Organizational Theory

Greek Organon: meaning a tool or instrument.
So, organizations are tools or instruments to meet goals, objectives, to carry out tasks.

Theories as Frames:
Frames or Windows
filter order the world

Structural Frame Human Resource Frame Political Frame Cultural Systems

Structural Paradigm


A machine Pyramid Efficient Impersonal Goal-driven The One Best Way

Structural Assumptions:
Exist to accomplish its goals Problems usually reflect an inappropriate structure Specialization permits higher levels of individual performance. Coordination and control are accomplished best through the exercise of authority and impersonal rules.

Structural Paradigm
Control Control

Truth or Fiction?
“Bureaucracy is the single best form of
organization for providing consistency,

predictability, stability, efficient performance,
rationalism and professionalism.”

Which is True?
Rules promote fairness and accountability in the conduct of public business. Rules are also the enemy of progress and dispatch.

Human Relations Frame
Image: Words: Family Caring, Nurturing, Supportive Spirit Concepts: motivation, empowerment, development, communication

Human Relations Assumptions
Organizations exist to serve human needs

Organizations need the ideas, energy, and
talent that people provide

To get them to cooperate you must induce
them to join the organization and then

induce them to contribute.

Material: money, compensation, bonuses Personal: prestige, distinction, power Values: loyalty Opportunity: participation, efficacy Security: job security, support

“We cannot put the individual on one side and
society on the other, we must understand the complete interrelation of the two. Each has no value, no existence without the other… There is no such thing as a self-made man.”

Where is your organization?
Does it value people? Does it treat people like adults? Does it develop people? Do managers treat employees as customers?

Political Paradigm
The political frame views organizations as alive political arenas that house a complex variety of individuals and interest groups. This is not about elections and elected positions.

Political Paradigm
Image: Words: smoke-filled room battle wheeling and dealing My way or no way.

Political Paradigm
“It is a world where men speak of moral principles but act on power principles; a world where we are always moral and our enemies always immoral.”

Political Paradigm
Morgan: "Power is the medium through which

conflicts of interest are ultimately resolved."
Dahl: "Power involves an ability to get another

person to do something that he or she would
not otherwise have done."

Human Side of Power
Power Over
power is scarce and limited giving orders punish noncompliance negative beliefs about people

Power With
power increases when shared orders are determined by the situation participatory problem-solving positive beliefs about people

Power Paradigm Assumptions • • • •
Important decisions: allocation of scarce resources. Organizations are coalitions composed of a number of individuals and interest groups

Individuals and interest groups differ in their values,
preferences, beliefs, information, and perceptions of reality. Goals and decisions emerge from ongoing processes of bargaining and negotiation among individuals and groups.

• Authority • Expertise • Control of Resources • Control of Process • Information • Personal

Sources of Power

Who has power in your organization?
What are your sources of power?

Cultural Paradigm
“A pattern of basic assumptions,

invented, discovered, or developed by
a given groups as the correct way to

perceived, think and feel”

Cultural Paradigm
Words: norms, values “The way it is done here” “We don’t do that” “our way.” Image: village, anthropologist

Developmental Stages for the Multicultural Organization MULTICULTURAL
Shares power and influence with all; major culture change

Unfair advantage of majority group removed, but no culture change

Exclusion of minorities and women from power

• Geert Hofstede, discovered that most differences among
national cultures were described by four cross-cultural

International Dimensions


• Uncertainty avoidance • Masculinity-femininity • Individualism-collectivism • Power distance

• In later research, Canadian researcher Michael Harris Bond,
uncovered a fifth dimension

• Long-term/short-term orientation

Agency culture and personality
“Attempts to change organizations without
understanding its culture—norms, beliefs, and values—are bound to fail.


Open Systems
Organizations can be seen as open systems, like organisms which constantly adapt to their internal and external environment
Image: organism Words: flexible, fluid, changing

Systems Paradigm
What endures is process: dynamic adaptive creative

Life is an open system: “Open systems
that engage with their environment and continue to grow and evolve.”

External conditions influence the flow of inputs,
outputs and can affect the internal operations.

Organizations use many of their products, services,
and ideals as inputs to organizational maintenance or growth

Subsystems are all interrelated and influence each other; Organizations are constantly changing. An organization's success depends on its ability to adapt to its environment Any level or unit within an organization can be viewed as a system.

Inputs? Outputs? Technology? Goals and Strategies? Behavior and Processes? Culture? Human Resources? Structure?

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful