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 Types of Organizational Culture

After reading Chapter 3 of “Organizations and Organizations”, I chose to write about organizational cultures as one of my concepts.  Organizational culture shows a “group’s shared values, attitudes, beliefs, assumptions, artifacts, and behaviors” (Tharp 2).  Organizational culture reflects a broad spectrum of internal and external relationships and “guides individual actions even to the extent that members are not even aware they are influenced by it” (Tharp 2).  Chester Barnard believed that organizational cultures should have “motivating power and purpose” and use structure and procedures so that they become infused with value (Scott and Davis 72).  Barnard also recognizes “the importance of organizational cultures shaped by zealous managers supplying strongly held values to members” (72).  Strong organizational cultures include good environments and open communication.  Organizational cultures should function to support the organization in implementing its goals.

Organization theory scholars recognize that organizational cultures directly correlate to the performance of an organization.  In studying various organizations, scholars have determined that, in general, there are four types of organizational culture types, including control, complete, collaborate, and create (Tharp 2). Continue reading

Will the law of limited variety stand the test of time and changing environments?

Organizations are reflective of the external environments that they exist in as they are greatly influenced by these settings.  In particular, they “reflect the complexity of their environments.  So, for example, organizations in more complex environments map the complexity of the environment into their own structures” (Scott and Davis, 370).  The more numerous the sources of complexity, the more complex an organization will be in general.  This argument is brought up in Organizations and Organizing and commonly contested by open system theorists.

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Meeting with Dot Thompson

Today I met with Dot Thompson in the library.  This was not the first time I had met Dot, seeing as she has been incredibly helpful in other management classes, providing information on the resources available in the library.  I was wondering whether this meeting would provide me with any new information on library resources since she had come to my classes before, but I was not disappointed.  There was plenty of new information that will be very helpful in writing the upcoming paper.  In previous classes she had given us information on databases that was specific to certain classes and their research needs, and today she showed us databases that would provide information that would be helpful specifically for Organizational Theory.

She showed us three different databases and the best way to use them in order to get results relevant to organizational theory and the paper we are currently writing.  The first database she showed us was ABI Form, which is the largest management database.  When Organization Theory is used as the subject in the search, over 10,000 results are returned.  Those results can then be narrowed down based on what specifically you are looking for.  She also showed us web of knowledge, which Jordi had already shown us in class but it was nice to have a refresher on how to use it.  The third database that Dot showed us was Academic OneFile.  I think this will be the most beneficial in finding additional articles.  Under browse subject you can look up Organization Theory and then it will return subdivisions and related subjects.  One of the first related subjects under Organization theory was corporate culture, which is exactly what I am looking into in my paper.

Even though I had been helped by Dot before and I thought I already knew all the ways to use the research by subject page, particularly for management; this meeting was very helpful in finding new databases as well as ways I can better research.  I definitely will be using these databases for my paper as well as for other papers in the future.

Lunch With Dot Thompson

In preparation for writing my paper on The Smartest Guys in the Room, I met with the Management research librarian, Dot Thompson.  I arranged a meeting with her ahead of time through the Bertrand Library web page and she was thus aptly prepared to guide my research.  Dot guided me through the library’s databases and showed me three particularly helpful programs.  Continue reading

Surviving at the Expense of Morality

As I flipped through the first few chapters of Scott and Davis’ Organizations and Organizing, my eyes stopped on a quote by Barnard in the natural systems chapter.

“Finally it should be noted that, once established, organizations change their unifying purposes.  They tend to perpetuate themselves; and in the effort to survive may change the reasons for existence” (pg. 89) Continue reading

Hey Managers, your employees aren’t machines! A little social encouragement might just increase productivity…

Here are some concepts from chapter 3 of Scott and Davis’ Organizations and Organizing.  Running your organization as a natural system can build social cohesion among participants and encourage everyone to work for the good of the company.

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