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.

Learning to Fly: Applying Post-Positivist Theory

Learning to fly: Applying post-positivist theory

The second chapter in Part III turns its attention to an exploration of how post-positivist theories can be and in some cases already are being applied in organizations involved in governance. There are several issues that we need to note about our approach in this chapter before diving into applications. First, it demonstrates that post-positivist theory is applicable in useful rather than narrowly esoteric ways. Next, it reveals how the theory and application may not constitute a radical departure from existing practice but still differs in subtle but important ways. Finally, it suggests new and emerging opportunities to further apply postpositivist theory in ways that support governance organizations and broader democratic society.

Chapter 9 ...

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