with the company is desirable.wikimedia.

is Kunda viewing organizational culture as a “cup half empty” when maybe we can see it as a “cup half full”? If I do not embrace my organizational self. For example. actors engage in two efforts at selfpreservation: (1) they attempt to control and stake boundaries to their other selves by managing time and separating work from non-work. the higher one goes. And yet we have this precarious relation with our self when participating in such an organization. Why is that organizational self more sacred? What if my organizational self at Stanford also serves some good? Is it ok then? Or perhaps Kunda is saying any roleembracement has this quality of becoming more and more of our virtual self? And that with any role we fully embrace. the more roleembracement is needed and the distancing becomes part of a contrived self and an act. then I must be embracing another self in other spheres of my life. organizational cultures are a means to normative control or an ideology. I do not have all the answers. I just know Kunda hit on something profound. So let’s sum up Kunda’s argument. In so doing. We want to create an integrated organizational culture and for employees to embrace it in many of the organizations we hope to found and manage. But even so. (2) and they seek to control their cognitive and affective responses at work when they are enacting their organizational self. But ask yourself something . The ideology is enacted and instilled in members via presentation rituals.In sum. they free up other features of their self independent of the company. we eventually assume a self-referential perspective on it. They sell their selves to the company! Now this might be desirable or not. but higher ranking workers are under cultural and utilitarian control. one might embrace being a youth league soccer coach. But then this process is merely descriptive of our being in an organizational world and how we manage our selves more generally in today’s society. These rituals are like layers of control plied on. Lower status workers are under utilitarian control (they want pay!). And most every “true member” of an organization performs some roledistancing. 103 . According to Kunda.

When does it apply? Organizational Learning (OL) Summary Table of Resource Dependence Theory (RDT) Find ways to confer ideology and lead others to identify with it (using a variety of practices and artifacts). Organizational Culture . Deep structure composes the elements of culture – themes (beliefs & norms). but don’t make it so explicit / fanatical that cynicism emerges. and their manifestation or expression in artifacts (reports. and support of actor-expertise / adaptations of rules to local reality. or where actors seek to express beliefs. and values via a variety of practices and externalize them in artifacts depicting shared understandings / notions of appropriateness. Give room for autonomy and self-expression so distancing is unnecessary. Action = result of deep structure or culture that is generated in the organization. Create applied. and remove differentiation / cynicism in most cases. negotiation. but which is mediated by the member’s relation to it. and they are transported in. and organizational culture is the medium for such expression/sense-making. and encourage members to generate a culture of their own (~org learning culture NE to Tech culture which is top-down engineered). Actors within the organization. create means to organizational memory of what works. Summary or Basic Argument Internal adaptation.. When the cognitive and normative aspects of social structure are of concern and seem to guide organizational decisions (sense-making) and outcomes. Many elements of culture have origins from outside. Find ways to create lateral ties among workers so “knowledge” is passed / transferred more readily / quickly (if possible. but focuses on practices within them that enable their continual adaptation and change to fit reality – i. norms. Actor identities (demand) important. social learning experiences with means to retaining and transferring expertise. Network of practice (professional identity / reach) & community of practice (cohesive group). their expression via practices (rituals. lateral relations. Action = result of local actors collaborative search (trial & error / transfer) and adapting rule to situation. then translated to the local culture. communication. and those salient to meaningmaking. Matching.104 Acknowledges routines. mission statements. & collective improv. Technology (how solutions get decided) Participants Goals (what probs to resolve) Social Structure Environment Dominant Pattern of Inference Management Strategies Key Organizational Elements Exists when there are clear feedback loops. Informal. Want communication. collective improvisation. Members of organization doing work / SOP’s Application problems – pattern recognition not there (no fit). practices reflecting organizational intelligence.e. practice and knowledge sharing to arise. sense-making / meaning-making. Source of inter-organizational knowledge / tricks / transfers. Actors seek expression and fulfillment of identity. memory. etc). etc). Create intrinsic motivation (sense of fulfillment). or where actors alter routines for the better and fit reality (knowledge). adaptations. quickly).

Peter Frost et al). R." Pp. Joanne. “Organizational Culture: Beyond Struggles for Intellectual Dominance. Gideon. Pondy. Martin. 2004. 1991. C.” To appear in S. Martin. PA: Temple University Press. Hardy. 1988. "The Smile Factory: Work at Disneyland. 1973. Cultures in Organizations: Three Perspectives. W. Basic Kunda. and H. Clifford.) Handbook of Organization Studies. 1992. Philadelphia. 93-125) in Managing Ambiguity and Change. 1992. Sage. 105 . Lawrence. Frost. Boland. Channeling and Acknowledgment of Ambiguity. O’Neill. second edition. (Eds. L. Thomas (Eds). Engineering Culture: Control and Commitment in a High-Tech Corporation.” Chapter 6 (pp.References Geertz. Van Maanen. Peter J. 5876 in Reframing Organizational Culture (eds. and T. “Organizational Cultures and the Denial. Martin. Joanne. and Olivia A. London: Sage Publications. The Interpretation of Cultures. Clegg. Nord. John and Gideon Kunda. New York: Oxford University Press. Joanne and Debra Meyerson.

wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Circular_buffer.svg/) .7 Resource Dependency Theory Environment Tech Core Firm (Source: http://commons.

Resource Dependency Theory
We now begin focusing on theories that are
primarily concerned with the environment and
how they influence organizational effectiveness
and survival: resource dependence theory, network
organization, and neoinstitutional theory. These
theories and conceptual frameworks are relatively
recent contributions to organizational research,
most emerging in the literature in the 1980’s onward. All of these theories provide what Scott
calls an “open systems” perspective on organizations (Scott 2003). Each of these theories will argue that there is no single best way to organize a
corporation or to make decisions. The optimal
course of action is always contingent (or dependent) upon the external situation of the firm. As
such, the best way to organize a firm depends on
the nature of the environment to which the organization relates. The theory we will discuss in this
chapter is Resource Dependence Theory, and it
views an organization in terms of its resource dependencies with other firms in the environment.
Resource Dependency Theory Compared
Given we have already covered a series of
different theories in the course, it may help to contrast them with the theory of resource dependence.
So let me review a few and compare them: we will
look at coalition formation, organizational learning
and organizational culture, and we will discuss
how they differ from the resource dependence perspective. In the earlier chapters, we learned about
coalition formation and what it entailed. We
learned that coalitions arise when multiple actors
have inconsistent identities and preferences, and
none of them can go it alone without the assistance
of others. We read about “players” having their
own interests and resources, and how they had to
negotiate (or exchange and bargain) until they
reached an agreement by which coordinated action
could follow. We also learned that coalitions
could be managed and formed through various
processes of exchange and bargaining – like horsetrading and log-rolling. These exchanges were all
pair-wise, or dyadic, and they aggregated within a

group to form a shared goal and agreement. The
time frame on these exchanges and agreements
were narrow – as the coalition agreement was often fleeting.
Resource dependence theory is similar to coalition theory in that it concerns exchange and efforts to produce agreements. However, it differs
from coalition theory in at least two important
ways. First, it shifts the unit of analysis from coalitions of persons to inter-organizational relationships of dependence. Here, the concern is with a
focal organization and its multiple resource dependencies with other organizations in the environment. Second, while coalition theory focuses on
narrow windows of time specific to each transaction, resource dependence theory concerns extended forms of exchange, or exchange relations.
An organization can form a wide variety of buffering or bridging maneuvers used to overcome persistent dependencies in the environment. For example, you will learn that when a company merges
with another, it is often a means of absorbing dependencies and acquiring a degree of autonomy in
the environment.
These dependence relations can also be asymmetric – in fact, managers of resource dependence
actively seek ways to render other firms dependent
on them, but not vice versa. So with resource dependence theory, we have an egocentric view of an
organization trying to acquire the best exchange
relations it can in an environment of many potential partners. In prior weeks we also discussed organizational learning. If you recall, organizational learning focused on how organizational participants adapted their practices within the firm as
they engaged in the process of doing their work.
This was facilitated by efforts to encode best practices into organizational memory and by communicating about practice in local communities of practice and by communicating outwardly in networks
of practice beyond the organization.
Managers try to develop employee concern
with improving practice and by forging social relations and interactions that facilitate knowledge experimentation and transfer. Most of the emphasis
lies in local adaptations of routines – and as such,
the argument is that internal application (learning

107

by doing) is the main means to understanding and
expertise.
Resource dependence theory has some similarities with organizational learning. Like organizational learning, resource dependence theory focuses on the technological core of an organization.
However rather than describe the internal process
of practice improvement and knowledge transfer,
it describes how the technological core of an organization is buffered from the environment. Resource dependence theory describes how the organization (as a sort of unitary actor) bridges with
firms in the environment so as to garner autonomy
and control. Hence, concern is placed on becoming effective in an external environment and by establishing certain SOP’s for resource exchanges
with other firms. So the focus shifts from a mostly
inward view to a mostly outward one.
In the last chapter we discussed organizational culture, and there the goal was to create an
ideology or culture that members identify with personally, and managers used all sorts of strategies
(rituals) to make that happen. Now of course, it’s
possible that different paradigms of organizational
culture (integrated, fragmented or ambiguous) will
apply best to your firm’s goals or context – but the
general argument is somewhat similar to that of organizational learning: adaptation is internal to the
organization and not focused on external relations
outside. Whereas for organizational learning, the
effort was to generate relations and practices, here
the effort is to engineer deeper social structures of
cognition and norms. Here, managers worry about
internal contingencies, like layering on a culture
too thick and having organizational members reacting in resistant ways. For example, you recall
Kunda’s worry about generating cynics. Managers
have to balance the effort to prescribe a culture
with allowing participants room for their selves.
Otherwise, the participants relation to the culture
will undermine its effect.
As such, organizational culture is inherently
concerned with the process of sense-making and
ritual performance. Standard operating procedures
are viewed as practices, and deeper, broader sets
of practices than perhaps organizational learning
relates. By contrast, Resource dependence theory

is not concerned with sense-making but with the
selection of SOP’s that manage the firms resource
dependencies in the environment. In a way, resource dependence theory is a step back toward
the organizational process model. It brings our
theories back up to the surface of ostensive rules
and routines, and away from deeper forms of
sense-making. Managers form and select SOP’s
that concern relations in the environment; and they
seek relations that create favorable exchanges – or
favorable consequences. So resource dependence
theory is also a shift back toward a logic of consequence in certain regards.
We can also discuss the prior theories in this
textbook more generally – as natural systems, as
compared to the open organizational system being
characterized in resource dependence theory. A
good example of this can be found in how prior
theories described organizational uncertainty. It
was something that arose within the firm, from inconsistent preferences, identities, unclear rules,
routines, practices, and so on. Resource dependence theory is also concerned with organizational
uncertainty, but it sees uncertainty as residing in
the firm’s external relations of interdependence.
When external dependence relations are not managed and coordinated well, they create uncertain
conditions (if not unfavorable conditions) for the
firm’s survival. Prior theories also regard dependence and uncertainty differently from resource dependence theory. For example, for coalition theory, dependence is not a problem but something
sought after to make the coalition hold. And uncertainty or ambiguity is often reason for why a coalition stays together.
By contrast, in resource dependence theory,
the firm tries to accomplish autonomy and certainty, and it does this by freeing itself from dependence on other firms and by forging contracts.
Hence, whereas uncertainty and dependence are an
asset to coalition formation, they seem to prevent
firms from acquiring an advantageous resource position. In sum, the shift from immediate local exchange conditions within a firm, to externally sustained exchanges in the environment, seem to have
different consequences and implications for each
of our theories.

108

An Overview of Contingency Theory and Resource Dependency Theory

Let’s now briefly discuss the history and
core features of the theory of resource dependence.
Resource dependence theory, in part, grew out of
contingency theory. Therefore it helps to understand the core features of that theory before going
further. Contingency theory was a class of organizational theory from the 1950’s through the
1970’s that argued a firm’s optimal course of action was contingent upon the internal and external
situation it found itself in. As such, contingency
theory offered a natural and open system view of a
firm. Perhaps the most complete characterization
of contingency theory can be found in Thompson’s
work (1967). He describes how firms need to
buffer and protect their technical core from all
sorts of internal and external disturbances that can
disrupt its functioning. He affords several prescriptions on how to minimize these contingent problems:
• For example, managers need to seal off their
technol\ogical core and buffer it from internal and external influences.
• Managers can prevent and reduce environmental uncertainty by distinguishing both the
input-acquisition functions (such as supply)
and output-disposal functions (such as sales)
from the technical core.
• Internal strategies of the firm might include
stockpiling and smoothing, or internalizing
uncertainty through growth (thereby absorbing uncertainty).
• External Strategies include maintaining alternatives and minimizing dependence. Some
specific aspects of this include cooptation,
contracting, and coalescing (like joint ventures).
Resource dependence theory builds off contingency theory and greatly elaborates on maneuvers
firms can use to manage disturbances in the external
e n v i r o n m e n t .

Resource dependence theory was founded by
Jeffrey Pfeffer and Gerald Salancik. According to

Pfeffer and Salancick, organization’s modify their
boundary so as to manage disturbances in the external environment. The firm’s central goal is effectiveness in a context or environment (e.g., survival). This is different from Organizational Learning where internal efficiency and improvement is
the focus.
Resource dependence theory is primarily
focused on relations with the external environment, rather than on ones within the firm. As
such, resource dependence theory views organizational conditions in a particular way. It presumes
there is environmental determinism. This means
an organization’s behavior can be explained by
looking at its context, such as external constraints
and controls. It assumes an organization’s specific
goals are contingent on dependence relations keeping it alive (i.e., the relationships that secure its
necessary resources). Within this context, the
firm’s general goals are to find greater certainty
and autonomy. From this it follows that organizations respond to resource dependencies in at least
two ways: they comply and adapt to dependencies
or they avoid & manage them.
What are the core features of resource dependence theory? One of the most important features of the theory concerns the resources involved
and how they establish dependencies. To identify
resource dependencies, it helps to ask - What are
the key resources in an environment? Who controls the resources in question? Resources come
in a variety of forms, they are valued differently
depending on their importance and availability,
and they differ in terms of who has discretion and
control over them.
There are various types of resources firms
depend on, such as physical materials. These
might be actual materials the organization builds a
product from. But firms may also depend on technical resources like information or knowledge as
well. And last, they may depend on social resources, like prestige and reputation, that enable
them to survive. All these resources can vary in
value. On the one hand, their value can differ by
the importance of the resource. Is it in demand - is
it valued? Does the firm need the resource to survive? Is there a “critical” resource? For example,

109

healthy food. who controls the resource? Can the exchange partner dictate how you use the resource? Is the resource regulated by the government (changing districting to increase resource / student pool)? Is your firm dependent on the supplier (materials and funds) or consumer (students / families)? Second. and awards? For example.wikimedia. money.JPG/ 800px@ Tokyo_University_Entrance_Exam_Results_5. teachers. books. or supply of the resource influence its value? Is the resource scarce? Do only some of the other organizations have it? How concentrated is the resource? Are there alternatives to the resource? Can another kind of resource be substituted for it? Who else has it? Let’s consider Stanford again – what does it offer that is unique and that no other can provide? Discretion over a resource also defines relations of resource dependence.jpg/800px@ Brake_shoe_materials. actors and institutions that have the greatest discretion over them (and least amount of dependence) will be the most 110 . Now clearly.org/wikipedia/commons/ thumb/0/07/Brake_shoe_materials. does the availability. resource dependence varies from a variety of factors: there are different types of resources.org/wikipedia/commons/ thumb/a/a4/ Tokyo_University_Entrance_Exam_Results_5. Moreover. food? What can it live without? Is there demand for safety. heating. winning national championships (prestige)? What resources are considered most and least important? On the other hand.org/wikipedia/commons/ 5/54/InformaEon. And then certain actors and institutions can control discretion over them. and they can vary in value due to their importance and availability. what controls dependencies? (laws) Are there copyrights or contract licenses (curriculum)? In sum. expert teachers. what is the greatest demand of Stanford alumni – it is sustaining high SAT scores.jpg! h#p://upload.Physical) Technical) Social) ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! h#p://upload.JPG! Types of Resources What does Stanford need to survive? Does it need students? Does it require a physical location. Discretion is defined in two ways: First. important and rare resources are of greater value.wikimedia.wikimedia. students.png! ! h#p://upload.

Leveling is an attempt by the organization to reduce fluctuations in input or output. Resource Value (Demand and Supply) (Source .autonomous and capable for forging certain relations with other firms in the environment.org/wiki/File:Supply_and_demand_curves. an example might be a district (or even a university again) advertising its strengths so that enrollments and housing values stay high. It is easy to imagine this for raw materials like wood needed for furniture manufacturing. Universities with large endowments can stockpile funds and dip into them during difficult times and maintain the same number of students in their programs. This classifies inputs (students) into homogeneous ability groups so as to buffer instruction from uncertainty (when you have students of wide ability. organizations 111 .http://commons. if necessary. “removing slack”). But another example of this can be found in universities. A fourth maneuver entails forecasting – If environmental fluctuations cannot be handled by stockpiling or by leveling. 3. A third strategy entails leveling. firms can buffer their core tasks by stockpiling. 4. First – firms can perform coding – Coding occurs when an organization classifies inputs before inserting them into the technical core. This is partly why universities are increasingly concerned with securing endowments and gift funds. and some years faculty fail to secure those funds (so you have cycles of feast and famine!). many schools track and stream students. proper exclusion. Figure. but granting agencies can change the amount of funding they make available. By creating demand. For example. Whereas stockpiling is a passive response. thereby controlling the rate at which inputs are inserted into the technical core or outputs are released to the environment. they sustain inputs in a recession. Some of the first managerial strategies echo contingency theory: protect the technological core from the environment via buffering strategies – like coding. leveling entails a more active attempt to reach out into the environment so as to motivate suppliers of inputs or to stimulate demand for its outputs. Second.a variety managerial strategies follow. 2. Let’s take each strategy one at a time: 1. Organizations can collect and hold raw materials or products. None of these buffering strategies change the core task and technology of a firm. or smoothing. stockpiling. downsizing (or what some call.wikimedia. advertising (which showcases strengths). an so on. A good portion of a university’s budget is dependent on grants. Here. your technology – or curriculum in this case – is variably received and has uncertain effects.svg/) Managing Resource Dependence Once you understand the value attributed to a resource and the game of resource dependence – which is to be autonomous and establish beneficial resource relations with the environment (on important ones you control!) . They are more concerned with putting SOP’s in place to manage the organization’s boundary. Such preprocessing facilitates proper routing and.

form of exchange can arise via the creation of interlocking directorates. The norm evoked here is one of informal expectations about trust and honesty. It is a drastic move. rather just its size. or when school districts get rid of performing arts and foreign languages but retain a focus on math and science. By giving external members a role. an organization can protect itself via bridging strategies. For example. but not 6. arise in negotiation. and free-riding and opportunism can “burn” an organization (e. In addition to buffering the technological core from the environment. The firms negotiate and exchange in an attempt to prevent the resource relation from becoming imbalanced. and the last concerns their salary. or by performing mergers and totally absorbing other firms. For example. the organization accomplishes the partial co-optation of an external organization’s interests as their own. but also gives up some of its control. a university may foresee that their school will lack funds and look to identify sources for private funding – say. Here. Negotiated contracts are an excellent way to acquire greater certainty in environmental relations. one assumes that teachers will not strike during school year. more preparation time. Unfortunately. They define the rules of inter-organizational contact and exchange. The final buffering strategy involves adjusting scale. additional bridging efforts are typically sought. or for other reasons. Here. specific ways. normative coordination does not always work. a board of directors). etc. Another. by selectively exchanging certain resources with them.g. We saw this type of bargaining occur in the week on coalitions. members of competing organizations are given a position within the central organization that oversees them (e.. In Pfeffer and Salancik’s work (1978:147-151) they give a nice story of a teacher union relating their demands to a school board: the union gives a list of 6 demands. the firm changes the scale of its technical core in response to information provided by forecasting. noting whether they are beneficial. since they regard the last one to be a private demand cloaked in socially legitimate trappings. and if not.. but it does not involve changing the nature of the technical core. by pooling resources across them (or partially absorbing other firms). More serious forms of bridging involve exchange. then universities might develop relations with private foundations and industry partnerships as a means to buffer research and student training from these resource constraints. The school board approves 1-5. The management’s job is to note where normative constraints affect dependence relations. if a Republican candidate is expected to become president and slash the budget of the National Science Foundation or National Institutes of Health. A second pre-bridging tactic is to bargain. Let’s look at examples of each in turn. The least costly means is to negotiate with other firms and evoke normative coordination – here behavior is regulated by common informal expectations that reduce uncertainty. And that’s what happened when the school board rejected the teacher’s 6th demand. One can do this by negotiating with other firms. A focal organization may 112 . The most minor bridging efforts.may have to anticipate changes and attempt to adapt to them. it does not hurt to have routine negotiation with teacher unions about their contracts so as to avoid strikes. Hence. Here the manager uses a family of tactics to ward off impending dependence relations. 5. the firms trade away their sovereignty in exchange for some mutual support. or rather prebridging efforts.). These are all increasingly greater efforts at bridging. or the mutual giving up of autonomy for an exchange of resources. A good example of this occurs when firms downsize programs. so we can gloss over it here. the first five of which concern the quality of education (smaller class sizes.g. to seek ways to change them via persuasion. but that does not always happen). There. Firms can do this through contracting. By being on each other’s boards. The goal of bridging strategies is to shape dependence relations in the environment. the firm attempts to reduce uncertainty by coordinating their future behavior in limited.

This can arise in several forms. cartels are illegal in the United States. One means of accomplishing this is to engage in a joint venture. This is a Method for decreasing 113 . Cartels entail more pooling and loss of autonomy.Horizontal and Vertical Mergers (Source . Hence. Another form of resource exchange can arise in hierarchical contracts. The committee was trying to reform the undergraduate curriculum and it encountered a good deal of resistance from the environment and stakeholders. Here. Firms can also perform horizontal mergers.org/wiki/File:Horizontal_%28PSF%29. First. Producer Supplier Supplier Figure . etc. I had a student write up a case on Stanford’s Committee of Undergraduate Education when it was formed several years back (Pope 2006). These are agreements between two or more organizations to pursue joint objectives through the coordination of activities or sharing of resources. For example. Last. These are more complete and detailed exchanges or developed contracts. but they are also rare. and have actual means of sanctioning members for not following their decrees – they effectively act as a block of organizations. Cartels like OPEC go above and beyond informal norms. it can be a clause for subcontracts ensuring full pay if the subcontractor does not come through. They can accomplish this by taking over their competition. An example of this would be when one high school takes over another one so that it can benefit from economies of scale and pool resources. thereby reducing the uncertainty of teacher attrition / retention.png/) Now firms also can perform a complete pooling of resources – or total absorption through mergers. This actually arises sometimes in rural areas of the United States where a township high school is created as a merger of several smaller rural high schools. Berkeley and Stanford have a courtesy program where students can take courses at one another’s university. firms can join associations and cartels. Last. two or more organizations create a new organization in order to pursue a common purpose. This opened up representation but also co-opted their dissent in the process. Here. 1 graduate students from the student council. two private schools pool their resources to create a daycare center to serve teachers and their children.http://commons. These are contracts developed to manage dependencies via conditional clauses evoking hierarchical mechanisms to handle disputes. the firms can perform a vertical merger. For example.wikimedia. thereby reducing uncertainty and increasing organizational power in their exchange relations. Notably. the firm extends control over exchanges vital to its operation. For example. In response. or a manufacturer / producer would buy out a supplier to get control and to create certainty of supply. the committee was organized via a “Noah’s Ark” model where they secured representatives from all the environmental stakeholder organizations: 1 undergraduate from the student council.then become more effective in an environment because they have coopted external members that might have control over resources central to its functioning. a high school would merge with a middle school. It is a contract that preserves and defines the rights of parties in case some problem of contingency arises. A more extensive means of bridging with other firms can entail the pooling of resources across them. one can engage in diversification. Firms can also enter strategic alliances as a means of pooling resources. For example. The administration gave up some control for greater effectiveness in the environment of vocal stakeholders.

