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In the Preface to the fifth edition we wrote that a basic fact of organizational life is that things change. We did not realize at that time how much things would change, not only in the world of organizations and management, but also in the world of higher education. The electronic information age is truly upon us. This new edition is consistent in both theme and content with many of the changing nature of organizations and management today. While we made extensive changes to this text, the strategic focus and the theoretical frameworks presented in this sixth edition can be directly traced through the previous five editions.
The material in this text is intended to be a primer in organization theory for upper-division undergraduate and introductory-level MBA students--the future managers and leaders of organizations. The sixth edition continues the reengineering begun in the previous edition. The tone and direction are focused on managerial application--how the student as a potential future manager can use the knowledge of organization theory to be a better manager and organization member. The sixth edition of Organization Theory: A Strategic Approach continues to present a balance of theory, research, and practice. Theory and research are necessary to provide coherence, certainty, and predictability in an otherwise incoherent, uncertain, and unpredictable world. However, in presenting theory and research, we have maintained a belief that they should provide practical value to the inhabitants of organizations--the managers and members of organizations. To accomplish this balance, we have provided numerous examples from organizations to illustrate the theories, concepts, and research findings throughout the text.
The changes in this sixth edition are extensive. We continue working to improve readability and increase emphasis on practical application. We have drawn on the experience of many successful old-line and new high-tech firms to give a broad cross-section of examples. Updated cases begin and end each chapter. Numerous "real life" examples are spread throughout the chapters. The clustering of chapters has been revised to enhance the logical flow of material. The thirteen chapters are divided into four parts: "Introduction," "The Context of Organizations," "Managing the Organizational Context," and "Organizational Processes." We have created greater integration among the topics and issues covered in the text so that the reader can more easily relate material introduced in early chapters to material covered later.
Part I of the text contains Chapters 1 and 2. These two chapters provide the basic framework for the text. Chapter 1 provides a historical background for understanding the development of organization theory, introduces a variety of theoretical perspectives, and presents the strategic approach. Chapter 1 also presents the subject of organizational structure--the basic building blocks of the organization. In this chapter, we also introduce the contingency theory framework for organizations that is central to the strategic approach. To understand the appropriate form of organization (structure and design) one must understand the conditions or context in which the organization exists. Chapter 2 presents the basic elements of structure so that the reader can think about how structure should vary with differing contextual conditions.
Part II introduces the contextual dimensions: organizational goals, environment, technology, size and life cycle. From a contingency perspective, these are the factors that must be considered in making judgments about structure. The examination of goals in Chapter 3 has been expanded to include a discussion of ethics and ethical goals. In light of the many troubling events in the business world lately, we felt that a discussion of ethics was especially important. Although the environment has been a central focus of previous editions, this new edition gives even greater attention to that subject, emphasizing the global nature of the business environment for nearly every business. Chapter 4 discusses methods describing the environment, whereas strategic management of the environment is the focus of Chapter 5. Chapter 6 shifts attention to technology. We present three traditional views of organizational technology based on the works of Woodward, Perrow, and Thompson. The traditional views are augmented by contemporary views of technology that examine shifts to services, demands for flexibility, and increasing automation and computerization. Part 11 concludes with discussion of the two related topics of organizational size and organizational life cycles. These topics have received extensive coverage in the business press due to the proliferation of mergers at the same time that many large organizations are downsizing. Coinciding with these trends are difficulties that some large, prominent organizations are encountering as they enter mature stages of their development.
The contextual conditions presented in Part III are the variables that managers must consider in determining the best-fitting structures, designs, and governance systems. Chapter 8 explores organizational design as a strategic response to the organizational context. The focus is on how people are grouped together in departments or divisions. The chapter also examines some recent trends in design, including virtual organizations, federal organizations, and two Asian forms--the Japanese keiretsui and the Korean chaebol. Organizational economics, an area of increasing importance in the field of organization theory, is presented in Chapter 9. Using agency theory and transaction costs economics, we examine organizational control, transactions, and boundaries.
The theme of Part IV is organizational processes. Organizational culture, introduced in Chapter 10, discusses those factors that make each organization distinctive and unique. We focus on both the observable and unobservable elements of culture. Chapter 11 introduces organizational information processing and decision making. With the advent of inexpensive high-speed computing and sophisticated telecommunications, organizations can be overwhelmed by information. Thus, managing information is a critical--some would say central--task of organizations. But information is not a final destination. Information is fuel for the decision processes that are also discussed in this chapter. The concepts of bounded rationality and garbage can decision making described in Chapter 11 provide a glimpse of the political side of organizations that, along with power, are the subjects of Chapter 12.
The final chapter introduces organizational innovation, change, and renaissance, subjects that we have implicitly discussed throughout the text. Chapter 12 specifically examines a variety of organizational change perspectives. We conclude with some speculation about the nature of organizations of the twenty-first century and how organization theory can help managers.
The text concludes with four extensive, integrative organizational cases, one of which--Wal-Mart--is a revision of an earlier case. The remaining cases provide an array of new and old firms in manufacturing and service. The purpose of these cases is twofold: (1) to demonstrate the applicability of organization theory concepts and principles to real-life organizations; and (2) to permit the student to use these concepts and principles as problem-solving tools.
As with any complex endeavor, many people deserve thanks for their help and support in making this sixth edition possible. Though too numerous to mention, we give thanks to our colleagues and students at Florida State University and the University of Cincinnati. Special thanks are due to Melissa Steffens, our editor at Prentice Hall Business Publishing. Specific reviewers for the edition include Dr. Marianne W Lewis, University of Cincinnati; Dr. Hoyt Hayes, Columbia College; Dr. M. Suzanne Clinton, Cameron University; Dr. Robert H. Bennett III, University of South Alabama; and Dr. Richard M. Hodgetts, Florida International University.
Finally, it is to our families that we dedicate this edition. Without
Hodge, B. J. : Florida State University
Anthony, William P. : Florida State University
Gales, Lawrence M. : University of Cincinnati
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