The Opening Up of Organization Theory

Bob Hinings and Roston Greenwood

in The Oxford Handbook of Management

Published in print March 2017 | ISBN: 9780198708612
Published online April 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191779565 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Opening Up of Organization Theory

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This chapter explores the history of an open systems approach to the study of management and organizations, and the way in which it has become a taken-for-granted, institutionalized part of organization theory. Its introduction in the 1960s transformed our understanding of organizations because of its concern with the organization in its environment. It led to contingency theory which became a dominant approach within organization theory. Examined here are three variants of open-systems theory: general systems theory which argues that there are general ideas that can be applied to all systems; specific systems thinking where the concept of interdependent parts is accepted without necessarily accepting that all systems are similar; and approaches that theorize the organization within an environment but without any specific use of systems concepts and metaphors.

Keywords: systems theory; environments; organizational theory; contingency theory; management

Article.  7976 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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