Forms of Dependence and Theory Limitations So you have two general approaches. For example. For example. You can also try and change the legal rules and set regulations so as to manage competitive markets. An example of this might arise when multiple consulting firms compete for the same contract. An example of this might be subcontracting – where money is exchanged for expertise. 114 . restrict information. That is a lot of managerial strategies! They move from simple negotiation. to exchanges. the value of a resource is often unclear until well after the fact. and to find substitutable exchanges (backups). Just like all the other theories we review in the course. joint ventures. and engaging in long-term contracts that buffer your output. competitive dependence arises under normative coordination. He predicts that certain managerial strategies will result in certain resource dependence relations. trade associations. a firm can merge all its resources in several ways to bring itself greater autonomy and control over resources in the environment. Therefore. I once observed a high school that took over a nonprofit dedicated to art. co-optation and the forming of interlocking boards of directors. Rich ones?) What does certainty and uncertainty mean for resource dependence theory? Is dependence on social resources and knowledge less clear than dependence on money and materials? Resource dependence theory is purely resource and exchange-based. so there is division of labor and interdependence). They acquire resources in an uncertain world and are staffed by boundedly rational managers who seek to optimize both their own and the organization’s interests. It became a museum and a school! I also saw a school that expanded into a private day care as well. A second strategy is to break your firm’s dependence on other firms (and to possibly create their dependence on you!). and it assumes there is clarity of value and importance. This can be done by using buffering strategies like stockpiling. Unfortunately. All tasks are related to efficiency and effectiveness. But is that accurate? Do some organizations live outside the issues of resource dependence? (e. This can give rise to power differences if the resources exchanged are not of equal importance and value (A!"B). contracts and their clauses (hierarchical contracts). Can we predict certain forms of dependence will arise if some of these strategies are used over others? Scholars like Richard Scott think so (2003:118-119). and a variety of particular managerial strategies you can use to work your firm’s resource relations in the environment..dependence by acquiring entirely different types of businesses. Resource dependence theory assumes all organizations are more or less similar. It also makes sense to diversify. resource dependence theory is not a perfect theory and it has certain shortcomings. some firms tend to assume a symbiotic interdependence – this occurs when two or more kinds of organizations exchange different resources.g. I think it helps at this point to take a step back and ask what are the “general” managerial strategies one can take away from the resource dependence approach? I think there are two basic prescriptions. as well as joint ventures and vertical mergers. and horizontal mergers (where competitors merge). This is often resolved by differentiation (one specializes and becomes a supplier. acquire control over the input of the controlling organization (via something like a vertical merger). The first general strategy is to avoid resource dependence on other firms. meaning-making / sense-making are lost on resource dependence theory. This occurs when two or more organizations compete for the resources of a third party (A"C!B). Here you can use secrecy. to pooling and partial absorption. begin an anti-trust suit. Such symbiotic dependence (from moderate to extreme – see Scott page 212) corresponds with normative coordination. and set up rules of regulation. Moreover. to complete mergers. co-opt the controlling firm. According to Scott. Another form of dependence is commensalistic or competitive. But what happened to culture and mission? Normative coordination is not thoroughly described in resource dependence theory and we find stronger characterizations in theories of organizational culture.

even today. Very pretty. increasing power. the two could benefit from each other’s strengths and lose their weaknesses. In the process of relating the case. and they saw things as too rushed. increasing autonomy. and neither wanted to lose their medical school or education school. In addition. recognition. the two universities were competitors in the city of Chicago for students. It was a large undergraduate institution that mostly recruited locally and it placed a strong emphasis on applied programs like Journalism and Medicine. I will describe a case where two universities tried to perform a merger and failed. Now the University of Chicago is where I studied. Northwestern had tax exempt status. a large graduate institution with an elite. all of these dependencies are described in pair-wise fashion. Alumni and resistant groups were now included. In contrast. Chicago was international. The case we will relate was written by a historian. Northwestern had a safe neighborhood. In many ways. when the Northwestern University review panel expanded. Chicago had prestige and reputation. the contrast between these institutions was quite stark. so that would still compete with Northwestern University’s program. that “NW would lose it’s identity”. damaging news and gossip leaked into the press upsetting alumni. When the two schools got down to details. that it was a “last ditch effort by Hutchins to save his “failed” presidency”. The main mode of organizing action is to scan the environment for resource opportunities and threats. Northwestern was not. etc. Back in 1933. Northwestern was local. Northwestern did not. Like I said. and so on. Chicago was innovative. Northwestern was situated on the north side of Chicago in a bucolic area overviewing Lake Michigan. Sarah Barnes. Northwestern is in a bucolic setting. Together. Chicago did not. What about the larger network? Can the larger network pattern define opportunities and constraints? Can the network define norms and pressures better than relations of dependence? Case: The Near Merger of Northwestern and the University of Chicago In what follows. Northwestern was applied. When does resource dependence theory apply? It has relevance to a case when there are focal organizations interested in decreasing competition. and (possibly) increasing efficiency. national reputation and a strong emphasis on the pursuit of truth and theory. The gossip was to the effect that the merger was “already decided”. Also. and the students seem to have lots of fun. Merging would save each university $1. In this manner. And both institutions seemed to recognize this. on the south side of Chicago in an urban neighborhood was the University of Chicago. Chicago did not.7M in annual upkeep and better economies of scale. The discourse was partisan and both social support and public focus on the mutual gain fell asunder. The merger also fell apart because a key proponent on the Northwestern University board of trustees died. and a very serious intellectual place. funding. the merger has some financial benefits. Chicago was theoretical. a wonderful place to learn. attempt to strike favorable bargains so as to minimize dependence and maximize auton- 115 . So what can resource dependence theory tell us about this case? Let’s briefly review resource dependence theory again. The merger effort arose during the great depression when both universities were undergoing financial difficulties. but often very somber. She gives a nice account of the failed 1933 merger between the University of Chicago and Northwestern University – or what might have been the world’s first “superuniversity”. the merger began to unravel: Chicago wanted to keep its college and undergraduate program. that it was a “takeover”. we will review the main features of resource dependence theory and see how they apply to the case. and my recollection of the place (even in the 1990s) was that it still was a leading graduate school. and the negotiation moved swimmingly along until they broadened representation on Northwestern’s review panel so as to begin vetting the merger with larger constituents. I hope you will get a better sense for how to apply the theory and recognize its strengths and limitations.Last.

wikimedia. So far.org/wiki/File:Northwestern_University%2C_ivy. The technology (or what brings about changes in dependence). the environment is central.org/wiki/File:University_of_Chicago_antique_postcard. The focus is on exchange partners and external relations more than internal dynamics. http://commons.svg. and the effort is to manage standard operating procedures and to perform bargaining / politics on these relations.org/wiki/File:Hutchinson_Hall%2C_University_of_Chicago. and adjusting 116 .jpg/.wikimedia. forecasting where their needs will be. The goal of a firm is survival through external adaptation.org/wiki/File:Wikipedia_Education_Program_Northwestern_University_logo.jpg.wikimedia. is focused on external adaptations in order to increase autonomy and/or decrease dependence (see management). All of these characterizations of organizational elements also seem applicable to our case.jpg. omy / certainty. http://commons. And finally. http://commons. leveling with advertisements.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:University_of_Chicago_biting_chimera.Clockwise starting at “Northwestern University”). The social structure focuses on inter-organizational relations. http://commons.Figure. like the stockpiling resources. Images of Northwestern and University of Chicago (Source . Resource dependence theory also characterizes organizational elements in certain ways. and this is accomplished by establishing certain relations that place the focal organization in control or with greater autonomy.wikimedia. The participants are focal organizations and the organizations that have resource interdependence with. a manager guided by resource dependence theory would perform some buffering strategies. http://commons.JPG) Case: Merger of Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. this seems to capture Northwestern University and the University of Chicago some. Last.

but then opponents emerged in the School of Education. The environment for Chicago was much like that 117 . served to form a relatively integrated university culture at Chicago. But here the goal was to increase the sustainability of the university by increasing the quality of education via the pursuit of theory and truth. co-optation. These were in stark contrast with the University of Chicago. and their College of Liberal Arts – all of whom wanted to get a fair deal from the merger. and the press. thereby increasing autonomy. So let’s apply resource dependence theory to the case. the merger would entail some buffering. such as in forming joint ventures and alliances. In addition. where they increased their positioning and quality of education via improving their applied programs in professional and community practice. The deeper belief structure at Northwestern sought to promote service. Chicago’s goal. an outside consultant. For Northwestern. In theory. and they are mostly opposed. The goal of Northwestern was to become an ideal university. Let’s next look at the University of Chicago. the board of trustees. and utilitarianism. saw the merger as a means of increasing economies of scale. so it was a more centralized decision structure. like Northwestern’s. Last. But then they combine in a complementary form that would have an improved economy of scale. outside consultants. Moreover. The social structure was such that undergraduate programs were more valued than graduate programs. The larger size of the combined university could also lead to increased diversification. Chicago. its professed beliefs rested in the pursuit of theory and truth. thereby increasing the university’s autonomy in the environment. Other stakeholders enter later due to press leaks. alumni. where each university downsizes their core technology losing their worst programs but keeping their best. The participants mentioned on the Northwestern side were Walter Scott. The Chicago-Northwestern merger is clearly a case where the environment is uncertain and problematic for both universities. alumni. the Medical School. an effort to co-opt) between competitors. and the press. The social structure and values of Chicago were quite different from Northwestern. Chicago had an elite focus instead of an applied one. Hutchins was a strong leader. viewed Chicago as an Easterner funded (Rockefeller) school led by elitist. the proposed technology of organizational change was the merger and how it might increase economies of scale (making the university more efficient and autonomous) and minimize some of the problems related to the great depression. making the university more efficient and autonomous. The environment in which Northwestern found itself was one of a major economic downturn hurting all aspects of the university. Northwestern. faculty. The bridging strategies they will use can entail negotiation and long-term contracts. faculty. adjustment of scale in the case. Chicago valued graduate training far more than undergraduate training. and an idealization of the “Great Books”. It is also a case where the two organizations explore a horizontal merger (or in secrecy. These are alumni. Chicago’s mission was also more developed and frequently voiced by the charismatic president Hutchins. The network of supporters centered on president Scott and a key Board of Trustee member. Chicago’s board of trustees. and minimizing some of the problems related to the great depression. social pragmatism. The merger would have made for an unparalleled “super-university". idealist (Hutchins). was to develop an ideal university. The larger size of the combined university would also lead to increased diversification. The participants at Chicago were Robert Hutchins. or total absorptions via company mergers. on the other hand. partial absorption and sharing of resources. They will also bridge with other firms to bring security to the organization within a competitive environment. as you will see next. Here too we see aspects of merger. One can only image what it could have been by combining the strengths of the two campuses! So why didn’t it happen? Does resource dependence theory give us an explanation? Let’s apply our concepts and elaborate the theory’s application to each school and see.the scale of their core technology. like Northwestern. The fact that its goals clearly aligned with its practices and beliefs.

Alumni. Coalitions/Opponents: School of Education. Cognitive / Normative: Theory/Truth. Alumni. Cognitive / Normative: Service. Walter Scott Merger would increase economies of scale (making the university more efficient and autonomous) and minimize some of the problems related to economic cycles. Increase the sustainability of the university. Increase the sustainability of the university. joint ventures. Downtown Campus. The larger size also leads to increased diversification –thereby increasing autonomy. External adaptations in order to increase autonomy and/or decrease dependence (see management). Evanston Campus. Management Strategies Bridging: security of entire organization with relation to the environment. Deans. strategic alliances. Medical School. Exchange partners and external relations more salient than internal dynamics. Total absorption via merger (vertical. Resource Dependence Theory (RDT) Participants changes in dependence) (what brings about Technology Key Elements When does it apply? Horizontal merger Influence of the media/press. Students. and College of Liberal Arts. Formal roles.) Focal organization and other organizations with resource interdependence. horizontal. Here. Horizontal merger Influence of the media/press Major economic downturn hurting all aspects of the university.The resource dependence perspective suggests that organizations seek to avoid dependence and uncertainty. Idealism and “Great Books” Trustees. utilitarianism. Goals Social Structure Buffering: protecting technical core from environmental threats (coding. Northwestern University Summary/Basic Argument -. The larger size also leads to increased diversification – thereby increasing autonomy University of Chicago Undergraduate and graduate programs. Supposedly. standard operating procedures. Undergraduate and graduate programs. interorganizational bargaining / politics. Bridging more relevant than buffering. forecasting and adjusting scale). leveling. Dewey pragmatism. Chicago-Northwestern Merger (1933): . and diversification). Students. the organization is the main actor and exchanges are with other organizations. interlocks.118 Goal is organizational survival through external adaptation (for certainty and autonomy). Trustees. economic pressures were greater for Northwestern than for Chicago. Environment (note: coalition approach emphasizes individuals and interests. stockpiling. educate and train citizens. educate and train citizens Robert Hutchins Merger would increase economies of scale (making the university more efficient and autonomous) and minimize some of the problems related to economic cycles. Deans. Resource Dependence. partial absorption (cooptation [vertical or horizontal]. Major economic downturn hurting all aspects of the university. associations) Key component of the perspective.

and Chicago was slightly less financially dependent on the environment than NW. There were certain resources it wanted to retain. It wanted to keep its school of education.for Northwestern. faculty. simply identifying the organizational elements and how they are characterized in the case reveals how the two organizations differed. My sense is that neither resource dependence theory nor coalition theory are welltuned to the deeper “cultural” differences in the two universities that likely played a huge role. Last. so the issue becomes how asymmetry got in the way. Chicago had a more pronounced and integrated intellectual culture at that time. Chicago on the other hand wanted the benefit of Northwestern’s tax break. Chicago saw the merger as an opportunity to move its less desirable programs off-site (applied programs). For Northwestern there was much to be gained from the horizontal merger. 119 . They had very different social structures and goals. The distinctive. it saw this as a chance to co-opt its competition and form a world-leading super-university. Chicago was experiencing major economic woes that hurt all aspects of the university. it would co-opt its regional competition for students. etc. Other theories seem to help with the details of this case. Moreover. It wanted to retain the tax break it got (a buffer) as part of its charter. the death of a key player at Northwestern seems central. at least as presented by Barnes. However. the two sides never came to an agreement. coalition theory can help make sense of all the camps for and against the merger at either school. Also. And it would cite those levels as a reason for Chicago’s more aggressive approach and the merger failure. In this manner. Moreover. In sum. but also some to lose. But it was not very willing to lose its professional programs and undergraduate college. these economic pressures were supposedly greater for Northwestern than for Chicago. funding. It would note that Chicago tried to change the rules of the merger toward a more asymmetric contract and that Northwestern saw this as a violation of normative coordination. highly valued cultures of each university made it imperative for the merger to proceed in an equal form or long term contract even though Chicago may have had the greater resource advantage. mergers are often somewhat asymmetric. It was willing to lose its graduate programs if it could retain its applied professional schools and undergraduate program. There we can see how the build-up to a contract and merger required a good deal of political wrangling. In exchange it would get an elite graduate program and international prestige. So coalition theory may help explain how the internal mobilization efforts fell apart while resource dependence theory helps explain why the two universities approached the merger differently and incompatibly for a merger. The internal workings of each school’s deciding bodies are better characterized by coalition theory. Resource dependence theory would approach this case with a focus on the different levels of dependence. Let’s consider the different managerial concerns these two schools had. However. medical school and college– Chicago was working for an edge! In some regards. and it may have made Hutchins and the Chicago camp over-value their notion of a university and make them approach the merger more as a takeover than a pooled effort. In addition.

When the cognitive and normative aspects of social structure are of concern and seem to guide organizational decisions (sense-making) and outcomes. Focal organization and other organizations with resource interdependence. Find ways to confer ideology and lead others to identify with it (using a variety of practices and artifacts). attempt to strike favorable bargains so as to minimize dependence and maximize autonomy / certainty. joint ventures. Organizational Culture Technology (how solutions get decided) Key Organizational Elements Exists when there are clear feedback loops. and (possibly) increasing efficiency. interlocks. standard operating procedures. collective improvisation. When does it apply? Organizational Learning (OL) Summar y Table of Resource Dependence Theory (RDT) Buffering: protecting technical core from environmental threats (coding. the organization is the main actor and exchanges are with other organizations. Total absorption via merger (vertical. increasing power. forecasting and adjusting scale). Comply / adapt. communication. sense-making / meaning-making. Bridging more relevant than buffering. Find ways to create lateral ties among workers so “knowledge” is passed / transferred more readily / quickly (if possible. Matching. associations) Action = scan environment for resource opportunities and threats. Focal organization with input/output concerns that cannot be resolved without considering the environment. norms. etc). (note: coalition approach emphasizes individuals and interests. strategic alliances. Actors seek expression and fulfillment of identity. inter-organizational bargaining / politics. Exchange partners and external relations more salient than internal dynamics. Summary or Basic Argument Action = result of local actors collaborative search (trial & error / transfer) and adapting rule to situation. External adaptations in order to increase autonomy and/or decrease dependence (see management). & collective improv. mission statements. etc). and their manifestation or expression in artifacts (reports.) Goal is organizational survival through external adaptation (certainty and autonomy). Deep structure composes the elements of culture – themes (beliefs & norms). their expression via practices (rituals. and values via a variety of practices and externalize them in artifacts depicting shared understandings / notions of appropriateness. Action = result of deep structure or culture that is generated in the organization.. practices reflecting organizational intelligence. Actor identities (demand) important. negotiation. Formal roles. practice and knowledge sharing to arise. but don’t make it so explicit / fanatical that cynicism emerges. or where actors alter routines for the better and fit reality (knowledge). Preferences and goals are unclear except in relation to dependence.120 Acknowledges routines. social learning experiences with means to retaining and transferring expertise. Key component of the perspective. Want communication. but which is mediated by the member’s relation to it. Actors within the organization. increasing autonomy. lateral relations. leveling. and remove differentiation / cynicism in most cases. and organizational culture is the medium for such expression/sense-making. Dominant Pattern of Inference Management Strategies Informal. and support of actor-expertise / adaptations of rules to local reality. Bridging: security of entire organization with relation to the environment. Create applied. partial absorption (cooptation [vertical or horizontal]. Network of practice (professional identity / reach) & community of practice (cohesive group). create means to organizational memory of what works. Exists when there is a focal actor interested in decreasing dependence. avoid / manage. organizations are considered unitary actors (some of the struggles/internal divisions are minimized) in order to highlight the interactions with suppliers and clients. stockpiling. Give room for autonomy and self-expression so distancing is unnecessary. and they are transported in. Many elements of culture have origins from outside. adaptations.e. and encourage members to generate a culture of their own (~org learning culture NE to Tech culture which is top-down engineered). quickly). memory. Members of organization doing work / SOP’s Participants Environment Create intrinsic motivation (sense of fulfillment). horizontal. but focuses on practices within them that enable their continual adaptation and change to fit reality – i. For the most part. Goals (what probs to resolve) Social Structure Source of inter-organizational knowledge / tricks / transfers. or where actors seek to express beliefs. Internal adaptation. and diversification). Here. then translated to the local culture. Application problems – pattern recognition not there (no fit). and those salient to meaningmaking. Resource Dependence Theory (RDT) .

” Administrative Science Quarterly 19. Gerald F. 2006-01. Marvin D. 1999. Chris and Daniel McFarland “The Commission on Undergraduate Education. The External Control of Organizations: A Resource Dependence Perspective. James D. "Organizational decision making as a political process: The case of a University budget. 107. Organiza- lations” (pp. 315-326). 1992. 2003 (1967). Pfeffer. Englewood Cliffs. CA: Consulting Psychologists. Dunnette and Leaetta M tion Books." Administrative Science Quarterly. New Brunswick. 1974. Pope. 2003 (5th ed). Hough. Richard. Jeffrey and Gerry Salancik. Salancik. Harper & Row. 121 . Pfeffer.). NJL Transac- ed. “Resource De- the University of Chicago and Northwestern pendence” (pp. Environments” (pp. tions: Rational. Sarah V.” Stanford School of Education Case. and Jeffrey Pfeffer. Selection from “Organization-Environment Re- Thompson. 118-119) and “Managing Task University. In Handbook of Indus- tions in action: Social science bases of adminis- trial and Organizational Psychology. Edition. Natural and Open Systems. No. 2003 (1978). Palo Alto. Jeffrey and Gerald Salancik. 19: 135-51.References Barnes. American Education? The Proposal to Merge Scott. NJ: Prentice-Hall. “A Lost Opportunity in 4:453-473 (Resource dependence view of how power is established within universities). 5th Davis. Eds. 4:289-320. Vol 3 (2nd trative theory. and Walter W. 197-212) of Organiza- Vol. 1974. Powell.” American Journal of Education. “The Bases and Use of Power in Organizational Decision-Making: The Case of a University. Gerald R.

8 Network Forms of Organization .

I will describe how organization’s researchers look at social networks within organizations. The social network perspective embraces the notion of social embeddedness as related by Mark Granovetter (1985). Where you are located matters.org/wiki/File:b/b9/TheProductSpace. This embedding applies even to economic transactions in markets. sociologists and institutional accounts of behavior are over-socialized. http://commons. This structure is often the focus on the network analyst – they seek to understand context of association in which actors are embedded. Figure .png) This image is a global trade network and the related products or proximate products. These contexts of association differ in pattern and represent different contexts for action. and relate social actions as socially deterministic and devoid of choice. they learn how it constrains and enables actor decisions. Figure . Each of these positions represents a different context for action and information. So- 123 . on the one hand.Social'Network'Perspec1ve'on'Organiza1ons In this chapter. suggesting the transactions are socially patterned and embedded in a structure. In addition. He argues that. affording the manager and firm different opportunities and constraints on their action. In the second network. I will describe how some theorists contend there is a “network form of organization” that is distinct from hierarchical organizations and markets. it is not random. We also see actors on the periphery who seem to be well out of the way of core transactions. On the other hand.org/wiki/File:ProductSpaceFDSL.org/wiki/File:ProductSpaceMST. You will note that the actors do not have many interconnections and that there are key bottlenecks or cutpoints in the network that could undermine the transfer of resources. I will relate two perspectives: a purely analytic one that describes networks within organizations.http://commons.http://commons. Some products are far more related to others. Let’s start with the social network perspective. Where an organizational actor is located can also differ. Notably. He posits the notion of embeddedness as a middle ground. If we took certain players out the network would fall apart.png. So this week. and from that. The social network analyst studies embeddedness by focusing on the social structure within the firm. It is within those structures that we decide and act in intentional ways. and a theoretical one concerning a prescribed form of interorganizational association that can result in better outputs.wikimedia..wikimedia. where social action is embedded in transactional networks.wikimedia. and/or the web of relations across many firms in the environment. economics and market accounts of behavior are under-socialized: actors behave as if their actions are unfettered by social contexts. Opportunities and constraints change for an actor or firm depending on their location.Network and Structure (Source . we see some dense hubs of interconnected actors and there we could pull several players out without concern for the network’s persistence.Global Trade Network (Source .png ) Here we have a network that looks like a spanning tree and it has a lot of reach.

