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Understanding Organizations

Understanding Organizations

Howard Lune

ISBN: 978-1-509-50155-7

Sep 2015, Polity

224 pages

$69.95

Description

Social life is a collective process, and virtually all of social life in contemporary industrial nations is shaped by formal organizations and recognized social institutions. One can no longer hope to understand a complex society without understanding its organizations, any more than one can fully understand organizational life without grasping the social processes that shape it.

Understanding Organizations takes a fresh look at the sociology of organizations, blending classic theories of industrial society with contemporary cultural studies, labor studies, social movement theory, and the role of nonprofits. In each chapter, Lune describes the major ideas and the new work that define the topic, as well as asking how these assumptions came about and how they impact us in our daily lives.

This book will be the ideal companion to courses on organizations across the social sciences, and has insights to offer all students of organized life, whether one is interested in entering the corporate world, starting an arts organization, or mobilizing for social change.

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List of Figures and Tables vii

Acknowledgments viii

1 Introducing Organizations 1

What is an organization? 1

The organizational society 8

Key Readings 17

2 Classic Theories of Organizations 19

Weber – bureaucracy and beyond 20

Durkheim and the division of labor in society 28

Karl Marx and the spirit of capitalism 32

Conclusions 37

Key Readings 38

3 Management and Administration 40

How work works 41

Rational systems – Fayol, Ford, Taylor 42

Organizations as human systems 54

Key Readings 60

4 Culture in Organizations 61

What workers want 63

The TVA and the hearts of men 67

What workers feel 69

Bureaucracy as a culture 71

Organizational cultures at work 76

Culture shift 78

Dress for success 81

Conclusions 82

Key Readings 83

5 Organizational Dysfunctions 85

Everyday dysfunction 86

Built-in failures 96

Disasters 99

Key Readings 104

6 Organizations and Environments 105

Defi nitions and assumptions 105

Relations among organizations 111

The neo-institutional model 125

Key Readings 131

7 The Non- profi t Sector 132

Defining the non-profit sector 133

Why is there a non-profit sector? 135

How are NPOs different? 140

Commerce and community at an arts organization 144

The three sectors intersect 145

Key Readings 153

8 Organizing for Social Change 154

Community-based non-profits and the state 155

Social change organizations 161

Key Readings 171

9 What's Next for the Sociology of Organizations? 173

Which way is forward? 173

Organizations are at the heart of sociology 187

Now that you know this . . . 191

Glossary 193

References 198

Index 211

"Organizations structure our daily lives, but few of us recognize their powerful influence. In this book, Lune offers a clear and accessible introduction to organization studies. With its mix of classical theory, contemporary research, and vivid real-life examples, Understanding Organizations will enlighten students and professionals alike. Read this book to unlock the mysteries of complex organizations."
—Christine Williams, University of Texas at Austin

"Understanding Organizations is the most comprehensive, historical, and accessible treatment of the social science of organizations available now. It asks insightful questions, provides theoretically informed answers, will inspire students to study organizations and lay readers to critically evaluate the organizations surrounding us."
—Kevin T. Leicht, University of Iowa

  • Takes a fresh look at the sociology of organizations, blending classic and contemporary theories.
  • Describes the major ideas and the new work that define the topic, as well as asking how these assumptions came about and how they impact us in our daily lives.
  • Written in an accessible and engaging style with use of pertinent examples.
  • Ideal companion for courses on organizations, a core topic across the social sciences.