Organizations in Action: Social Science Bases of Administrative Theory

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Transaction Publishers, Dec 31, 2011 - Business & Economics - 192 pages
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Organizations act, but what determines how and when they will act? There is precedent for believing that the organization is but an extension of one or a few people, but this is a deceptively simplified approach and, in reality, makes any generalization in organizational theory enormously difficult. Modern-day organizations—manufacturing firms, hospitals, schools, armies, community agencies—are extremely complex in nature, and several strategies, employing a variety of disciplines, are needed to gain a proper understanding of them.

Organizations in Action is a classic multidisciplinary study of the behavior of complex organizations as entities. Previous books on the subject focused on the behavior of people in organizational contexts, but this volume considers individual behavior only to the extent that it helps explain the nature of organizations. James D. Thompson offers ninety-five distinct propositions about the behavior of organizations, all relevant regardless of the culture in which they are found. Thompson classifies organizations according to their technologies and environments. That organizations must meet and handle uncertainty is central to his thesis.

Organizations in Action is firmly grounded in concepts and theories in the social and behavioral sciences. While it does not offer an actual theory of administration, the book successfully extends the scientific base upon which any emerging administrative theory must rest. This classic work is of continuing value to organizational and management specialists, behavioral scientists, sociologists, administrators, and policymakers.

 

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Review: Organizations in Action: Social Science Bases of Administrative Theory

User Review  - Stephen - Goodreads

READ JUNE 2008 Good seminal work describing how organizations function. Read full review

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Contents

Part One
1
Stategies for Studying Organizations
3
Rationality in Organizations
14
Domains of Organized Action
25
Organizational Design
39
Technology and Structure
51
Organizational Rationality and Structure
66
The Assessment of Organizations
83
The Variable Human
101
Discretion and its Exercise
117
The Control of Complex Organizations
132
The Administrative Process
144
Conclusion
159
Bibliography
165
Name Index
179
Subject Index
183

Part Two
99

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About the author (2011)

James D. Thompson taught business administration and sociology at Indiana University and Vanderbilt University. He contributed numerous articles to scholarly journals, including American Journal of Sociology, Administrative Science Quarterly, and American Sociological Review.

W. Richard Scott is professor emeritus of sociology at Stanford University. He is the author of Organizations: Rational, Natural and Open Systems and Institutions and Organizations, and is a former editor of Annual Review of Sociology.

Mayer N. Zald is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Occupations and Organizations in American Society, and co-author (with John McCarthy) of Social Movements in an Organizational Society, available from Transaction.

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