Organization theory is about ideas and principles that flow within an association on how work can be done by investigating through different perspective. It is important to study organization as improvements can be carried out to make sure organizations are performing efficiently through developing the organizations structure and mission statement. (Developing an enabling organisational culture, changing organisational culture. ). (See Apendix A for some applications of organizational Theory).
There are three major perspectives-modernism, symbolic interpretive, and postmodernism to look at organisation which provide broad frameworks to guide our thinking and research.
In this essay paper, an effort has been made in discussing how the three perspectives assist us in achieving more comprehensive understanding of complex organisation phenomena- culture within organisation. Organization culture has been defined very differently in the literature. All definition agrees that organizational culture has something to do with the people in the organization, their relations with each other and their thoughts.
Some academics stress the uniqueness of each organization’s culture.
Organizational culture is a popular but also a very complex concept that has been identified as an influential factor affecting the successes and failures of organizations. Culture is a very versatile concept, and there are many controversies in both defining and applying it. Therefore, this paper reviews different perspection of organizational culture. (Hatch 2006). 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, quantitative data. 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). The theories and thought of modernist period of management are set against a background of great economic, political and technological change.
For example, there was a great political upheaval caused by the first and second world wars and the great depression of 1929 where national governments were trying to isolate themselves from any fluctuations and effect from international trade. Interestingly enough, managers of business took a similar attitude by trying to isolate their business to outside forces. They treated their businesses as a closed system of operation. This meant external forces operating outside the business such as competitive forces or government changes did not influence the owner’s decision regard to the business. Nixon 2003). In business context, modernist has supported the rationalization of organizational practices, as reflected in management research since the writings of early pioneers such as Max Weber and Frederick Taylor. (Miller 2009). The focus of modernist is always for effectiveness and effeciency. The rational modern mind is trained for ‘progress’, both scientifically and productively. (Mills, Terry, Boylstein, Craig & Lorean, S 2001). Modernist tend to deal with results or organized states rather than complex social processes. Chia 1995). Modernists assume that behavior of individual at work is significantly determined by values, or attitudes, or beliefs, that they hold, and that they can share it with others. Thus behavior of the workforce can therefore be changed to managerial ends by changing their underpinning shared attitudes. (Cooke 1999). Schein describes organization culture as “a pattern of basic assumptions” while Lorsch writes that it is “the shared beliefs top managers in a company have about how they should manage”.
Schein (1984) has graded the things that make up culture from the invisible and preconscious to the more visible. The organizational culture has its roots in basic assumptions about the world, which is manifested in beliefs, values and attitudes. (Lundberg 2008). Schein is recognized as one of the most influential writers on corporate culture. Schein interprets the ‘historical factors’ concerning the origins of cultures through ‘group and leadership theory’ (1985: 148-150).
As a result, he imposes a preordained structure on to the history of organizational cultures, namely the story of a founder. As Schultz (1995: 25) points out, rather than study the specific histories of organizations, Schein invokes psychological theories of ‘the psychodynamic makeup of leaders’ (1985: 172). He uses these to paint an idealised picture of how ‘organizations begin to create cultures through the actions of founders’ (Schein 1985: 221). This rests on an assumption that ‘culture and leadership are really two sides of the same coin (Michael & Stephen 1999).
Modernist believes that there is a positive correlation between organizational performance and the strength of corporate culture. For them, strong organizational culture is getting people to agree. An example of modernist perspective organization would be McDonalds. Workers in a McDonald’s restaurant are given a tight job description with clearly defined `movements? , which also includes guidelines what to say to customers. Modernist therefore, focuses a lot on leader’s power on understanding culture in the organization to improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness. (Sedtke, D 2009).
Symbolic-interpretivists are willing to extend the definition of empirical reality to include forms of experience that lie outside the reach of the five senses, as do emotion and intuition. As a result of this subjectivity, their findings cannot be easily replicated by others. The commitment these researchers make is to be true to their personal experience and to honor the accounts and explanations made by others. What is more, symbolic interpretivists focus on meaning and understanding as it occurs in particular contexts; consequently their findings should not be generalized beyond the context in which they were produced. Hatch 2006). Organizational symbolism was associated with increasing disillusionment with quantitative methods in organization studies, which encouraged researchers to separate themselves from the phenomena that made up organizational life and spend limited time in organizations to collect their data. This is because ethnographic research is the product of a relationship between the researcher, the research community, and the actors in the organization being studied, and the role of the researcher ‘in such a relationship, cannot be a passive one.
