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Multiple Approach: A Better Understanding of Organisational Social Structure

Autor:   •  March 8, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  2,190 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,708 Views

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Multiple Approach: A Better Understanding of Organisational Social Structure.

In this essay, I will show how having multiple perspectives can enhance the understanding of organisational social structures. I will do this by firstly talking about how the modernist, symbolic interpretive and postmodernist came about, and what are its ontological and epistemological differences. I will then discuss their approaches to organisational social structure. Lastly, I show how the perspectives have highlighted the detrimental effects of an organisation, the fragility of it, and how it affects decision making, in the context of organisational social structures.


At the time of the Great Transformation, scholars tried to explain the emerging changes around them (Hatch & Cunliffe 2006). The Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution and Democratic Revolution contributed to theoretical formations for early theorists like Emile Durkeim (1949), Karl Marx (1954) and Max Weber (1947). They were concerned about the structures that were emerging around them, how it impacted people, and how people affected the formation of structures as capitalism made its public foray (Smith 1976).

Early management practitioners adopted Scientific Management as a way to run organisations. People like Winslow Taylor (1911) and Henri Fayol (1949) were highly esteemed as forefathers of management as their systems and methods were widely applied across the world (Wren 2004). They emphasised efficiency, effectiveness, and a very mechanical nature with relation to the people who were in organisations. It was from these foundations and synergies that Modernism was birthed (Hatch & Cunliffe 2006).


Modernism was a "rebellion" to the age ruled by spiritualism and magic (Calinescu 1987). The advance of scientific discovery led to statistical calculation, as opposed to clairvoyance.

Modernists see the world existing independently from themselves, whether they interact with it or not. Reality is waiting to be discovered though concepts and theories. It is objective, measurable, based on facts, unbiased and quantitative (Thomson 1967).

Their goal in theory development is to find prescriptive universal laws like the General Systems Theory (Bertalanffy 1968). They champion progress, efficiency and effectiveness above all else.

However not everything can be discovered through unbiased, quantitative data. For instance, the way a school records its student attendance may be through tap cards, but one student may tap multiple cards for his absent friends. So, if reality is only what is objective and measurable, how does one account for all the "present" students in school? Thus came forth the symbolic interpretive perspective.

Symbolic Interpretive

Social constructionists


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