Here we see a schema of a set of ties that grow more interconnected and eventually form quasi independent groups of association. Hence. network analysts may only study the teachers and students within a classroom or school. there have been ample studies of venture capital firms and their networks of copartnering on inventions. Are they transactions on a discussion forum. are they yearly contracts that have rela- 124 . That is often hard to do. In so doing. venture capital firms. Next the analysts ask (often implicitly) “what is the unit of time?” When does the network begin and end? At issue here is the temporal boundary to the social structure in question. They change! !  Stage 1 !  Stage 2 !  Stage 3 Figure . Many network analysts will focus on the individuals within a firm and how they associate. Borgatti). They may focus only on managers and employees who are in the building or a particular division. A network analyst typically asks and answers a series of questions when they study a firm. they are the result of decisions. For example. In these cases of exclusion. If you think managers learn most of their pedagogy from students telling them what other teachers do. he looked at the field of biotechnology and included in his sample universities. However. etc. As such. banks. counselors and parents. sharing commerce relations.cial network approaches confront questions about network form and positioning. As such. and so on. and government granting agencies that were all co-partnering on patents. Most confront the issue of temporal boundaries by considering which relationships are most important to the organization.org/wiki/File:Network_self-organization_stages.png) In this chapter. see Kilduff and Tsai. but they will forgo studying support staff. they recognize natural boundaries to the core work environment. I will present to you some basic concepts used by social network scholars studying organizations (for review. if the concern is with how managers exchange information on instruction and pedagogy. in Powell’s 2005 paper in the American Journal of Sociology. For example. Networks of association not only influence social action. and they will ignore the clients. are they exchanges done each quarter of the year. They try to define what the network is and where it begins and ends. They change! Social network scholars have only just begun to develop tools to help us understand how to engineer and develop different social structures within and between firms. a focus on teachers at the exclusion of students may be an acceptable boundary to define. social structures and networked environments are dynamic and evolving. For example. the analyst is defining a nominal boundary to the organization. I hope you come to see it as a distinct empirical approach that you can possibly apply in the organizations you participate within. transferring experts. The same occurs when the analyst studies a firm. his work tries to capture the boundary around an entire organizational field as seen by those participants.Growth of Ties (Source http://commons. Analysts also look at larger units of analysis – like sets of firms and their relations. it is not always possible to study everyone in a firm.wikimedia. support staff. so many analysts will focus on one type of firm and their core transactions and ignore others – for example. then it could be a problem for your study and the conclusions you draw. when studying schools. and it is important they consider whether that boundary is sensible given the phenomena they want to study. First – they ask about the unit of analysis and the boundary of a network. Here they study a field of organizations and the transactions they mutually recognize as most relevant to their firm’s functioning. biotech companies.

the focus on perceived relations implies 125 . larger tasks. Clearly. Observed relations can be identified in company records. observations and even reports. Perceived relations are typically reported by the subjects and require surveys or interviews. Take the simple case of a classroom. this whole course). and from that you can decide the unit of time to adopt. the span of a project (e. Once a social network analyst has a sense of where and when important relations occur and when and where the network begins and ends.. we’ll see sequences of dyadic or pair-wise exchanges. As an analyst. These relations are typically observed behaviors or they are ones the subjects perceive. If we look at interactions aggregated over 5 minutes. There are many kinds of transactions that occur within and between firms. they can start to study the quality of relations and analyze the network.Figure. Aggregations of classroom interactions by unit of time (Source: Bender-de Moll and McFarland) tive permanence? And then they have to ask during which time period will they study the firm? Will they look at exchanges occurring only in the first week of a new technology being rolled out. And if we aggregate all transactions across 35 minutes. Hence. you need to ask yourself if you are trying to understand the structure of micro-routines.g. If we look at interactions by the minute. They will listen to the client’s concerns and seek out the most relevant types of transaction. A good analyst will go to the heart of the matter. to activities and practices. to social norms. or over multiple years? The unit of time issue matters since it has implications for how transactions aggregate into different patterns. or group norms. we see the network structure change from one activity (of say lecture) to another (of say groupwork). your unit of time presumes different notions of social structure – from the structure of momentary interactions. we start to see the general interactions of the classroom as a central tendency of association.

it has greater influence on you than when a total stranger pressures you. Strong ties entail frequent interaction. Hence. but we will limit it to these for this course [see Kilduff and Tsai for review]). we associate by homophily. and typically bring distant persons into contact across groups. We have to either sever our tie. weak ties have bridging capital. In network research. We engage in reciprocity too. these two types of association reflect the ties had in a COP and a NOP’s that Organizational Learning theory relates. In the latter. and they suggest pathways to tie creation within organizations. casual interactions between acquaintances. make a kind gesture and it is reciprocated more often than not! Other theories like status-attainment suggest persons seek out interpersonal advantages and dominance (so weak ties tend to be rank-ordered). People naturally form close ties when they are in proximity to one another (contact opportunity is key!) or when they are similar. It can also be defined by its form.that worker perceptions of their relations matter for organizational behavior. These are key mediators between different parts of the organization. mutual support. and they have a history to them. or strength. What about our positioning within these networks? Social Network scholars love to study the positioning of actors in networks because it is not just the overall form of the network that defines action potentials. In most organizational contexts we cue routines. Identifying these central players can 126 . and liking. The quality of a tie need not only be defined by the content of interactions or the type of association. coauthor. When I evoke the identity of professor. After all. In the second network image of this chapter (“Network and Structure”). most of us feel at unease when our friends befriend our enemy. So we have multiple types of networks and a variety of mechanisms have been found to generate them. we assume that entails reciprocation. and they oblige us to assume different interaction roles (listener. In contrast. it is a very different situation to be a central actor in a centralized network than a central actor in a fractured one. where persons seek consistency in their relationships more generally: for example. positive liking or affect (typically mutual!). speaker. But then there are individuals who are on the path of others and if we took them out the network would fall apart. And then we have a theory of social balance. all of these micro-mechansisms have been studied and related to tie formation. case. supportive interactions. For example. We also associate by means of exchange and rational choices concerning them. or as the saying goes – “birds of a feather flock together”. frequent contact. In certain regards. and so on. When your close friends pressure you. Centrality can refer to positions of prominence or to positions of mediation and brokerage (there are other notions of central positioning. weak ties are more infrequent. Many years ago anthropologists found that gift giving induces a sense of obligated reciprocation across societies. when I make kind gestures of friendship. inquisitor. The same goes for cued identities – we frequently cue notions of a storied tie and what that entails. that cues other expected role-relations and their interactions. Most of these findings concern strong ties but they afford analysts and managers some sense for how tie creation could be facilitated. you can see the prominent persons with many ties and the peripheral ones with few ties. and we frequently refer to these relations as ones of friendship. The focus on observed behavior assumes that one type of association may presage another and influence outcomes. etc). Therefore. When network analysts speak of positions they often refer to the notion of centrality. Last. Whereas strong ties have bonding capital and bring local persons into greater contact. but it is also your location within them that does. hearer. when you meet new people. an under-emphasized mechanism of tie formation concerns practices and identities. Social network research has identified a consistent set of mechanisms that form interpersonal relations in firms and other settings. or they have to make my enemy their enemy if we’re to stay friends (for review see Dahlander and McFarland 2013). so I want to relate them here. Strong ties are generally considered to be influential ties. we characterize strong ties as having bonding capital or a cohesive pull on people that guides their action.

Some are clinical faculty engaged in the hospital and patient care. This is where it both gets more interesting and more complex. They are also spaces of redundant information. analysts frequently try to identify these sets of actors and clusters of ties since they reflect locations in the network where conformity and social influence likely occurs. As such. we have described organizations as webs of transaction and actors as occupying different positions or groups. trade associations assume a position central to information exchange but they are peripheral to the networks exchanging financial resources. Also. natural sciences. Let’s look at faculty and their relations in a west coast research university from 1993-2000 (see figure and key above). Clusters and groups of interconnected actors are important to the study of firm social structures.McFarland unpublished research) be useful to a firm and especially when it comes to information flows and bottlenecks. This school has around 1500 faculty ranging in status. and others are tenured faculty.Figure . these faculty come from different divisions: some come from the humanities. Another type of network position is more group-based and concerns the location of hubs of interconnectivity. the physical sciences and engineering. but they cannot enforce other firms to conform because they lack hard financial resources. Thus far. they can persuade other organizations via the use of information as a resource. law and education. it is a similar situation. Take the example of trade associations. others social sciences. Within firms. some are assistant professors. In most fields of business.University Faculty Network (Source . This can be complicated further if we consider that social realities are such that organizational actors are actually embedded in multiple networks. earth sciences. I will show you more of this in the next lecture. and medicine. 127 . because they often influence firm outputs and behavior. When looking at networks.

social scientists and humanists mostly publish alone.Co-Advising Students among Faculty (Source . but they assume different positions across them. we see a differentiated collaboration structure. while medicine does it mostly over research (and probably postdocs!).McFarland unpublished research) Now let’s impose the network of collaborations on these actors.McFarland unpublished research) (Source . engineers and scientists collaborate in everything they do. and this likely results in greater cumulative advantages to each field. there is clear clustering and some inter-field collaboration across engineering and medicine.McFarland unpublished research) Now let’s look at grant collaborations. 128 . let’s look at where coauthoring of publications happen.Figure . Notably they collaborate more within those fields than between them. By contrast. but it’s not a point of collaboration. but there is a good deal of crossover. the social science and humanities faculty collaborate over student training – they also publish and write occasional grants. But again. So what do we learn from this? We learn that each field is embedded in multiple types of activities and networks of collaboration. Now let’s look at student training and how faculty work together to provide that. they frequently interact with medicine. In particular.Coauthoring among Faculty Figure . the hard sciences and engineering. Notice how the network disappears over medicine and forms over the social sciences and humanities. Last. Figure . The implication is that the social sciences and humanities mostly transfer knowledge via mutual efforts at training students. Notice the network shifts and we get a second hub of dense collaboration within engineering. Here we see faculty who are linked when they co-advise doctoral students. Moreover. Hence. And yet other fields are high-speed thoroughfares for knowledge transfer via collaboration in everything – so engineering is very much a linchpin in this university bringing together high powered domains of research and training. And notice how the collaborating medical faculty are tenured (pink triangles).Co-granting among Faculty (Source . The medical faculty collaborate on publications and grants. They happen mostly in medicine.

lowprofit gamble. like access to recognition and information. A common finding within organizations is that persons occupying certain positions have an advantage. Craig Rawlings and I have studied how faculty productivity diffuses through collaboration networks (Rawlings and McFarland 2011). So let’s look at these using examples in the slides that follow. Organizations assuming prominent and brokerage positions tend to survive. First. but a weak one. and it describes ways organizations can create different network patterns and positioning. The poison pill – for those of you wondering – was a strategy firms would use to prevent takeovers in the 1980’s and 1990’s – it was a way of making the firm seem like an expensive. the conduit of influence is not a strong tie. In organizations research. thereby ensuring novices learned how to get grants on their own and with others in the university. Some research studies whether collaborating with productive colleagues increases your productivity (does a particular mentoring program have solid returns?). When we study the effects of networks on organizational behavior. In his research on job seeking. Hence. Strong and weak ties are often characterized as bonding and bridging forms of social capital – or types of association that bring social advantages. Granovetter has written some seminal work on social networks. Strong ties and bonding capital generate social control and conformity as well as socialization or diffusion. we view social relations and actor positioning as an independent variable shaping outcomes – we consider whether people influence one another and diffuse their motivations through their friendships. 129 . By contrast. In other work. so not worth taking over. but it elaborates how networks influence organizational behavior and outcomes. success rates. the person with weak ties was more able to access knowledge about jobs. and in particular he has made a strong case for the importance and usefulness of weak ties (1974). he found that most people learn about a job and acquire it through weak ties and indirect ties (friends of friends) rather than their close friends. and this enables the occupant to be successful in their career. let’s consider how relations influence behavior – or what we call peer influence. Such collaborations improved application rates. scholars find that the adoption of organizational innovations often flows through associations like interlocking boards of directors. these studies often focus on processes of social diffusion and the adoption of organizational innovations. and the amounts awarded. Here we want to know the factors that lead persons to form relations and factors that lead a network to assume a particular shape (and perhaps even a pattern you as a manager desire!). we look at the network as an outcome or as a dependent variable. I want to turn to positional effects next.Social Networks and Organizations This part of the chapter introduces you further to the social network perspective on organizations. Hence. Persons relying on strong ties and cliques mostly found redundant information. We found that a university improves its grant record by getting successful grant-seekers to collaborate with novice grantseekers. For example. a string of papers found that the use of poison pills in corporate takeovers was an organizational innovation spread via interlocking boards of directorates. In most of these studies. Strong and weak ties imply the creation of certain network configurations and network positions. The general argument is that the people we associate with influence us. while weak ties and bridging capital often extend a person’s reach into pools of useful information. The diffusion of expertise was even greater when these collaborations were repeated more than once. At the inter-organizational level. grow and have greater control and influence on the field of organizations they are embedded in. When we consider network formation. and they lead us to act in ways we wouldn’t normally act if we were on our own. The same is said of interorganizational networks. researchers find close ties are a great means to diffusing attitudes and behaviors. or if being in key locations of the network have certain returns or advantages for the worker and the firm. persons who did not collaborate struggled to win awards. He argues this occurs because weak ties often bridge groups and bring more unique information.

“birds of feather flock together. I see this in my own work on American high schools and their classrooms. Sophia. the students formed clusters of association based on gender. I used network analytic tools to identify their groupings and they break down into 4 clusters. then they might have received the social support they needed to successfully unionize the firm. Rothlisberger and Dickson found that the friendship groups of these workers altered the rates of their work output and normed them so that they stayed within a particular output level that worked for the set of friends. there is a degree of rank ordered clustering in each class. as they too were somewhat peripheral to the firm. I find Krackhardt’s case to be simple and elegant. In most classrooms. and observational records to retell the story of how a unionization effort failed. gender. the core 11th grade group and the core 12th grade group did not compete on the same stages. In the following matrix you can see the friendship relations during the semester in which I observed them. most of the groups are homophilous by grade. And in many ways the leadership of the firm (Steve) lucks out at the union’s poorly targeted recruitment efforts. Subsequent scholars have remarked on how peer groups or clusters of strong tied individuals can be a strong force in organizations influencing their outcomes. and race – so they follow the saying. the union missed an opportunity when they failed to recruit Chris. everybody’s favorite guy. there was a popular core group and a hanger-on group. many have reciprocated ties (more than chance). the value of 1 from 16 to 15 and an “. Then he goes on to show how the key union proponents are neither central to the advice network of experts nor to the friendship network of trusted relations. The ties can be read as row-column relations. and these groups were rank-ordered within grades. or from-to relations. liked to encourage dialogue and frequently called on students. In those settings youth act with their friends in mind. Therefore. 130 . Krackhardt’s case focuses on the effects of positioning. According to Krackhardt. Had they known to check the network and co-opt Chris and his close friends. but 16 did not reciprocate that sentiment.” Moreover. and this arose for each grade. Hence. He describes the case of a technology firm that is subject to a unionization effort. They neither co-opted the experts nor the popular individuals in attempting to create a bargaining unit. Krackhardt shows that the union recruits persons peripheral to both advice and friendship networks at the firm. the unionization effort fails because union proponents do not co-opt the informal leaders of the strong tie networks. it is also the case that many friends sit by one another. One example is a high school English composition class I observed as a graduate student. While it is not shown. Rothlisberger and Dickson studied a bank-wiring room where workers essentially created circuits. These secondary cliques want to be friends with the larger core clique.” from 15 to 16 suggests that 15 thought she was friends with 16. but it is not reciprocated. The teacher. It was composed of 11th and 12th grade students. Nonetheless.David Krackhardt offers us a nice illustrative example of the effects of network positioning on firm behavior and outcomes (1992). surveys. What about cliques or social groups and their effects on workers? Long ago in 1939. Via social network surveys. Instead they specialized in distinct conversational arenas and topics – the seniors dominated the public stage of academic discussions and the juniors dominated the backstage of social discussions. In the matrix you can see the smaller secondary peer groups within each grade – you can see they “hang on” or look up to the core group in the off diagonal relations spanning the cliques. He first describes the organizational chart of who reports to whom and identifies the collective bargaining unit the union tries to establish. race and age. His methods are simple: he uses interviews. equally well equipped to read and comprehend the course material concerning William Shakespeare’s written works. Notably. Hence. propinquity is also in effect. Interestingly. youth form friendship groups or cliques and conform their behavior to them. His analyses also demonstrate that the firm’s leaders were in a precarious position. As such. As such.

Here the junior core dominates such interaction (and the core clique in either grade).Figure . Clearly the senior core dominates such interaction (and the core clique in either grade). Here I use red to denote where task or academically focused interactions emanate. joking around. I render the blue bolder where the rates and density of such interaction are higher. we notice the cliques specialize their behavior. I render the red bolder where the rates and density of such interaction are higher. In other analyses I tested whether observed interaction patterns conform to these cliques over and above seating and homophily. etc).Matrix of Friendships in a High School English Class (source . Notably we see the two grades as somewhat disconnected and each having a core clique with a hanger on clique. From doing so we learn a few things. and they strongly do. I will superimpose the observed behaviors and interactions on these groups. Next I use blue to denote where social or non-academic interactions emanate (like play. A slough of statistics can accompany these images 131 . The shaded circles reflect the general boundaries of each clique. Second.McFarland unpublished research) We can render these relations into a network image where the y axis is the prominence or popularity of individuals. First. we learn that most of the interaction is di- rected within the cliques. For ease of interpretation.

Moreover. reciprocity and hierarchicalization.Hierarchy and Clique Structure for English Class (source . This raises a conundrum? If the same micromechanisms apply to every friendship network. Some of these settings entail hierarchical worlds like the first image. we find they vary in macro-structure from school to school and classroom to classroom. How do we accom- plish and engineer different structures of association? In my work on high school adolescent networks. and others are heavily segregated and clustered like the second.McFarland unpublished research and further the argument. propinquity. the point for this lecture is more conceptual and schematic – the structure of the informal network and its cliques strongly guide behaviors. then how is it their patterns vary? 132 . So the sum of it is that it is not just single relations that influence workers and their firms. friendship networks are all shaped by the same sorts of tie formation mechanisms – homophily. However. the cliques arise from a variety of tie formation mechanism of homophily. reciprocity. status-seeking and even an effort at specialization (so as to avoid competition). Nevertheless. but also network positioning and groups! But what of network formation? In the beginning. I spoke of how analysts often view networks as an outcome or as having a desired structure that managers want to achieve.

In schools we have many instances of this occurring when students assume positions or form groups that drive behaviors in negative directions. In my work on high schools. there tend to arise rank ordered cliques. we find that the friendship networks vary from school to school because the organizational context amplifies and dampens the salience of certain micromechanisms. For example. dense networks of positive. Take the case of a large heterogeneous population (of say multiple equally present races). Acquaintance ties have greater imbalance and looseness to them. thereby making achievement games less equal. we find the pattern of association is highly segregated by homophily. Once analysts have a good description of a network. In the last chapter. To offset unequal access. Another problem in schools concerns group norms and peer influence through cliques. then it is likely the structure would entail more spanning trees. Network Forms of Organization To this point. I will relate network organization as a distinct theory of organizing. work-related collaborations (as opposed to sociable ones!). and one where contact is by choice (meaning the students are not sorted into ability groups by the school). in many classrooms certain kids dominate and take up all the teacher’s time and attention. or how organizations coordinate networks or partnerships so as to improve the delivery of a service. but they convey cleanly how it’s feasible to both facilitate the emergence of certain network forms. It turns out that certain types of ties usually correspond with a type of network form or pattern. Nonetheless. I hope many of you infer what those might be from the prior slides of this chapter. dense ties of association are when organizations presort the populations and place members into small interactive settings. We also see more random association in highly interactive team settings like classrooms where students rotate through different task groups. researchers have suggested positional treatments. and to redirect them in different directions. scholars suggest propinquity changes – such as rotating groups and seating assignments. companies will also want the analyst to perform network correctives or to solve coordination problems. and the key mechanisms that drive it to assume certain patterns. Many companies will also want to forge teams composed of differently skilled persons who will rely on each other’s strengths (as an organic whole greater than the sum of their parts) to make a product or solve a complex problem. This chapter. many will want interactive. a variety of networks are described in the readings. In addition to facilitating the creation of ideal network forms. For example. we discussed resource dependence theory and described how its theory concerned a firm’s power-dependence relations in the environment. In large schools with no organizational sorting and lots of choice. I can tell you what many firms will want. I have discussed a social network perspective on organizations. and then they call for differentiated roles so everyone has a job to do. rank ordering and fewer groups. What this means is that the composition of participants and the utilized organizational rules moderate natural bases of association. its key influence processes on outcomes. And this closure and reciprocity of ties happens to be the strongest feature driving high school friendship network formation. The only time we see random. In the case of our schools. the tasks are designed to involve decentralized formats like group work so more people can talk. For the rest of this chapter. the ties are friendships and friendships tend to be reciprocated and local – so they accent clustering.The potential answers are interesting. They will want to facilitate the creation of efficient network patterns. To offset this. if the ties were weak. This type of treatment equalizes status and renders participation more active and even. and if we inspect 133 . they can begin to prescribe all sorts of treatments. By contrast. and enable different network patterns to arise. To offset this. These are clearly simple examples. And they will want them to span groups so good ideas can travel around the firm.

several authors describe project-based networks or issue-networks where the effort is to organize around a specific project or to work together to push a single issue. they are partial absorptions and strategic alliances. We also review some of Goldsmith and Eggers work where they discuss external partnering.RDT and Network Interpretations them a little closer. At issue for 134 . the last chapter on resource dependence theory discussed how this arose in pairs of firms through joint ventures. In this chapter. In resource dependence theory there were pair-wise efforts like this called strategic alliances or agreements. such as when governmental agencies contract out particular tasks to private companies and nonprofits in belief that coordinating providers will enable government agencies to serve citizens more efficiently (2004). the point here is that many of the readings referenced in this chapter describe networks formed by bridging efforts that resource dependence theory discussed. as well as interlocking boards of directors that bring firms into greater communication with one another. in this chapter. and partnerships. Nonetheless. and they were performed to secure and /or prevent advantages or to pool resources and work together. It is important to note that the sorts of partnerships described in network forms of organization are not mergers where total absorption of one firm into another occurs. If you recall. interlocking boards of directors. we discuss professional networks and trade associations. In resource dependence theory. associations. the focus shifts from pairwise relations to the entire network. For example. these were seen as a means of coopting other firms and sharing resources like information. we see they are built up by some of the bridging efforts discussed last week in resource dependence theory: joint ventures. strategic alliances. Dyadic Exchange Broader context of relationships Figure . Instead. Nevertheless. In this chapter.!  Resource Dependence "  !  Network Organization "  Focal Organization. or where sets of organizations form a family and work together voluntarily (2001). we discuss Smith and Wohlstetter description of organizations as forming a group affiliation.

