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University of Washington

Organizations & Geography

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(http://faculty.washington.edu/krumme/readings/organizations.html)





"Nothing truly general can be said about aggregate regularities until it has been made clear how far they remain invariant with organizational differences at the micro level." (Torsten Hägerstrand, Lund)




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1999 [ econgeog@u.washington.edu]


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What is an "Organization?

  • "A group of persons with a common objective" (Neoclassical)

  • "A structured process in which individuals interact for objectives" (Hicks, Management of Organizations, p.23)

  • "A structure of relationships, power, objectives, roles, activities, communications and other factors that exist when persons work together" (Classical amalgamism)

  • "A dynamic social system of cooperative interactions with the purpose of satisfying individual needs" (Chaster Barnard, 1938; = transition between neoclassical and modern; accommodating formal and informal aspects of organizations)

  • "A set of social relations deliberately created, with the explicit intention of continuously accomplishing some specific goals or purposes" (Stinchcombe, in J.March, ed., Handbook of Organizations, 1964, p.142.)

  • "A system of structural interpersonal relations ... (within which) ... individuals are differentiated in terms of authority, status, and role with the result that personal interaction is prescribed... Anticipated reactions tend to occur, while ambiguity and spontaneity are decreased" (R.V. Presthus)

  • "A system consisting generally of inputs, process, outputs, feedback, and environment" (Norbert Wiener's cybernetic interpretation of organization)

  • "A set of interlocked activities under unified control" (Pfeffer & Salancik)

  • "Every organized human activity -- from the making of pots to the placing of a man on the moon -- gives rise to two fundamental and opposing requirements: The division of labor into various tasks to be performed, and the coordination of these tasks to accomplish the activity" (Mintzberg, 1983)

  • "The most effective organizations achieve a degree of differentiation and integration in organizational boundary-spanning functions which is compatible with environmental demands" (Lawrence & Lorsch, 1967)

  • "Formal organization: "The goals to be achieved, the rules the members of the organization are expected to follow, and the status structure that defines the relations between them have not been spontaneously emerged in the course of social interaction but have been consciously designed a priori to anticipate and guide interaction and activities" (Blau & Scott, Formal Organization, 1962, p.5)

  • "One characteristic which distinguishes organizations from other collections of people is a commitment to achieving members' goals by means of an explicit and stable structure of task allocations, roles, and responsibilities. Mobs and informal groups are not organizations. Social and service clubs, like Rotary and Kiwanis, are organizations only part of the time. However, as long as one is concerned with organizational behavior and not with social behavior in general, one should emphasize the modes of behavior in which organizations specialize" (W.H. Starbuck, 1965)

  • "Different types of organizational structure are suitable for particular environmental conditions. An organization with well-defined tasks and a rigidly hierarchical system of decision-taking is argued to be appropriate for stable environmental conditions. Where the environment is changing, an organic form of organizational structure is deemed more appropriate, in which tasks are flexibly defined and participants cooperate on the basis of expertise and not on hierarchical positions" (=contingency view; Burns and Stalker, 1961)


Are Organizations Losing Their Distinctiveness? Organizational Flexibilities & the Reshaping or Organizational Structures: Three Voices:

  1. Alvin Toeffler: Future Shock, 1970, Ch.7: "Organizations: The Coming Ad-Hocracy."

    "Organizations now change their internal shape with a frequency -- and sometime a rashness -- that makes the head swim. Titles changes from week to week. Jobs are transformed. Responsibilities shift. Vast organizational structures are taken apart , bolted together again in new forms, then rearranged again. Departments and divisions spring up overnight only to vanish in another, and yet another, reorganization..." (p.128)

    "Project organization is widespread in the aerospace industry...Proposal-writing teams often work together for a few weeks... When the contract is won, new team are successively eastablsihed for the development, and, ultimately production of the goods required... Task forces and other ad-hoc groups are now proliferating throughout the government and business bureaucracies..." (p.134)

  2. Another set of quotes (Benjamin Singer, "Organizational Communication and Social Disassembly: An Essay on Electronic Anomie," in: Lee Thayer, ed., Organization -- Communication [HD31 O727 1986 vol.1]

