Organization: Postmodernism Perspective

Topics: Modernism, Postmodernism, Organization Pages: 7 (1688 words) Published: April 11, 2013

Organization is a group of people working together to achieve the same goal at the same place. Therefore, to make organization to be more effective and productive, firstly the organizational members have to understand the theory of organization. Many authors and scholars are establishing numerous perspectives approach to view organizations in innovative ways to create, design and manage them in order to achieve targeted goals. Thus, the purpose of this essay is to look into modernism and postmodernism perspectives on power, conflict, control, culture, physical structure and the advantages and disadvantages of these two perspectives to understand organizations.


Modernism perspective is to view organizations based on reality, reasons and science (Martin, 2005). This means that it views organizational characteristics, comprise of cultures, environment, structure and performance, as real characters which can be systematically described and explained (Davies, Nutley, & Mannion, 2000). Clegg, 1990 mentioned that modernist organizations might be thought of bureaucratized, mechanistic structures of control, as these were subsequently erected upon a fully rationalized base of divided and deskilled labor (Clegg, 1990).

On the other hand, postmodernism perspective is based on viewing in realities in different versions to understand and summarize underlying points of sources (Martin, 2005). Davies, Nutley, & Mannion, 2000 mentioned that postmodernism perspective sees organization as being socially and discursively constructed. Moreover, Davies, Nutley, & Mannion, 2000 also stated that postmodernist task is to deconstruct and expose the uneven and apparent structure and practices used in organization and reveal the hidden realities in human experence (Davies, Nutley, & Mannion, 2000).

2.1.1 Power, Conflict And Control

In everyday organizational life, power, conflict and control are the essential parts in order to examine how power can be exercised thoroughly, how to manage conflicts effectively and how to implement control within an organization (Cunliffe, 2008).

Thus to understand these efficiently, modernism approach create theories such as the cybernetic model to set organizational targeted goals, control individual and group performance and correct employees divergence, the agency theory to let owners to control manager and reward manager for fulfilling the desire and market, bureaucracy or clan control theories to accomplish cooperation of individual by using profit to measure performance, set rules and regulation and socialize employees by understanding their cultures and values (Hatch & Cunliffe, 2006).

By using these theories there are advantages and disadvantages that affect organization. The use bureaucracy to control the employees will lead organizations to operate effectively and efficiently due to hierarchy and authority in organizations and each an individual aware of their roles and responsibilities in the structure of the organizations (McAuley, Duberley, & Johnson, 2007). Moreover, There will be higher productivity, performance will be able to traced, managers can supervise subordinates closely and highly commitment of employees will be discovered (Hatch & Cunliffe, 2006).

McAuley, Duberley, & Johnson, 2007 suggested that authors from early 1980s onward argue that modernism perspective has become persistent in a way of controlling people lives (McAuley, Duberley, & Johnson, 2007). Hence, the disadvantages of using modernism theory are monitoring behavioral will be costly due to the use of rewards and incentives, market control will not be able to act efficiently if there are no competitions in the market, when environments is in ambiguity stages, rules and regulation are not able to control employees and if the interest of organizational members are lower, the socialization method will not be useful (Hatch & Cunliffe, 2006).

However, postmodernism perspective in...
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