MB 851 - Macro-Organizational Theory
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FULTON 240 Tuesday 1:30-4 PM
Professor Candace Jones
Organization Studies Dept
Phone : 617-552-0457
Office: Fulton 435
Office Hours: Tuesday 4-5 pm & by appointment
This course exposes students to foundational and current research in organization
theory. Organization theory examines organizations as complex systems interacting with
their environment. Macro organization theory emphasizes the interplay of
organization-level structures, processes, and mechanisms with their wider environmental
and political context. Although we are exposed to both economic, ecological and
sociological theoretical traditions, much of the research and theory traditions derive
from sociological foundations (as opposed to psychological foundations in the
Micro-Organization course). The course sessions will introduce key papers dealing with
- Theoretical approaches to studying organizations. Foundation and review articles of a
theoretical tradition are provided.
- Criticisms of each theoretical tradition by scholars.
- Empirical research from a particular theoretical tradition, or research that combines
and contrasts traditions are provided. Contemporary research is drawn from our primary
research journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management
Journal, Academy of Management Review, American Journal of Sociology, Organization
Science, Organization Studies
Scott, Richard W. 1998. Organizations: Rational, Natural, and Open Systems.
EnglewoodCliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 4th edition.
Aldrich, Howard E. 1999. Organizations Evolving. London: Sage.
Most articles are available in PDF format through links embedded in this page. For
other articles or book chapters, hard copies will abe available in Fulton 430.
The seminar is reading- and writing-intensive. Each week we will use a set of required
readings to identify and explore key theoretical, conceptual, and methodological issues in
the behavioral study of organizations. Designated class members will each week prepare
short critical review commentaries on the readings for the particular session; these can
be done in collaboration. In class, we will combine short lecture with focused discussion
of the readings and the broader session topic. In addition to reading and the preparation
of short critical memos during the term, there is a paper.
|Critical reading memos on an article emailed to me the day before each class session.
25%. The memo should roughly folow the flowing format:|
|1 to 1 ½ page single sided|
|In the first paragraph, please answer the following questions: what is the research
question in this article? What are the basic assumptions of the author(s)? What are the
author(s) key constructs in the theory? How do organizations change or evolve (e.g.,
who acts and what mechanisms/processes enhance or deter change)? |
|In the second paragraph, please provide your response to the theory: does it convince
you? Why or why not? How does this theory compare with a theory that you does convince
you? What are the similarities and/or differences? How does this theory extend (or
misguide) our understanding of organizations and environments?|
|Participation in the course. 25%. |
|Research paper. 50%. An outline of the final paper is due February 26th. A
rough draft is due April 26 to all class members. As a class, we will read and feedback
ways to improve the paper on April 30th. The Final paper is due May 7th.
|The paper should be a review and extension of a theoretical stream or issue covered in
Several colleagues, who shared their syllabi with me, aided the development of my
syllabus. I thank Doug Creed, Frank Dobbins, Joe Galaskiewicz, and Marc Ventresca for
their experience, insights and generosity.
||TOPIC AND READING ASSIGNMENTS
A Map of the Territory: Overview
Scott- chapters 1-5 pp. 1-116
Astley, G. &
A.H. Van de Ven. 1983. Central Debates In Organization Theory, 28: 245-273
||Scott chapters 6-8, pp. 118-209
||TECHNOLOGY AND CONTINGENCY
Scott chapter 9 pp.
Thompson, J.D. 1967. Organizations in Action. New York: McGraw Hill. Chapters 2,
4 & 5 pp. 14-24, 39-50, 51-64.
Lawrence P.D. & Lorsch, J.W.
1967. Differentiation and integration in complex organizations. Administrative Science
Quarterly, 12: 1-47.
Barley, S.R. 1986. Technology as an occasion
for structuring: Evidence from observations of CT scanners and the social order of
radiology departments. Administrative Science Quarterly, 31: 78-108.
||STRATEGIC CONTINGENCY, POWER & POLITICS
Scott chapter 11 pp. 267-294
Emerson, R.M. 1962. Power dependence
relations. American Sociological Review, 27: 31-40.
March, J.G. 1962. The business firm as a
political coalition. Journal of Politics, 24: 662-678.
Thompson, J.D. 1967. Organizations in Action. New York: McGraw Hill.
Chapter, 3, pp. 25-38.
Pfeffer, J. & Salancik, G.R.. 1977 "Who gets powerand how they hold onto
it: A strategic-contingency model of power." Organizational Dynamics (winter):70-77
Gargiulo, Martin. 1993 Two step
leverage: Managing constraint in organizational politics. Administrative Science
Quarterly, 38: 1-19.
& Greenberg, Danna. 2000. Agency and social networks: Strategies of action in a social
structure of position, opposition and opportunity. Administrative Science Quarterly,
Eisenhardt, Kathleen M.
1989. Agency theory: An assessment and review. Academy of Management Review,
Kathleen M. 1988. Agency and Institutional theory explanations: The case of retail sales
compensation. Academy of Management Journal, 488-511.
