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Robert Michels [] reversed the logic of nineteenth century thought by arguing that democracy was inconceivable without bureaucracy.

He also viewed bureaucracy as a particular example of a more all-embracing category of social organization, and he investigated the generic features of this modern structure Albrow Yet a systemic treatment of the concept of bureaucracy was left to Max Weber.

Similar to Michels, Weber built his analysis of bureaucracy on the generic concept of verband, a group whose task it was to maintain the organization, including a leader and staff and a distinctive set of rules. Verband was broader than bureaucracy and included such differing notions as the state, political parties, commercial enterprise, and the church.

Using bureaucracy as a generic administrative body, Weber developed the theme of the affinity between Western rationalization and the rationality of bureaucracy and its inevitable importance. Precision, continuity, discipline, and reliability made bureaucracy the most satisfactory form of organization, both for authority holders and for other interests Weber , , On the inherent tendency of bureaucracy to accumulate power, Weber advocated representative government as both a critical context and a training ground for leaders who could counterbalance the increasing power of bureaucracy.

Although his theory of organizations is much broader, Weber developed the ideal type of rational-legal bureaucracy as a methodological tool for his empirical work. Weber believed that rational bureaucracy was a major element in the rationalization of the modern world.

Based on his position that legitimacy was fundamental to all systems of authority, Weber set out 5 related beliefs of legal authority, devised 8 propositions about the structuring of rational-legal authority, and then formulated 10 characteristics of the ideal-type bureaucracy. This ideal type was then used to identify the degree of bureaucratization and its explanation in historical and comparative work.

This nexus of beliefs in the legitimacy of the administrative apparatus becomes fundamental for more specific discussions of rational-legal bureaucracy and the issues of domination, depersonalization, and exploitation. For Weber, bureaucratic power was both the cause and the consequence of the rise of capitalism and democracy in the West. Bureaucracy was the outcome of economic, political, and cultural features of the West, necessary for the development of democracy, and a tool of power affecting the rationalization of society and domination of its people.

This broad intellectual canvas provided a rich legacy for the study of organizations. However, this dating of the origin of organizational sociology overlooks sources of the key conceptions of organizations provided by Chester Barnard , Philip Selznick , , , and Herbert Simon He develops a behavioral theory of organizations that includes coordination and decision making, rather than the legalistically and formally based theories. Although in different forms, these themes are repeated in subsequent approaches to the sociology of organizations.

Selznick pioneered a structural functional theory of organizations, establishing the old institutional approach. Therefore, Selznick emphasizes the importance of normative controls of values and norms that are both internalized by actors and enforced by others in social situations. Out of the dynamic interaction of human features and structural elements, Selznick developed a goal-oriented theory of adaptation for organizational survival.

At about the same time, an important interdisciplinary development was under way at Carnegie Institute of Technology Carnegie Mellon University , where Herbert Simon had gathered political scientists, economists, engineers, and psychologists to focus on a decision-making theory of administration.

Simon combined rational aspects with social factors in his view of organizations as decision-making entities. People are intentionally rational but have structural and cognitive limits on their information. Bounded rationality and satisfactory solutions lead to incremental decision making and the use of rules, standard operating procedures, routines, and habitual patterns of behavior Pfeffer As in Barnard, organizational equilibrium represented a balance between the contributions of members and their organizational rewards.

Later, the decision-making scholars recognized that organizational policies were the outcome of multiple and competing objectives of organizational participants and people who controlled the organization represented a coalition of interests that affected the organizational structures and processes Cyert and March Later approaches adopt this view that human problem-solving processes determine the basic features of organizational structures and functions.

By the s, the master features of organizational sociology were becoming institutionalized through the publication of textbooks, handbooks, and a new journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, emphasizing the interdisciplinary character of the study of organizations. The new field of study underwent a conceptual transformation: The central features of organizational structural elements turned into dependent variables, rather than independent variables, whose variation became the focus of explanation Scott Within this causal transformation, the field shifted back and forth between various approaches, with some emphasizing the causal import of a purposive organization involving goals, decision making, and strategies, while others emphasized a more passive organization shaped by its environment Hall and Tolbert Prior to , several approaches emerged in the sociological study of organizations.