Organizational symbolists maintain that ‘detached objectivity in organizational research is largely a myth and that a genuine ‘social science perspective is an interpretive framework that is subjectively imposed on the process of collecting and analyzing cultural data. The recognition that ‘the person’ of the researcher is ‘part of the interpretive process results in a subjective style of writing whereby the author is necessarily present in some sense.
Ultimately, this can lead to autobiography rather than ethnography, where the interest is in capturing the author’s unique experience of a culture, rather than a reliable description of it. (Michael & Stephen 1999). While organizational culture tends to be mostly tacit and autonomous and rooted in shared practices, symbolic interpretivist thinks that organizational identity is inherently relational which in that requires external terms of comparison and self consciously self reflexive(Fiol et al. , 1998; Hatch & Schultz, 2000, 2002; Pratt, 2003).
According to Fiol (1991), organizational identities, then, provide the context within which member interprets and assign profound meaning to surface-level behavior. Taking seriously the idea that organizational culture acts as a context for sense making efforts, later contributions have underlined how these efforts also include attempts at internal self-definitions (Hatch & Schultz, 2002): ‘Identity involves how we define and experience ourselves, and this is atleast partly influenced by our activities and belief, which are grounded in and interpreted using cultural assumptions and values.
These contributions have emphasized the interrelatedness of organizational identity and culture that manifest as organizational members draw on organizationalculture, as well as on other meaning-making systems such as, professional culture, national culture, etc. ,to define “who we are as an organization” (Fiol et al. ,1998; Hatch & Schultz, 2002). With this emphasis,these scholars have converged with proponents of asocial actor perspective in advancing the idea thatorganizational culture supplies members with cuesfor making sense of what their organization is about—and for “giving sense” of it as well. Ravasi & Schultz 2006). Symbolic interpretivist does not only look at companies’ performance but their main concern is how people come together in organizational culture. They believe that taking part in organizational life and culture is like fulfilling a part in a theatrical play. Organizational symbolism is associated with the view of social theorists that if we are to understand social reality we need to be less concerned with prediction and more with the meanings and interpretations of actors who help to constitute social phenomena such as organizations.
Organizational symbolists are adamant that culture is not the key to predicting the success of organizations. (Rowlinson & Procter 1999). Symbolic interpretivist thinks that if we understand culture and cultural meaning of behaviours, verbal and nonverbal communication, symbols and objects, we come to understand ourselves, others, and our interaction with others more fully. This knowledge can enable organization to engage more effectively with diverse cultures within an external to organizations.
Example of an organization from symbolic view would be Google. The company is famous for its youthful and informal cultureThe influence of this perspective can be viewed by just looking at their corporate philosophy which is ‘You can be serious without a suit’. . The company actively nurtures this culture by e. g. having shared offices. And it clearly yields results – Google is valued at 5 million dollars per employee. (Lundberg 2008).
Postmodernism diverges from the other two perspectives in its unwillingness to seek Truth or to make permanent ontological or epistemological commitments such as those that give rise to modernist forms of scientific endeavor or to symbolic-interpretive descriptions of meaning and human meaning making activity. Seen from these other perspectives, postmodernists seem to flit between philosophical positions. They often refuse to take even a temporary philosophical stand because they believe that doing so privileges some forms of knowledge over others and this violates postmodern ethics. (Hatch 2006).
Whereas modernist philosophers had invoked skepticism in a way that ultimately served to bolster knowledge claims, postmodernists surfaced and criticized unchallenged assumptions within the modernist approach, rejecting aspirations to objectivity and certainty in knowledge and rationality. . (Miller 2009). (see appendix B for modern versus postmodern principles of management). In common with organizational symbolism, post-modernism is associated with the introduction into organizational culture studies of disciplines such as linguistics, psychoanalysis, anthropology, literary criticism, and history.
Foucault’s (1972) influence underlines the realization that concepts such as ‘organization’ and ‘culture’ refer not to objects but to linguistic constructs. Attention to discourse suggests that even if researchers who are interested in ‘culture’ do not appear to ‘have very much in common. organizational culture studies can still be considered as part of the same ‘discursive formation’. (Michael & Stephen 1999). Two of the major influences on post-modernism in history has been White and Foucault (Munslow 1997).
