Organizations: A Very Short Introduction

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OUP Oxford, Mar 24, 2011 - Social Science - 176 pages
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Most of us recognize that organizations are everywhere. You meet them on every street corner in the form of families and shops, study in them, work for them, buy from them, pay taxes to them. But have you given much thought to where they came from, what they are today, and what they might become in the future? How and why do they have so much influence over us, and what influences them? How do they contribute to and detract from the meaningfulness of lives, and how might we improve them so they better serve our needs and desires? This Very Short Introductions addresses all of these questions and considers many more. Mary Jo Hatch introduces the concept of organizations by presenting definitions and ideas drawn from the a variety of subject areas including the physical sciences, economics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, literature, and the visual and performing arts. Drawing on examples from prehistory and everyday life, from the animal kingdom as well as from business, government, and other formal organizations, Hatch provides a lively and thought provoking introduction to the process of organization. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Organizations are everywhere. It is impossible not to be a part of at least one major organization, be it your place of work, worship, or education. Understanding what organizations are and how they operate, evolve, and dissolve are important topics that any educated person ought to explore. Unfortunately, it is impossible to glean any useful information about organizations from this very short introduction.
Most of the observations and ideas in this book are either abstract and theoretical or so concrete that they are downright trite. All the references are to 100+-year-old thinkers, with a special predilection for Marx. There are virtually no empirical evidences or testable hypotheses anywhere in this book. Nowhere are mentioned any of the recent developments in social sciences of organizations and organizational behaviors. This book is a quintessential product of armchair intellectualism and ivory tower navel-gazing. It may be well-suited for a humanities seminar or one of a myriad “studies” departments, but it is as far from serious relevant scholarship as they come. This is one of those rare books that may make you understand its subject less after you read it.
Unfortunately, over the past year or so the quality of the titles in the Very Short Introduction series has dramatically deteriorated. To be sure, the series still provides many worthwhile gems, but you can no longer be reasonably sure that picking any one of these slim volumes will provide you with unqualifiedly informative and educational experience. There seems to be a serious failure on the part of the editorial staff to properly vet and recommend appropriate books for the inclusion in the series. I would strongly encourage you to read up as many reviews as possible of the recent VSI books before you commit yourself to buying or reading any one of them.


List of illustrations
Chapter 1What is organization?
Chapter 2What is the best way to organize?
Chapter 3What does it mean to be an organization?
Chapter 4Who does organizing serve?
Chapter 5How does organizing happen?
Chapter 6Where do we go from here?
politics and philosophy
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About the author (2011)

Mary Jo Hatch is an organization theorist doing research, teaching, and consulting in the areas of organizational culture, identity, and corporate branding. She has worked with, and studied, many companies including LEGO Group, Novo Nordisk, Johnson & Johnson, and Nissan. She has written or co-authored several books including Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic and Postmodern Perspectives (2nd edition 2006, Oxford University Press), The Three Faces of Leadership: Manager, Artist, Priest (2005, Blackwell Publishing), and most recently, Taking Brand Initiative: How Corporations Can Align Strategy, Culture and Identify through Corporate Branding (2008, Jossey-Bass/Wiley).

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