By contrast. In short. For organizational learning the focus was on practice and the individual relations between participants employing these practices. If you recall. network organizations consider the global. or local optima. One can also find similarities between network organization and coalition theory. Network organization 135 . and that the wider network of organizations is a source of stability and change for the focal organization. it considers multiple types of relations across firms. network organization focuses on organizations as the unit of analysis and discusses the patterns of interconnections across firms – or the interorganizational network. flexibility. while network organization views the traffic jam from a helicopter. Each cluster resembles a community wherein discussions of practice occurred. I would say an important one is their unit of focus. the situation can change. each group would come to their own optimal solution. if we aggregated the far image we would acquire some sense of how network organization views the same situation. we can see resource dependence theory’s view of a firm in the far image. Many of you will recall this image. The reading by Davis and Powell (1992:334-341) describes the difference between resource dependence theory and network organizations best: resource dependence theory views a traffic jam of cars from your own car. socio-centric view of both direct and indirect relationships. Hence. to one of brokering groups. In their stead rose a network form of organization that balanced the flexibility of markets with the predictability and stability of hierarchy – and this brought intelligence. Network forms of organization see the network as constraining and enabling action. By contrast. In contrast. and speed of response to organizations adopting the model. network organization was a fashionable description for repetitive exchanges among semi-autonomous organizations relying on trust and embedded social relations to protect their transactions and to lower costs. And depending on how broadly one looks into that network. network organization looks at the broader array of indirect ties beyond the focal firm. Moreover. By contrast. egocentric network is in focus. So network organization has some similarity to prior theories. distinct from market and hierarchical forms of organizing. The linkages across communities reflect the network of practice that enables the transfer of solutions across groups. network forms of organizing reflect a persistent structural property or a particular coordination pattern that is maintained over time. If I had to put my finger on one key difference between resource dependence theory and network organization. Network organizations had more enduring and diffuse connections than did markets. Network Organization even has similarities with organizational learning theory’s description of communities of practice and networks of practice. and thereby facilitates their reaching global optima. organizational learning focuses on individual actors and their relations within and between organizations. The network form of organization entailed interdependent firms that competed successfully with larger corporations.network organization is how to coordinate and manage organizations that handle different facets of provision. As such. They argue that at the turn of the 20th century. the network form of organization is neither a coalition nor a resource dependence set. turbulent and technologically dynamic. An article by Borgatti and Foster (2003) relates a brief history of network organization. Let's look more closely at how organizational theorists have related the details of this theory. The direct. they were a sort of middle ground. At the time. As such. hyper-competitive. it is from one of being peripheral to a group. From which perspective do you get the best understanding of your car’s movement? If we schematize this (see prior page). but it also differs. Resource dependence theory considers the egocentric view of an organization and its immediate relations. coalitions were like an interest network or a temporary alliance. and they had more reciprocal and egalitarian arrangements than hierarchies (Scott 2003:282). proponents of network organization argued that markets and hierarchical structures had become inefficient as commerce grew more global. Here. If we stopped there.

For example. Powell argues that network organizations are “neither market. the normative basis of association is an employment relation (reporting). teleconferencing. You can find this paper in the additional readings of the week. conflict is resolved by administrativeoversight.Key Factors Hierarchy Network Market Normative basis Employment relationship Complementary strengths Contract – property rights Means of communication Routines Relational Prices Mode of conflict resolution Administrative fiat supervision Norms of reciprocity Haggling – resort to courts Degree of flexibility Low Medium High Amount of commitment Medium to high Medium to high Low Tone of climate Formal. we all recall what a hierarchical form of organization is: it is a centralized organizational chart with levels of reporting that winnow down like a pyramid to the top. I have reordered and slightly edited the table for ease of presentation here. They entail more enduring and diffuse connections than markets but more reciprocal and egalitarian arrangements than hierarchies. 136 . Let’s look at an adapted table from Powell’s 1990 article where these forms of organizing are compared. and he elaborated its distinct logic of exchange (1990). fax. etc.) made it feasible for them to coordinate delivery of services. In these systems. Woody Powell was one of the first to describe network organization as an intermediary form between hierarchies and markets. there is little flexibility in procedures. email. nor hierarchy”. the means of communicating entail established routines. Powell goes through a variety of organizational features and processes and contrasts them for each type. Bureaucratic Open-ended. worker commitment to the firm is medium to high. the tone of the climate is formal and bureaucratic and actor preferences are dependent on the firm and its centralized actors. computing. mutual benefits Precision and/or suspicion Actor preferences Dependent Interdependent Independent Networked Organizations: Neither Hierarchy nor Markets " " (Adapted from Powell 1990: 300) had become possible because many organizations had become increasingly specialized and information technologies (phone.

However. forming similar patterns of collaboration so as to compete with larger firms adopting this sort of internal patterning. One can imagine a network of organizations arranged in a similar way to address ambiguous problems. but I think you will find this sort of network organization relevant to many other parts of the world. they find the climate to be one where mutual benefits are sought. we have Goldsmith and Eggers applied look at network organizing (2004). but I think you can imagine sets of firms. Goldsmith and Eggers discuss US government agencies again. Between these two poles is the network form of organization. where the means of communication are prices. this is minor interest where other firms like a government agency or lab is trying to foster a network that facilitates change on this issue in firms. commitment is low (everyone is out for themselves without constraint!). Different forms of network organization are feasible. They discuss networks within and between firms. Again. Lieftka. There. firms seek out complementary strengths in forming collaborations. a central hub can process and transfer information and the external ties reach out into the environment. and there the network organization can deal with familiar problems with known responses – it’s a format you might see in a streamlined organizational process model where efficiency is an issue. the first two forms are more in line with what scholars mean by network organization. where flexibility is high. This type of network is arguably well-suited to addressing ambiguous problems in need of innovative solutions and finding ways to implement them in local conditions. Now clearly. Many scholars in economics view organizational fields in this way. where conflict is resolved by bargaining and haggling. they communicate through their network of relationships. Through network organization. Case: US Governmental Agencies Utilizing Network Forms of Organization In addition to Powell’s theoretical exposition on network organization (1990). Participants of network organization experience moderate to high levels of commitment. as the actors are constrained by their pre-existent ties. In the United States. a set of organizations can arrange their relations in this manner to do the same. The final network is a simple chain format. such as alliance networks on environmental sustainability. but they are not more fully determined as in a hierarchical organization. The first is a core-periphery structure where there are dense internal ties and extensions into the environment for novel information. It has characteristics that distinguish it from market and hierarchical forms of organization. a complex problem can be broken into components addressed by each unit or cluster. and they can be dealt with in a sequence. In network organizations flexibility is moderate. and Weiss (2005) have a nice article describing different network forms of organization and the sorts of problems they are best suited for. and where most firm preferences are interdependent. Cross. and where the tone is based on precision and suspicion of competition and actor preferences are independent of each other – just as one would expect in a free market. And perhaps they are an especially salient form of organization for markets at the margin. even small firms. it is helpful to consider the fact that even between the first two there is some variance in form that might influence coordination and delivery. Here. The second form of network has linked cliques that afford a modular response to problems. all too often the agencies adopting network forms of organization are 137 . and each form can address different kinds of problems. and they have models following these logics. As such.At the opposite spectrum is a market form of organization where associations are guided by formal contracts and transactions. and they resolve conflicts via norms of reciprocity. if not complementary. Note that when I say “markets at the margin” I mean that most firms see environmental issues as secondary to their main interest in profit and survival. These networks are like those proposed in the theory of organizational learning.

Figure. Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) "

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138

ones that have fewer resources and work to become more efficient. Or they are agencies that
find themselves unable to perform the task required or they want to distance themselves from
the work they need performed. As such, the
agency coordinates the web of service providers or
they hire a coordinator.
Many US government agencies have adopted
the network form of organization. Government
agencies contract out more and more tasks to private companies (for and not-for-profit forms) in
the belief that competition among providers will
increase efficiency. Today, public agencies find
themselves working in a world of partnerships and
networks (Goldsmith and Eggers 2004). They
form alliances that include mixtures of agencies,
large and small organizations, and so on. This sort
of network form of organization is seen as a viable
alternative to large-scale corporations and hierarchical public bureaucracies. Goldsmith and Eggers describe how government agencies hire contractors and they hire subcontractors in an effort to
provide a service. In those instances, the agency
integrates and coordinates the web. But in other
instances, the government agency either wants
more distance with the service, or they find a third
party provider can coordinate better. Here, there
forms a slightly different structure.
So government organizations find themselves working in a context of partnerships and alliances. In short, they are engaged in networks of
smaller and larger organizations that span public
and private sectors, and this is widely seen as an
alternative form of organizing in comparison to
large-scale corporations and public bureaucracies.
Many of you can probably relate a variety of
examples of network forms of organizing in your
respective industries and parts of the world. I will
give you a few examples. Goldsmith and Eggers
describe the Golden Gate National Recreation
Area (see image on prior page), and how it heavily
relies on partners to take care of the parks and
their services. Only 18% of park services rely on
forest service employees – the rest relies on partners.
We can also consider the Iraq War as an example where firms like Bechtel and Halliburton

were contractors that coordinated a variety of services and worked on the “reconstruction” effort.
Now I do not know the details of this operation
and how it went. But in terms of network organization, it is an interesting case. One could arguably
believe that there was little local Iraqi trust for the
United States agencies. Is that why contracting
firms were used? And even then, was their much
trust to make the network form of organizing helpful? And again, I have to plead ignorance here,
but I think it interesting to ponder how the network form of organizing was applied and how it
performed in such a context.
A final example for the network form of organizing is the Manhattan Project (see image next
page). Here, over a dozen universities and a network of scientists, engineers, military agencies
and service providers were brought together to create an atomic bomb. To many, the project was
such a success that they now see it as a network
form they want to repeat in other areas of knowledge creation. So for example, I am often asked to
study interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary projects and centers that bring together a heterogeneous set of individuals and ask them to learn from
one another and create new ideas they never would
form if they stayed in their respective disciplinary
silos. The model of organizing is very much a network form. And many see it as a potentially powerful one for organizations engaged in today’s
knowledge economy.
Why do network forms of organization like
this come about? In chapter 1 of their text, Goldsmith and Eggers relate a few reasons why governments use network organization, but we can extend it to firms more generally (2004). The first
reason is that a firm lacks the capacity to provide a
service and that it must rely on other firms. For
the government, this means the use of for profit
and non-profit firms as contracts and subcontracts.
The second reason is to provide more integrated
services. Outsourcing alone is not enough. It
merely creates 4 subcontractors and narrow channels to a service that would have existed via 4 government agencies anyway. Network organization
calls upon agencies and subcontractors to join-up
or partner horizontally and vertically so as to pro-

139

Figure. Manhattan Project "

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vide more integrated services: a one stop shopping experience instead of
a disparate 4-stop one. A third reason is the digital revolution and technological capacity. Technology has made external partnering far more viable. Companies can share scheduling information on production, demand, shipments, transactions, etc. All sorts of information can be shared
by digital means and often instantaneously, making a variety of partnerships across small, specialized firms feasible. A final reason for the emergence and expanded relevance of network organization is demand. Citizens today want more options and choices, and they have become less tolerant of mediocre service. In a network organization, there are multiple
contracts and subcontractors, many of whom compete to meet demand
and win consumer choices.
Goldsmith and Eggers contend that the network form of organization has certain advantages for government agencies (2004): The first is
that it enables experimentation by allowing agencies to explore wider sets
of alternatives of service provision. The second is that the government
can focus more on management and delivery by outsourcing tasks to the
best providers and experts. Network organization also increases managerial flexibility. The government agency often finds it can provide services
more quickly and change the nature of service by drawing on multiple resource providers. Last, network organization is a decentralized, fluid
form and the autonomy of allied organizations enables citizens to play a
greater role in decision-making. Network organizations listen and react
more quickly to citizens and consumers than do large hierarchical firms.
140

the network manager needs to focus partners on their discrete functions (so there is no internal competition) and then coordinate their activities. you need to weigh partners carefully! You want trusted collaborators that can assume role-complement with one another. the network manager needs to listen to other firms and include them. As such. Next. you must think about the larger network structure and how it can be integrated. and vice versa. First. Often. You do not want a network composed of directly competing firms or it will be undermined. For networked organizations. but I think it helps to consider factors of partnership formation and splitting because it is a central means of successfully forging and undermining network organization. complementary partnerships. Managing Network Forms of Organization Managing a network of organizations is not easy. then it’s likely their surface relations will manifest as healthy. distrust and effectively split partnerships apart. the firms need to cooperate on matters outside their core business. Another is to create a joint governance structure and shared decision making that spans partners. network management is not easy. open access and discussion of performance data is frequently beneficial to the manager and firms in the network. How can the larger net- work of alliances work so as to afford a suite of services that encourage firms to join up or across. and toward the repetition of many. That is. one finds they are constantly managing relations and the network as a whole in ways akin to a coalition. Developing the capacity for group processing is also important. partnerships are healthy and sustained when the organizations address discrete functions: either the discrete functions an agency needs to address. Since the functions are differentiated and action distributed. but somehow still move the network forward on the interests everyone shares. In addition. So one firm will coordinate and align with another in a division of labor each needs from the other. Firms can sustain healthy collaborations when they are open and trusting with information and they lack a history of competition – if there is any sense of competition or lack of trust. or as rolecomplements in the provision of services. As a network manager. trust and openness. the network is more stable if done right: where firms regard one another as complements to one another and that in the whole they form a system of service provision that is superior to what they can do on their own. but there are a few other things one can do to build trust and manage relations.A core feature of network organization is the creation and maintenance of partnerships. the collaboration will disintegrate. or the discrete functions a firm needs to address in order to keep itself alive. Here. everyone has a stake and a responsibility in decisions so the network holds and proceeds. it helps to let other parts of the network know what the others are doing and how their coordination relates to performance. An obvious one is to bring out into open any initial contention. each pair becomes the “ying” for the other’s “yang”. go deep! Try and align the goals and cultures of these firms so they value collaboration. 141 . Also. Last. On the near side are factors that create competition. Network organization also responds well to shared information on performance. If you can forge these beliefs and values. they do not want to compete and they need to regard one another as differentiated collaborators. it is important that the firms involved do not regard the information in the current collaboration as proprietary or to see it as putting them in a disadvantage with one another later. but not the same labor they both produce. The manager needs to ensure there is no direct competition between companies in the network of provision. However. As such. As such. You can find this in chapter 5 of Goldsmith and Eggers. On the far side there are factors that form a trusting partnership and sustain it. Again. Such an arrangement extends well beyond a single decision. and that clients will want to utilize. There are a variety of things you can do to make network organization work better for you and your clients. All the features related thus far build trust. Many of the features reflect common sense.

establish collaborative norms. In this manner. The technology by which the network organization forms is linking. So the array of elements and their characterizations are distinctive. If we consider the dominant pattern of inference or means of organizational action. The goals of an organization attempting to create a network organization are to deliver a service via collaborations and outsourcing aspects not central to its technological core. It entails outsourcing. it is rendered into a network form in the environment. If we consider how the organizational elements are typically related we also get a sense for where the theory focuses and where its concern rests. In fact. create opportunities for open-ended mutual benefits. coordinating. And this accomplishment requires a distinctive set of managerial approaches and efforts to make it work. For example. the participants in this case are organizational stakeholders engaged in the network of organizations or which are potential partners. subcontracting and partnering in order to focus on the core technology. exchange. The network as a whole and its pattern influences the organization’s output and performance. how can one manage a network form of organization? You can manage it by designing the network in a way that selects partners wisely so their values and efforts complement and align with one another. You establish frequent. Instead of housing divisions and functions within a single firm. form alliances. you establish a norm of collaboration and reciprocity in the network. active communication channels with the involved organizations. And last. and the larger context in developing strategy and deciding their behavior. The social structure then consists of communication and coordination relations and the positions and roles therefrom. 142 . you create a distributed organization in the environment. positions. etc. Multiple types of networks are feasible (trust. by creating access to shared information in the network. You coordinate member activities by preventing internal competition between collaborators. by forming a shared decision-making structure.) and they can guide resultant firm behaviors. Last. But it does seem well suited to studying the wider context of organizational relations and how they influence the organization’s behavior and survival. Organizations trying to accomplish network organization identify complementary strengths. informal. the environment – network organizations extend well into the environment. and by getting participating firms to focus on their distinctive functions and the coordination across them. As for the general summary or argument. Last. its focus is on inter-organizational relations in the environment. we learn further how it differs from other theories presented in this course. Undergirding the network is a norm of trust (not competition) that allows the interdependent organizations to work together. and outsource secondary tasks – all to survive and create a positive network environment through which firms can complement one another’s needs and delivers a service.Summary of Network Forms of Organization So let’s summarize what we know about the theory of network organization. I suppose we can attempt a caricature: Organizations focus on network relations. The first question to ask is when does it apply? Does it apply if I am looking at a particular decision among individual workers? Probably not so well. allying firms in order to deliver a service.

Gerald F. Harvard Business Review 83(3). Skye and McFarland. 4:499-519. In Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Boston: Harvard Business School. Granovetter. Form. 2003. Governing by Network: The New Shape of the Public Sector. W. White. R. vol. 1990.” Journal of Social Structure. 2013. L. J. Stephen P.” Administrative Science Quarterly 58 (1)69–110. Cambridge. CA: Consulting Psychologists. Smith. Powell. Vol 3 (2nd ed. Dahlander. (2005)." AJS 91:481-510.References Bender-deMoll. Nohria and Robert Eccles. Dunnette and Leaetta M Hough. Borgatti. and Priscilla Wohlstetter. “Ties that Last: A Longitudinal Study of Tie Formation and Persistence. 124-132.” In chapter 8 of Networks and Organizations: Structure. Palo Alto. Getting a Job: A Study of Contacts and Careers. “Network Dynamics and Field Evolution: The Growth of Interorganizational Collaboration in the Life Sciences. Research in Organizational Behavior 12: 295-336. Craig and Daniel A. J. and Action. Marvin D. McFarland. David. Mark. 2001. Koput & Jason Owen-Smith. Eds. 2005. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. SAGE Pub.” American Journal of Sociology. “Neither Market nor Hierarchy: Network Forms of Organization”. and P. Powell. 1939. no.” Journal of Management 29(6):991-1013. Krackhardt. Eds.. (alphabetical listing). Linus and Daniel A. “Reform Through School Networks: A New Kind of Authority and Accountability. 2004.. Roethlisberger. “The Strength of Strong Ties: The Importance of Philos in Organizations.). Martin andWenpin Tsai. 493-510). Stephen and William Eggers. 2. Davis. Walter W. 2011. McFarland. pp.” Social Science Research 40: 1001-17. pp. F. Kenneth W. Mark. 334-341). Douglas R. Nitin 143 . 1985. & Weiss. Rawlings.” Educational Policy 15. “The Ties that Influence: How Social Networks Channel Faculty Grant Productivity. 1995 (1974). and Walter W. and William J. 1992. Dickson. Powell. “The Art and Science of Dynamic Network Visualization. 1992. A Practical Guide To Social Networks. 2003. Social Networks and Organizations. Selection from “Organization-Environment Relations” (pp. Granovetter. Cross.W. Goldsmith. "Economic action and social structure: The problem of embeddedness. “The Internal Organization of the Group in the Bank Wiring Observation Room. Foster. Andrew K.” Management and the Worker (chapter xxi. 2006. 7. Daniel A. “A Network Paradigm in Organizational Research: A Review and Typology. Liedtka. Kilduff. MA: Harvard University Press.C.

jpg.org/wiki/File:Newells_classroom.wikimedia. http://commons.org/wiki/File:Young_Afghan_girls_inside_the_classroom_of_Aliabad_School-2012.wikimedia.jpg.9 Neoinstitutional Theory (Source: http://commons. http://commons.jpg)) .wikimedia.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ashs-learning-common-miro.jpg/.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Classroom_in_India. http://commons. http://commons.org/wiki/File:BMS_classrooms.jpg.

and he recounted his travels all over the world visiting schools and classrooms.Neoinstitutional Theory In this chapter. Institutional controls are practiced in several forms (Scott 1995:34-45). John Meyer. poor subSaharan villages with classes taught outside in these ground indentations without chairs and tables. all had enough similarities that one knew right away what kind of organization it was. 145 . they are “sets of beliefs developed in social interaction. Let’s take the example of the organizational field of education: why do most schools and classrooms look the same? I recall talking with one of the founders of neoinstitutional theory. taken for granted ways of doing things. and what scripts were being referenced -they were all school classrooms! In many regards. like organizational fields of biotechnology or education. These constrain behavior through rules or laws and behavioral inducements like incentives and punishments. are composed of organizations that look more alike than they differ. A second. but they are just as influential on organizational behavior as laws and regulations. there are institutions that run very deep and these are cognitive beliefs. and guidelines for governing and guiding behavior in social situations” (Scott 2003:119). Introduction to Neoinstitutional Theory Neoinstitutional theory tries to explain institutional isomorphism. He described how he had visited typical American schools. In many instances. these are informal rules and guidelines. Neoinstitutional theory has always been one of the harder theories for students to fully grasp. Organizations typically respond by building that external complexity into their internal. That is. Scott argues that compliance with cognitive institutions occurs in many circumstances because other types of behavior are inconceivable. As Richard Scott relates. In spite of the different locations and cultural distances traversed. one can think of neoinstitutional theory as arguing that an organization’s survival depends on its fit with the cultural environment. I am going to take the game of soccer and describe how these three institutional controls can be layered so as to make the performance of soccer games relatively the same and recognizable. Last. or deep social structures in the environment. I will discuss many of the core concepts twice and relate them in different ways so you get a better sense for what this theory conveys. or how we should and should not appear. An explicit form of institutional control is practiced through regulations or regulatory institutions. I always find it easiest to distinguish the three forms of institutions with the example of a sport. all these settings conform to widely held institutional beliefs about what schooling entails. so I have organized the chapter to be a little repetitive. we will continue our discussion of organizations as open-systems whose survival depends on their relation with the environment. spread. provide models. But in some instances they conflict and segments in the environment adhere to one set over another. schema. such as take for granted routines and activities (Scott 1995:40-45). deeply ingrained institutional control is normative.” In oversimplified terms. As such. These beliefs and conceptions are cultural-cognitive controls. and even wealthy Western schools with computer tablets in every hand. however. the cultural environment can be varied. formal structure. how he had seen religious fundamentalist schools in Saudi Arabia where boys and girls were taught separately. The theory tries to explain how and why spheres of activity. In particular. that the firm mirrors environmental beliefs about what a legitimate organization of that type should look like. Cognitive beliefs are naturalized. these institutions are layered on top of each other in reinforcing ways like an onion. called “neoinstitutional theory. a firm’s success depends on whether it adopts structures that are deemed rational and legitimate in the external environment. or how the same organizational forms develop. Normative controls guide what we should or should not do. In great part. we will discuss one of the prevailing organizational theories stemming from sociology. and become legitimated in one sphere of activity after another.

