Organizational Theories I

Joseph Reagle



Scientific management

Historical origins


Compelling or not?

Fordism and Taylorism


14 principles of management including:

Fordism and Taylorism

Bureaucracy (Weber)

“Nicer” attributes?

  • Fayol: fair rewards for hard work
  • Fayol: supervisors work hard to create positive environment
  • Bureaucracy: personnel selected on qualifications and advocated equal treatment of all employees.
  • Bureaucracy: employment as a career; tenure protecting against unfair or arbitrary dismissal.

egs of this today?


Human behavior

Historical origins


Compelling or not?

Mary Parker Follett

Hawthorne study


Theory X
employees are work hating and responsibility shirking Theory Y
employees are autonomous, responsible, self-directed, and innovative participants

Which do you think is true?


Individuals are members of overlapping groups in an organization (linking pins).

Likert types

  1. exploitative/authoritative (theory X)
  2. benevolent/authoritative (some trust/care for employees)
  3. consultative (management seeks input)
  4. participative (distributed information flow and decisions)

Which is NEU?



Historical origins


Compelling or not?

Contingency theory

  1. There is no best way to organize.
  2. All ways of organizing are not equally effective.

The system metaphor

  1. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
  2. The organization is a set of relationships that exist among interdependent people/groups.
  3. Feedback loops of information/communication exist in relationships.
  4. Organizations work within environments (which must be scanned).
  5. Goals are negotiated and varied.

New systems

Learning organizations

  1. systems thinking: holism and interdependence
  2. personal mastery: members share a commitment to learning and self-reflection.
  3. flexible mental models: emerges from self-reflection.
  4. shared vision: hierarchical control is replaced by “concertive control”; members act in concert because they share a vision
  5. team learning: dialogue is used so that the team is led to intelligent decisions.


Theory Z (Ouchi)

Type A (American): short-term employment, individualism, rapid promotion, formal control, specialized career paths, segmented concerns

Type J (Japanese): lifetime employment, consensual decision-making, collective responsibility, slow advancement, informal control, generalized careers, holistic concerns

Theory Z: advocating success of Japanese style (1980s) to America

Excellence (Peters)

Case studies provide themes such as:

Culture (Deal & Kennedy)

Org Culture (Schein)

Sensemaking (Weick)

  1. enactment: organizational members create their environments through their actions and patterns of attention.
  2. selection drawing focus to those things considered important.
  3. retention facilitates remembering developed interpretations for future use.


Postmodern, critical, feminist


Problems to address



origins metaphor social organization
Sci Mngmt industrial revolution cog division & hierarchy
Behavior social sciences (person) teams within group
Integrated biology organism actors in environ
Critical civil liberties oppression & resistance