They questioned the presumed tight linkage between actions and outcomes and instead postulated a looser relationship between the organization form, its members, and its environment. The approaches identify economic and social factors that disrupt tight interrelationships, causing problems of organizational performance.

To manage these problems, each approach is distinguished by the adaptive mechanisms offered that change organizational structure, strategies, and practices that are designed to improve organizational performance. These approaches include strategic contingency, resource dependency, and neo-institutional and transaction cost analysis.

The population ecology approach represents an exception to this pattern by assuming that individual organizations cannot change or change too slowly, so where problems of organization-environment interdependency occur, some organizations must fail. The strategic contingency approach was popularized in the late s and became prominent as a loose framework for synthesizing the principal notions of organizations as open systems with objectivist empirical research.

The organization represents a configuration of strategies, structures, and processes, and the structural features that best fit the demands of environmental and internal contingencies are by definition the most efficient.

Similar to economic models, the contingency approach emphasizes efficiency, but like sociology models, it contends that the structure of the organization depends on various environmental and strategy contingencies Donaldson Environmental contingencies include firm size and the complexity, predictability, and interdependence of technological and market changes.

Strategy and environmental factors are the contingencies affecting organizational structure, and efficiency is found in the fit or alignment of the environment and strategies with organizational structures. Strategies are considered part of the normative culture of the organization, with a presumption of an efficiency-seeking orientation among managers.

The notion of fit between the organization and its environment resides somewhere in management perception, interpretation, and action. Having perceived such contingencies, they would, for example, create new programs or specialized departments or adjust administrative rules or structures to adapt to these contingencies. The contingency approach moved the sociology of organizations away from notions of a tight relation between the organization and the environment and that there was one best way to organize toward the notion that the better way to organize depended on the particular environmental contingencies confronting the organization.

However, critics question the tautological character of organization-environmental fit and the capacity of managers to perceive and change organizational structure Pfeffer and Salancik Also unspecified are the internal dynamics that affect managerial strategies and the notion that the perception of environment contingencies may be social and political constructions rather than objective facts Pfeffer The resource dependence approach emerged in the late s, in part as a reaction to the structural contingency approach.

These resource requirements entangle the organization in patterns of power-dependence relationships. Similar to the contingency approach, the emphasis on economic or technological resources implicitly orients the framework toward private firms.

Managers are responsible for gaining favorable exchanges and avoiding debilitating dependencies. They seek discretion to maintain their own power and to permit subsequent adaptations to new environmental dependencies.

The distribution of power within the organization is seen as an outcome of environmental dependencies. Thus, decision making is a function of the internal power structure, which interprets and defines the most critical dependencies and the choices of strategies to address them. Management mediates the relationship between the environment and the organization by adapting the organizational structure, negotiating favorable terms of exchange, and using a range of strategies from stockpiling supplies to joint ventures and mergers.

The sheer capacity to enact an environment implies that the resource dependency model is most appropriate for large, powerful, and dominating organizations. The resource dependency model focuses greater attention on internal organizational decision making and the efforts of managers to strategically adapt to the environment.

However, the larger pattern of asymmetrical relations in which the focal organization is enmeshed is left largely unexplored. The neo-institutional approach began with the work of Meyer and Rowan Building on the earlier institutional school of Selznick, this approach represents a reaction to economic contingency and resource dependency models that postulate that organizational structure is the result of technical and economic contingencies in the environment.

Instead, this approach presumes that many sectors and even parts of organizations are free of these technical and economic constraints and that organizational structure is more the result of efforts to fulfill normative expectations in the environment. The emphasis is on how organizational decision making is shaped, mediated, and channeled by normative institutional arrangements DiMaggio , where these arrangements take the form of routines, operating procedures, and standard ways of perceiving the environment and agreed-on value priorities.

Broadly shared patterns of beliefs and habitual practices mitigate problems of uncertainty, leading to emphasis on the role of ideas and belief systems in supporting and structuring organizations. Thus, organizations involve established procedures and rule-bound and standardized behaviors, and researchers attend to the process of infusing such procedures and behaviors into the organization as regularized and stable features Jepperson Organizational structures become similar as organizations interact and formal or informal rules emerge to govern these interactions.

