Organizational Theory

Topics: Technology, Organization, Modernism Pages: 7 (2219 words) Published: August 29, 2013
The theories of `modern', ‘symbolic interpretive’, ‘critical theories’ and `postmodern' are commonly used in intellectual debates on the studies of organization and these various theories are interpreted as perspectives. In this paper I argue that what distinguishes each theory can be understood by its differences in thinking style, each having it’s own inclination of ontological commitments and theoretical fixations. Modernism acknowledges the existence of reality regardless of whether they are visible or not through the use of common organizational terms such as “organizations”, “structure”, etc. However the critical theorist critiques this reasoning and concludes that the modernist way of thinking obscure the truth of reality with tainted ideology. Postmodernist thinking refutes this reality and believes that realty is transformational and continuously in flux. Symbolic Interpretive gives an insight as to how truth is socially constructed and that people agree upon these meaningful realities. The consequences of the various perspectives mode of thoughts on how technology will determine the future of organizations are then explored in more detail.

Mordernist viewpoint:
In general technology is defined as the usage of knowledge and organization to produce techniques and objects for the attainment of specific goals that may include practical reasons, symbolic reasons, or for reasons of generating profit. From the modernist point of view, organizations are seen as technology used for the means of providing needs and wants (Hatch and Cunliffe, 2006). There is a correlation between technology and organization in the way that the firm’s technologies influences the organization structure of an organization at administrative and operational level that in turn affects the performance of the firm (K.Abdul Ghani, 2002). As shown by Joan Woodward in her 1960’s research on technologies that consisted of 100 manufacturing organizations in south England and the focus point was on manufacturing technology. The result of her studies indicates a pattern linking structure to performance when the type of core technology is taken into account. The companies were grouped according to their amount of automation or complicated devices used in the manufacturing process and are broken down into three group types. The first group containing small and single set product flourishes in performance when organization structure is flexible, meaning that people are only recruited when there is an order, second group which are mass and large-batch production that needs an organizational hierarchy where managers have more control and power and the last group which is continuous, process production (J.Woodward, 1965) Woodward believes that technologies determines the performance of through a “linear model”, where ideas and solutions are generated through research and development that leads to production of materials to the market and then the generation of sales from consumers. (Perrow, 1967) Therefore the future of organizations will largely depend on technology as per what Woodward says, the success of different production type that is used by organizations will be determined by the technologies used through the different organization hierarchy and control

However Thompson disagrees that technology is determinant (Jo Hatch, Ann L Cliff, 2006) Thompson’s typology indicates that technology makes it a possibility to choose proper approaches to mitigate uncertainty and specific structural shapes can correct uncertainty (Stephen R, 2008). Three types of technologies that Thompson proposes were firstly, mediating technology that allows for linking up two or more parties to a transaction. For example standardized procedures that allows for borrowers in a bank to receive funding and interest payment for those who are saving in the bank. Secondly long-linked technologies where there is a process of sequential steps that starts from an input...
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