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Organization Theory and Governance for the 21st Century

Organization Theory and Governance for the 21st Century

August 2014 | 352 pages | CQ Press
Applying organization theory to public and governance organizations, Organization Theory and Governance for the 21st Century presents readers with a conscious and thoughtful awareness of the history and evolving nature of organizations. It addresses emerging theories rarely touched upon in competing titles, and takes a deeper look into assumed theories to give the student a chance to critically consider the consequences these embedded assumptions have for organizational practice. By providing a consistent theoretical grounding and a clear focus on post-traditionalist thinking, the text gives students the background they need to analyze organizational settings and take effective action in the unique setting of contemporary governance.

Chapter 1: An Introduction and Orientation to Organization Theory
The Complex World of Public Organizations: A Primer  
Sociology of Knowledge:Ways of Knowing about Organizations  
Influential theories and paradigms in the social sciences  
Levels of analysis  
The Book's Approach  
Organization and Content of the Book  
Diving In  
Part I: Theories of Organization
Chapter 2: Classical Foundations: The Historical Context of a New Field of Study
Max Weber – Authority and Bureaucracy  
Henri Fayol  
Frederick Winslow Taylor  
Luther Gulick  
Woodrow Wilson  
Other Voices  
Case 2.1 The President's Committee on Administrative Management (The Brownlow Committee and Report)  
Summary and Commentary  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 3: Behavioral Revolution
Historical Context – Pre-War Hints and Post-War Proliferation  
Chester Barnard  
Elton Mayo, Fritz Rothlisburger and the Hawthorne Experiments  
Systems Theory  
Human Relations Theory  
Empirical Work – Kurt Lewin & Rensis Likert  
Conceptual Work – Abraham Maslow  
Douglas McGregor  
Chris Argyris  
Robert Merton  
Herbert Simon  
Other Voices: Dwight Waldo  
Case 3.1 The New York Department of Sanitation – Bureau of Motor Equipment  
Summary and Commentary  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 4: Life after Berger and Luckman: A Theoretically Diverse World
Social and Historical Climate – Things get more complicated  
Economic Theories of Organization – Transaction Costs Economics and Agency Theory  
Network Theory  
Contingency Theory  
Chaos and Complexity Theories  
Structural-Functionalism & Structuration Theory  
Cognitive and Psychological Models - Sensemaking  
Case 4.1 The Tennessee Valley Authority: An examination of parallel theories  
Summary and Commentary  
Discussion Questions  
Part II: Issues, Strategies and Tactics
Chapter 5: Managing Individual Behavior
The Management Attribute  
Classical and Rationalist Approaches  
Case 5.1 Current Expressions: Classical and Rationalist Approaches at the Department of Homeland Security  
Hawthorne Reprised: From Rationalism to Behavioralism  
Case 5.2 Current Expressions: Behaviorist Alternatives  
Foreshadows of Postmodernism  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 6: Understanding and Shaping Group Dynamics
The Management Attribute  
Human and Group Relations Theories  
Case 6.1 Current Expressions : Control and Expanding the Area Under the Curve at St. John’s Health System  
Systems Theories  
Case 6.2 Current Expressions : TQM and Local Government  
Organization Culture  
Case 6.3 Current Expressions: Organizational Culture and Management at Continental Airlines  
Foreshadows of Postmodernism  
Summary and Commentary  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 7: Affecting Organization Change
The Management Attribute  
Key Theories of Change  
Business Process Reengineering  
Case 7.1 Current Expressions: Business Process Reengineering at the Jefferson County Alabama  
The Burke-Litwin Change Model  
Case 7.2 Current Expressions: Burke-Litwin in Texas Public Schools  
Organization Development  
Case 7.3 Current Expressions: OD in the Montana State University Research Library  
New Sciences and Organizations  
Chaos and Complexity theories  
Foreshadows of postmodernism  
Discussion Questions  
Chapter 8: Managing Organization – Environment Relations
The Management Attribute  
Resource Dependence Theory  
Case 8.1 Current Expressions: Resource Dependence Theory at Brigham Young University  
Network Theory  
Case 8.2 Current Expressions: Networks and Municipal Housing in the Phoenix-Mesa Area  
Case 8.3 Current Expressions: Isomorphic and Governance Organizations  
Links to Post-traditionalism/Postmodernism  
Summary and Commentary  
Discussion Questions  
Part III: Towards Post-Positivist Organizations
Chapter 9: Escaping the Void: History of Post-Positivism
History and Genealogy  
Intellectual development  
Post-positive Concepts appearing in the social sciences  
Summary and Conclusions  
Chapter 10: Learning to Fly: Applying Post-Traditional Theory
Organizational Activities  
Chapter 11: Conclusion: This is the Beginning
Top 10 Things You’re Tired of Reading (but should remember anyway)  
Historical and Conceptual Review  
Organizations and Theory Competence  
Governance Redux  

“This book provides a breath of fresh air when discussing organizational theory and practice, and one that students will appreciate. The inclusion of organizational ethics is not only topical and relevant in today’s society, it also promotes and reinforces ‘ethics across the curriculum,’ a vital component of any public administration program. The material in Chapter 7, Affecting Organization Change: The Management Attribute, provides an excellent foundation for students, practitioners, and elected officials alike in the topic of change, an area that few people have received education or training in, yet is such a significant part of organizations and our lives. In fact, the material in this chapter was so impressive I found myself wanting to share it with the non-profit organization I volunteer with in light of their current situation and interaction with the city. Being able to relate real-life scenarios to material in the text, and wanting to use this material to better understand and improve these scenarios is powerful.”

Marcie Delmotte
Northern Arizona University

Organization Theory and Governance for the 21st Century provides an accessible discussion of a wide range of organizational theories and illustrates how these different perspectives enhance our understanding of the complex management and governance challenges in modern public organizations.  The book will make an exciting new addition to the book shelf of students and scholars alike.”

Mark T. Imperial
Department of Public and International Affairs, University of North Carolina Wilmington

“While there are many fine texts on organization theory, Pershing and Austin's Organization Theory and Governance for the 21st Century stands out among them. The authors provide the standard overview of the various theories of organization and treat them in enough detail to be useful. Where they shine is in their excellent discussion of Berger and Luckmann's social construction as well as subsequent diverse theories in Chapter 4 that offer a solid contextual framework for the overall subject. Going beyond theory, in Part II the writers delve into more practical action-oriented material that both current and future practitioners can benefit immensely from. Overall, this is a superb textbook that exceeds expectations and can be easily used for undergraduate, graduate, or professional venues.”

Shawn Schooley
Auburn University

The book is essentially designed to address important understanding about organisations and their importance in society. It introduces most of the dynamics for operations and developing effective groups. It is therefore important for Public Administration Students to understand Organisational functionalities, in particular those in the public sphere.

November 5, 2015

Theorotical Frame is well established

Professor ERHAN ATAY
Business Administration , Suleyman Sah University
September 15, 2015

Excelent book!

Professor Pedro Correia
Public Administration, University of Lisbon
December 17, 2014
Key features


  • A strong focus on the application of organization theory is provided in the text
  • Economic theories of organization and post-positivist theories are included
  • “Expressions in Practice” allow students to explore and assess the effectiveness of theories
  • “Exploration of Underlying Assumptions” show students the assumptions that underpin the theories
  • Case studies allow students to see theory in practice

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 7

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