Abrahamson, E. & C.
Park. 1994. "Concealment of negative outcomes: An agency theory perspective." Academy
of Management Journal, 37: 1302-1334.
Davis, Gerald F. 1991. Agents without
principals? The spread of the poison pill through the intercorporate network. Administrative
Science Quarterly, 36, 583-614.
||TRANSACTION COST ECONOMICS
Williamson, O.E. 1981. The economics of
organization: The transaction cost approach. American Journal of Sociology, 87:
W.S. Liebeskind, J. & Zenger, T. 1990. Academy of Management Review, 15:
Walker, Gordon & Weber, D. 1984. A
transaction cost approach to make or buy decisions. Administrative Science Quarterly,
Walker, Gordon & Weber, D.
1984. Errata: A transaction cost approach to make or buy decisions. Administrative
Science Quarterly, 29, 627.
Dyer, Jeffrey H. 1997. Effective interfirm collaboration: How firms minimize
transaction costs and maximize transaction value. Strategic Management Journal, 18:
Criticisms & Extensions:
Zajac, E. J. & Olsen, C.P.. 1993. From transaction cost to transaction value
analysis: Implications for the study of interorganizational strategies. Journal of
Management Studies, 30 (1): 131-145.
Sumantra & Moran, Peter. 1996. Bad for practice: A critique of transaction cost
theory. Academy of Management Review, 21:13-47.
Oliver E. 1996. Economic organization: The case for candor. Academy of Management
& Ghoshal, Sumantra. 1996. Theories of economic organization: the case for realism and
balance. Academy of Management Review, 21:58-72.
||EMBEDDEDNESS & NETWORKS
Granovetter, Mark S. 1982. The strength of weak ties: A network theory
revisited. In P. Marsden & N. Lin (Eds.), Social structure and network analysis:
105-130. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Granovetter, Mark S. 1985. Economic
action and social structure: The problem of embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology,
Powell, Walter W. 1990. Neither Markets nor Hierarchies: Network Forms of Organization.
In Staw and Cummings (eds) Research in Organizational Behavior. Greenwich,
CT: JAI Press, 12: 295-336.
Hesterly, W.S. & Borgatti, S.P 1997. Network governance: Exchange conditions and
social mechanisms. Academy of Management Review, 22: 911-945.
Uzzi, B. 1997. "Social Structure and
Competition in Interfirm Networks: The Paradox of Embeddedness." Administrative
Science Quarterly, 42:35-67.
Criticisms & Extensions:
Dacin, M.T., M.J. Ventresca, & B.D. Beal. 1999 'The embeddedness of
organizations: Dialogue and directions. Journal of Management, 25, 317-356.
OUTLINE OF PAPER DUE including paper topic, gap in prior research you
wish to explain, and research question driving the paper.
||NETWORKS & SOCIAL CAPITAL
Aldrich, HE. & Whetten, D. 1981. "Organization-sets, Action-sets, and
Networks: Making the Most of Simplicity." Pp. 385-408 in Handbook of
Organizational Design, Vol. 1 edited by Paul C. Nystrom & William H. Starbuck. New
York: Oxford University Press.
Burt, Ronald S. 2000. The network structure
of social capital. In Barry Staw (eds.) Research in Organizational Behavior. 22: 93
Ansell, C.K. & J.F. Padgett. 1993
"Robust action and the rise of the Medici, 1400-1434." American Journal of
Sociology, 98: 1259-1319.
Criticisms & Extensions:
G.R. 1995. Wanted: A good network theory of organizations. Administrative Science
Galaskiewicz, Joseph. 1985. Interorganizational relations. Annual Review of
Selznick, Phillip. 1948. Foundations of the
theory of organizations. American Sociological Review, 13: 25-35.
Selznick, Phillip. 1957. Leadership in Administration: A Sociological
Interpretation: Chapter 1 (pp. 1-28) Berkeley: University of California Press.
Zald, Myer N. & Denton, Patricia.
1963. From evangelism to general service: The transformation of the YMCA. Administrative
Science Quarterly, 8: 214-234.
Clark, Burton R. 1972. The organizational saga
in higher education. Administrative Science Quarterly, 17: 178-183.
Zucker, L. 1977. The role of
institutionalization in cultural persistence. American Sociological Review, 42: 726-743.
Criticisms & Extensions:
Selznick. Phillip. 1996.
Institutionalism "old" and "New". Administrative Science Quarterly,
Meyer, John & Rowan, Brian. 1977.
Institutionalized organizations: Formal structure as myth and ceremony. American
Journal of Sociology, 83: 340-363.
DiMaggio, Paul J. & Powell,
Walter W. 1983. The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective
rationality in organizational fields. American Sociological Review, 48: 147-160.
Oliver, C. 1991. 1991 Strategic responses to institutional processes. Academy
of Management Review, 16: 145-179.