White is associated with the stream in postmodernism that ‘is informed by a programmatic, if ironic, commitment to the return to narrative as one of its enabling presuppositions’ (1987: xi). Post-modernism has shifted the emphasis away from seeing archival research as the historian’s craft towards a view that it is the conventions and customs of writing that constitute the craft of history (White 1995: 243). (Michael & Stephen 1999). Example of postmodern application in organization is Disney World’s monorail is perhaps the best-known monorail system in North America.
Disney world is the ultimate showcase for postmodernism and postmodern society because of the way it uses simulation to create the illusion we can overcome the limits of time and space, self and society. Disney World also invites visitors to escape the fallen state of society and the self. (Disney world) In conclusion, all the three perspectives are important in undestanding the complex organization culture. All three perspectives has to be used in order to be both efficient and socially responsible.
Modernist perspective is important for the survival of the company, symbolic interpretive is important to make people work together in a team and to understand each other, and finally postmodernist perspective is important to be socially responsible and to protect the bottom line workers from top management’s power. 1987 Words References Chia, R 1995, ‘From Modernism to Postmodernism Organizational Analysis’, Organization Studies, Vol. 16 Issue 4, p579, EBSCO. Cooke, B 1999, ‘Writing The Left out of Organizational Theory: The historiography pf Management of Change’, Organization, Vol. , No. 1, p81-105, Sage. Hatch, M, J 2006, ‘What is Organizational Theory’, Organizational Theory, 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Lundberg, J 2008, ‘Nature and Substance of Organizational Culture’, viewed 20 January 2010, http://users. ox. ac. uk/~sedm3306/essays/organization-culture. pdf. Michael, R, Stephen, P 1999, ‘Organizational Culture and Business History’,Organization Studies, vol. 20: pp. 369 – 396. Miller, K, D 2009, ‘Organization Risk After Modernism’, Organization Studies ,Vol. 30 Issue 2/3, p157-180, Sage. Mills, Terry,L.
Boylstein, Craig,A, Lorean, S 2001, ‘Doing organization Culture in Saturn Corporation’, Organization Studies, Vol. 22 Issue 1, p118, EBSCO. Nixon, L 2003, ‘ Management Theories- an Historical perspective’, EBSCO. Ravasi, D, Scultz, M 2006, ‘Responding to Organization Identity Threats: Exploring The Role of Organizational Culture’, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 49, No. 3, 433–458, Sedtke, V 2009, ‘What does “Critical Thinking” represent? A Discussion’, Occasional Working Paper Series, Vol. 1, Issue 2. Appendix A Table 1. 1 Some applications of organization theory Strategy/Finance
Those who want to improve the value of a company need to know how to organize to achieve organizational goals; those who want to monitor and control performance will need to understand how to achieve results by structuring activities and designing organizational processes. Marketing Marketers know that to create a successful corporate brand they need to get the organization behind the delivery of its promise; a thorough understanding of what an organization is and how it operates will make their endeavors to align the organization and its brand strategy more feasible and productive. Information technology
The way information flows through the organization affects work processes and outcomes, so knowing organization theory can help IT specialists identify, understand and serve the organization’s informational needs as they design and promote the use of their information systems. Operations Value chain management has created a need for operations managers to interconnect their organizing processes with those of suppliers, distributors and customers; organization theory not only supports the technical aspects of operations and systems integration, but explains their socio-cultural aspects as well.
Human resources Nearly everything HR specialists do from recruiting to compensation has organizational ramifications and hence benefits from knowledge provided by organization theory; organizational development and change are particularly important elements of HR that demand deep knowledge of organizations and organizing, and organization theory can provide content for executive training programs. Communication
Corporate communication specialists must understand the interpretive processes of organizational stakeholders and need to address the many ways in which different parts of the organization interact with each other and the environment, in order to design communication systems that are effective or to diagnose ways existing systems are misaligned with the organization’s need. Source: Hatch, M, J 2006, ‘What is Organizational Theory’, Organizational Theory, 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford. Appendix B [pic] Source: Nixon, L 2003, ‘ Management Theories- an Historical perspective’, EBSCO.
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Organization Theory Essay. (2018, Feb 28). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/organization-theory/