Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
'Organizational Studies (also known as Organizational Behavior) is a distinct field of academic study which takes as its subject organizations, examining them using the methods of economics, sociology, political science, anthropology, and psychology. Not to be confused with Industrial Organization (IO), which analyses market stuctures and natural monopolies, and is much more like microeconomics.
Overview of the Field
Organizational studies is the study of individual and group dynamics in an organization setting, as well as the nature of the organizations themselves. Whenever people interact in organizations, many factors come into play. Organizational studies attempts to understand and model these factors.
Like all social sciences, organizational behavior seeks to control, predict, and explain. But there is some controversy over the ethical ramifications of focusing on controlling worker's behavior. As such, organizational behavior (and its cousin, Industrial psychology) have at times been accused of being the scientific tool of the powerful.
Though it traces its roots back to Max Weber and earlier, organizational studies is generally considered to have begun as an academic discipline with the advent of scientific management in the 1890s, with Taylorism representing the peak of this movement. Proponents of scientific managment held that rationalizing the organization with precise sets of instructions and time-motion studies would lead to increased productivity. After the First World War, the focus of organizational studies shifted to analysis of how human factors and psychology affected organizations, a transformation propelled by the discovery of the Hawthorne Effect. This Human Relations Movement focused more on the actualization of the goals of individuals within organizations. The Second World War further shifted the field, as the invention of large-scale logistics and operations research led to a renewed interest in systems and rationalistic approaches to the study of organizations. Starting in the 1980s, cultural explainations of organizations and change became an important part of study. The field continues to evolve today.
Current State of the Field
Organizational studies is currently a growing field. Organizational studies departments are generally within business schools, although many universities also have industrial pyschology and industrial economics programs as well. Today, dominant approaches in the field include Social Networks, Organizational Ecology, and New Institutionalism.
The field is highly influential in the business world with practitioners like Peter Drucker and Peter Senge turning the academic research into business practices. Organization behavior is becoming more important in the global economy as people with diverse backgrounds and cultural values have to work together effectively and efficiently.
An excellent overview of the field, including readings and outlines of major theories, can be found here.
Links and References
- History of I/O
- Intro to Organizational Behavior
- Barley, S., & Kunda, G. (1992) "Design and devotion: Surges of rational and normative ideologies of control in managerial discourse", Administrative Science Quarterly, vol. 37, pp. 363-399.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details