Organisational Theory Assignment
Baruch Spinoza once said, “The highest activity a human can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free”. Spinoza quoting that understanding leads to freedom – emancipation – can be interpreted as a statement from the perspective of a critical theorist (Green 2004) and if left unchallenged this statement would prove absolute. However, using a modernist perspective it can be argued that understanding would lead to quantification (Hatch, 2006) that could in turn, lead to greater efficiency. Solely from referencing the two theories above and the 2 ways of looking at a single statement we can ascertain that a combination of ...view middle of the document...
A symbolic-interpretative on the other hand harbours an epistemology of interpretivism, which lends itself to the statement “knowledge can only be created and understood from the point of view of the individuals who live and work in a particular organisation” (Hatch 2006).
Interpretivism includes intangible aspects such as emotions, intuition, and non-verbal communication and as such is highly contested by modernists as being unreliable. From these epistemologies alone, we can derive that using one perspective in particular is incomplete, a human will experience things quantifiable by his 5 senses and also feel and perceive things subconsciously. Integrating just 2 paradigms above already provides us with a more holistic approach. Synthesising a critical theorist’s purpose of revealing the truth, it further strengthens the comprehension of an organisation by providing a self-critical approach to the analysis providing a reflection point of view prompting an unbiased and untainted analysis based on their epistemology of subjectivism.
The combination of these 3 perspectives provides a well-rounded comprehensive view on understanding organisations as it incorporates quantification, qualification and self-reflection.
Due to the increasing complexity and expansion in organisations, the second advantage of using a multi perspective approach is in the increased capacity to understand how to better embrace structure and its implications.
Organisations of recent are getting increasingly more complex due to a multitude of factors that can include globalisation, geopolitical force and expansion. It has been acknowledged by many higher-level management executives that managing this complexity has become a high priority (Nelson, 2006).
One way in which a multiple perspective approach can help is in the understanding. One of the factors that would vary with change and complexity is the structure of an organisation. Referencing the purposes of the multiple perspectives to structure, we can make a statement proclaiming that the modernist analyses structure to be better able to control it the symbolic-interpretivists seek to understand it and the post-modernist seeks to prove that structure is non-existent but merely a construct of the mind (Hornett 1998; Hatch 2007). Simplifying this further would lead us to 3 questions; how can we increase efficiency and effectiveness? Why do certain types of organisations respond better? Is structure even necessary or is it a just a way for management to legitimize power?
The modernist perspective in structure quantifies and categorises structure. Henry Mintzberg (1981) classified structure into 5 categories: Machine Bureaucracy, Professional Bureaucracy, Simple Structure, Divisional Form and Adhocracy. He claimed that the 3 latter structures are best suited for unstable and turbulent environments and would perform well. These 3 structures when referenced to the Burns and Stalker (1971) ideal...