Organizational Theory Multiple Perspectives

Topics: Organizational culture, Organizational studies, Organization Pages: 6 (1526 words) Published: February 2, 2010

In order to have a better understanding of organization theory, organizational phenomena should be studied in different ways. Different ways of thinking produce different perspectives which come to different concepts and theories. In this essay, multiple perspectives which are modern, symbolic-interpretive and post-modern will be defined. By examine the assumptions, which are ontology and epistemology underlying each of these perspectives, they can be compared. Also, how these perspectives contribute to different ways to think about organizational culture will be discussed in this essay.

Modern, Symbolic-interpretive and Post-modern perspectives

Modernists are objectivists who focus on reality of knowledge which is build based upon the conceptualization and the theorization. There is always lucid definitions on how thing occur, often through the use of data that are collected from tools of measurement. For example, a company earns profits based on the CEO’s ability to make right decisions while investing the money. Hatch and Cunliffe stated that the data which modernists recognize are from the five senses, through what they see, heard, touch, smell and tasted (Hatch and Cunliffe, 2006: 15). Modernism organization works according to the system implemented by the general system theory. The system can be set through deductive modes where theories are tested by using practice (Hatch and Cunliffe, 2006: 26). It is aimed to build a set of rules that can be used in organization so that everyone will be able to follow, perform and function, ensuring the entire process in the organization works smoothly. Henri Fayol is a representative from modern organization as he developed the scientific management which is a framework on how system flows in organization. His contributions included identifying different organizational activities and established the principles of management, for example the esprit de corps and unity of command. When modernist operates a company, rules and laws is development for the members to follow.

Symbolic-Interpretive can be defined as “An approach concerned with understanding the nature, practices, and consequences of symbol usage within groups, as well as how groups and group processes are themselves products of symbolic activities.” (Poole and Hollingshead, 2005: 188) Symbolic-interpretivists who are subjectivist, define reality through what they experienced by having emotions and feelings towards what had happened.

Post Modernist sees reality as an illusion that was created through language and discourse. The epistemology of post-modern stated that there is no exact truth and therefore no precise explanation of meaning. However, it is to believe that organizations are entities that take every possible aspect to reinforce power with their knowledge. The relationship between concepts is always changing as there is no clear definition of a word or concept can be fully verified. Basically, these theories are developed on the basis of critically analyzing the assumptions of major theories that attempts to establish the totality of human existence. Post-modernism seeks to rebuke the notion that history repeats itself in a consistent form of logic through ‘social progress’ and ‘rationalization’.

Organizational Culture

Organizational culture can be defined as a system of shared beliefs and values that develops within an organization and guides the behavior of its members. It includes routine behaviors, norms, dominant values, and a feeling or climate conveyed. The purpose and function of this culture is to help foster internal integration, bring staff members from all levels of the organization much closer together, and enhance their performance.

Organization culture is developed by having assumption what is happening and also the degree of awareness to participate to be part of the culture. According to Schein, there are three levels of culture which are artifacts,...

References: Boje, David M., 1995, Stories of the storytelling organization: a postmodern analysis of Disney as “Tamara-land” Academy of Management Journal 38: 997-1035.
Gorman, Liam, 1989, ‘Corporate Culture’, Management Decision, vol .27, no. 1 , pp. 1-6, viewed 16th August 2009, Emerald Group Publishing.
Hatch, Mary J. and Cunliffe, Ann L., 2006, Organization Theory, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press: Oxford.
Hassard, John and Pym, Denis, 1990, The Theory and Philosophy of Organizations: Critical Issues and New Perspectives, Routledge.
Poole, Marshall S. and Hollingshead, Andrea B., 2005, Theories of Small Groups: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Sage.
Rowlinson, M. and Procter, S., Summer, 1999, Organizational Culture and Business History, Organization Studies, Sage.
Schultz, Majken, 1995, On studying organizational cultures. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
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Van Maanen, John, 1988, Tales of the field: on writing ethnography. London: University of Chicago Press.
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