mutual effects of environments, including resource and task, political, and cultural environments on organizations and vice versa, and e) concerns with both the epistemology and methodology that undergird research on each of these topics." Of the various organizational theories that have been studied in this realm, the open- systems theory has emerged as perhaps the most widely known, but others have their proponents as well. Indeed, some researchers into organizational theory propound a blending of various theories, arguing that an enterprise will embrace different organizational strategies in reaction to changes in its competitive circumstances, structural design, and experiences. BACKGROUND Modern organization theory is rooted in concepts developed during the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Of considerable import during that period was the research done by of German sociologist Max Weber (1864— 1920). Weber believed that bureaucracies, staffed by bureaucrats, represented the ideal organizational form. Weber based his model bureaucracy on legal and absolute authority, logic, and order. In Weber's idealized organizational structure, responsibilities
for workers are clearly defined and behavior is tightly controlled by rules, policies, and procedures. Weber's theories of organizations, like others of the period, reflected an impersonal attitude toward the people in the organization. Indeed, the work force, with its personal frailties and imperfections, was regarded as a potential detriment to the efficiency of any system. Although his theories are now considered mechanistic and outdated, Weber's views on bureaucracy provided important insight into the era's conceptions of process efficiency, division of labor, and authority. Another important contributor to organization theory in the early 1900s was Henri Fayol. He is credited with identifying strategic planning, staff recruitment, employee motivation, and employee guidance (via policies and procedures) as important management functions in creating and nourishing a successful organization. Weber's and Fayol's theories found broad application in the early and mid-1900s, in part because of the influence of Frederick W. Taylor (1856—1915). In a 1911 book entitled Principles of Scientific Management, Taylor outlined his theories and eventually implemented them on American factory floors. He is credited with helping to define the role of training, wage incentives, employee selection, and work standards in organizational performance. Researchers began to adopt a less mechanical view of organizations and to pay more attention to human influences in the 1930s. This development was motivated by several studies that shed light on the function of human fulfillment in organizations. The best known of these was probably the so-called Hawthorn Studies. These studies, conducted primarily under the direction of Harvard University researcher Elton Mayo, were conducted in the mid-1920s and 1930s at a Western Electric Company plant known as the Hawthorn Works. The company wanted to determine the degree to which working
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- Spring '18
- James Simmons
- Management, Organizational studies and human resource management