Organization theory is presently dominated by theories of strategic choice and politics. Managers are seen as exercising a wide range of choices while maximizing their personal self-interest through complex power struggles. For Positivist Organization Theory challenges these views, arguing instead that managerial decisions are determined by the situation and serve the interests of the whole organization. Showing that all organizations follow the same universal laws across technologies and a variety of cultures, this intriguing volume rejects the model of organizational configurations and types. Author Lex Donaldson backs up his theory, offering a critical assessment of leading organization theorists such as Henry Mintzberg, John Child, Michael Hannan, and Danny Miller--along with the satirist Northcote Parkinson. This important book will provide stimulating reading for academics and graduate students in organization, management, and administrative studies.

For Determinism: Against Strategic Choice

For determinism: Against strategic choice

The tension between determinism and choice is perhaps the most central, and least resolved, issue in the social sciences (Burrell and Morgan, 1979). It is central to debate in organization theory (Warner, 1977; Astley and Van de Ven, 1983; Hrebiniak and Joyce, 1985; Whittington, 1988, 1989; Mahoney, 1993). Rejection of determinism is seen as one of the main elements of anti-positivism (Burrell and Morgan, 1979). In contrast, positivist structural contingency theory holds that structure is determined by the contingency variables. It sees little discretion in the selection of structures by management. This is often seen as a very negative view of management in structural contingency theory. Thus the idea of structure being determined by objective contingency ...

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