Organization Theory Perspectives

Topics: Postmodernism, Modernism, Organizational studies Pages: 10 (3158 words) Published: August 19, 2013

Apple is a global giant whose success has been built on outsourcing to a range of other organisations located across the world. How can different organisational theory perspectives assist us in acquiring different understandings of Apple, its organisational networks and influence? In this essay you must use at least two perspectives to analyse Apple.

The concept of organisational theory has been discussed and its multiple perspectives have been debated by academics throughout the years. What can be agreed about it is that, organisational theory in essence, uses a framework of various academic disciplines to theorize and conceptualize organisations in order to analyze and allow a better understanding of it and its behaviour towards its various levels of environment. The predominant perspectives of organisational theory are the Modern perspective, Critical Theory perspective, Symbolic Interpretive perspective and postmodern perspective. This essay however, will only be covering on the modern and the postmodern perspective while discussing various aspects of these 2 perspectives relative to each other. In addition, this essay will be using these 2 perspectives to show that Apple as an organisation uses a hybrid of both modernism and postmodernism approaches towards its organisational network and influences while suggesting some limitations on some of these theories.

Theoretical framework
In order to have a clearer understanding on the two chosen schools of thought, each of it must first be defined.

In its basic definition, modernism refers to the perspective of organisational theory that knowledge is discovered and generated through actual scientific and quantifiable methods. According to Hatch and Cunliffe (2006), the modernist perspective states that having knowledge is being able to comprehend how and why organisations function, the method or way in which they do so and how their functions are influenced by its environmental conditions. In addition, modernists’ theories on organisations tend to focus on efficiency, effectiveness, predictability, forecasting, results, control and systems. On the other hand, postmodernist tend to challenge and question the notions and adequacies of modernists (Appelrouth & Edles 2008 and Hatch & Cunliffe 2006) and it be could be said to be a mixture of ideas, authors and texts (Alvesson & Deetz 2006) outside the other three perspectives as postmodernists are often doubtful towards the other schools of thoughts. Furthermore, postmodernists believe that reality is an illusion and created by discourse while there can be no specific or accurate accounts of our world (Hatch & Cunliffe 2006) and instead it could only be accounted for though the process of discourse analysis and deconstruction.

Subsequently, the aspect of ontology and epistemology needs to be defined as each perspective has a different approach regarding it. Ontology simply refers to the concern of our whether entities can be considered as objective whereas epistemology refers to the concern of what is or should be acceptable knowledge in a discipline (Bryman & Bell 2003).

The modernists adopts an objectivist view on ontology, which states that reality exists independently without people having the knowledge of it occurring and instead they react to the situations around them in an expected manner due to their behaviour being part of the world they live in. Regarding epistemology, modernists see it from a positivist point of view. Positivist puts forth the notion that one can only discover the reality and facts in organisations through the classification and scientific measurement which allows knowledge to be tested. Postmodernists on the other hand, view ontology from a subjective point of view; reality is an entity that only exists when one experiences it and gives it meaning. In addition, the postmodernists see epistemology differently from modernists; whilst modernist view it as...
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