gov_photo_essay_100503F-3745E-376. So multiple institutions can control behavior and render them into scripted forms that are deemed legitimate and ideal.jpg) What are the regulatory controls of soccer? Those are the rulebooks and rules of soccer. all of them share a family of resemblance in their routine such that we regard them as soccer.jpg/. For any organization their actions might be driven by taken for granted routines and activities.JPG. http://commons. If they do not. Paul DiMaggio and Walter Powell were some of the first neoinstitutional theorists.jpg/. everyone gets upset: norms and regulations are violated. Penalties are incurred for violating the rules in this case. a playground game. John Meyer. It is inconceivable that someone would approach the game of soccer using a different activity schema and roles of say basketball. What is a cognitive or deeper form of institutional control? Cognitive institutions are taken-for-granted routines.org/wiki/ File:Israel_v_Brazil_1. better and worse sportsmanship. 146 . or even one on a beach. norms and expectations of best practices and players. For soccer. Brian Rowan. and explicit surface regulations catching violations. and so on.org/wiki/ File:Uz_vs_Jap_2009-Free_kick_%28before %29.org/wiki/ File:StateLibQld_1_194039_Shot_for_goal_duri ng_a_soccer_match_in_Brisbane %2C_ca. http:// commons.org/wiki/ File:Defense. The enactment of a soccer game is taken for granted and persons engage in it unquestionably. What about normative controls? The norms of soccer characterize our notions of better and worse players. http:// commons.wikimedia. Norms lead players to act in certain styles within the tacit activities and routines they enact. Regardless of whether it is a game in 1937.wikimedia.Different contexts of soccer activity " (Sources: http://commons. And we find this cognitive layer when we go to different contexts of soccer play.wikimedia. these entail the activity of soccer itself._1937. as well as the referees acting as agents to enforce them.wikimedia.

less shopping mall and main street appearances. and Neoinstitutional Theory Now that you have an initial sense for neoinstitutional theory. All the schools had similar subjects. A lot of the concepts I am going to introduce may seem 147 . In the case of Euro-Disney. and regulatory policies and laws. let us contrast it with theories discussed previously in the course. and more old-world charm. to remote cultures in poor regions of developing countries -. Dimaggio and Powell 1983). Let’s compare and contrast facets of resource dependence theory with neoisntitutional theory so you have a better sense of their differences. There is a shift here in how firms view and respond to their environment: from a logic of consequence (resource dependence theory) to a logic of appropriateness (neoinstitutional theory). and adjust its for-profit model and American theme-park script to local views. In contrast. institutions are legitimated when they are widely held and believed to be rational. Network Theory. universities. I think it helps to compare neoinstitutional theory to prior open system views and to prior cultural arguments since they are the most relevant. professional groups and associations. non-profits. In particular. and other features that are not easily plopped down in another cultural context. from the neoinstitutional vantage point. and that they were regarded as rational and legitimate even if their returns to efficiency were not fully established in each case (or even at all). organizational survival and success are contingent on integrating institutional beliefs (or ritual classifications) from the environment that are believed to be signals of legitimacy. to education).they all seemed intent on adopting topics taught in Western schools and the progressive forms of pedagogy espoused by their educational professionals. In most cases. providing recipes and policies for reforming and rationalizing one sphere of activity after another (from health standards. In sum. 1978. Disney’s efforts actually reflect neoinstitutional arguments about cultural fit to some extent. and other rationalizing agents. they stressed the important role of particular rationalizing agents who generate these institutional controls or ritual classifications. Neoinstitutional theory argues that organizations survive and succeed in their surrounding environment by not only accomplishing economic fitness and efficiency. and even public opinion. they used many of the same instructional formats. Meyer argued this was happening because rationalizing agents proposed the classifications and typifications. The basic idea is that scientists and professionals increasingly work at the world-system level holding international conferences. to human rights. You saw me remark in a past chapter about Disney and its various theme parks. the company needed to take into account the beliefs of the local environment. to orthodox Muslim ones. normative beliefs. a particular food menu. I remember him saying that in spite of the immense cultural differences of nations – from being socially liberal Western societies. Disneyland in the USA has a particular feel.and we rely heavily on their ideas in our summary of the neoinstitutional approach (Meyer and Rowan 1977. Comparing Resource Dependence Theory. The classifications they propose are Scott’s aforementioned cultural-cognitive categories. They wrote about how organizations look alike because there are processes leading firms to adopt many of the same institutional controls. The end result is a different version and feel of the Disney theme park: so less junk-food. issuing statements. and they all seemed intent on improving themselves by emulating pedagogy deemed legitimate by various professional associations. These agents were governmental units. As you recall. In particular. resource dependence theory offers strategies thought to be effective in exchange environments. but from accomplishing a social and cultural fit with the environment. neo-institutionalism offers strategies thought to be effective in environments replete with institutionalized beliefs about organizations and their appearances. Going back to my conversation with Meyer.

neoinstitutional theory generates change via institutional isomorphism – where each organization’s effort to survive and secure resources leads them to fall in line with external cultural pressures and rationalized myths on what a legitimate firm should look like or what an ideal product should be. I will come back to them again in the chapter so you get a richer understanding. Both theories focus on the environment. Resource Dependence Organizations with resource dependencies Neoinstitutional Organizational fields Coordination of resources Greater homogeneity of field (greater interdependence and as rational myths spread stability over time…) foreign at first. or domains of activity where the firms are aware of one another as relevant to that domain. but do not worry.Unit of Analysis Change Resource dependence theory and neoinstitutional theory compared. while neoinstitutional theory sees a progression toward greater homogenization as legitimate classification schemes spread. They see change differently as well. Neoinstitutional theory is concerned with entire organizational fields. If we consider each theory. The first is their unit of analysis. Resource dependence theory is primarily focused on resource dependence relations that an organization has with other firms. and one whose for148 . Each theory also offers a distinctive view of an organization’s structure: one that is characterized by dependence relations. In resource dependence theory. By contrast. These changes are promulgated by different processes. or greater interdependence and stability over time. the managers try to minimize their own firm’s dependence on others while they increase the dependence others have on them. but they target slightly different things in it: resource relations for one and cultural matching for the other. we can view them on a variety of dimensions (see table above). Resource dependence theory argues there is a movement toward greater coordination of resources.

and this legitimacy is accomplished by maintaining ceremonial conformity. However. The seminal article for neoinstitutional theory is Meyer and Rowan’s 1977 paper. These roles. with some scholars working to align network research with neoinstitutionalism. Theories from other chapters can also be contrasted with neoinstitutional theory. and practices. "Institutionalized Organizations: Formal Structure as Myth and Ceremony". Resource dependence theory says firms need resources and autonomy for survival. student-teacher roles. These institutions are built into society as typifications and ritual classifications. organizations gain legitimacy and secure social resources from the environment. I’m going to draw out examples on schools as an application since both Meyer and Rowan’s 1978 paper and Mary Metz 1989 paper both do a terrific job of providing us concrete examples of how neoinstitutional theory applies in those settings. For example. their formal structures are organized to reflect the rational myths located in the external environment. appearances. Research on networks falls somewhere in between resource dependence theory and neoinstitutional theory. They are taken for granted as such. I want to discuss the basic ideas presented in the 1977 piece by Meyer and Rowan. “The Iron Cage Revisited. and so on. and we will discuss it at length later). and ideas are not easy to locate in networks. The diffusion of particular formal structures. At this point in the chapter.” As we go along. By doing this. The ceremonial adoption of such appearances is done on the basis of belief. They are myths because we believe they are legitimate forms to use (we take them for granted as natural) and we view them as rational myths because we think they help the organization function better without actually investigating their relation to efficacy. They are believed to be rational. Features of neoinstitutionalism Now that we have a general sense for neoinstitutional theory and how it compares to previous theories in the course. mathematics and other core subject matter. or legitimated institutions we adopt on the assumption they are rational. reforms and/or practices through networks is a way these two literatures interrelate. neoinstitutional theory abstracts away from focal organizations to the field level. 149 . This conformity leads organizational fields to have organizations that look more alike than they look different. Organizations look their part in an ongoing script or play for that type of organization. Hence.mal structures and classifications are radically decoupled from the technical core (this is the concept of loose coupling. The adopted practices and formal structures are called “rational myths”. but neoinstitutional theory places much more emphasis on taken-for-granted norms or “ways of doing business” instead of formalized rules and codebooks for behavior. rules. classifications and rules are ceremonially applied much like we enact a script and adopt appearances in various ritual ceremonies. organizations ceremonially incorporate institutions into their formal structure that are believed to be rational. cultural scripts. Moreover. In particular. we can begin to delve more deeply into its core concepts. but we do not investigate whether they really improve efficiency or not. taking organizational culture to a “macro” level. Note that I said that these institutions are incorporated because they are “believed to be rational”. The institutions they incorporate are things like regulations and procedures. In order to survive in modern societal environments. In that paper. classrooms with chairs. norms. lectures. we believe educational institutions are more legitimate when they have buildings. neoinstitutional theory says firms need environmental legitimacy so as to secure resources and survive. independent of the drive for efficiency. and the 1983 paper by Dimaggio and Powell. In some ways neoinstitutional theory aligns with the notion of standard operating procedures and organizational culture. organizations must be regarded as legitimate. Last the theories espouse distinctive organizational needs. I will draw on a couple additional primary sources. credentials. classifications. the general argument is that.

As such. The script is like that of a 150 . they garner attention and resources from the environment. Take car advertising as an example. It is a nice looking car. rational myths.jpg/) Case: Real Schools In many regards. but what makes you think it’s legitimate? Is it the car’s performance? Sure . professional norms.g. We believe they are rational constructs. In her paper she describes how educational organizations symbolically code their structures to resemble beliefs about real school that are held in the institutional environment.org/wiki/File:Volt_MT_COTY_WAS_2011_835. http://commons.org/wiki/File:Jaguar_XKR_-_Flickr_-_The_Car_Spy_%2819 %29. The efficiency and efficacy of standard operating procedures and organizational structures is presumed on the basis of their wide adoption and / or the endorsement by professionals like Stanford academics. A neoinstitutional ad would trumpet various awards regardless of what they are for (safety or speed?). con- sider a Jaguar. By looking like the “real deal. For example. the sources of legitimation vary from public opinion. A good example of this can be seen with movie reviews in newspapers. They diffuse through networks. credentials and government requirements. She thinks this is why American high schools all look the same on the surface in spite of being really different internally. and they arise in an effort to make “rational” decisions where there is much ambiguity and uncertainty. so they give the movie the appearance of legitimacy when it likely is not. When creating the idea of what a good car is. They look the same and plod along in spite of having differences in content and output. and claims to any award are great.JPG/. We are limited problem solvers who adopt rationalized myths. ideologies. the critics giving a new movie good reviews are unknown. complex networks (e. We use shorthand logics encoded in the environment. in the context of modernization).” or like an exemplar. Such awards are rationalizing agents.wikimedia.. Where do rationalized myths come from? What are their origins? They arise in a context of dense. Rational myths and the reliance on rationalizing agents are a short-hand means to deciding. and they are passed because the practices are believed to be rationally effective. They are myths because we adopt them on faith or in a taken-for-granted way. certification and accreditation bodies. Figure.wikimedia. They are rationalized because they are impersonal prescriptions identified in a rule-like way as the appropriate means to pursue various goals. resource dependence theory saw this arising from the creation of resource demand (so the manager built greater external dependence on their organization). the article on “Real Schools” by Mary Metz gives you a clearer example of rationalized myths using the case of educational organizations(1989). This notion of a rationalized myth can extend to organizational products. In many cases. regulatory structures. Metz describes symbolic coding as arising when organizations adopt a common script. Rationalized myths are used because leaders within each organization want their firm to have legitimacy in the wider environment: Whereas.perhaps. advertisers project appearances of the firm and its products as if they exhibit externally legitimate. neoinstitutional theory seeks to create demand by mirroring institutional rationalized myths in society.The key point here is that organizations adopt institutional rules as rationalized myths. Many of us recall looking up movie listings in the paper and seeing reviews. but we seldom look deeply at whether they are efficient or if other constructs would work better. Jaguar and a Car Award (Source http://commons.

credentialed employees. quarters / semesters and school years. the organization presumes a chain of confidences and adopts an assortment of face-saving efforts to preserve this myth. and the teacher deserves confidence due to their degree and the program’s accreditation. Here. school weeks. They have coded time into school days. faculty. but has confidence in the college administrators. Discretion is maximized when inspection is minimized and participants are cloaked in professional. universities have grown increasingly common. like Qatar University. seatwork. When we say an organization reflects ritual classifications we mean it displays appearances so as to embody a ratified organizational identity considered legitimate in the environment. departments. They have differentiated course subjects. recitation. department chairs. The accrediting agency doesn’t inspect the teaching and skill of the graduate. Over the last 100 years or more. Last is the assumption of integrity. These people in turn have confidence in the teachers training them to label certain courses as “history” without carefully inspecting them. we give them discretion and let their profession act as rationalizing agents. etc. Avoidance is maximized when units are segmented so interaction across units is minimized. To maintain the ritual and the plausibility of legitimacy. there exist a sequence of confidences that are never fully inspected: The state has confidence in the district. principals. and we place confidence in them as being normal and rational without much inspection of their efficacy! In short. many of the same tasks (lecture. and the courses offered. Loose coupling The sequence of confidences is greatly sustained by a structural adaptation called “loose coupling”. and credentials.play. look like. The second is discretion. etc). and their forms increasingly isomorphic. They use many of the same symbols of ranking and completion like grades. New universities quickly adopt courses. in spite of some kids failing in reality. So it is a system of confidences (Meyer and Rowan 1978:207-8). and various other staff. or the appearance of “real school”. credentialed authority. They have agegraded students. In this manner one unit cannot see into another and question their contents. or they transform into such an embodiment. They have familiar technologies like lessons. organizations often engage in ritual performances and their appearances have integrity. The first is avoidance. Organizations may all come to look alike 151 . textbooks. where people adopt a range of appearances and go through a series of scripted actions so they resemble husband and wife. many of which are used as ritual classifications by external organizations. We take these features for granted. subject matters. and this sentiment allows them to overlook problems and label them as anomalies. Consider what new universities. the district in school. and educational organizations play the part of a “real school”. University structures have grown increasingly complex over time as they try to appeal to different segments of the institutional environment. The script serves symbolic purposes more than technical ones. The same can be said of universities and their development. test scores. These organizations engage in rituals or ceremonial performances by looking their part in the play when interacting with the environment: Hence – “real schools” have buildings. By placing trust in teachers. and other ceremonial features of leading universities as rationalized myths of what a good university should be. educational organizations put on a play. Do they adopt dramatic shifts in ceremonial features or do they mirror exemplary universities? How are rationalized myths sustained if they aren’t efficient or optimal (Logic of confidence)? The formal structure of many organizations is adopted like a sacred ritual. computers and blackboards. In education. Rituals are like mar- riage rites. desks and chairs. All of these features are typifications that we recognize and expect a school to have. whose scope and sequence are recognizable to colleges and employers. Here are a few of the face-saving efforts used to preserve these myths. classrooms. the school in the teacher. undifferentiated teacher roles.

This is dangerous for a system that depends on legitimating itself in and obtaining resources from local populations (Ibid:205). let’s take the case of schools to flesh this out: Credentials. Last..in terms of their formal or ceremonial aspects. high school. classrooms. a great deal of the value in education has little to do with the efficiency of instructional activities. as much as value residing in the ceremonial enactments of schooling that are regarded relatively equivocal: buildings. The system of ritual classifications can be ex- 152 . exams are privatized and not universal. In the US. decoupling enables participants to avoid inspection. In sum. Again. and we lack clear working alternatives. and measuring their effect is difficult. Third. Having them in place makes such transfer feasible. This affords them greater flexibility and buffers the technical core and internal workings of instruction from the likely conflicted concerns of the external environment. In contrast. The creation of and adherence to prevailing rational myths provides organizations with many resources. A national system would define almost all of the kids from some communities as successful or as failures. So for example. and this avoidance is a display of trust and confidence. are all means of making an educational organization appear rational. decoupling protects the formal structure from uncertainties of the technical core (buffering). think of what accreditation efforts entail mostly counting of surface features and the presence of labels). As such. By differentiation and isolation. topics. American schools have weak administrators who struggle to drive through educational reforms. the firm can forgo coordination and avoid incompatibilities and inconsistencies. vocational education. uncertainty about the effectiveness of ritual categories is reduced (Ibid:206). But why? Decoupling occurs in schools for several reasons: First. classifications and categories of schooling constitute a language that facilitates exchange across organizations and with the environment.. segmenting special education apart. Hence.g. the use of tracking and streaming. Second. Why does loose coupling arise in the US education system? And what other systems might it occur in? Decentralization tends to co-occur with decoupling. The US education system is decentral- ized and relies on resources from local populations (e. All too often inspection creates doubts about the legitimacy of instruction. There is much uncertainty in how curricula are delivered and received. and the formation of departments. decoupling contributes to the logic of confidence and increases the commitment of internal participants (responsibility is pushed onto teachers and teacher professionalism). etc. school boards.. neoinstitutional theory argues that organizations succeed in the environment by engaging in symbolic coding. Decoupling and the logic of confidence enable managers and employees to do their work without close inspection. counties. etc. organizations need to look like a real organization and at least appear to behave like a real organization. but that does not mean their actual internal practice and activity are the same. mayors. desks. special education.g.g. or the adoption of rationalized myths about structures that rely on a logic of confidence. Many organizations decouple their formal structure from technical activities and outcomes. Then why adopt the formal rules and structures when observation or inspection are not all that relevant? Is the adherence to rational myths helpful in some way? Organizations need legitimacy in their environment to survive. accreditation. but also of segmenting content inspection (e. Then they decouple their formal structure from the actual internal activities and performance. Local control deprofessionalizes administrators but professionalizes the teachers. other countries have a centralized structure with examinations and a clear inspection system that ensures conformity in activity. The plurality of environmental pressures can put conflicted demands on an organization. It is not so much about learning per expended dollar.). books. Funds are frequently allocated in a categorical fashion – e. teachers. Independent of material needs. elementary school. and so on are all valued. By decoupling formal structures and categories from core practices and activities. decoupling enables the organization to adapt to inconsistent and conflicting institutionalized rules (flexibility).

and other organizations that produce similar services or products (Dimaggio and Powell 1983:148). Organiza(onal+Fields+and+Isomorphism The second theory paper I want to discuss is that of Dimaggio and Powell’s “Iron Cage Revisited” (1983).. If you attempt the above.JPGAGC_key_technology_alliances. In many ways. 153 . resource and product consumers. Notably. in the aggregate. you can hire prestigious faculty.how come schools look so similar? Let’s first define the concept of an organizational field since it describes the bin in which the process of organizational homogenization arises. this is the same question Metz’s case on real schools asks -. the articles describe a variety of bridging tactics leading organizations to resemble one another in form.org/wiki/File: 4/4eAGC_key_technology_alliances. curricula.JPG) ploited in order to gain prestige (e. In short. you will conform to the institutional environment and reap rewards from it. Organizational fields are composed of “organizations that. the rewards for adherence are the increased ability to mobilize social resources for organizational purposes. Actors derive identities from the socially derived categories of education. regulatory agencies. [for example] key suppliers. What is great about this article is that it shows how neoinstitutional theory relates to both resource dependence theory and population ecology (which is a final theory we will cover in chapter 10).Organizational Field (Source .http://commons. this is a managerial proscription. and students into their formal structure.” Here is an example of what might be regarded to be an institutional field of technology. Dimagio and Powell’s big question is why do so many organizations look the same? Why is there a progression from a diverse set of organizational forms to a homogeneous set? Dimaggio and Powell focus on organizational fields and how organizations within them grow isomorphic.wikimedia. Organizations rely on the ritual classifications to provide internal order. schools stay legitimate and get the necessary funds and participant involvement so they can operate.Figure . In addition. incorporate “innovative” programs and then see your ranking and resources increase).g. By incorporating externally defined teachers. constitute a recognized area of institutional life.

The second form is institutional isomorphism.org/wiki/File:Graph_isomorphism_a. it attracts resources – pollen. isomorphism can be expressed in various ways.wikimedia. Figure.wikimedia. Dimaggio and Powell suggest this occurs in fields where open competition exists. This coercive influence results from both informal and formal pressures exerted by other organizations upon which a focal organization is dependent. 6. Here a dependent firm is subject to political influence.svg/. http://commons. Visually you can think of it as mirroring or when buildings assume the same form or appearance. 7. In usual parlance. It is of an orchid whose flower mimics a bee.org/wiki/File:Bee_Orchid_%28Ophrys_apifera%29_-_geograp h. The concept of institutional isomorphism is useful for understanding the politics and ceremony that pervade modern organizational life (Ibid:150). Same for a-d and g-j. Within these fields. there is an increase in interaction among the members. Graphs and Isomorphism (Source . The first process is one they call competitive isomorphism. how does organizational homogenization arise? The process is one where one unit of a population comes to resemble others. This is the core process within neoinstitutional theory: here organizations do not just compete for resources and customers but for political power and institutional legitimacy.org.org/wiki/File:Graph_isomorphism_b. By showing appearances of one sort. second.svg/) For neoinstitutional theory. Figure. consists of 4 parts: First.How does a field like this form? The process of field definition. and fourth the development of mutual awareness among the members. 4 have the same pattern of association as 5. But it also has more of a mathematical or even geometrical expression. Neoinstitutional theorists call this “isomorphism”. Orchid and Mimetic Isomophism (Source http://commons. so perhaps the next image helps even more. and by societal cultural expectations 154 . 2. In these instances. greater interorganizational patterns of hierarchy and coalitions among them. 3. or structuring. none of these are perfect similes. They are structurally equivalent sets and substitutable. an increase in information load to contend with.jpg) Dimaggio and Powell describe multiple processes by which isomorphism arises.uk_-_1362149.wikimedia. but hopefully they give you a better sense of what is meant by isomorphism. Now. Notice the 1. Powell and Dimaggio describe three forms of institutional isomorphism: 1. third. 8. certain forms of organizing do not survive because they are sub-optimal and because decision makers learn appropriate responses and adapt their organizations so they survive. Coercive forms of institutional isomorphism most closely resemble those observed in dependence relations as discussed in resource dependence theory. these appearances can decouple from function. We will discuss this form more next week when we discuss population ecology as our final organizational theory in the course.http://commons.

