Article

New Times, Fresh Challenges: Reflections on the Past and the Future of Organization Theory

Haridimos Tsoukas

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/9780199275250.003.0024

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

New Times, Fresh Challenges: Reflections on the Past and the Future of Organization Theory

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As one would expect of all social scientific fields, organization theory (OT) bears the marks of its birth. In the imagery of mainstream OT, organizations are places of ‘imperative control’, that is cohesive and enduring totalities that resist change, have a dominant culture and a hierarchical power structure that ensures conformity and control so that certain behavioural regularities are more probable to occur than others. Following such imagery, the key phenomena of interest have been the following: how power and cognitive structures, having the attributes of being independent and logically prior to individual actors and of relative inflexibility, result in ‘de-randomizing’ the voluntary actions of agents so that individual human behaviour becomes organizational behaviour; and how the hierarchy of power and knowledge, empirically manifested in organizational structure, is related to certain key variables for organizational performance.

Keywords: organization theory; imperative control; hierarchical power structure; cognitive structures; organizational behaviour

Article.  6848 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Business History

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