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Fb2 American Anti-Management Theories of Organization: A Critique of Paradigm Proliferation (Cambridge Studies in Management) ePub

by Lex Donaldson

Category: Management and Leadership
Subcategory: Business and Work
Author: Lex Donaldson
ISBN: 0521473594
ISBN13: 978-0521473590
Language: English
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (March 31, 1995)
Pages: 277
Fb2 eBook: 1369 kb
ePub eBook: 1779 kb
Digital formats: mobi txt docx mbr

Donaldson's focus is on contributions of various theories to his own area of interest.

Donaldson's focus is on contributions of various theories to his own area of interest. This may explain why he shows little inclination to explore different scopes and motives in theory building, even though he notes his difficulties in drawing the boundaries of each theory on several occasions (.

DONALDSON, L. In defense of organizational theory: A reply to critics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. DONALDSON, L. For positive organization theory: Proving the hard core. A positivist alternative to the structure-action approach. Organization Studies, 1997, 18(1), 77–92. HANNAN, M. & CARROLL, G. Dynamics of organizational populations: Density, legitimation, and competition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

This controversial book strongly criticizes recent developments in the study of. .

book by Lex Donaldson. This controversial book strongly criticizes recent developments in the study of organizational structure in the United States. American Anti-Management Theories of Organization : A Critique of Paradigm Proliferation.

Start by marking American Anti-Management Theories of Organization: A Critique .

Start by marking American Anti-Management Theories of Organization: A Critique of Paradigm Proliferation as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read. It concentrates on five theories that are fashionable: population-ecology, institutional, resource dependence, agency and transaction costs economics. Lex Donaldson argues for an integrated theory built around structural contingency theory, that places managers in a more positive light.

Donaldson, Lex. (1995) Cambridge studies in management ; 25. Full contents. 1. Anti-management paradigms in organization theory. 2. Structural contingency theory of organizational adaptation

Donaldson, Lex. (1995). Cambridge studies in management ; 25. Structural contingency theory of organizational adaptation. 3. A critique of population-ecology theory. 4. A critique of institutional theory. 5. A critique of resource dependence theory. 6. A critique of organizational economics.

This book offers a critique of recent developments in the study of organizational structure in the US.

This book offers a critique of recent developments in the study of organizational structure in the USA. There has been a profusion of new paradigms offered in the USA and this has fragmented the field. This book examines five major, contemporary US organizational theories: population-ecology, institutional, resource dependence, agency and transaction cost economics.

American anti-management theories of organization: A critique of paradigm proliferation (Vol. 25) Cambridge . A set of principles for conducting and evaluating interpretive field studies in information systems. MIS Quarterly, 23, 67–93. LaBahn, D. & Krapfel, R. (2000). 25) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Dosi, . Nelson, R. & Winter, S. G. Introduction: The nature and dynamics of organizational capabilities.

His publications include American Anti-Management Theories of Organization: A Critique of Paradigm Proliferation (1995) and In Defence of Organization Theory: A Reply to the Critics (1985). Библиографические данные. The Contingency Theory of Organizations Foundations for Organizational Science The Contingency Theory of Organizations, Lex Donaldson.

Anti-management paradigms in organization theory, 2. Structural contingency theory of organizational adaptation, 3. A critique of population-ecology theory, 4. A critique of institutional theory, 5. A critique of resource dependence theory, 6. A critique of organizational economics, 7. Towards a unified theory of organizational structure, 8. A way forward for organizational structural theory.

This controversial book strongly criticizes recent developments in the study of organizational structure in the United States. It concentrates on five theories that are fashionable: population-ecology, institutional, resource dependence, agency and transaction costs economics. Each is shown to be flawed, either in its logic, or by studies of actual organizations. These sharply different theories have fragmented the field and present a negative view of managers. Lex Donaldson argues for an integrated theory built around structural contingency theory, that places managers in a more positive light.
Comments to eBook American Anti-Management Theories of Organization: A Critique of Paradigm Proliferation (Cambridge Studies in Management)
NiceOne
Lex Donaldson laments the fragmentation of organizational theory in the United States (p. 1). Among the theories in common use at the time, Donaldson identifies four major ones, each operating under its own, distinct paradigm: population-ecology theory, institutional theory, resource dependence theory, and organizational economics (p. xi). He argues that they should be abandoned in favor of a previously dominant paradigm - the one underlying structural contingency theory - and sketches out a theory expanded by bits and pieces from competing theories (ch. 7).

