Organization Theory and Governance for the 21st Century is a core text for the organization theory course that provides students with both theoretical grounding and practical application. The objective of the text is to expose students to post-traditional theory as well as to “operationalize” theory, showing clearly how it's been applied and with what impact. The book first covers the classical foundations of organization theory, beginning with rationalist approaches and the behavioral revolution, and then delving into the diversity of network theory, chaos and complexity, structural-functionalism, and transaction cost economics. The authors then demonstrate how these theories are operationalized; i.e. how they can be applied to various management and administrative functions, including managing individual behavior, affecting organizational change, understanding and shaping group dynamics, and managing organization/environment relations. The final section introduces students to post-traditional theory, links back to classical foundations, and demonstrates how these theories are being applied in organizations involved in governance. Austin and Parkes also discuss the implications and provide critiques of these theories. Valuable case studies bring the material to life; the authors identify both historical contexts and “current expressions,” or contemporary examples of these theories at work. Reflection questions throughout each chapter, end-of-chapter discussion questions, and bolded key concepts facilitate a deeper understanding of the material and prompt students to extrapolate what they've learned and engage in further analysis.
Part II: Issues, Strategies, and Tactics
In Part I we presented a historical and conceptual overview of organization theory (OT), tracing the evolution of thinking about how to maximize the effectiveness of organizations, especially in the public sector. Part II shifts gears and is both practical and problem oriented in its content and structure. It presents a basic taxonomy, or framework, of issues or activities that administrators must routinely contend with. Each of the chapters in Part II do so by working across levels of analysis from the individual, to systems, to organizations writ large and finally to organization-environment relations in an effort to explore the implications of the theories from Part I for organizations as they operate in twenty-first-century governance settings.
The purpose ...