Summary Organisational theory and dynamics

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Summary - Organisational theory and dynamics

  • 1 Organization theory and its multiple perspectives

  • What is the definition of a theory?

    A field of study for example organization theory.

    A theory can also refer to a particular idea that is part of a field of study. Theory is constructed from concepts and relationships between conepts that explain, understand or appreciate the phenomenon of interest.
  • What is the difference between adages (gezegdes) and theories?

    Adages contain wisdom that has been past down through anecdotal experience.
    A theory is formalized knowledge that has created with considerations to philosophy and science
  • What is a concept?

    A concept is a building block of theory and provides mental storage units that can organize and hold ideas.
    Cocepts allow you to communicate and exchange information
  • What are heuristics?

    Strategies that guide people's choices and behaiour. The advantage is that it offers invaluable guidance. The disadvantage is that it increases the danger of bias as it increases the use of preconceived notions that may not fit the newly encountered example.

    You have to recognize nuances so that you do not make misunderstandings and enrich your knowledge by refining and adding concepts
  • Explain the use of higher-order concepts within knowledge structures

    Knowledge structures grow as higher order concepts are developed.
    Higher order concepts are developed by additional repetitions of the abstraction processes because each repetition raises the concept to a higher level.
    However, each repetition also decreases the details applicable to specific examples of the concept
  • What is the phenomenon of interest?

    This is the FOCUS and SUBJECT of a theory and what the theorist is aiming to explain, understand or appreciate. Theorists limit phenomena that they study to phenomenon within an established domain in their field.
    A completely new phenomenon in a field or a new way of viewing an existing phenomenon can produce a revolutionary theory.
  • Explain theorizing
    Theorizing is the process of proposing ideas regarding how concepts are related to a phenomenon of interest
  • What is a theoretical perspective?

    This is created when a group of theorists working within a field of study define their concepts in a similar way and use this shared idea to theorize their phenomena of interest.
    Although theorizing is carried out by researching and their focus of study, external elements such as conversations among theorists will influence the theorization.

    Groups that have shared habits of thought may diverge to the extent that there are noticeable boundaries between different groups
  • What is a paradigm?
    A paradigm is a worldview that is firmly rooted in the minds and actions of people to the extent that they do not consider alternatives.
  • Name a similarity and difference between paradigms and perspectives
    Perspectives and paradigms both set expectations for the research process but organizational theorists disagree on their preference for a certain perspective or paradigm.
  • Name 4 disadvantages of the quantitative methods that modernists use to study organizations

    1) The social structure of organizations may not suit mathematical analysis
    2) The data used often not exact
    3) Organizational behavior varies and hence there is high measurement error
    4) Researchers may confuse correlation with causality because the correlational statistics are not enough to support causal inference. The fact that two factors are related does not mean that they have a causal relationship
  • Why is the consideration of epistemology important for theorists?
    Theorists make epistemological assumptions whenever they conceptualize or theorize
  • What is the relationship between epistemology and ontology?
    This relationship defines what kinds of knowledge can be used in reality and ontology establishes this reality
  • Explain objective ontlogy and which group embraces this?

    Objective ontology assumes that an unwavering reality exists and it is independent of our perceptions about it.
    • modernists
  • Explain positive epistemology and which group embraces this?

    Positive epistemology views knowledge as generated by the scientific method; the developing and testing of hypotheses derived from theories. The scientific tests consist of empirical observations that reveal comparisons between theory and external reality.
    The scientific method requires that theories must be testable (falsifiable).

    • modernists assume that phenomena that are studied exist independently of our observation
  • What is independent observation?

    When different people, all with the same relationship to a phenomenon, make similar observations about it and at different points in time.

    Results have to be reliable and valid
  • Explain reliability validity and generalizability

    Reliability ensures that the results of empirical studies do not vary across repetitions
    Validity ensures that you studied what you intended to study

    if these two are not met, then the measurement will contain errors and consequently faulty knowledge

    Generalizability is the extent to which a theory can be applied to different situations without limiting conditions. A generalizable theory is more valuable because it has more valid and reliable uses
  • Explain subjective ontology and which group embraces this?

