Parsons as an Organization Theorist

Charles Heckscher

in The Oxford Handbook of Sociology and Organization Studies

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199535231
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

 Parsons as an Organization Theorist

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  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour
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Talcott Parsons was America's most influential sociologist in the 1950s and 1960s—bringing Max Weber's work to America, building a multidisciplinary social sciences approach at Harvard, and developing a highly integrated and complex theory of social action. Even before his death in 1979, however, his star had greatly dimmed; today his work is rarely read. And that, this article argues, is unfortunate, because he still has far more to say than anyone before or since on the core concepts of sociology: trust, values, commitment, and other ‘normative’ aspects of behavior. The article also argues, by using his model to think through the current growth of collaborative systems in business firms, that it still generates many fruitful avenues for organization theory.

Keywords: Talcott Parsons; Max Weber; business firms; collaborative systems; organization theory; social sciences

Article.  10022 words. 

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

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