Organizational theory refers to the behavioral and social theories which help in the understanding of both informal and formal organizations. It makes references to a number of fields - anthropology, sociology, psychology, semiotics, economics, communications science, history and cybernetics (Sage Publications, n.d). The field has become popular with sociological researchers. Many of these researchers, drawn from such fields as medical sociology, social movements, political sociology and education, have realized the need to study this concept because of the role in empirical research that big organizations play. Scholars out of this field have always found discussions regarding organizational theory arcane. These scholars also hold the view that all that organizational theory concerns itself with is firms and so it is not applicable in other social situations. The formal or complex organization is the study object in organizational theory. Assumptions are made that there exists goals, rules, hierarchy and definitions of membership in organizations. What organizational theory concerns itself with is how these structures function to have participants motivated to work towards helping the organization achieve its goals. Also of interest is how the external environment affects its operations. Lastly, it is also concerned with how the external world and the internal organization influence an organization's survival (Fligstein, 2001).
A. Narrowing the Focus within Organization Theory
Organizational theory's development aim was to explain several organizational problems and behaviors, ranging from small issues concerning the organization of tasks and the reason personnel leave a company, to issues of a political nature concerning rivalries between organizations. Clearly, our inquiry will not focus on all of these. In finding out how to solve these problems by use of organization theory, we will focus on:
How organizations react to the uncertainty and complexity present in environmental and resource management.
What organizational interests related to formal institutions and agencies taking part in resource and environmental oversight, policy-making, resource management as well as exploitation (Ascher, 2000).
B. Complexity and Uncertainty
Several risks are posed by uncertainty to organizations managing natural resources. We can have uncertainty added to complexity since even though simple systems can give rise to uncertainty, much of it is as a result of complexity. Further, even if uncertainty is not due to complexity, it always elicits the same reactions and poses the same challenges to organizations that complexity does. In most occasions, complexity interferes with the efforts made by an organization to better understand the way social systems and ecosystem will respond to its actions, reduces the strength of its controls and engineers avenues for conflict in the organization. Organizations have adopted various means to cope with uncertainty and complexity. Such modes involve adaptation and structure; including specialization, strategic planning, departmentalization etc. (Ascher, 2000).
C. Organizational Interests.
Organization theory appreciates that players in an organization may pursue some interests that are not in harmony with the goals of the organization or the priorities of outsiders who hold formal authority and power to determine the agenda of the organization. 'Interests' here mean the interests of the organization's members. An organization in itself does not have interests. To gauge organization's theory usefulness in guiding reforms on management of resources, we determine whether it is able to •
reveal any promising routes to make reforms; and •
make warnings if the reforms are likely to fail
It is interesting to note that classic organization behavior conceptions are responsible for most of the problems encountered in resource management; and also that its guidelines - even when simplified as we have above - reveals so many clues on how to realize reforms (Ascher, 2000).
Organizational change refers to the process undergone by organizations in moving from their current state to their aspired future state so as to increase effectiveness. The aim of this metamorphosis is to discover better ways of utilizing resources to increase the value creation ability of the organization, and so increase its performance....
Once more, organizational structure and culture are an important avenue that management uses for organizational change so that it can achieve its goals. This explains the interrelation between organizational change and design (Jones & Matthew, 2011).
Correct application of organizational theory can hugely benefit the society and the organization.
Developments happening in an organization create systems that advances capitalism in a society and so its economy.
When an organization spots an opportunity to expand, it starts growing and so shifts the economic equation by leaping forward. Such expansion causes changes in the organization's industry as well as the entire economy.
An example of the way organizational theory development leads to better efficiency is in production in factories. The creation of the assembly line by Henry Ford enhanced efficiency and was instrumental in driving forward the economy of the U.S. And the Ford Company (Boundless, 2014).
The correct application of organizational theory can benefit both the society and the organization. As the organizations enter and compete in the capitalistic system, a ripple effect is created between the competitors and other prevailing pressures in the economy. When an organization spots an opportunity to expand, it starts to grow by increasing its production and so tilting the economic equilibrium by leaping into new frontiers of production. Such growth and expansion affects both the organization and the society it operates within. Other organizations observe the changes and innovative ideas and efficiently create them. Organization development boosts society's potential and helps put in place the structures to drive the capitalistic system (Boundless, 2014).
As in the case of factory production, developments happening in organizations have effects in the modern environment. Factory production concept led to exponential growth in production and gave birth to organized division of labor. It led to the clarification and centralization of different aspects of tasks which in turn led to the advent of specialization. The concept of the assembly line, as created by Henry Ford, is still in use in several factories today. The developments result in easier production in companies and so encourages the aggregation and utilization of efficient ways of running organizations. Organizational theory can also aid in the identification of malicious corporate cats and make use of them to design measures to take precautions. The Three Mile nuclear incident helped in the identification of ways to prevent such happenings from occurring again. In that instance, organizational theory development led to better regulations and stronger safety measures during production (Boundless, 2014).
Before one starts to make efforts towards organizational change, it makes sense to carefully make plans and strategize and also anticipate possible problems. Kurt Lewin (1947), one of the pioneer researchers on change and also the person who came up with the force-field analysis concept - proposed a very useful way of planning. The concept presents analysis as a simple concept and that can help in planning and managing organizational change. He held the belief that conduct in an organization resulted from two opposing forces' dynamic balance. Any change that can occur does so because of the shifts in the balance. Driving forces, he explained, positively affected or enhanced the change that was desired. Such forces could be resources, information, trends or persons. Restraining forces opposed the driving forces. They are the obstacles that have to be overcome to achieve the change that is desired. The existence of the two forces create a state of equilibrium and failure to rock this equilibrium leads to a static organization. Changes that alter the equilibrium lead to a fresh balance. This results in a state referred to as "quasi-stationary equilibrium."
During the planning stage, it is important that the many roles linked to the process of change be distinguished. The roles have to be distinguished so that they are effectively implemented during the process of change. The roles that can be played by individuals, as per Croner (1990), include:
Change Sponsor: A group or individual that legitimizes and validates change.
Change Advocate: A group or individual that wants to make the change but lacks power to legitimize change.
Change Agent: A group or individual responsible for the implementation of the change.
Change Target: Group or individual that has to change
Organizations continue to grow and evolve to become more dynamic and so the concepts of growth and change methods used in managing change have been continuously refined. Change process management is often complex and is usually necessary for good organizational development (OD). Leavitt et al. (1973) made proposals that change can focus on any of the four organization subsystems:
Structure - hierarchy levels, centralization and authority spans
Technology - usage by employees, operator responsibility, complexity iii.
People - attitudes, values, drives, beliefs, competencies
Task - job repetitiveness, design, cognitive and physical demands (Harwood, n.d).
A model of organizational development as presented by Harwood, (n.d.) called 'force field' model was put forth in the year 1951 by Kurt Lewin. His description of organizations laid emphasis on them being systems held constantly in equilibrium states by forces acting in opposite directions but that are equal. As stated earlier, 'driving forces' balance out the 'resisting forces'.…
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