    Subjective ontology is interested in phenomena that are regarded as unknowable by those who assume objectivist ontology.

    For example culture is only observable subjectively because it has to be communicated subjectively.

    • symbolists focus on what is revealed when private thoughts and feelings are considered
  • Explain interpretivist epistemology and which group embraces this?

    Interpretivist epistemology allows the researcher to influence the context but then requires that they reflect on this influence and how it operates. This implies that knowledge creation and understanding requires the contexts that give it meaning.
    There are many interpretations of reality that exist at the same time and vary depending on the interpreter.

    • symbolists aim to understand an organisation by using a range of people's understandings
  • What is the critique of postmodernists on modern organization theory?
    Postmodernists critique modern organization theory for enabling the dominance of managers in organizations
  • What is linguistic ontology and which group embraces this?

    Linguistic ontology is the belief that knowledge and knowing arise in and from language

    • postmodernists
  • Explain the linguistic turn

    The linguistic turn is the idea that the world is made by language.

    Language and discourse that is created through speech and writing creates an appearance for states that would otherwise not exist.
  • Explain the reflexive epistemology and which group embraces this?
    The reflexive epostemology assumes that knowledge and knowing are non founded in reality because it is illusory. Therefore postmodernists want to study the realities that others create an inhabit, despite not believing in reality themselves.
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Katz and Kahn.The organizations social structure passes through which phases>
1) support phase: 
differentiates the purchasing and sales activities from core production tasks. By creating separate formal units, production and service employees can focus on transforming raw materials into products. Integration is provided by a general manager

2) Maintenance phase:
introduced as the organization grows and requires support activities to support its core production. Support activities include HR, accounting and public relations. The organization has differentiated the organizational structure to accommodate core activities. The maintenance activities are not dependent on the core activities (purchasing and sales) and are therefore performed relatively independently

3) Adaptation phase:
applied again to facilitate organizational growth as it allows the organization to respond to environmental changes. Adaptive function can include the development of new products and markets. The organizational structure has now fully integrated its activities
According to Katz and Kahn, how do organizational systems evolve?
They evolve in response to internal (subsystem) and external (supersystem) pressures, The organization attempts to buffer its technical core so that there are no disruptions to the core transformation processes.
What are the 5 phases of the organizational life cycle theory
1) entrepreneurial phase - leadership crisis
2) Collectivity phase - autonomy crisis
3) Delegation phase - crisis of control
4) Formalization phase - crisis of red tape
5 Collaboration phase - crisis of renewal
Explain the organizational life cycle theory
Describes organizations as moving through phases. Each phase contains a crisis that threatens the organizational's survival that either pushes the organization forward into the next phase or into decline
What are crowdsourced organizations?
Also called virtual organizations. Distinguished by their use of social media to establish and support the organization. For example, online retailers like Ebay let buyers and sellers negotiate economic exchanges through virtual contact
What is a value chain
Each partner supplies not only input but also adds a unique value to the output the end user receives. Supply/value chains coexist with traditional forms instead of offering an alternative because they interpenetrate traditional organizational forms
Name an advantage of the supply chains
After dividing the required tasks among partners in the chain, the advantages of division of labour are acquired without the costs of adding layers of management or bureaucracy. Operating members have to consider the whole chain when making decisions and therefore sharing information between members is of importance.
Explain the supply chain model
Focuses on how material flow through a linear chain of entities starting at the raw materials and ending at the distribution to customers and end users.
Organizations that are a member of the model only carry out a portion of their total activity to the supply chain because they engage in activities outside the narrow view of the supply chain and may participate in more than one supply chain
What is a disadvantage of network organisations?
It relies on reputation trust and cooperation which have to be managed.
Network partners with control over critical information or resources may exploit other partners for their own profits
What are some advantages of network organisations?
Information sharing is encouraged, decision making is liberated, facilitates innovation and encouraged democratic management