Hence. they can rise through the ranks by looking more like a leading institution. And this in turn draws in social resources and continues the firm’s survival. Professionalism is defined as “the collective struggle of members of an occupation to define the conditions and methods of their work. When ambiguity arises. organizations model themselves on other organizations. The firm is coerced to conform and this leads them to follow and adopt organizational forms of the organizations they depend upon. Further buffering the core activities of the firms is the process of loose coupling. All of these bridging efforts render the firm more institutionalized and legitimate in the cultural environment in which it is found. but here it is mostly done through networks. trendy).. what tools they use. Mimetic isomorphism is a standard response to uncertainty and ambiguity. Mimetic institutional isomorphism is different from coercive isomorphism. 2. I will focus more on management. not from certainty about efficiency. the mimetic process here is one driven by the focal organization and their effort to secure resources. and so on. and then critique the neoinstitutional approach. and the constructs are supported by a logic of confidence that extends throughout society. the firms in these instances try to fit in and mirror professional norms from which they draw legitimacy. and particularly those perceived as legitimate / successful. new universities adopt many of the same subjects and departments that established universities have. 155 . In this manner. Hence. 3.g.within which the organization functions (Ibid:150). The theoretical features of neo-institutional theory can be summed up to this point. Firms also bridge in the environment. like professional norms and standards on how to assess and consider their firm’s performance. Normative forms are different yet again from both coercion and mimesis. confidence in elite universities and their accreditation. isomorphism is associated with professionalism. This decoupling enables the firm to run on trust and not have to confront the potentially unsolvable issues of what works best and why. Here. As such. As such.. many universities do as Stanford does. their formal structure fits ceremonial classifications. Two aspects are key here: the emphasis on formal education credentials. Dimaggio and Powell argue that these networks of association lead to isomorphism via several routes. These create pools of individuals who are relatively the same and substitutable. Management and Critique of the Neoinstitutional Approach In the remainder of this chapter. Last. The theory argues that firms buffer themselves from the envi- ronment by symbolic coding of their formal structure. The second entails mimetic behavior where firms look to exemplars and peers so as to imitate what seems to work well or is legitimate (i. the firm exudes rational competence and cultural fit. but does not allow them to be inspected with relation to actual activity. discuss some cases of strategic manipulation of institutional environments. but because in a context of ambiguity and uncertainty. where the formal structures and codings of the firm are distinct and unrelated to the actual work activity. and to establish a cognitive base and legitimation for their occupational autonomy (Ibid:152). to control the production of producers.e. and the development of professional networks via associations.” Rather than direct coercion or imitation. The labels are assumed rational because rationalizing agents support them: e. By segmenting them apart. The first entails political pressure as we learned about in resource dependence theory. firms respond to pressures of professional networks. professionalization enables normative forms of isomorphism and renders firms relatively similar in terms of who they hire.

or when the institutional environments are themselves in conflict. Bai 2005). they often conform and adjust their ritual classifications and outward appearances. In these instances. creates a more focused coupling. this move is akin to disguising the firm and using smoke and mirror tactics to distract. Implicit in the approach is some sense of how integrated.Management of Cognitive Structures Given the above. avoiding. and manipulating. Bush won and linguistic experts like George Lakoff argue that he won because his strategists framed positions in a way that resonated more with the voters (Lakoff 2011. In most cases. the use of accountability in schooling now. Last. In sum. This makes a lot of sense if there is consensus in the environment. or- ganizations can co-opt and manipulate institutional environments in an effort to improve bargaining power. This is often done by developing symbolic linkages with sources of power – so many of the bridging efforts of isomorphism apply here of coercion. Avoidance can be accomplished via buffering strategies like loose coupling since it prevents careful inspection. To do this. Decoupling is used when institutional rules conflict with technical requirements (ritual features are not appropriate for outcomes). Later. managers can hire planners and economists to waste time ratifying plans already made. In a way. and norming. differentiated and ambiguous the surrounding institutional environment is – that affords some sense as to which strategic response may be most successful. I want to turn next to framing and framing wars as a case for this. compromising. Case Interlude: Framing Wars Framing better captures strategic aspects of cultural mirroring and fit since it is all about cultural alignment efforts. This typically occurs in conflicted and differentiated environments where one must play one perspective off another. I think we can go further in this regard and discuss how marketing and advertising are used to receive endorsements and support from the environment. Therefore. Acquiescing is the most common one described in the literature of neoinstitutional theory. Bai 2005) and debates about intelligent design (Wilgoren 2005. By contrast. So for example. the manager must find ways to align the institutional environment. mimesis. the firms doing this lose. or hire human relations professionals to deflect blame from conflicts. Both framing wars describe how organizations and their leaders manipulate narratives and meanings so as to better align with the national consciousness or even segments of the environment. and they buffer their technical practice via decoupling. or to find ways to help the organization wind its way through conflicting institutions in the environment. coupling and alignment across ritual classifications and technical output can occur when organizations are centralized and rewarded for technical performance. decoupling helps a firm – an open system firm – avoid confronting internal or external inconsistencies. we had a presidential election between John Kerry and George Bush. There. a firm merely adopts and aligns with the institutional environment as if it is natural to do so. but wanted to legitimate themselves with voters and secure the popular election. Oliver also mentions how firms can defy or resist their institutional environments by adopting norms and interests different from the surrounding environment and the imposing regulations on it. The beauty of framing is that it captures both aspects of this tension – strategy and cognition. how do we manage a firm using neoinstitutional theory? Oliver describes a series of strategic responses organizations can take to their institutional environments (1991): such as acquiescing. defying. Back in 2004. Recently. Anonymous 2005). They both had stances on a variety of issues. Or 156 . there were a series of scholarly and media articles concerning the framing wars in politics (Lakoff 2011. Compromising is different and entails balancing differentiated demands and negotiating with institutional representatives. Or they manipulate the situation by playing to the myths in the environment. Or when the institutional environment is focused on certain issues and dependence is highest there. etc. or if the firm appeals to certain niche institutions and beliefs.

the most common refrain in the debates about intelligent design is “teach the controversy”.jpg/.org/wiki/File:GeorgeWBush. They must resonate with beliefs and arguments many of us hold. Now the Democrats have gotten wise to this and have their own set of framings like “tax cuts for the rich”.http://commons. not “oil drilling” and “fracking” which are seen as potentially damaging.wikimedia. In the United States we also have seemingly perennial debates about what to teach in our schools. Bush also said he was for “exploring for energy”. He was also for “tax relief”. Given the nation is partially formed on puritanical immigrants. http://commons. They would much rather see Creationism be taught in schools and for students to learn that the Bible says the universe is 3000 years old. Lakoff makes it clear that the issue here is not about finding “the right words” – these conceptions or “grand metaphors” do not just suddenly emerge. not “tax cuts for the rich” which is seen as unfair. What is interesting about this controversy is how framing plays a part. religious conservatives have successfully found ways to frame their arguments so they resonate more fully in the environment. “Wallstreet Bailouts”. the pressure to “teach the controversy” seems appealing on its surface. there are subsections of the population that are fundamentalist Christians and they sometimes take a literal view of the Bible and regard evolutionary theory as lacking and an affront to their beliefs. the Republicans framed their positions in a way that resonated with deeply ingrained rational myths.seems to work.jpg/) as we might say.org/wiki/File:Pop%21Tech_2008__George_Lakoff. So the use of wording to resonate with 157 . So by reframing their policies in ways that make them appeal to and resonate with deeply held beliefs – even if inaccurate -. biologists and most educated people think there is no “controversy” to begin with. Note how the label highlights the contradiction between birth and abortion.wikimedia. Here again. In fact. Lakoff. Framing Wars in Politics and Religion (Kerry. As such Bush related he was against “partialbirth abortion” (not “intact dilation extraction of a fetus”).Figure. etc. It is just that evolutionary scholars. Bush)" " (Source .org/wiki/File:John_Kerry_headshot_with_US_flag.http://commons.jpg/. and the right words will not suddenly change the national taken-for-granted understandings of the world around us. Given education and science rest on teaching and exploring evidence through debates.wikimedia.

NCLB increases inspection so much that it challenges the notion of loose coupling in education. It forces teachers to conform. The framing literature provides a potential means forward and around these critiques but it is currently empirically underdeveloped. Case Challenges for Neoinstitutionalism? There are certain trends in educational institutions that seem to counter neoinstitutional arguments. power and parochial interests get slighted by neoinstitutional theory. The test scores indicate whether one school is successful and another is not. test scores developed by rationalizing agents like testing services and academics become standard-bearers. Many argue that neoinstitutional theory has gone too far in the direction of cognition and shared understandings of modernity. So let’s consider them for a moment. universities. like all theories.wikimedia. Some criticize the neoinstitutional approach as affording mostly “negative” evidence. Figure. the reform creates greater pressure for conformity to a particular myth of the “Real School” and the appropriate elements a school should reflect. and it places greater power and responsibility in administrators.wikimedia. however. this is easier in theory than in practice.svg/) Critique+of+Neoins(tu(onal+Theory Neoinstitutional theory. Symbols for Evolution and Creationism (Source . Most readers regard neoinstitutional theory as describing over-socialized and passive human actors. crit- No Child Left Behind . Hence. Neoinstitutional theory is one of the most vibrant theories of organization. innovation in methodology is minimized. At the same time. is not perfect and it is prone to critique. but it is hard to distinguish processes of normative and mimetic isomorphism and to identify the features being homogenized. and many scholars are working hard at developing it further empirically. and conformity is imposed by a testing regime.org/wiki/File:Ichthus2. Demonstrating the diffusion of cognitive scripts and conceptual frames (grand metaphors) is much easier to do ex post and through proxies than through ex ante prediction or the direct measurement of institutional variables.Recoupling An interesting paradox in education right now involves No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and similar educational policies that strongly rely on inspection and accountability. As such. thereby trivializing politics and power. What matters is the external environment and mirroring rational myths. By this. But is there a clear sense of what 158 . On the one hand.commonly held rational myths serves to undermine the efforts of rational agents like professors. and in some cases even cheat to sustain appearances of adhering to the rationalized myth. The theory has intuitive appeal and we can identify cases where diffusion and isomorphism occur.org/wiki/File:Darwin_fish_ROF. The ritual categories are more focused. What I am trying to suggest is that we can use rhetoric to manipulate opinions and to secure social resources from the environment – we just need to find interesting ways to appeal to rational myths! ics mean that neoinstitutional theory mostly identifies weakness in other theories instead of revealing direct evidence of its own claims. However. natural science fields and medical professionals. Teachers then teach to the test. http://commons.svg/.http://commons.

organizations within a domain often come to resemble one another in appearance. They just seem to focus them on certain standard bearers more than others. Summary – New Institutional Theory The basic question neoinstitutional theory asks is why do organizations within a field adopt the same (or similar) formal structures? This similarity arises because organizations want to be legitimate in their environment. Changes in the regulatory environment led to strategic responses like those described by Bryk and we saw the system conform. content covered. Does it mean the credential is illegitimate? The market would be flooded with people who have the same skills since Coursera has room for far more people. Ambiguity and uncertainty remain and only one facet of the institutional environment (the currently dominant one) is linked. and to do this they structure themselves to reflect prevailing rational myths on what that type of organization should look like. Who would do the janitorial work if everyone is overqualified? Who would stand out as being able to do complex tasks? What if the credential is associated with tons of variance? Is it less legitimate? MOOCs raise a lot of questions about legitimacy for one of our most central societal institutions and the rationalized myths it rests upon. and to actual classroom experiences? What if superstar teachers can effectively convey material and students learn it almost as well as in person. university degree? What might happen? The whole societal apparatus seeks credentials as standardized language by which exchanges can be made across institutions.MOOCs Another conundrum for neoinstitutional theory is the creation of massive open online courses (or MOOCs) and what they mean for the organization of universities. This theory must give the appearance of being rational and func- 159 . So what gives? Organizations must be legitimate in their environment in order to receive a variety of social resources. Rather than delve into this topic too deeply. Massive Open Online Courses . Could MOOCs threaten the rationalized myths upon which the modern university is constructed? Does Coursera challenge the common script and neoinstitutional conceptions of organizational fields like education? How? Why might MOOCs lack environmental legitimacy? How do MOOCs challenge myths of schooling and question the legitimacy of higher education institutions? What will MOOCs do to community colleges. they would give employers little room to hire some and not others. There has been much written about MOOCs online. So it is not clear whether recoupling and centralization render organizations any less reliant on rationalized myths.works better? What kind of learning is more efficient and desirable? Yes there is a sense of this – but it is conveyed through the lens of a test. and in spite of their being distinct in terms of performance and actual activity. With Coursera. As a result. University of Phoenix. Because of this. the Bryk article discussed very early in this quarter could be interpreted as strategic management based on recoupling. but at a fraction of the cost? What if Coursera and other platforms offer a degree and it is just as effective and valued as an actual credentialed. success is not a scarce commodity! People who cannot get into Stanford can potentially get the same credential and accomplish the same course. However. and there is much to be recommended. I would rather leave it to the forums of the class to debate MOOCs and what they represent for neoinstitional understandings of organizatons. but it was not clear it had become more efficient and successful than before. teachers felt deprofesionalized and their motivation began to wane. While many courses are labeled “algebra class. and I can recommend it to students in this course (Grossman 2013). and learning that occurs across them can radically differ. Interestingly. Moreover.” we know the actual instruction. one recent article seems to do a little more research than most. The formal structure of an organization incorporates an environmental theory of the organization’s activity.

etc. We must find planners and economists to waste their time ratifying plans already made. etc. and the appearances of what they are doing (Meyer and Rowan 1978:109).” In order to accommodate appearance and reality. The prevailing environmental theories and categories are taken-for-granted understandings of organizing: “Organizational actors must therefore take into account both what they are doing. 160 .tional. appearances are decoupled from actual activity. they must hire human relations professional to deflect blame from conflicts.

When does it apply? Organizational Culture Design network to deliver service (select partners and alliances wisely for aligned values / goals). Action = result of deep structure or culture that is generated in the organization. establish collaborative/reciprocal norms. Linking / coordinating /allying in order to deliver service and outsourcing / subcontracting / partnering in order to focus on core technology. Deep structure consists of values and beliefs in sharing. create open-ended mutual benefits where possible. forecasting and adjusting scale). standard operating procedures. Bridging more relevant than buffering. Exchange partners and external relations more salient than internal dynamics. External adaptations in order to fit the environment and insure survival. reinforce norms of collaboration and reciprocity. form joint governance/shared decision making. When the wider context of organizational relations influences organizational behavior and survival. and values via a variety of practices and externalize them in artifacts depicting shared understandings / notions of appropriateness. Here. relations. Find ways to confer ideology and lead others to identify with it (using a variety of practices and artifacts). Professionals provide expertise and consult to organizations. Environment Dominant Pattern of Inference Management Strategies Buffering: protecting technical core from environmental threats (coding. Give room for autonomy and self-expression so distancing is unnecessary. interlocks. mimetic. Many elements of culture have origins from outside. Unlike organizational culture. active communication channels. associations) Action = Scan environment for resource opportunities and threats. External adaptations in order to increase autonomy and/or decrease dependence (see management). Boundaries no longer clear. positions. and the nationstate. Organizations in a field conform to cultural norms to insure survival and to reduce ambiguity. Professionals and the nation-state carry the modern cultural recipes and influence the translation of these elements into the org context. remove internal competition. Goal is delivery of service via collaboration and outsourcing aspects not central to technological core. interorganizational bargaining / politics. the process can be strategic and planned or cognitive and taken-forgranted.161 Actors seek expression and fulfillment of identity. the technical core is radically decoupled from institutionally defined org structure (loose coupling). Resource Dependence Theory (RDT). Deep structure composes the elements of culture – themes (beliefs & norms). and they are transported in.) Create intrinsic motivation (sense of fulfillment). Often. Organizations in a field. Organizations focus on network relations. but which is mediated by the member’s relation to it. mission statements. Goals (what probs to resolve) Social Structure Participants Matching. All stakeholders in an organizational field. and practice may be very different from “ceremonial” classifications or structures. Action = identify complementary strengths. coordinate member activities (group processing skills – align members culturally. strategic alliances. Multiple types of networks are feasible and they can guide resultant exchanges. Formal structure conforms to the environment. Formal and informal roles. Network Organization. Exists when there is a focal actor interested in decreasing dependence. and encourage members to generate a culture of their own (~org learning culture NE to Tech culture which is top-down engineered). increasing power. Key component of the perspective. For the most part. and those salient to meaning-making.. Cultural legitimacy and resources. or where actors seek to express beliefs. Patterns of relations influence behaviors. Resource Dependence Theory (RDT) Technology (how solutions get decided) Key Organizational Elements Exists when the cognitive and normative aspects of social structure are of concern and seem to guide organizational decisions (sense-making) and outcomes. and larger context in developing strategy. (note: coalition approach emphasizes individuals and interests. Focal organization with input/output concerns that cannot be resolved without considering the environment. leveling. Legitimacy is a key “resource” and legitimacy can come at the expense of organizational efficiency. Preferences and goals are unclear except in relation to dependence. Action = Organizations in a field conforming to normative and regulative environments. create open information. joint ventures. professionals. organizations are considered unitary actors (some of the struggles/internal divisions are minimized) in order to highlight the interactions with suppliers and clients. stockpiling. The logic of confidence makes inspection less necessary. increasing autonomy. Actors within the organization. horizontal. and organizational culture is the medium for such expression/sense-making. Network Organization Bridging: Institutional Isomorphism (external pressures via rationalized myths) occurs in effort to acquire legitimacy. and (possibly) increasing efficiency. Neoinstitutional Theory Summary Table of Organizational Culture. Three forms of isomorphism are coercive. Total absorption via merger (vertical. and their manifestation or expression in artifacts (reports. Focal organization and other organizations with resource interdependence. attempt to strike favorable bargains so as to minimize dependence and maximize autonomy / certainty. the organization is the main actor and exchanges are with other organizations. Organizational survival through alignment with the environment. and diversification). communication. form alliances. Exists when the level of analysis is a field (not a focal actor) and the focus is on conformity to cultural scripts and/or normative constraints on action. etc). and collaboration (trust). then translated to the local culture. Bridging: security of entire organization with relation to the environment. and remove differentiation / cynicism in most cases. partial absorption (cooptation [vertical or horizontal]. but don’t make it so explicit / fanatical that cynicism emerges. normative Buffering: Symbolic coding (systematizing and classifying). their expression via practices (rituals. Legitimacy in the environment necessary for survival. and get them to focus on discrete functions / coordination of actual tasks). social structure is based at least as much on external environment as on internal dynamics. Summary or Basic Argument Goal is organizational survival through external adaptation (for certainty and autonomy). norms. Formal roles. establish informal. Decoupling organizational elements (loose coupling). sense-making / meaning-making. and communication channels. and Neoinstitutional Theory (NIT) . outsource secondary tasks (to focus on core) – all for survival and creation of positive network environment that delivers service. etc). Networks apply to within and between firm relations.

2011. John and Brian Rowan. Natural and Open Systems." American Journal of Sociology 83:340-363 Meyer. 2005. 16(1):145-179. Gerald F. A selection from “Organization-Environment Relations” (pp. 2005. Richard. “Politicized Scholars Put Evolution on the Defensive. Eds. Institutions and Organizations. Christine. Richard. George. 1995. 1983. “Institutional Theory” (pp. 2005. W. 1-8). 5th Edition. August. “Strategic Responses to Institutional Processes. P. 201-212 in Schools and Society: A Sociological Approach to Education. Canada: Wadsworth. Marvin D. Grossman.” Pp. 1989. Palo Alto. “Intelligent Design Rears its Head." American Sociological Review 48:147-160. In Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Englewood Cliffs. 2013. July 28. July 17. Sage. Vol 3 (2nd ed. 213-220) of Organizations: Rational. Oliver.” The Economist. Jodi. Chelsea Green Publishing. Scott. Dunnette and Leaetta M Hough. 1991. 2005 (pp.).” New York Times.” New York Times Magazine. Powell. CA: Consulting Psychologists. Davis. & W. “The Framing Wars. Matt. 354-365). Mary Haywood. Meyer. pp 30-36. 2013. “The Structure of Educational Organizations. Powell. Metz. and Walter W.” Politics of Education Association Yearbook 1989:75-91.References Anonymous. John W. Jeanne Ballantine and Joan Spade. 342. "Institutionalized Organizations: Formal Structure as Myth and Ceremony. August 21. Lakoff. “Real School: A Universal Drama Amid Disparate Experience. Wilgoren. Don't Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate. 1992. 2003 (5th ed). "The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields. and Brian Rowan. 119-120) and “Managing Institutional Environments” (pp. 1977. Scott. 162 . [1978] 2004. “Are Massive Open Online Courses in Your Future?” HR Magazine. Eds.” The Academy of Management Review. DiMaggio. NJ: Prentice-Hall. Bai. Robert J.

org/wiki/File:Selection.wikimedia.svg .10 Organizational Ecology Source: http://commons.

Ecological Conceptions of Organizations • And then there are the main theorists we will focus on this week: Mike Hannan. selection and retention). It argues that social. There is a long history of work that applies biological and natural selection metaphors to organizations (Scott 2003:117. whether by a geographical (region). economic. we have defined populations of organizations. and retention processes within human organizations and on an organizational community level. A core concept of organizational ecology concerns the definition of a population. it is akin to how Nelson and Winter view SOP’s and tasks. A population of organizations is composed of a class of organizations facing similar environmental vulnerabilities and sharing the same internal form (technical core). an entire industry like the beer industry and the niche of micro-brewing. Population ecology focuses on organizational change and explains it as the result of environmental forces acting on populations of organizations. 1989. let’s look more carefully at its core concepts. This shared “internal form” is a consistent blueprint for action or pattern of activity. the population is bounded within a common system. • Karl Weick (1979) is an organizations scholar who described variation. And “shared environmental vulnerabilities” refer to external sets of relations and dependencies an organization has in the environment. Population ecology is a theory about “Darwinian selection” in populations of organizations (Carroll and Hannan. and then firms experience random mutation and recombination in their tasks that lead some to outcompete and survive (i. 1984). 164 . • Richard Nelson and Stanley Winter (1982) offer an evolutionary account of how firms and industries change over time. As such. Carroll 1981. Davis and Powell 1992:342-354). let alone to the study of society. 1995). They call these environmental niches. selection. which they view as the genetic makeup of an organization. John Freeman and Glenn Carroll (Hannan and Freeman 1977. or car dealerships in Houston. and political conditions affect the relative abundance and diversity of organizations and accounts for their changing composition over time (Hannan and Freeman. Examples of a population could be financial institutions in Seattle. albeit with less emphasis on self-awareness. They take this metaphor and understanding of organizational populations to a new level in their construction of population ecology theory.e. or now with the digital era. and population ecology’s notion of a population is similar. • Arthur Stinchcombe talks of firm founding and retention in epochs (1965). Organizational ecologists describe two types of environmental niches: fundamental and In this chapter we continue our study of organizations as open systems whose survival and success depends on their reaction to the environment. Last. why are organizations so similar and stable? Thus far. which asks. neoinstitutional theory had an elaborate definition of organizational fields. or economic (market) boundary. They regard organizations as strings of SOPS’s. Now that we have a general sense for population ecology. If you recall.. 1977). Population Ecology Environmental Niche Population ecology begins with several questions: Why are there so many kinds of organizations? What explains the diversity of organizations? Where do different organizational forms come from? Notice these questions are the inverse of neo-institutional theory. political (nation). and more emphasis on regional boundaries and competition. We introduce a 10th and final theory called “Population Ecology”. Population ecology contends that the environment can be partitioned into different kinds of resource spaces where distinct populations of firms can persist.

