Are Thompson’s Levels a Good Model?

In his work Organizations in Action, James D. Thompson attempts to reconcile rational, natural, and open system perspectives on the basis of three levels within organizations.  The first is the technical level, which carries out production functions and encompasses the rational system perspective.  The second is the managerial level, which designs and controls how the organization is run and brings in the natural system perspective.  Finally, the institutional level relates the organization to the greater environment, similar to an open systems perspective…At least this is what Thompson argues… Continue reading


The Revolution Will Not Be Televised…

Will it be blogged?

These are the instructions for your super special, extra, extra last post.  The stakes are high.  Success is worth a third of a letter grade on your final grade.  So, C –>C+; B+ –> A- and so on.

  1. You need to write a post that riffs, reflects, or analyzes the idea that blogging  and social media (also known as the living web, as the read write edit web, as the blogosphere, as cyberspace) are revolutionary.
  2. You will need to find a published argument by someone who makes bold, strong claims about the impact of these technologies and how they are used.
  3. You can agree or disagree.
  4. You can not use the same source publication as someone else.
  5. Published means from a print or digital source.  Digital sources must have a clear author (no wiki) and be demonstrably relevant or well-known.  For example, if it is an essay or long post form a blog, it should be a blog with some authority.  There are ways to ascertain authority.  Learning about them can be part of your learning process.
  6. Hey, a BOOK is a published form also.  (You don’t have to read a whole book, but relevant portions).
  7. You may be creative in the style or format of your post.
  8. You must post this by May 16, noon.  No exceptions.
  9. Posts must be of high quality in terms of style, mechanics, and insights.
  10. I am the final arbiter of earning credit.  No exceptions.

Historical note: “The Revolution Will not be Televised” is a classic hip-hop sung poem by Gil Scott Heron.  Yes!  It is from 1970-71. Watch!

After a long, difficult life, he is back with a new album and tour.

PS: “The revolution will be live..”

Creative Chaos in Many Worlds (Guest Speaker)

Our event is on the edge of chaos sometimes.  — Danger Ranger aka Michael Mikel, as quoted in Enabling Creative Chaos by Katherine Chen

In class on Thursday, we will have  a guest, Dr. Katherine Chen, of City College of New York.  She is a relative newcomer to academia, (like yours truly) and has written a very interesting book, Enabling Creative Chaos, that is a deep analysis of one remarkable organization: the Burning Man festival.

Dr. Chen will speak tomorrow at 4:30 in the Willard Smith library (in Vaughan Lit).  I hope you can come.

In class, she will tell us more about Burning Man and what it has to tell us in general about the sustaining creativity and community in an organization that has pursued ambitious goals and experienced many kinds of adaptation over many years.   I recommend you look over the Burning Ma site, especially material like this essay and all of the fascinating multimedia and images.

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Best of Enron Week

After careful deliberation EJ, Kelly, Ross, and I are pleased to announce this week’s best post….

!!!!CONGRATULATIONS BROOKE!!!! and your post The Smartest People in the Room: Is using sex appeal smart or unfair?.

We have a few other awards to give out this week:

Thorough and original research: Derek for Control and Enron.

Great writing from first person perspective: Emily for What was in the water at Enron?.

Singular Trophy for Unique Idea: Mike1290 for Heroes at Enron.

Solid Award for Great Cohesion- EJ for Surviving at the Expense of Morality.

Long Memory for Using “Lovable Fool” article: Kelly for The Rise and Demise of Competent Jerks at Enron.

Visual Design Seal to Tania for using a picture!

Linking Certificate for Connecting Multiple Concepts: Jessie for Power: A Struggle to the Top.

Next Week’s Post: For this Wednesday, take some aspect of the Enron story and find out what has happened since.  This can include what happened to people, organizations, laws, American society, business practices, business education, global business, or some other aspect.  Are there untold stories from Enron that the Smartest Guys in the Room book overlooked?

Please use pictures, videos, quotations, links, etc. to spice up the blog! If you need help, look here.

Thank you!

Dot Thompson (and the rest) for Best People of the Week

Even though I had to meet with her on at least 2 other occasions for other classes, they were always in large groups and I mostly never paid any attention.  I am glad I went to see her by myself fairly recently to learn more about the opportunities that we students have at our disposal.  I went to the library not really knowing how to go about finding Dot, let alone any information that I needed.  After searching around and asking other people for a while, I finally found her, where we subsequently descended into the bowels of the library.  I didn’t make an appointment, but she wasn’t very busy and was more than happy to give me a hand.

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Enron: Posterchild for the Informal Organization

While it is true that all organizations have both a formal and informal aspect, Enron’s informal organization was the epitome of a situation where the informal aspect of the organization reigned supreme. Unlike how most organizations exist, with a balance between formalities and the social culture/power struggle, Enron’s day-to-day operations were dominated by back-of-the-napkin deals and shady business relations.  Moreover, the level of professionalism which was used during interactions of those at the top (and their interactions with everyone else at times, too) was greatly lacking.  After reading The Smartest Guys in the Room, I gained an incredible understanding for exactly how Enron operated dysfunctionaly on a formal level and that the informal nature of the business is really the only thing that held it together for so long.  It is also interesting to see how each executive interacts with each other based on their own dysfunctional character traits. Continue reading

Best of International Week

After careful deliberation Christian, Mike, and I are pleased to announce this week’s best post….

!!!!CONGRATULATIONS KELLY!!!! and your post 12 zeros gone and Zimbabwe continues to struggle.

We would like to give Brooke and her post Using Soccer to Decrease the Prevalence of HIV/AIDS in South Africa a shout out for being our runner up.

We would also like to recognize Derek for his thoroughly researched and well written post, Peru: A Lesson in Rapid Development and Organizational Corruption.

BlOrg Theory please read on….

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