Article

Micro and Macro Perspectives in Organization Theory: A Tale of Incommensurability

William McKinley and Mark A. Mone

in The Oxford Handbook of Organization Theory

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780199275250
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199275250.003.0013

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

 Micro and Macro Perspectives in Organization Theory: A Tale of Incommensurability

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This article categorizes existing schools of thought by level of analysis. It distinguishes specifically between micro and macro levels of analysis. The organization theory schools of thought at the micro level capture the way that single organizations modify their structures to take account of contingencies originating in their individual task environments. Schools of thought at the macro level focus on the evolution of aggregates of organizations and the characteristics of organizational collectivities such as fields. The former group of schools contains such perspectives as Donaldson's neo-contingency theory, as well as resource dependence theory and transaction costs theory. The latter group — the macro group — includes population ecology theory and neo-institutional theory. The classification of these five schools into micro and macro levels of analysis may be viewed as a tentative heuristic that helps make sense of organization theory's current complexity.

Keywords: schools of thought; level of analysis; micro level; macro level; Donaldson's neo-contingency theory; transaction costs theory

Article.  12154 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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