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Organizational theory is theories that are developed by various philosophers to understand and explain the role of organizational structure and management in an organization. It helps to study the organization and management that provides help to the managers to understand the organizational and management behavior of the organization. Organizational theory mainly depends on three perspectives. These three perspectives are modernist perspective, symbolic interpretive perspective and post-modern theory. These perspectives have their different approaches to explaining the organizational structure to the managers of an organization (Hall and Quinn, 1983). The modernist theories depend on the objectives of focusing on the knowledge that is built upon the theorization and the conceptualization. If an example is considered, it can be said that a profit earned by an organization depends on the ability and knowledge of the CEO’s decision-making regarding the investment of the money of an organization. Hence, the result of the use of theory can be measured in the practical world by the mean of profit and loss of the organization. In case of symbolic interpretive perspective, the theory looks at the experiences of emotions and intuition. Therefore, the findings of symbolic perspective are not easily replicated. Postmodernist theories do not accept any of the two other perspective theories and are quite different from them. The postmodernists criticized and surfaced the assumptions of the other two theories. This report is written to make a research on the perspectives of the organizational theories and understand how they differentiate in the approaches to explaining the use of technology in an organization (Heracleous and Barrett, 2001). A comparison has been made between the organizational theory perspective to understand their characteristics and differences. As it is known that these theories help to build up an organizational culture depending upon the nature of the business that is needed to seek growth in the present competitive and globalized world. With the development of technology, the theories have also developed to meet the growing needs of the organization and its management. Here in this report, two perspectives of the organizational theory have been compared that are modernist and symbolic interpretive perspective to understand its difference in uses of technology in an organization.
Modernism theory explains the use of the five senses to recognize the data. These five senses are heard, see, smell, touch and tasted. This perspective helps to set up rules that are used by an organization so that all its employees can follow them, function and perform to ensure a smooth performance of the operations in an organization. It does not deal with the account of looking outside the five senses that are used by the symbolic theory. It does not pay attention to intuition and emotion of the employees. As per Frederick Taylor and Max Weber, it supports the rationalization of the organizational practices (Cukier et al., 2009). Modernists mainly deal with organized states and the results of the implication of the theory rather than depending upon the social processes. Modernists focus on efficiency and effectiveness of the theory. Hence, there is a need for proper evidence to support the use of the organizational theory in the real world. It does not consider the outer world or environment. Hence, it can be said that modernist approaches lack consideration of ethical issues for maintaining a proper organizational culture. The modernists believe that there is a positive correlation between the strength of corporate culture and organizational performance. It says that corporate culture influences the performance of the organization. A modernist perspective organization has a clear job description for the workers and a specific sales script that helps to build up rules to be followed by the workers. It focuses on the power of the leaders to influence an organization’s success. Hence, with the development of technology, the view towards the perspective has changed and new theories have been developed to consider the outside world of the organization (Whyte and Whyte, 1969). A symbolic-interpretive perspective is an example of the extension of the modernist perspective that has been explained in the next section.
Symbolic interpretive perspective
The organization has decided to implement the Symbolic Interpretive Perspective, as this theory has an involvement that is outside the knowledge of the five senses like emotion and intuition. The modernist has neglected the Symbolic Interpretive Perspective because it does not easily imitate with anyone. The researchers do the necessary research to personal experience, explanations and to deification the accounts that have been implemented by others (Jones, 2007). This theory focuses on the understanding and meaning and the result that could not be derived from its background for which they have been produced. The main point for which the organization is applying this theory is that the workers can easily understand the culture and its meaning of behavior, which will rather help them to understand themselves in a better way (Wanberg, 2012).
The Symbolic Interpretive Perspective deals with the reality of what has been experienced which include the feelings and emotions towards what had been occurring. By the help of this theory, the organization can engage efficiently with a different culture (Chance and Chance, 2002). And by the implementation of this theory, the organization can make use of it externally. The Symbolic Interpretive Perspective deals with the organizational structure to contribute to its work, which is more meaningful to the organization. By this, the organization can make the necessary reconstruction of its structure with the help of participation and observation methods. The Symbolic Interpretive Perspective describes the reason; the workers have to maintain a certain time table regarding their work so that they can achieve the organizational goals. The Symbolic Interpretive Perspective takes the organization as a community. Likewise the modernist organization, the Symbolic Interpretive Perspective does not deal with the experiments and testing for achieving its evidence (Selwyn, 2003). The characteristic member constitution is very necessary as it can be derived from the socially constructed process.
