Modern Perspectives on Organization Theories

And its controversy of theory and practice

Seminararbeit, 2010

14 Seiten


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Has management become an empty title?

3. Why do we buy Coca-Cola only?

4. What makes a culture understandable?

5. Live life forward, understand it backwards

6. Learning from mistakes

7. Conclusion

8. References
8.1. Books
8.2. Internet sources

1. Introduction

Organization Theory and its many insights into the twists and turns of organizations have found profound encouragement by theorists. Now it is the practitioners turn to speak up. Rethinking the theories being developed over the last centuries and approaching them critically sheds new light on the theories applicability in “real life”.

To highlight the gap or the cohesiveness of practice and theory we choose to apply the theories from “The Oxford Handbook of Organization Theories” on topics I found worth discussing. Due to the diversity of the theoretical subjects, I decided to opt for five different examples, which approach the theories with all their aspects.

2. Has management become an empty title?

Chapter 3, Organization Theory as Creative Science

“Literally throngs of individuals (and even agencies) are dubbing themselves with impressing- sounding titles and claims without evidence to prove they’ve had success doing much of anything.”


There are several ways to gain knowledge. This is done through the three different cognitive interests, the technical interest, the practical interest and the emancipator interest (Tsoukas and Knudsen, 2003).

The first step to acquire a technical interest is the basic understanding of facts. The second step, to gain practical interest, requires applying the theoretical knowledge. Only after undergoing the cycle of the first and second step, the third step will enhance the understanding even further. Critically rethinking ones approaches shows new perspectives and leads to innovation.

In an organization the constant acquirement of knowledge is vital for the organizations survival. Taking the wrong or right path can make or break an organization. As the world nowadays sis moving with an unforgivable fast pace, organization are faced to make decisions constantly. Making the “right” decision requires multilayered knowledge. The three interests are part of these layers. Are Managers who do not possess any of the three interests unable to thrive? Has being a manager become a fashion statement and not a worthy title?

Today’s society expects people to reach for the highest goals. Being a manager has become mandatory. The title of being a manager has on the one hand lost it’s polish and become an empty phrase whereas on the other hand everyone still thrives to become a manager as it implies power. Being a manager is not only about sitting in a nice office, it is work, too. The technical interest is the manager’s toolbox. Managers need to have a basis to rely on and from which the basic tasks can be delegated. Technical interest increases by reading topic specific literature, which interferes with the temporary situation. The manager will be able to enhance the effectiveness of e.g. uncertainty by having work specific know-how. The practical interest is the application of the theory how to avoid uncertainty and actually get through with it. Moreover it is the interplay of action and structure (Tsoukas and Knudsen, 2003). Once reaching a stage of practical and technical knowledge, managers often have the believe of having reached “the ceiling of wisdom”. The duty is done after having fulfilled their task by creating a rag rug out of theory and practice. This is were superficiality gets detected. Managers looking for the social acceptance of their title on business cards will stop at this stage. The worthy managers, don’t stop here. They take the steps further and critically rethink their own action as well as their theoretical knowledge. The third, emancipator step is a consequence out of the previous steps. As there is not one simple truth in information, the attention needs to be drawn to errors. Managers, who manage to overcome the belief of infallibility, start to think about the core company’s goals. They are not seeking for a title, but have intrinsic motives to increase the company’s success. Furthermore they care about their reputation. Putting their reputation at risk when solving problems, leads to an increased interest of achieving the goal set and the company’s interests.

Successful managers are the ones where the strings come together. They are holding a variety of tasks in their hands. “Ideas about improved quality of working life, better communications, employee involvement and empowerment, for example, are routinely formulated in terms of their contribution to organization effectiveness […]” (Tsoukas and Knudsen, 2003, p.108). Managers rely on their knowledge to make decisions and multilayered knowledge will lead to the consideration of more than one aspect while making the decision. Organizational effectiveness reaches is it highest point when managers accomplish all of the three interests, mentioned above.

Unfortunately Tsoukas and Knudsen (2003) do not consider social aspects as a separate

point in their work. A manager can have the best access to knowledge and still find himself unable to communicate with colleagues. Social interaction being included in the practical part is not enough to accomplish today’s tasks. Adding one more layer of interest to the theory would add value to the manager’s knowledge accumulation.

3. Why do we buy Coca-Cola only?

Chapter 8 The Styles and Stylists of Organization Theory

“The packaging is literally the product identity.”


In marketing strategies the product with all its attachments lies within the main focus.

Rhetorical styles can be taught to make a speech more successful just like product sales can be pushed by the optimal product design (Tsoukas and Knudsen, 2003). Nevertheless there is this one magic ingredient that makes the speech outstanding and the product desirable. Elegance is the finishing touch or the icing on the cake. It is elegance that makes a comedian funny not solely the style he uses. The speaker’s personality reflects in the elegance and makes him special (Tsoukas and Knudsen, 2003). Many different styles exist in storytelling as do in product design, depending on the target group aimed for. All of them can be learned. Marketing programmes in business schools explain mechanisms of marketing and sales and provide future CMOs with tools. But can this special ingredient, the icing on the cake be taught?


Ende der Leseprobe aus 14 Seiten


Modern Perspectives on Organization Theories
And its controversy of theory and practice
Växjö Universitet
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
627 KB
Modern, Perspectives, Organization, Theories
Arbeit zitieren
Anna Lena Bischoff (Autor:in), 2010, Modern Perspectives on Organization Theories, München, GRIN Verlag,


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