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


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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Power and corruption attributes to the fall of Enron

Power seems to be present in all types of organization, whether informal or formal. Depending on their internal structure, organizations tend to adapt diverse sources of powers and Enron is no exception. In my paper, I want to focus and finding the link between Organizations and Organizing and The Smartest Guys in the Room in the concept of power.

I believe power is evident in The Smartest Guys in the Room; several people had control over the company and they had a major influence not only to their employees but on Wall Street as well in very deceiving ways. I would like to analyze the different types of power within organizations and find which one applies to Enron. Organizations and Organizing discusses Emerson’s view of power as “the control or influence the other resides in control over the things he values, which may range all the way from oil resources to ego-support, depending upon the relation in question. In short, power resides implicitly in the other’s dependence,” (p.203). By doing some research (used index!) I found two very interesting books: Emerson and power: creative antagonism in the nineteenth century and Union power and the public interest which could give me more insights of power and its influence in organizations. Along those lines, I feel that the concept of corruption should be included when analyzing Enron’s power since it pertained to the company. I would like to explore how power and corruption are connected into the fall of Enron.

Organizations and Organizing gives me a wide array of sources for this topic. Among them, I found interesting the book The Modern Corporation and Private Property by Berle and Gardiner in which they argue “that as corporations grew large, ownership grew increasingly dispersed among disconnected (and therefore powerless) shareholders, while managerial control grew increasingly consolidated,” (p.354). I think this is very relevant to what happened in Enron, especially after Skilling took control of the majority company. I would be interesting to read some of Berle and Gardiner’s work and find the connection in The Smartest Guys in the Room. This could be a very interesting subject for the paper because it brings out a major flaw that Enron had.

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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Understanding Organizations : What’s Going On At My Favorite Starbucks?

The textbook Organizations and Organizing defines organizations as “social structures created by individuals to support the collaborative pursuit of specified goals (pg. 11).  This definition can be seen when looking at any type of organization whether it be a university, hospital, corporation or even a team.

In What’s Going On At My Favorite Starbucks this definition can be crucial to understanding the goals of individuals coffee shops even as part of a larger whole.  The author questions all spectacular things that a normal coffee shop does not do is stated.   These characteristics range from clothing drives and book clubs to an atmosphere where photos are displayed for purchase and customers send Christmas cards to the coffee shop.

At the end of the article, the writer states that, “this is not just the same Starbucks” implying that there is something to know about what is going on behind the scenes.  The definition of organization can be helpful to understanding what exactly is going on at the Starbucks that seems so different from the other ones that may be in the same town. As far as the typical organization of Starbucks is concerned they have the same goals of providing their customers with quality coffee drinks and desserts in a setting that is suitable for relaxing.  Customer service is also most likely an important issue.  Therefore, all Starbucks institutions work together to create this atmosphere in order to achieve their goals of satisfied customers which eventually leads to a profit.

However, in this case, I believe it is also important to look at the goals of the specific individuals who run this out of the ordinary Starbucks establishment.  As part of the complete Starbucks organization this specific store has the same goals as other Starbucks shops.  Despite this, this shop is it’s own organization and may take a different approach to getting there or even have goals beyond that of the typical Starbucks.  These goals could range from broadening their product category into types of art relating to their business or knowing their customers on a more personal and comfortable level allowing them to find it appropriate to send holiday cards.  No matter what the case, this organization seems to be doing something right.  The “special Starbucks” reaches the goals of the organization as a whole but also a set of unique goals specific to it’s own organization.  Maybe the formal organization is able even to learn something from one branch that stands out.  After all, the writer of the article continues to return to the establishment on a weekly basis and marvel at what that specific coffee shop has to offer.