Ontology and epistemology of organizational theory
As the acceptance and the emergence of organizational theory is a major field of study, several organizational theorists have defined the conceptual distinctions between them by using sophisticated explanations. The distinctions exist because of the existence of the group and individual dynamics in an organizational setting (Borkowski, 2009). As because organizations are complex and human behavior is unpredictable, organizational theories differ from each other because of its inspirations from different fields of study. A summary of the organizational theory has been presented in the table below for better understanding.
Critical Analysis of the two perspectives of organizational theory
The critical analysis of the two perspectives of organizational theory is discussed in the following points below:
In case of modernist perspective, they count knowledge, which is known with the help of direct experiences using concepts from the real world. According to this objective perspective, Cunliffe and Hatch state that an organization is a structure formulated with an internal order. It is the roles that should be carried out in a determining manner by the members of an organization (Behling and Schriesheim, 1976). The modernist theory is a natural law that governs the operations of an organization.
As per the symbolic-interpretive perspective, it extends the definition of the empirical reality that includes experiences, which lies out of the reach of five senses that are used by the modernist. It says that an organization does not have any objective structure, but is constructed and maintained continuously by the people with the help of the sense of what is going on in the business (Jones, 2001). As per Weick, it is a formation of improper answers by negotiating agreements using vague questions to reduce confusion.
Knowledge derived from organizational theory
The organizational theory and the examination of the organization implement several methods of economics, political science, psychology and the sociology. After the implementation of the organizational theory, the organization is still involved in the business practice to set standards for their employee’s relationship (Lincoln, 1985). The organization has introduced the theory X and theory Y of the human motivation that represents the two different models of the workforce of motivation. Theory X represents the types of employees; those are lazy and those who ignore their work that they can perform. Hence, for the betterment of the organization, the management team should look towards them and supervise them in their daily work to have a full control over the system. For achieving the organizational goals, the organization should rely on the threats that it could face from these types of employees. The theory Y consists of the employees those who are having the willingness towards their work (Andreu and Ciborra, 1996). These types of employees love to work as they take their work as their responsibility. Theory Y employees are self-motivated and ambitious regarding their work. Hence, the organization should rely more on this type of employees rather than that of theory X employees. The organizational theory has classified their knowledge regarding the unity of command, the positing of the administrative principles, an administration that includes science and the span of control. The organization can implement all these theories and principles so that it can achieve its goals and objectives easily.
The organizational culture is developed by understanding the assumption of the phenomenon and also the level of awareness to include as a part of their culture. According to the researchers, there are mainly three cultural levels in an organization. They are like values, assumptions and artifacts. The values of the organization mean the beliefs that are implemented to enhance the vision and the mission of the organization. Assumptions of the organization are the basic expectation about the upcoming future (Altman et al., 1985). Whereas, the artifacts include the organizational symbols of visions, logo or mark by which the organizational image and reputation is represented. The corporate culture in an organization can influence the performance, according to the Modernists. The modernism of the organization is a form of a culture where they share the equal and same respective goals. The modernist came to an argument that the external factors of the organization can help them to improve organizational culture. But once they have implemented the new transformation or once they have reduced their effectiveness, then the organization could not be able to stand against the changes (Miner, 2005). The cultural relation to the organizational performance and its adaptation can be measured by using the method of quantitative analysis. Several organizations have implemented the financial analysis so that the company can understand its cultural strength and the methods to improve it. The management looks at the corporate report of the financial years to see the difference in performance of the effectiveness and culture. From the viewpoint of the symbolic-interpretivists, they understand the culture of the organization as long as they are reasonable and understandable to them. By looking into the organizational culture, they need to implement the meaningful validation and interpretation to understand the organizational culture in a better way. By the help of the symbolic-interpretivism, they believe that the public can lead to the path of success and can be more alert to the problem they are facing (Rogers, 1975). The symbolic-interpretive is a way to train the people in the process and to determine data. They introduce the emotions and feeling for the guidance of the members in the way of the reconstruction process of the ideas.
It can be clearly seen that the organization’s existence depends on the different perspectives that have been discussed in this report. By the implementation of the theories and concept of the culture and organizational structure has explored several factors that can lead the organization to the ultimate glory and success. As a modernism perspective explains that use of rules and proper technology is the key to success for an organization. But Symbolic perspective says that there is a need of considering the outside world as well as emotions and intuition to take a proper decision regarding the organizational culture to seek success in the long run. But in the modern day of developing technology, it can be seen that it is important to consider the moral and ethical values of the society and the community to seek success. Hence, there is a need for a developed theory that will overcome the assumptions of the two organizational theory perspectives.
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