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.
List of Figures and Tables vii
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
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
Key Readings 83
5 Organizational Dysfunctions 85
Everyday dysfunction 86
Built-in failures 96
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
—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.