    Rather than generating centralization or decentralization, the new organizational media show signs of a kind of "social disessembly" of organizations, of the breakdown of social organization as we know it, carrying with it a dissolution of the authority based upon it.... [organizations] lose their distinctiveness; the borders separating organization from organization, organization from non-organization, dissolve.... we are witnessing a breakdown of boundaries within and between organizations, bred by omni-interconnectivity and by the speed of the new media... (p.222)

  3. Bill Gates, Business @ The Speed of Thought. 1999. Ch.8: "Change in the Boundaries of Business," pp.133ff.

    A corporation can use the Internet to work seamlessly with professionals such as lawyers and accountants who remain "outside" the corporate walls as consultants rather than company employees... companies should focus on their core competencies... Despite the emergence of new, flexible boundaries, big companies won't deconstruct themselves into per-project production companies. Companies need to excel in consistent in-house execution of their core competencies.... they'll just use technology to do it more efficiently. Every company will experiment to find its optimal size and organizational structure...


Clippings:

Survey looks at job-hopping execs Organizational change cited as big reason Seattle PI, November 4, 2002; By DIANE E. LEWIS [THE BOSTON GLOBE]

Of those polled, 81 percent said they left their previous position and were looking for new work because of an organizational change such as a merger, restructuring, layoff or acquisition. Only 2 percent were dismissed because of performance. In several countries, plant closings accounted for many of the job losses respondents experienced in 2001, the study found


Literature:

Aldrich, H.E., Organizations and Environments, Prentice- Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1979.

Bacharach, Samuel B. et al., eds., Research in the Sociology of Organizations Vol.13 (1995), Studies of Organizations in the European Tradition. Greenwich, Conn., JAI Press. [HD 58.7 R48 v.13]

Baker, F., Organizational Systems: General Systems Approaches to Complex Organizations, Irwin, Homewood, IL, 1973.

Barber, Bernhard. Constructing Social Systems (To the Memory of Talcott Parsons). Transaction Publishers (New Brunswick), 1993. [HM131 B285]

Blau, P.M. & Scott, W.R., Formal Organizations, Chandler, San Francisco, CA, 1962, 194-221.

Bowman, Edward H., ed., Redesigning the Firm. Oxford UP, 1995. [new technologies, new models of work ...]

Bruhn, John G., Trust and the Health of Organizations. New York: Kluwer, 2001. [HD6961.B793 2001/Suzz]

Clark, Gordon L. & Wrigely, Neil The Spatial Configuration of the Firm and the Management of Sunk Costs. Economic geography. JUL 1997 v 73 n 3,pp. 285ff.

Dill, W.R., "Environment as an Influence on Managerial Activity," Administrative Science Quarterly, 2 (1958), 409- 43.

Drucker, P.F., "The Coming of the New Organization," Harvard Business Review, (January-February 1988), 45-53.

Duncan, R.B., "Characteristics of Organizational Environments and Perceived Environmental Uncertainty," Administrative Science Quarterly, 17, 3, (September 1972), 313-27.

Ebers, Mark. The Formation of Inter-Organizational Networks. Oxford University Press, 1997. 312pp. [author: Augsburg University]

Emery, F.E. & Trist, E.L., "The Causal Texture of Organizational Environments," Human Relations, 18 (1965), 21-32.

Etzioni, A. & Lehman, E.W., A Sociological Reader on Complex Organizations, Holt,Rinehart & Winston, New York, 1980.

Evan, W.E., "The Organization-Set: Toward a Theory of Interorganizational Relations," in James D. Thompson (Ed.), Approaches to Organizational Design, University of Pittsburgh Press, PA, 1966.

Evan, W.E., "An Organization-Set Model of Interorganizational Relations," in Organization Theory: Structures, Systems, and Environments, John WIley & Sons, New York, 1976, 148-66.

Evan, W.E., "An Organization-Set Model of Organizations," in Organization Theory: Research and Design, Macmillan, New York, 1993, 155-87.

Galbraith, J., "Environmental and Technological Determinants of Organization Design," in J.W. Lorsch & P.R. Lawrence (Eds.), Studies in Organization Design, Richard D. Irwin, Homewood, IL, 1970, 113-139.

Galbraith, J., Designing Complex Organizations, Addison- Wesley, Reading, MA, 1973.