The major difficulty with this book is that it cannot stand by itself. Donaldson's arguments hinge on an accurate and thorough description of an on-going dispute. Not only does he need to know and fairly portray arguments that exist in five distinct bodies of literature, he must also convince the reader that he succeeded - which ultimately seems to be a futile effort as the uninvolved reader is left guessing whether Donaldson's attacks on some elusive, shapeshifting theory actually prove anything, while a reader with a solid stake in that theory will likely assert that they do not.

One does not need to assume malice or any deficiencies on Donaldson's part to recognize that this is not a task for any single author. In order for Donaldson to assess the respective merits of different theories, he needs an agreement about what each of them is - that is, a consensus within the dominant coalition of the field. This necessity arises from Donaldson's vision of a "coherent, integrated body of knowledge" (p. 5) as a single, dominating paradigm and one associated body of theory. Unfortunately, the field of organizational studies as described by Donaldson consists of several competing factions; some of them seem not interested in consolidation, while those seeking consolidation expect it to take place on their own terms (Donaldson himself is no exception).

Donaldson's focus is on contributions of various theories to his own area of interest. This may explain why he shows little inclination to explore different scopes and motives in theory building, even though he notes his difficulties in drawing the boundaries of each theory on several occasions (e.g. pp. 53, 83). He never adequately reflects the difference between descriptive and prescriptive theories and hence misses one of the better options for - at least partially - reconciling them: Structural contingency is prescriptive; by matching contingencies with appropriate responses, it describes the best way for an organization to reach a given goal. And while Donaldson and other proponents of that theory like to phrase their propositions as if they were naturally followed, there would be no point in Donaldson's "guidelines to managers with pressing, practical problems" if organizations were always able to figure out the proper response to a contingency (p. 5).

Population-ecology theorists, on the other hand, do not offer advice to managers; they describe various reasons why the guidelines put forward by structural contingency theory may be difficult to implement (p. 44). Institutional theory, too, is descriptive; it acknowledges that managers effect change and sees imitation as the primary mechanism, which doesn't contradict structural contingency theory; after all, when managers follow Donaldson's empirically valid guidelines, they are mimicking the behavior of successful organizations. Resource-dependence theory emphasizes the importance of external and internal dependencies and their impact on goal setting, shedding some light on the obstacles a manager or an organization may face when trying to implement the recipes provided by structural contingency theory.

But Donaldson is very reluctant to expand the scope of his favored theory. It is telling that he wonders why it would be a crucial issue who will control an organization (p. 135), and that his "integrated explanatory model" is one of organizational structure with strategy as a contingency (p. 206). To him, simply put, an organization is a structure designed to serve a specific purpose. The creation of strategy does not figure in his model, nor does the implementation of change in the organization. This narrow view is quite remarkable given the ambitions implied in the first chapter, where Donaldson finds the country's slipping economic performance "in a way surprising since US organizations have had the benefit of being able to draw on a large body of organizational theory and research generated in US universities", only to find the explanation in "an outbreak of irrationality" in the "US academic work on the topic of organization structure" (p. 1). Some help with determining the appropriate organizational structures is all it takes to put the US economy back on track, or so he would have us believe. Donaldson's hubris easily matches the one he finds in Hirshleifer (p. 165).

The discussion above indicates that Donaldson is not on a path to consensus. A man calling an influential, competing paradigm "fatally flawed theoretically and empirically" (p. 127) is not likely to successfully forge a dominant coalition anytime soon. His criticism will hardly convince the adherents of any paradigm. The contrast between his vision of a shared paradigm and his glaring short-comings as a uniter are curious. His criticism may fail to convince the adherents of each paradigm, but it may well confirm their beliefs that all the other theories deserve to die. A paranoid reader might be forgiven for suspecting that Donaldson's cunning plan is to fan the flames and spread ammunition liberally, in the hope that structural contingency theory will emerge as the sole survivor of an all-out war.

Donaldson may be biased and over the top sometimes, but many of his criticisms are spot on. Unfortunately, a solution will require some form of consensus, and that is not a task for one well-read man with strong opinions. Four stars for a rarity - a decent, albeit biased overview over all major theories, and for thinking big.
Kulalas
I ordered this book by mistake but decided to read it anyway. The author argues the organization theory found in four popular theories is anti-management and is not appropriate for researchers/theorists working in business schools. However, there is no data, that I am aware of, that suggests that organizational research from a management perspective in the name of better performance actually has any impact on firm performance. There could be many reasons for this but part of it may be the fact that academic business research is mostly just a mechanism for academics to advance their careers and does not focus on the problems senior management care about. Senior managers of industrial companies do not read academic journals. If these theories had value to senior management all the seats in business school would be full of managers in their 40s, 50s, and 60s rather than kids in their late teens and early/late twenties. Organizational theories are mostly a way for academics to try to impress other academics. Thus it is not really important whose perspective they take.
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