Examples of this might be entertainment. let’s consider a simple example of bears in the United States. For example. Examples of a realized niche might be music. and soda in the beverage industry. or beer. wine.jpg) realized. an animal might be able to live within the entire forest. in education.Bear Realized Niche! Bear Fundamental Niche! Figure. education. But most of their realized niche is in the Northern United States. a fundamental niche refers to a region of the resource space in which an organization can persist in the absence of competition. in the beer industry. public mag- 165 . As such. the entire forest is a fundamental niche and the realized niche is the small part of the forest the animal actually lives. public charters. micro-brewing companies may find themselves in a partitioned resource space where they can survive in spite of huge brewers like Budweiser (Carroll and Swaminathan 2000). it might only live in a small area of the forest. With that in mind. For organizations. and movies within the entertainment industry. health. and the realized niche is where the organism actually lives. In biology. there may be a city where there are private schools. The fundamental niche for bears is very broad. but because of human encroachment and noise. or beverage industries. Hence. dance. The realized niche-width refers to the resource space a species of firm gets that is not used by another species of firms.http://commons. a fundamental niche is where a species of animal is able to live and survive. The realized niche is the subset of the fundamental niche in which an organization can sustain itself in the presence of given competitors.org/wiki/ File:NAMAP. Example of Fundamental and Realized Niches "" (Source .wikimedia. Likewise.

org/wiki/File:Fungi_of_Saskatchewan. speciation and natural selection). organizational variation and selection does not have to be optimal (e. and so on. Figure. Firms that deviate in form are eliminated as unfit.and they all reflect concepts in evolutionary theory (e. ad spreads if its form fits (among a variety that would work) and takes off. So we have three features by which populations of organizations change – variation.g. but you can imagine the same for butterflies. we can observe this process of variation. recombination of existing forms (mix and match old ideas together). According to population ecology. Organizational variation is due to mutation (random genechange or accidental new ideas). and cross-over of forms. traits passed down from predecessor organizations that enabled adaptation). The survivors are reliable and accountable (or favored by selection)... As such. The fit is more like that of satisficing described in chapter 2. there is variation in biodiversity. some organizational forms are selected. rodents. societies have limited carrying capacities for organizations. In the case of organizations. and traditional public schools. An organizational form is selected. Those are birds that proliferate across the world. a healthy population has some diversity (note how this relates to the concept of variation in evolutionary theory). The environment has greatly changed over the last 100 years. reproduced and institutionalized as relatively permanent (e.g. In the 1940’s and 50’s stores like Woolworth were com- 166 . in equilibrium. However. Population ecologists typically observe the selection of an organizational form as the reproduction rate of an organizational form. selection and retention in action when we consider the retail industry in the United States.g. one can also imagine variation in financial firms. Variation in Fungi (Source . Notably. the best mutation takes off) nor Lamarckian (i. birds. etc. schools. etc). Process of Ecological Change Environments are constantly changing. Below is an image of fungi from Saskatchewan.nets.. new organizational forms emerge all the time to cope with perceived needs in the environment. In the same way. Therefore. Governments.e.. but for organizations it occurs when one idea is taken from one domain and imported to another – of say a biology metaphor of evolution being applied and extended for use in conceptions of organizations. selection and retention . Organizational ecologists identify retention through a focus on the rates of organizational founding and death. a cross-over case arises in chromosomes.JPG Now some organizational forms suit the environment more than others and they survive. the surviving populations of firms occupy a niche wherein organizations are isomorphic and fit the environment (note how this relates to the concepts of selection and retention in evolutionary theory). franchises.http://commons. For example.wikimedia. Ultimately. In animals we see species vary within niches. In biology we see these as animals that have a strong fit and reproduction rate – like Mallard Ducks. and new organizations emerge to meet these changes. Starlings. In biology. Each city may afford a resource space in which only so many of each type of school can survive before it competes with others. survives.

Another key concept in organizational ecology concerns structural inertia (Hannan and Freeman 1977. Structural Inertia So to this point. All of these are “sunk costs” placed in internal technologies and social structures that make it hard to adapt them to new circumstances. environmental niches and processes of ecological change. the environment continues to change.org/wiki/ File:Woolworth-kassel. we have discussed populations. and that spread and became common in the 1980’s. gets selected. Hannan and Carroll 1995). making it harder and harder 167 .Retention of organizational forms -.From Woolworth to Wal-Mart to Amazon (Source .org/wiki/ File:Walmart_exterior.org/wiki/File:Amazon. but a new form of organization rises.wikimedia. Walmart. and the institutionalization of organizational routines.com has taken hold. organizational ecologists contend organizations are inert. proliferates. Today. out-competes the others. and is retained. http:// commons. intra-organizational politics. http:// commons.wikimedia.JPG. Contrary to contingency theorists and natural system views related earlier in the quarter. In each era. and at best slow to adapt and change.jpg. Both internal and external constraints are at work: Internal constraints are things like investments in equipment. External constraints are barriers to entry and exit. There are a variety of pressures in place to make organizational change difficult.wikimedia.svg) mon in the United States. information limits. the fundamental niche remains. These eventually gave way to another retail firm. and legitimacy concerns.http://commons. 1977a. Inertia is often associated with organizational age since many of these constraints build up over time. and a retailer like Amazon.comLogo.

most firms die when the environment changes. and it prevents them from getting down to business (i. The inverted U curve here to my side shows x=#foundings and y=population density. Instead of adapting. you need a new. core technology.Density and Founding Rate Organizational ecology has a second theory of firm death. When this happens the internal structure no longer reflects the firm’s accumulated history. Legitimacy refers to the taken-for-grantedness of an organizational form: The more legitimate the form.e. how do social conditions determine what organizational forms die and their rate of death? I will cut to the conclusion a bit: in most instances. At high levels of density – or in a heavily populated niche-.for a firm to adapt. In this manner. The theory of density dependence argues that there is a curvilinear function where social processes of legitimization found firms and competition cull their numbers. This happens because. and it is robbed of prior survival 168 . internally. Population ecology studies the birth of new organizational forms (diversification) and the death of old ones. the greater the inertia. the density dependence model predicts that the legitimization process will dominate to increase the organizational founding rate and decrease the mortality rate. making it difficult for them to attract support. many organizations try to change internally. Figure . The liability of newness also applies to times of crisis. Competition refers to or- ganizational forms that seek the same limited resources in a niche.a demographic trait determines organizational survival. competition will dominate. volatile times encourage the birth of new organizational forms. forms of authority. and many argue that is the deciding factor -. with age comes a greater chance of survival. called the liability of newness and it concerns age-dependence and survival (Hannan and Freeman 1989). As such. the less an organization can adapt and the more important environmental selection becomes. If you want to change a niche. and market strategy are hardest to change. (2) and the mortality rate increases. Core organizational characteristics of mission. The main idea of this theory is that new organizations are most likely to fail since their internal structure and external dependence relations are not well elaborated and established. focusing on input to output flows). the members must learn the new roles and relations that a new organizational form requires. Externally. In low density – or in a sparsely populated niche -. When there are fewer resources to go around. (1) the easier it is to acquire resources. they lack the legitimacy and stable relations older firms have. This is confounded with size. competition grows intense. how do prevailing social conditions determine what organizational forms are founded and their rate of founding? It also asks the converse. The implication of all this? Well. Therefore. It asks. so (1) the founding rate drops.. In these periods. Hence. competition is inversely related to population density. A variety of sub-theories arise from organizational ecology to account for firm births and deaths. One common theory in organizational ecology is called density dependence (Hannan and Freeman 1989). it identifies the core processes of population ecology. better organizational form that can outcompete those firms already present. goals. the main dynamic of organizational change is the birth of new organizations and the death of old ones. and this frees resources for organizational founding. and the (2) mortality rate decreases. leading to low founding rates and high mortality rates.

Specialist firms are suited to a narrow niche. and that unstable environments lead to the mushrooming of generalist organizations. claret. Specialists succeed in narrow niches and stable markets. a wide fundamental niche with many realized niches favors the generalist. A second type of niche-width theory calls into question whether generalist or specialist firms succeed more in unstable environments. chablis. But the theory really has to do with the level of change and variation one focuses upon. In contrast.value. generalists cannot compete with specialists because specialists maximize their share of the market and do not have to pay an overhead cost. while generalists are ready to address changes in environmental interests should one niche grow in size over another. Niche-width theory focuses on 2 aspects of environmental variability to explain differential survival of specialists and generalists. In my earlier discussion of ecological processes. Whether generalists or specialists are favored by environmental change. rhine. like its mission and values. Generalist organizations have slack. Here the general idea is that different environmental conditions favor specialist and generalist organizational forms. Changes in the core features of an organization. In many instances. One is called niche width theory and it was posited by Hannan and Freeman in 1977. They can better fit special interests. generalist firms benefit from wide niches and unstable markets because they have diversified their efforts and can handle volatility. and the “grain” of environmental variations. named on the basis a specific grape.e. A firm that spans 2 or more different parts of the environment (i. port. Therefore. In contrast. madeira. fully realizing it could change. named from geographic regions. changes in short-run strategies and peripheral features are more consistent with adaptive perspectives of organizations. niche-effects on specialist and generalist survival depend on whether one regards environmental variation as fine or coarse-grained. A third theory about firm survival and death is called niche theory (Hannan and Freeman 1989). I described how populations of organizations can occupy the same niche (or the same domain of unique environmental resources) and depend upon identical environmental resources. sherry and tokay. Generalist production accounts for the bulk of wine sales. On the surface. As such. they can exploit their fit with a realized niche and ignore other niches. In contrast. They draw on different resources or realized niches so they can survive changes in one environment. specialist organizations are leaner and try to exploit resources of a single environment. is determined by a combination of the “distance” between two kinds of firms (how specialized / general a firm currently is). If two populations of organizations occupy the same niche while differing in some organizational characteristic. the population with the less fit environmental characteristic will be eliminated. they generate jug wines or lower quality versions of these wines at a much lower cost. and labeled with appellation of origin (Carroll and Swaminathan 2000). are more problematic and therefore help explain organizational death – something population ecology is keen to explain. mass production firms like Gallo produce wines like burgundy.. it incurs a cost for covering a wider portion of the environment. For example. In these contexts. a generalist) will be able to respond to the environment regardless of what the environment is doing. However. In an environment that is stable. A specialist firm is one that focuses on a particular technology and takes the risk of maximizing their exploitation of an environment. 169 . But Hannan and Freeman argue this is not true for all cases. it makes sense that stable environments encourage specialist organizations. Generalist firms are not optimally suited for any single situation. Generalist and specialist organizations respond to environments differently however. a specialist firm in the wine industry is a farm winery that produces varietal wines. or realized niche. There are several theories on how niches favor specialists and generalists. in the wine-industry. A narrow niche has resources suited to a small range of products and therefore favors specialists. A generalist firm is one that exploits multiple environments (niches) at lower levels so it has greater security in the face of environmental change. As such.

it is better to become a specialist. And here is where the distance between types plays in – if you are a specialist firm that is far from being a generalist. Two figures show this. 170 . compared to the lifetime of the organization.http://commons. and here again. The second figure illustrates change in correlations across stocks. In searching around I found some images where analysts tried to identify structural changes in the stock market that reveal where it was susceptible to systematic collapse. When environmental changes are rapid and fine-grained. Notably in times of normal market behavior. normal market behavior to entail strong residual correlations and the stocks were correlated in a segmented fashion. • Coarse-grained variation: Coarse-grained variations refer to long-term changes (e. then fine-grained variation probably will not get you to survive in an environment undergoing rapid coarse-grained change. there is differentiation and.jpg ) • Fine-grained variation: Fine-grained variations have a typically short duration. or the passing of certain laws). but I am always limited to what I can find on the creative commons. Let’s consider a brief example.org/wiki/File:Topology_of_US_market_before_and_after_transition. I try hard to find you visuals that can demonstrate the core ideas and concepts.wikimedia. The first is of a clustered network diagram. the normal market is like a realized niche space. representing stocks that are highly correlated.g. you see a switch from segmentation to an undifferentiated set of correlations.. In developing these lectures.Figure. a change in the political structure of the country. What was interesting was that they found stable. or narrow niches where specialists can win. In effect. When environmental changes are rapid and coarse-grained. it is preferred to be a generalist because specialists may not survive long enough if they incrementally shift to the optimal state. Topology of Normal and Abnormal Market (Source .

Prior formulations argue for fitness to a set. or a conceptual representation you can hold onto so as to understand the theory.org/wiki/ File:Dynamics_of_US_stock_market_correlations. What I want you to get is an image.Figure. Carroll proposes that competition among large generalist organizations to occupy the 171 . and they lose their correlation with residuals. advanced by Carroll (1985). This means there is a great deal of volatility and interdependence. we have an environment where realized niches collide and firms compete for resources and here the specialists will die off if the niche does not fit them and generalists will survive to see another day.http://commons. A third type of niche-theory is called resource partitioning theory. jpg) In the case of an abnormal market. Stock Correlations During Normal and Abnormal Market Phases "" " " (source . This theory describes niche-width dynamics to explain the differential survival capabilities of specialists and generalists. that is all.wikimedia. Now the details in this are not so important. In this instance. In contrast. and predicts that for a given population one optimal strategy exists. we see the stocks suddenly have very strong correlations across the board.

The same occurs for wine. In this case. even though major brewers can copy the technical aspect of microbreweries.jpg) Carroll and Swaminthan both find that a crowding of generalists in the market creates opportunities for specialists. Gallo. etc. The first mecha- So with a glut of general brews and wines. and they create room for micro-brews to emerge and survive. but in this environment.http://commons. Anchor-Steam. In contrast. As you can imagine in both industries there are generalist and specialist firms: for wine Robert Mondavi is a generalist.wikimedia. Anheiser Busch is a generalist and our local beers. The argument here is that small firms are more flexible and can customize their products to particular consumer tastes. Who you are matters. and all the other mass produced wineries competing and opening up farm winery production. Swaminthan and Carroll conjecture why (2000. Both papers find a growth in these specialist firms over the last 2 decades. On the surface. it seems to matter greatly who you are and not what you can do. the generalists are trying to appeal to the largest realized niche within the fundamental niche. For example. specialists can thrive and appeal to quality and identity. but then there are smaller niches wherein legitimacy mechanisms can still apply (markets at the margin). etc. Sutter Home. Woodbridge. recourse partitioning helps explain how density dependence can hold for the main industry. Heineken. • Consumers might be reacting to mass society and its production techniques. nisms is a process of customization. and then farm wineries like the one up the road here called “Page Mill” is a specialist. And for beer. density dependence argues that with greater density. there arises specialty markets for quality. But this creates a second issue of identity. Generalist and Specialist Beers (Source .competitive culling exists for the generalists. This occurs because. • Consumers may be purchasing as a form of selfexpression. Figure. legitimacy becomes less salient and competition decides firm fates. You have Robert Mondavi. That is. Consumers purchase identities and seek customized products.wikimedia. resource partitioning argues the environment is partitioned -.org/wiki/2/21/SFBayAreaMicrobeers. Swaminthan has a paper on how this occurs in wine (2001) and Carroll describes how it occurs for beer (Carroll and Swaminathan 2000).center of the market frees resources at the periphery that can be used by small specialist firms without engaging in direct competition with the generalists. Distinct mechanisms give rise to the specialists in these circumstances. are all generalist beer companies that compete. Coors. One question that remains unclear is whether generalist firms can eventually figure out a micro- 172 .. large firms are slow and unable to adapt quickly to changing tastes. resource-partitioning theory seems to counter density dependence. Carroll and Swaminthan argue that the competition between generalists and opening up of market space for specialists is a process of resourcepartitioning. Hence.jpg http://commons. 2001): • Consumers put great faith in small producers to make quality products.org/wiki/File:Budweiser2. are specialist micro-brews focused on varietals. So Budweiser. • They may see their purchase as a forum for status generation and expression. they would not be as successful because they are not independently owned businesses. Miller. In contrast. And these market-segments seem to thrive on customization and identity. Red Seal Ale.

Popula- Now that you have a good sense of the theory. I see population ecology as a theory of forecasting. and out- 173 . Who do they compete with? What technology do they share with others? And what resources do they rely on? Then they ask what is the composition of these firms and how do they differ? Are some generalists doing many things and are others specialists that focus on one thing? How similar or different are they from your firm? Do they rely on the same resources? Then one looks around and asks how many of these firms can the niche hold? And how fast is the environment changing? Are the changes rapid and coarse-grained or slow and fine-grained? All of this information will inform you as to whether your specialist or generalist firm can survive. you may come to see the resource space partitioned. contingency theory. and consistency is the result of the founder’s imprint. population ecology concerns populations of organizations and it considers environmental features that drive firm birth and death. and hence. unless it is small. which regards the environment as inseparable from the birth and death of an organization. And as you consider the competition. Management Summary of Theory In sum. and neoinstitutional theory are all about how organizations adapt to their environment. The main focus is on trying to find an environmental niche where the firm can reasonably survive. an organization’s form is pretty constant. recognizing that legitimacy may work for you in certain circumstances (e.brew and farm-wine product so as to win over customers. you will consider your firm’s history. Much like Stinchcombe argued in 1965. and that some forms of competition between other firms can create opportunities for a small specialist. and the mechanism of organizational change is organizational selection (birth and death). For example. Each unit in the environment faces the same environmental constraints. identity and liability of newness. Robert Mondavi and Miller Beer have developed wines and beers that challenge the quality of specialist wines and beers. the environment selects only those organizations that fit the environment. tion ecology explores the relationships of organizations to their environment from a selection perspective. sunk costs in internal and external relations. organizations do not catch up with environmental change (internal adaptation is uncommon [is organizational learning is a myth?!]). slow stable ones with room for specialists). Let’s quickly summarize the main points. it is frequently hard to change a firm. Such products have won critical acclaim. Isomorphism results from selection.g. It should inform you about where your key competition resides. it has to have the same organizational structure to survive.. Resource dependency theory. Organizational ecology assumes an open system perspective. Here. the population ecological view is more ‘environmentally deterministic’. and the population with the less fit environmental characteristic will be eliminated. So managers of organizational ecology focus outside the firm. and you can use that to ascertain the environment. Finally. resource partitioned markets. This means the manager considers the population of firms they are part of. the organizations likely will not adapt very fast. For organizational ecologists. and the process of selection. Compared to the others. The diversity of organizational forms is isomorphic to the diversity of environments. each environment has only one organizational form: the one that adapted to the demands of the environment (this is the idea of a realized niche). and this has enabled generalist firms to operate in both generalist and specialist segments. how might a manager apply it? In many regards. What potential does your firm have for survival? Given the stability of organizational forms. Here you have a theory at the population or industry level. In equilibrium. If two populations of organizations occupy the same niche while differing in some organizational characteristic.

g. she tests whether they arise in districts that give enough money to open a charter school. others offer a general curriculum and attempt to be more efficient. For those of you who may not know. This could be misleading since populations vary in size. An environment of that size is more dense than usual. What might be more useful is a relative.competing other firms (exploitation) in others (e. Another critique is that the concept of population density assumes all organizational members are equivalent.g. And in general. Last. attendance is allotted by a lottery. Perhaps the most common criticism is that the population ecology perspective is so environmentally deterministic that there is a loss of human agency (Baum 1996. A variety of complications arise in terms of niche definition with the advent of the internet and telecommunications. let’s consider an application. It is a nice piece in that it compares several theories on organizational environments such as resource dependence theory. you will know it may be better to start over and reinvent than to adapt.g. Therefore the number is questionable in the instantiation of competition. Again. Her specific question is -. Hannan and Freeman 1989). In effect. she assesses resource-dependence. Population ecology also neglects the role of globalization and technology in linking different populations. math. How can the size of a population or resource space be determined in this case? Is it fair to call Seattle financial firms a niche? Also. This is measured 174 . so a density of 100 firms in a small population could be a large number. neo-institutional. the term density refers to an absolute number. or vocation). neoinstitutional theory and population ecology. her answer helps future educational entrepreneur know where he or she should consider opening a new charter school! To answer the question. and population ecology arguments. Criticisms and Limitations of Population Ecology As with all the theories presented. what happens when a firm is a generalist in the local market but they are a specialist in the global market because of different cultural definitions and tastes? Case: Linda Renzulli and Charter Schools So now that we have described the theory and highlighted some potential trouble-spots. charter schools are publicly funded. Renzulli’s work does an actual empirical study of charter schools and when they are proposed (2005). for example.. Charter schools vary. In terms of density dependence. as laid out in their “charter”. KIPP schools . Davis and Powell 1992. Some firms are huge and others are small. fast paced. If a charter is over-prescribed.. normalized notion of density.. all charter schools are open to inspection and accountability through standardized testing. They are expected to produce certain results. primary and secondary schools in the United States that are not subject to the same rules and regulations as typical public schools. She renders her analysis a “horse-race” between proxy characteristics for each theory. Adaptation and decision making are after-the-fact considerations for population ecology when the reality of managers seems different. cost-effective and outperform usual public schools (e. Some offer a curriculum that specializes in a particular field (e. and they are attended by choice as an alternative to other public schools. may be a better comparison. organizational ecology has certain limitations and can be critiqued. arts.“Knowledge Is Power Program”). not all organizations are equally competitive. For resource dependence theory. the question focuses on how this new organizational form of schooling (charter schooling) has come about and by what factors. while in a huge population 100 could be low. In terms of measuring competition.Why have charter school applications grown? Now if you drive by a charter school there is nothing especially noticeable about them. volatile markets). Renzulli asks what theory explains the growth in charter school applications? In a way.