Once institutionalized, or taken for granted, these rules exert powerful normative effects on subsequent organizational interactions, and changes in organizational structure result more from issues of legitimacy than from rational adaptation or efficiency. DiMaggio and Powell contend that the primary institutionalizing mechanism is imitation, which also works through coercive and regulatory mechanisms of the state and professions that disseminate and elaborate sets of beliefs and rules about appropriate organizational structure and practices.

Their point is that modern organizations cannot be adequately understood in terms of efficiency and adaptations to technical and economic contingencies because of the often contradictory demands of maintaining organizational effectiveness and legitimacy.

They adopt formal structures that are legitimate, while informal everyday activities pursue effective operations, independent of the formal structure.

The institutional approach is more applicable to public sector organizations because of its greater sensitivity to issues of normative expectations and legitimacy. The approach is criticized as tautological in the sense that outcome is the evidence for the cause and there is a lack of specification of what practices, procedures, and behaviors are institutionalized and which ones are freer to vary Hall and Tolbert Also, the emphasis on normative features deflects attention from issues of interests, power, and conflict Perrow and the technical and economic challenges to the organization.

The population ecology or natural selection approach began with the works of Hannan and Freeman and Aldrich and Pfeffer and presumes a tight relationship between the organizational form and the environment by stressing the impact of the environment on organizational survival.

In contrast with approaches that explain organizational change through adaptation of individual organizations, population ecology scholars emphasize selection processes such as competition embedded in the environmental or ecological conditions of a population of organizations. Citations are based on reference standards. However, formatting rules can vary widely between applications and fields of interest or study. The specific requirements or preferences of your reviewing publisher, classroom teacher, institution or organization should be applied.

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You already recently rated this item. Your rating has been recorded. Write a review Rate this item: Preview this item Preview this item. Research in the sociology of organizations. Intellectually, HRM draws from various academic disciplines and subdisciplines, which in turn vary according to its distinct national contexts. Hence, the role of occupational psychology has dovetailed into discussions on HRM regarding leadership and motivation, for example, and even matters of occupational health.

Secondly, there is an economics tradition within HRM studies which is very much drawn from labor economics and concerns itself with matters concerning the relation between HRM processes and out comes, as well as the subject of changing flexible labor markets and their relation with the HRM strategies of firms.

Thirdly, there is a sociological trajectory which concerns itself with employment matters and management-employee-trade union relations within the workplace, and the broader composition of the workforce. Human resource management is therefore a multidisciplinary area of analysis in terms of its academic context. There has also been an increasing demand from a practitioner perspective for information and guidance. This demand has come from organizations seeking greater flexibility in their workplaces, greater employee commitment, and developments in the capabilities of employees e.

These demands have been driven by a range of changes in product markets, competitive strategies, the structure of the firm, the competitive challenge through the globalization of economies, social changes and employee demands, and the changing context of regulation. The topic is based on a growing belief that competitive success increasingly depends on securing more from employees in terms of commitment and resources rather than passive compliance to managerial instruction.

The topics that have emerged were best described by Walton , who argued that future competitive success required the eliciting of commitment rather than the imposing of control. The first approach is more drawn to questions of control and direction e. These approaches have been nourished by the development of total quality management, with its emphasis on performance management on the one hand and employee involvement in matters related to service quality on the other.

There are two schools of thought and practice.

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Research in the Sociology of Organizations is an established international, peer-reviewed series that examines cutting edge theoretical, methodological and research issues in organizational studies. Research in the Sociology of Organizations is sponsored by the ASA Section on Organizations, Occupations and Work. Research in the sociology of organizations [Samuel B. Bacharach] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. This work on labour relations and unions is part of a series that considers the theoretical, methodological and research issues relevant to organizational sociology.

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Research in the Sociology of Organizations is especially concerned with specifying the unique contributions of sociological theories and research techniques to the analysis of organizations. In addition to publishing high quality original research, each volume aims to foster debate about the value of new theories and research to the growing international community of organizational studies scholars. Get this from a library! Research in the sociology of organizations.