Pamela & Zucker, Lynn G. 1988. Institutional sources of change in the formal structure
of organizations: The diffusion of civil service reform, 1880-1935. Administrative
Science Quarterly, 28: 22-40.
Salancik, G.R., Copay, A. and King, T. 1991 'Institutional change and the transformation
of interorganizational fields: An organizational history of the U.S. radio broadcasting
industry,' Administrative Science Quarterly, 36, 333-363.
Mizruchi, Mark & Fein, Lisa C. 1999. "The social construction of
organizational knowledge: A study of the uses of coercive, mimetic and normative
isomorphism." Administrative Science Quarterly, 44: 653-683.
Criticisms & Extensions
Hirsch, Paul M. & Lounsbury, Michael. 1997. Ending the family quarrel: Toward a
reconciliation of "old" and "new" institutionalisms. American
Behavioral Scientist, 40: 406-418.
Perrow, Charles. 1985. Review Essay:
Overboard with myth and symbols. American Journal of Sociology, 91: 151-155.
Powell, Walter W. 1985. The institutionalization of rational organizations. Contemporary
Sociology, 14: 564-566.
Hirsch, Paul M. 1997. Sociology without
structure: Neoinstitutional theory meets brave new world. American Journal of
Sociology, 102: 1702-1723.
||SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION AND ENACTMENT
Weick, Karl E. 1969. The Social Pscyhology of Organizing. New York: Random House.
Chapter 1 pp. 1-23..
Weick, Karl E. 1977. Enactment processes in organizations. In Barry Staw and Gerald R.
Salancik (eds), New Directions in Organizational Behavior: 267-333. Malabar, FL:
S.R. & Tolbert, P. S. 1997. Institutionalization and structuration: Studying the links
between action and institution. Organization Studies, 18: 93-117.
Barley, S.R. 1986. Technology as an occasion for structuring: Evidence from
observations of CT scanners and the social order of radiology departments. Administrative
Science Quarterly, 31: 78-108. (From Jan 29th)
& Kilduff, Martin. 1988. Enacting market crisis: The social construction of a
speculative bubble: Administrative Science Quarterly, 33: 177-194.
Rao, Hayagreeva. 1994 'The social construction of reputation: Certification contests,
legitimation, and the survival of organizations in the American automobile industry,
1895-1912,' Strategic Management Journal, 15, 29-44
Porac, J.F., Thomas, H.,
Wilson, F. Paton, D. and Kanfer, A. 1995. Rivalry and the industry model of Scottish
knitwear producers. Administrative Science Quarterly, 40: 203-227.
Stinchcombe, Arthur. 1965. Social structure and organizations. In James G. March (Ed.),
Handbook of Organizations: 142-169. Chicago: Rand McNally.
Hannan, Michael T. & Freeman, John.
1977. The population ecology of organizations. American Journal of Sociology, 82:
Aldrich, Howard E.1999. Organizations Evolving. Chapter 10 pp. 265-297.
Baum, Joel A.C. 1996. Organizational ecology. In Stewart R. Clegg & Hardy, Cynthia
(eds), Handbook of Organization Studies: 177-214. London: Sage.
Terry L. & Rao, Hayagreeva. 1996. Organization ecology: Past, present and future
directions. Academy of Management Journal, 39: 1265-1286.
Criticisms & Debates:
Baum, Joel A.C. & Powell, Walter W.
1995. Cultivating an institutional ecology of organizations. American Sociological
Review, 60: 529-538.
Hannan, Michael T. & Carroll, Glenn
R. 1995. Theory building and cheap talk about legitimation: Reply to Baum and Powell. American
Sociological Review, 60: 539-544.
||EVOLUTION & CHANGE
Aldrich, Howard E.
Organizations Evolving. Chapter 2-4 pp. 20-74 Chapters 7-9 pp. 163-258
Nelson, R.R. 1994. Evolutionary theorizing about economic change. In Smelser, N.J.
& Swedberg, R. (eds.), The Handbook of Economic Sociology: 108-136.
Aldrich, Howard E. Organization
Evolving. Chapter 11 pp. 298-330.
Lewin, Arie Y. & Volberda, Henk. 1999. Prolegmena on coevolution: A framework for
research on strategy and new organizational forms. Organization Science, 10:
Haveman, Heather & Rao, Hayagreeva.
1997. Structuring a theory of moral sentiments: Institutional and organizational
coevolution in the early thrift industry. American Journal of Sociology, 102:
Jones, Candace. 2001. The coevolution of entrepreneurial careers, institutional rules
and competitive dynamics in American film, 1895-1920. Organization Studies, 6:
ROUGH DRAFT OF PAPERS DUE - April 26
||Class feedback on rough draft of papers
||FINAL PAPERS DUE
Davis, G. 1996 Review
Symposium: Evolutionary Dyanmics of Organizations. Administrative Science Quarterly,
Davis, G., and Ward, A. 2000 Embeddedness, Social Identity and Mobility: Why Firms Leave
the NASDAQ and Join the New York Stock Exchange. Administrative Science Quaterly, 45:
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