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 III: Toward Post-Positivist Organizations
At the close of each episode of the 1950s TV program The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, George would turn to Gracie and say, “Say good night, Gracie” and Gracie would reply, “Good night Gracie.” In one interpretation, this is merely a grammatical misunderstanding of where the comma is placed: “Say good night, Gracie” or “Say, good night, Gracie.” In another interpretation, it's an indicator of a different feature of language, one that suggests language not only evolves and changes over time but also that at any given time language may not be as stable or grounded as we tend to believe. In this example we see a shift from what is assumed to be a clear, shared, ...