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Organizational Theory . Organization. Greek Organon : meaning a tool or instrument. So, organizations are tools or instruments to meet goals, objectives, to carry out tasks. Theories as Frames:. Frames or Windows filter order the world Structural Frame Human Resource Frame

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  • Greek Organon:

    meaning a tool or instrument.

  • So, organizations are tools or instruments to meet goals, objectives, to carry out tasks.

Theories as frames
Theories as Frames:

  • Frames or Windows

    • filter

    • order the world

  • Structural Frame

  • Human Resource Frame

  • Political Frame

  • Cultural

  • Systems

Structural paradigm
Structural Paradigm

Image: A machine


Words: Efficient



Phrase: The One Best Way

Structural assumptions
Structural Assumptions:

  • Exist to accomplish its goals

  • Problems usually reflect an inappropriate structure

  • Specialization permits higher levels of individual performance.

  • Coordination and control are accomplished best through the exercise of authority and impersonal rules.

Structural paradigm1
Structural Paradigm

  • Control

  • Control

  • Control

Truth or fiction
Truth or Fiction?

“Bureaucracy is the single best form of organization for providing consistency, predictability, stability, efficient performance, rationalism and professionalism.”

Which is true
Which is True?

Rules promote fairness and accountability in the conduct of public business.

Rules are also the enemy of progress and dispatch.

Human relations frame
Human Relations Frame

Image: Family

Words: Caring, Nurturing, Supportive


Concepts: motivation, empowerment, development, communication

Human relations assumptions
Human Relations Assumptions

  • Organizations exist to serve human needs

  • Organizations need the ideas, energy, and talent that people provide


To get them to cooperate you must induce them to join the organization and then induce them to contribute.


Material: money, compensation, bonuses

Personal: prestige, distinction, power

Values: loyalty

Opportunity: participation, efficacy

Security: job security, support


“We cannot put the individual on one side and society on the other, we must understand the complete interrelation of the two. Each has no value, no existence without the other… There is no such thing as a self-made man.”

Where is your organization
Where is your organization?

  • Does it value people?

  • Does it treat people like adults?

  • Does it develop people?

  • Do managers treat employees as customers?

Political paradigm
Political Paradigm

  • The political frame views organizations as alive political arenas that house a complex variety of individuals and interest groups.

  • This is not about elections and elected positions.

Political paradigm1
Political Paradigm

Image: smoke-filled room battle

Words: wheeling and dealing

My way or no way.

Political paradigm2
Political Paradigm

“It is a world where men speak of moral principles but act on power principles; a world where we are always moral and our enemies always immoral.”

Political paradigm3
Political Paradigm

Morgan: "Power is the medium through which conflicts of interest are ultimately resolved."

Dahl: "Power involves an ability to get another person to do something that he or she would not otherwise have done."

Power paradigm assumptions
Power Paradigm Assumptions

  • Important decisions: allocation of scarce resources.

  • Organizations are coalitions composed of a number of individuals and interest groups

  • Individuals and interest groups differ in their values, preferences, beliefs, information, and perceptions of reality.

  • Goals and decisions emerge from ongoing processes of bargaining and negotiation among individuals and groups.

Human side of power

Power Over

power is scarce and limited

giving orders

punish non-compliance

negative beliefs about people

Power With

power increases when shared

orders are determined by the situation

participatory problem-solving

positive beliefs about people

Human Side of Power

Sources of power



Control of Resources

Control of Process



Sources of Power


Who has power in your organization?

What are your sources of power?

Cultural paradigm
Cultural Paradigm

“A pattern of basic assumptions, invented, discovered, or developed by a given groups as the correct way to perceived, think and feel”

Cultural paradigm1
Cultural Paradigm

Words: norms, values

“The way it is done here”

“We don’t do that”

“our way.”

Image: village, anthropologist

Seidman agency culture and personality
Seidman: Agency culture and personality

“Attempts to change organizations without understanding its culture—norms, beliefs, and values—are bound to fail.

Open systems
Open Systems

Organizations can be seen as open systems, like organisms which constantly adapt to their internal and external environment

Image: organism

Words: flexible, fluid, changing

Systems paradigm
Systems Paradigm

What endures is process:

  • dynamic

  • adaptive

  • creative


Life is an open system: “Open systems that engage with their environment and continue to grow and evolve.”


  • External conditions influence the flow of inputs, outputs and can affect the internal operations.

  • Organizations use many of their products, services, and ideals as inputs to organizational maintenance or growth


  • Subsystems are all interrelated and influence each other;

  • Organizations are constantly changing.

  • An organization's success depends on its ability to adapt to its environment

  • Any level or unit within an organization can be viewed as a system.

Colleges universities

  • Inputs?

  • Outputs?

  • Technology?

  • Goals and Strategies?

  • Behavior and Processes?

  • Culture?

  • Human Resources?

  • Structure?