Galbraith, J. Organization Design, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 1977.

Hagedoorn, John and Jos Schakenraad, "Strategic Partnering and Technological Cooperation," in: B.Dankbaar, et al., eds., Perspectives in Industrial Organization. Kluwer 1990,pp.171-91. [HD 2326. P47]

Hesterly, W.S. et al., Organizational Economics: An Impending Revolution in Organization Theory," Academy of Management Review 15 (3), 1990, 402-20.

Huber, George P., "A Theory of the Effects of Advanced Information Technologies on Organizational Design, Intelligence, and Decision Making, Academy of Management Review 15(1), 1990, 47-71.

Hymer, Stephen, The Multinational Corporation and the Law of Uneven Development, in: Bhagwati, J.N., ed., Economics and World Order, N.Y.: Free Press 1972, pp.33ff.

Iannello, Kathleen p., Decisions without Hierarchy: Feminist Interventions in Organization Theory and Practice. Routledge 1992. [HM131 I284]

Katz, D. & Kahn, R.L., The Social Psychology of Organizations, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1966.

Lawrence, P.R. & Lorsch, J.W., Organization and Environment: Managing Differentiation and Integration, Division of Research, Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University, 1967.

Leavitt, H.J., Pinfield, L., & Webb, E., Organizations of the Future: Interaction with the External Environment, Praeger, New York, 1974, p. xv.

Lomi, Alessandro and Erik R. Larsen, eds., Dynamics of Organizations: Computational Modeling and Organizational Theories. American Association for Artificial Intelligence, AAAI Press/ M.I.T. Press, 2001. [HD58.7 D96 2001/Suzz]

March, J.G. & Simon, H.A., Organization, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1958.

Miller, J.G., "Living Systems: Basic Concepts," Behavioral Science, 10, 1965, 193-411.

Mintzberg, H., The Structuring of Organizations, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1979.

O huallachain, Breandan. "Vertical Integration in American Manufacturing: Evidence for the 1980s," Prof.Geog. 48(4), Nov. 1997, pp.343-56.

Owens, Robert G., Organizational behavior in education. 6th ed. Boston : Allyn and Bacon, c1998. xxxi, 368 pp. Includes bibliographical references and indexes. School-management-and-organization -- United-States. Organizational-behavior. [Suzzallo General Stacks LB2806 .O9 1998]

Perrow, C., "A Framework for the Comparative Analysis of Organizations," American Sociological Review, 32 (April, 1967), 194-208.

Quinn, James Brian. Intelligent Enterprise: A Knowledge and Service Based Paradigm for Industry. N.Y.: The Free Press, 1992.

Quinn, James Brian et al., Innovation Explosion: Using Intellect and Software to Revolutionize Growth Strategies. N.Y.: The Free Press, 1997.

Scott, W.G., "Organization Theory: An Overview and an Appraisal," Academy of Management Journal, 4 (1961), 7-26.

Scott, W.R., Organizations - Rational, Natural, and Open Systems, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1987.

Senge, Peter M. The Fifth Directive: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization. N.Y.: Doubleday, 1990.

Senge Peter M., et al., The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization. N.Y.: Doubleday, 1994.

Michael Steiner, Institute of Technology and Regional Policy, Joanneum Research, Graz, Austria, Christian Hartmann, Department of Economics, University of Graz and Institute of Technology and Regional Policy, Joanneum Research, Graz, Austria. Learning and organizational culture within SME networks - two case studies form Styrian clusters Regional Science Vienna Congress, 1998 [Abstract]

Terreberry, S., "The Evolution of Organizational Environments," Administrative Science Quarterly, 12 (1968), 590- 613.

Thompson, J.D., Organizations in Action: Social Science Bases of Administrative Theory, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1967.

Thompson, J.D. & McEwen, W.J., "Organizational Goals and Environment: Goal Setting as an Interaction Process," American Sociological Review, 23 (1958), 23-31.

Tullock, Gordon. Economic Hierarchies, Organization and the Structure of Production. Studies in Public Choice. Kluwer 1992. [HD2328.T85]

Woodward, J., Industrial Organization, University Press, Oxford, 1965.



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1999 [econgeog@u.washington.edu]