She measures this via legislative / union pressure (stronger versus weaker legislation in the state concerning charter schools). and number of administrators in a district. age of founding legislation (charter law exposure). Her results suggest that “educational organizational environments are indeed key in the process of generating charter school applications. She finds strong evidence in support of population ecology: e. So you are an educational entrepreneur – where do you open a charter? Open it in state with many charters.e. For neoinstitutional theory. competition). a neighborhood with many secular private schools. For population ecology she looks at local competition (as proxied by density-dependence in the # of district charters).g. and legislative support induce the application for a charter. solid funding. that laws are in place to support charters.local political environments. in general) decreases the submission of applications (i. She also finds some evidence for neoinstitutional theory and resource dependence theory explanations -. she assesses whether there are social / political pressures to open a charter school.. state legitimation (# charters in state). 175 . and a district with few competitors (e.g. while the density of extant charter schools in local districts (or saturation. Make sure the district is top-heavy with administrators.. and niche promotion (which she measures as the # private secular schools since those will promote the demand for charter schools for the poor). nonreligious private schools increase the submission of charter school applications (niche promotion). and that student expenditures are high.. few catholic schools).by the instructional expenditure per student that a new charter school would get.

communication. Cultural legitimacy and resources. Unlike organizational culture. the technical core is radically decoupled from institutionally defined org structure (loose coupling). Organizational survival through environmental fit. what the composition is. Goal is delivery of service via collaboration and outsourcing aspects not central to technological core. Organizations focus on network relations. not adaptation decides organizational fate. create open-ended mutual benefits where possible. Design network to deliver service (select partners and alliances wisely for aligned values / goals). population composition (generalists vs specialists. Legitimacy in the environment necessary for survival. Patterns of relations influence behaviors. and communication channels. mission. Organizations in a population vary in times of change / volatility / crisis. rate of change (coarse or fine grained). the core structure of organizations is seen as following structural inertia and therefore unable to adapt much internally. form joint governance/shared decision making. All stakeholders in an organizational field. Within a population. form alliances. active communication channels. Internal management of core doesn’t really apply. social structure is based at least as much on external environment as on internal dynamics. When does it apply? Network Organization Summary Table of Network Organization. coordinate member activities (group processing skills – align members culturally. reinforce norms of collaboration and reciprocity. and then whether is makes sense to adopt a generalist or specialist orientation. Buffering: Symbolic coding (systematizing and classifying). organizations with same form (pattern of activity) and resource dependencies in the environment occupy market niches. and combinations there from. birth. and larger context in developing strategy. Decoupling organizational elements (loose coupling). but peripheral changes (shortrun strategy) are not inconsistent with theory. Often.. Core structure of firm is harder to change – inertia present making very stable. Core structure consists of SOP’s. etc. Also consider own orgs history and if your changes will evoke liability of newness. Professionals and the nation-state carry the modern cultural recipes and influence the translation of these elements into the org context. Instead. and then form niches of isomorphic fitting organizations that establish environmental equilibrium. Three forms of isomorphism are coercive. Deep structure consists of values and beliefs in sharing.176 Action = identify complementary strengths. Legitimacy is a key “resource” and legitimacy can come at the expense of organizational efficiency. hence selection. Exists when the level of analysis is an organizational population (not a focal actor) and the focus is on the variation. main effort is to be competitively isomorphic in organizational niches. Technology (how solutions get decided) Participants Organizations in a population. Adaptation occurs at the population level as firms are selected on the basis of their static structural forms that mutate (randomly) with each new founding. death of organizational forms. Unlike organizational learning. remove internal competition. Also consider if your founding entailed too much of an innovation so that you don’t fit a niche (and will die). Boundaries no longer clear. External selection in order to fit the environment and insure survival. mimetic. goals. and Neoinstitutional Theory (NIT). Population composition and niche density / carrying capacities determine selection. positions. Organizations in a field. the process can be strategic and planned or cognitive and taken-for-granted. density / carrying capacity). Multiple types of networks are feasible and they can guide resultant exchanges. and collaboration (trust). professionals. outsource secondary tasks (to focus on core) – all for survival and creation of positive network environment that delivers service. and Population Ecology . Goals (what probs to resolve) Social Structure Environment Organizational survival through alignment with the environment. Networks apply to within and between firm relations. and then they are replicated until carrying capacity and population needs met. Neoinstitutional Theory When the wider context of organizational relations influences organizational behavior and survival. Organizations in a field conform to cultural norms to insure survival and to reduce ambiguity. and the nation-state. Linking / coordinating /allying in order to deliver service and outsourcing / subcontracting / partnering in order to focus on core technology. Variations come in the form of mutations & recombination of forms. Population Ecology External adaptations in order to fit the environment and insure survival. establish informal. establish collaborative/reciprocal norms. Organizations can succeed by recognizing their fit with an environment – what population you are in. create open information. Summary or Basic Argument Exists when the level of analysis is a field (not a focal actor) and the focus is on conformity to cultural scripts and/or normative constraints on action. relations. Action = Organizations in a population competing to fit an organizational niche (set of other orgs engaged in same form of activity and relations of interdependence) and become isomorphic with others in it. Dominant Pattern of Inference Management Strategies Formal and informal roles. Bridging: Institutional Isomorphism (external pressures via rationalized myths) occurs in effort to acquire legitimacy. and practice may be very different from “ceremonial” classifications or structures. Formal structure conforms to the environment. what change is occurring. values. normative Key feature is environment: Relations of dependence. survival. The logic of confidence makes inspection less necessary. and get them to focus on discrete functions / coordination of actual tasks). Action = Organizations in a field conforming to normative and regulative environments. Professionals provide expertise and consult to organizations.

” The Academy of Management Journal 44. Gerald F. Vol 3 (2nd ed. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press (applies pop ecol to interest groups and their influence on the legislative / policy-making process – nice comparison with Hula). and Walter W.” Annual Review of Sociology.” American Sociological Review 46. C. 2001. 1981. 177 . 17-31. J. “Dynamics of Organizational Expansion in National Systems of Education. 6:1169-1185. Carroll. and Anand Swaminathan. The Social Psychology of Organizing (Topics in Social Psychology Series). Glenn R. Renzulli. “Organizational ecology” Handbook of Organization Studies. Linda. Wine Industry. L. A selection from “Organization-Environment Relations” (pp. Eds. Handbook of Organizations. An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change.. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/ Languages. Weick. eds. 142–193. Cambridge. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. “An introduction to organizational ecology." American Journal of Sociology 106. Gray. Oxford University Press. 2nd edition. Michael T. Hannan. Michael T. Hannan.References Baum. Virginia and David Lowery. G. Marvin D. Sydney. 82: 929-64. Nord (London: Sage. "Social Structure and Organizations". 1989. Hardy. Carroll. (1965). Davis. In March. "Why the Microbrewery Movement? Organizational Dynamics of Resource Partitioning in the U. Clegg. A. 1981.R. Swaminathan. and John Freeman 1977. 1996.. Karl. 1996. and John Freeman. 1992. Nelson.T. C.R. pp.R. Organizational Ecology. G. The Population Ecology of Interest Representation. CA: Consulting Psychologists. and Glenn R. S." Pp. Palo Alto. M. Oscar Grusky and George Miller eds. “Resource Partitioning and the Evolution of Specialist Organizations: The Role of Location and Identity in the U. In Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. 1982. 715-762. 10: 71-93. 1977a. 2000.” American Sociological Review 46. Hannan. J. Carroll 1995.S.1979. A. 5:585-599. G.S. Dunnette and Leaetta M Hough. 1984. Richard and Winter. Carroll. MA: Harvard University Press. Powell. Carroll. Brewing Industry. “Organizational ecology. pp. “Dynamics of Organizational Expansion in National Systems of Education. 5:585-599. "Organizational Environments and the Emergence of Charter Schools in the United States. 77-114)." American Journal of Sociology. Freeman. Chicago: Rand McNally & Co.” In Organizations in Industry. and J. 176-200 in Sociology of Organizations. "The population ecology of organizations. Stinchcombe. G. 342-354).. "The population ecology of organizations." Sociology of Education 78: 126. Michael T. 2005. Hannan.). and W. Anand. pp.

Scott 2003:18) ) T EN M N O R I V N E . Features of an Organization (adapted from Leavitt 1965: 1145.11 Summary of Theories NM EN T) EN VIR EN VI RO ORGANIZATION) ON ME NT ) Social)Structures) Technology) Goals) VI EN Par6cipants) RO T) EN NM Figure.

You were introduced to something called organizations and their behavior. With resource dependence theory we focused on dependence relations between firms. to meso-level groups of persons being coordinated by rules. and yet others seemed to follow an anarchic process of flows into and out of meetings. multi-player online games. And these afford you a language and checklist by which to consider the complexity of organizations more deeply. classrooms. learning organizations and as potentially putting in place a social structure that could sustain that form of association. normative. with network forms of organization we looked at the larger arrangements and patterns of coordinated actions. With organizational culture we dug deeper into normative and cognitive principles guiding action and we learned that firms had their own ethos and styles. We also came to view firms as self-reflective. and goals. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Magnet school reform (Metz) Cuban Missile Crisis (Allison) Chicago public school reforms (Bryk. Witte) Lobbyists (Hula) School desegregation efforts (Weiner) Legislative efforts – NCLB (Kingdon) Academic senates (Birnbaum) Xerox machine workers (Suchman) World of Warcraft (Seeley-Brown) Learning communities (Louise. reform movements. school districts. and cognitive). social structure (behavioral. You were also given a variety of theories by which to consider how those features work together. technology companies. You were given a wide array of cases to study – from governmental organizations. microbrewery (Carroll) Wine industry (Swaminathan) Charter School movement (Renzulli) You were given a variety of organizational features to consider – the environment. These conceptions of organizations reflected rational systems (Scott 2003). Shipps) Hurricane Katrina Milwaukee parental choice plan (Quinn. online educational courses. lobbying groups. you will realize that you have come a very long way. which greatly shaped the members’ experiences. network contexts of reciprocity and trust. Kruse. We went from micro level agents driving an organization as a unified actor. where administrators made rational decisions in ideal means-end ways. and even in rule-matching manners of duty driven behavior. 179 .Summary of Theories If you consider this text for a moment. and national policies. technology. universities.S. We observed how firms often followed organizational processes and rules. to macro-level environments where resource constraints. The past few chapters we looked at organizations as open systems and extended our focus into the environment and how it influences firm behavior and survival. MeyerRowan) Intelligent design and teaching of evolution debate (NY Times) Presidential platforms (Bai) Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) U. high schools. politics. Leithwood) Tech (Kunda) Ozco (Martin & Meyerson) University of Chicago-Northwestern merger (Barnes) Attempted Union Strike – Silicon Systems (Krackhardt) Classroom and school networks (McFarland) National park service (Eggers & Goldsmith) Charter school networks (Smith & Wohlstetter) Schools and High Schools (Metz. We then developed more natural system views of how firms acted like an organism with many internal contingencies. in realistic boundedly rational ways of satisficing. how others only coordinated when they had performed political wrangling and formed coalitions. with neo-institutionalism we looked at the deep structures and cultures in the environment and how firms succeed by mirroring them. meanings and feedbacks (or sense-making). and with population ecology we looked a hard forms of environmental determinism and natural selection due to inter-firm competition. participants.

resource dependency theory) while others are deterministic matching efforts (neoinstitutional. You also learned how these hard fought lessons of organizing could be remembered or forgotten. change. organizational learning. many of the presented theories are industry relevant. Some presume an internal capacity to change and adapt (i. population ecology). And meso-theories may fit within larger macro ones focused on the environment (open).e. and network forms of organization. In other cases. Many of theories seem to have some semblance with our logics of appropriateness and consequence. Last. In some cases. you were given management prescriptions. We went from micro to macro. Along the way.and sociopolitical patterns of belief impinge upon the organization. neo-institutional theory. and population ecology. rational actor models). As a manager and analyst. organizational culture) while others rest at the surface (resource dependence theory. You can guess which theories might apply more to certain industries • Finance = consequence-based theories of rational actor. Some are more focused on deep structures and culture (neoinstitutional. resource-dependence theory. and from rational to natural to open system conceptions. Similarly. and we have theories that concern the logic of consequence. they can be applied in a differentiated fashion. and mean-end calculations. micro theories rational decision making may fit within a natural system view of the organization. • Politics = bureaucratic politics. • Bureaucracy = organizational process and rulefollowing. as being driven by certain facets – and this suggested a variety of maneuvers by which organizational creation. and if they did not. how they could be harnessed toward a learning organization. organizational learning. In my mind. sense-making. and why. it is likely we will want to apply multiple theories. you have a real toolkit now to be serious researchers and managers. resource dependence. the internal dynamics of the firm or school mattered more: whether people bought into the company’s goals and rituals. there are at least four master narratives or schemas by which you can utilize the theoretical tools in your toolkit. organizational culture. you can combine theories in various ways. You just need to consider how these “frames” or perspective apply. Each theory saw the world in certain ways. For example. and stability could be accomplished. how they could be persuaded or how a decision could be made anyway. In other cases. We have theories that concern the logic of appropriateness. in others it was the beliefs and contexts of relations. In summary.. such that some theories best apply to the planning stage (rational actor) and other apply more to the implementation stage (coalitions). when. notions of efficiency and resource allocations. Some clearly are more ideal than real so perhaps better suited to planning than implementation. and culture. it was the resources in the environment. some are more limited in scope and focus on decision moments and administration. You can rearrange their use in myriad ways to great effect and become a master analyst and manager! 180 . • Knowledge = organized anarchy. In some instances you may want to apply them in a (1) staged manner. For any particular case that we have covered. coalition theory. Are there ways we can combine our application of these theories? One way of considering this is to ask how they vary. while others concern the organizational context and conditions of decisions. I suspect you can generate more – and that is what is nice about having theories as tools. you may find the theories embed nicely with one another due to their different scopes. population ecology. As such.

Exists when the decision is guided by a logic of appropriateness – matching problem to actors with procedures for handling it (routineprocess focus). or democratic. ambiguity. Action = output close to prior output (path dependence). the consequences of said options.181 Unitary actor or team that confronts a problem. Improve rules and matching with problems. Improve information and analysis. hierarchical. Organizational positions Matching identity and SOP’s (solutions) / programs / repertoires to problem. people) and stakes in game. match with problem parts. solutions. know how to overload system for policies you detest. and their access rules to the arena (whether structural or timed). or political maneuvering. Recognize imperfect info. Indirect managing of situations. abandon entangled initiatives. decision in current arena may be means of access to another choice arena…) Access rules – segmented. and preferences/identities are inconsistent. and generate choice opportunities that work to your interests (access/timing). Social Structure Action = Maximization of means to ends.. Dividing up problem. Organized Anarchies / Garbage Can (GC) . the distinct and decoupled streams of problems. Players in positions Bargaining. Exists when solutions are unclear. such that solution is connected to problems and enough actor-energy to see it through. Action / decision = result of streams collision in choice arena. prominence / vocalness of problems in firm. Learn others’ interests / weaknesses so you know how to manipulate and win. and select wisely. Organizational Process (OP) / Limited Problem Solver (LPS) Bargain with players (log-roll. Problems stream determined by public opinion. stakes / stands. hierarchical. assesses objectives (goals) with regard to it. their parochial interests (their conceptions of problems and solutions). and participants. Direct management of relations via bargaining. Exists when there are multiple actors with inconsistent preferences and identities. Management by rules. Management by consequences. coordinating / activating organizational actors who have special capacities / SOP’s for parts of problem. conducting sequential attention to objectives (localized searches until problems resolved). and select first satisfactory option (good enough). Goals are defined in regard to problem. Variant: Bounded rationality and satisficing. Coalitions / Bureaucratic Politics (BP) Time when your solution is raised (to coincide with right participants and cycle of problems) to maximize energy. and clear goals (and time calculate). horse-trade. When does it apply? Rational Actor (RA) Summary Table of Five Theories to Date: Know SOP’s. money. Environment Management Strategies Formal roles. identifies options. hinder opposition’s coalition formation. Participant stream shaped by political / career cycles & unplanned departures. Action = result of political bargaining. participants turn over. goals/interests. and none of whom can go it alone without assistance of others. Focus on choice arenas (when choice opportunities / windows arise). Focus on the players occupying various positions. Not salient except as influencing consequences of options. and then chooses option that minimizes costs. Confluence of multiple streams. and bargaining processes between them that establish agreements / coalitions. Cue sequential routines that accomplish task or solve problem by routines available (supply issue). Summary or Basic Argument Know alternatives and their consequences for the shared goal. Objectives – compliance to SOP’s. Action guided by processes / available routines. lots of information. cueing of SOP’s appropriate to problem. Maximization of options (solutions). their resources (expertise. Coalitions – enemy/friend Parochial priorities. or playing the game (within its rules). Deadlines and other choice arenas (e. Goals (what probs to resolve) Dominant Pattern of Inference Unified team or actor Participants Technology (how solutions get decided) Exists when there is a unified actor with consistent preferences. what problems they go with (matching). and who cues them. etc.g. etc). NA Actors in hierarchical organizational positions. Deadlines and wider array of stakeholders.

Create applied. or where actors seek to express beliefs. the organization is the main actor and exchanges are with other organizations. Give room for autonomy and self-expression so distancing is unnecessary. interlocks. practice and knowledge sharing to arise. create means to organizational memory of what works. and organizational culture is the medium for such expression/sense-making.e. associations) Action = scan environment for resource opportunities and threats. then translated to the local culture. and they are transported in. lateral relations. increasing autonomy. Network of practice (professional identity / reach) & community of practice (cohesive group). Focal organization with input/output concerns that cannot be resolved without considering the environment. and support of actor-expertise / adaptations of rules to local reality. Goals (what probs to resolve) Social Structure Source of inter-organizational knowledge / tricks / transfers. sense-making / meaning-making. avoid / manage. mission statements. adaptations. but focuses on practices within them that enable their continual adaptation and change to fit reality – i. stockpiling. Comply / adapt. Find ways to confer ideology and lead others to identify with it (using a variety of practices and artifacts).182 Acknowledges routines. Preferences and goals are unclear except in relation to dependence. practices reflecting organizational intelligence. Actor identities (demand) important. Find ways to create lateral ties among workers so “knowledge” is passed / transferred more readily / quickly (if possible. Focal organization and other organizations with resource interdependence. External adaptations in order to increase autonomy and/or decrease dependence (see management). strategic alliances. Application problems – pattern recognition not there (no fit). horizontal. partial absorption (cooptation [vertical or horizontal]. and their manifestation or expression in artifacts (reports. Members of organization doing work / SOP’s Participants Environment Create intrinsic motivation (sense of fulfillment). Action = result of deep structure or culture that is generated in the organization. negotiation. Exists when there is a focal actor interested in decreasing dependence. Deep structure composes the elements of culture – themes (beliefs & norms). and values via a variety of practices and externalize them in artifacts depicting shared understandings / notions of appropriateness. Summary or Basic Argument Action = result of local actors collaborative search (trial & error / transfer) and adapting rule to situation. Here. organizations are considered unitary actors (some of the struggles/internal divisions are minimized) in order to highlight the interactions with suppliers and clients. joint ventures. Want communication. Actors within the organization. Total absorption via merger (vertical. attempt to strike favorable bargains so as to minimize dependence and maximize autonomy / certainty. inter-organizational bargaining / politics. norms. quickly). and those salient to meaningmaking. Dominant Pattern of Inference Management Strategies Informal. and encourage members to generate a culture of their own (~org learning culture NE to Tech culture which is top-down engineered). etc). standard operating procedures. memory. but which is mediated by the member’s relation to it. When does it apply? Organizational Learning (OL) Summar y Table of Resource Dependence Theory (RDT) Buffering: protecting technical core from environmental threats (coding. Internal adaptation. and (possibly) increasing efficiency. For the most part. Key component of the perspective. Actors seek expression and fulfillment of identity.. Exchange partners and external relations more salient than internal dynamics.) Goal is organizational survival through external adaptation (certainty and autonomy). Matching. Bridging: security of entire organization with relation to the environment. Resource Dependence Theory (RDT) . (note: coalition approach emphasizes individuals and interests. increasing power. etc). collective improvisation. Formal roles. Organizational Culture Technology (how solutions get decided) Key Organizational Elements Exists when there are clear feedback loops. forecasting and adjusting scale). & collective improv. leveling. and remove differentiation / cynicism in most cases. social learning experiences with means to retaining and transferring expertise. their expression via practices (rituals. Many elements of culture have origins from outside. When the cognitive and normative aspects of social structure are of concern and seem to guide organizational decisions (sense-making) and outcomes. communication. or where actors alter routines for the better and fit reality (knowledge). but don’t make it so explicit / fanatical that cynicism emerges. and diversification). Bridging more relevant than buffering.

the technical core is radically decoupled from institutionally defined org structure (loose coupling). and then whether is makes sense to adopt a generalist or specialist orientation. birth. Organizations in a field. Goals (what probs to resolve) Social Structure Environment Organizational survival through alignment with the environment. Neoinstitutional Theory When the wider context of organizational relations influences organizational behavior and survival. Legitimacy is a key “resource” and legitimacy can come at the expense of organizational efficiency. coordinate member activities (group processing skills – align members culturally. what change is occurring. Linking / coordinating /allying in order to deliver service and outsourcing / subcontracting / partnering in order to focus on core technology. reinforce norms of collaboration and reciprocity. normative Key feature is environment: Relations of dependence. density / carrying capacity). Professionals provide expertise and consult to organizations. Core structure of firm is harder to change – inertia present making very stable. remove internal competition. Professionals and the nation-state carry the modern cultural recipes and influence the translation of these elements into the org context. Variations come in the form of mutations & recombination of forms. form alliances. Technology (how solutions get decided) Participants Organizations in a population. social structure is based at least as much on external environment as on internal dynamics. Multiple types of networks are feasible and they can guide resultant exchanges. When does it apply? Network Organization Summary Table of Network Organization. and then they are replicated until carrying capacity and population needs met. create open-ended mutual benefits where possible. form joint governance/shared decision making. Organizations in a field conform to cultural norms to insure survival and to reduce ambiguity. Core structure consists of SOP’s. goals. Action = Organizations in a field conforming to normative and regulative environments. main effort is to be competitively isomorphic in organizational niches. Organizations can succeed by recognizing their fit with an environment – what population you are in. organizations with same form (pattern of activity) and resource dependencies in the environment occupy market niches. Three forms of isomorphism are coercive. etc. Exists when the level of analysis is an organizational population (not a focal actor) and the focus is on the variation. External selection in order to fit the environment and insure survival. values. Organizations in a population vary in times of change / volatility / crisis. Legitimacy in the environment necessary for survival. Unlike organizational culture. survival. Internal management of core doesn’t really apply.. Organizational survival through environmental fit. hence selection. Within a population. Networks apply to within and between firm relations. Decoupling organizational elements (loose coupling). positions. population composition (generalists vs specialists. establish collaborative/reciprocal norms. The logic of confidence makes inspection less necessary. not adaptation decides organizational fate. and collaboration (trust). Goal is delivery of service via collaboration and outsourcing aspects not central to technological core. mimetic. what the composition is. and Population Ecology . Population composition and niche density / carrying capacities determine selection. Formal structure conforms to the environment. and Neoinstitutional Theory (NIT). Bridging: Institutional Isomorphism (external pressures via rationalized myths) occurs in effort to acquire legitimacy. and communication channels. Population Ecology External adaptations in order to fit the environment and insure survival. All stakeholders in an organizational field. Boundaries no longer clear. Dominant Pattern of Inference Management Strategies Formal and informal roles. communication. professionals. Buffering: Symbolic coding (systematizing and classifying). active communication channels. Design network to deliver service (select partners and alliances wisely for aligned values / goals). Adaptation occurs at the population level as firms are selected on the basis of their static structural forms that mutate (randomly) with each new founding. Often. and practice may be very different from “ceremonial” classifications or structures. rate of change (coarse or fine grained). and combinations there from. create open information. but peripheral changes (shortrun strategy) are not inconsistent with theory. Also consider if your founding entailed too much of an innovation so that you don’t fit a niche (and will die). and larger context in developing strategy. establish informal. Action = Organizations in a population competing to fit an organizational niche (set of other orgs engaged in same form of activity and relations of interdependence) and become isomorphic with others in it. Cultural legitimacy and resources. relations. mission. outsource secondary tasks (to focus on core) – all for survival and creation of positive network environment that delivers service. Also consider own orgs history and if your changes will evoke liability of newness. and the nation-state. Instead. and then form niches of isomorphic fitting organizations that establish environmental equilibrium.183 Action = identify complementary strengths. Patterns of relations influence behaviors. Deep structure consists of values and beliefs in sharing. the core structure of organizations is seen as following structural inertia and therefore unable to adapt much internally. Unlike organizational learning. the process can be strategic and planned or cognitive and taken-for-granted. death of organizational forms. and get them to focus on discrete functions / coordination of actual tasks). Summary or Basic Argument Exists when the level of analysis is a field (not a focal actor) and the focus is on conformity to cultural scripts and/or normative constraints on action. Organizations focus on network relations.