Organizational Theory Essay

2292 words - 10 pages

This essay will cover the meta-theoretical assumptions that make up the modernist and symbolic interpretive approaches and how the respective theories under these perspectives describe about the relationship between organisations and technology in the environment.

Meta-theoretical assumptions
Ontology refers to our assumptions and concepts about reality. According to Hatch and Cunliffe (2006), concepts produce mental categories for arranging, categorizing and keeping experience in memory. This mental documentation assists in the studies of an object’s nature of existence, whether or not it is real or illusory. It suggests that although we do not see something perhaps it ...view middle of the document...

The study of epistemology takes 2 conflicting views, positivism and interpretivism.

The epistemology of modernism is positivism. Positivism is the acceptance derived from practices in the natural sciences that assumes things that are subjected to research are prone to being questioned objectively and that their “truth” can be established with a reasonable degree of certainty (Brand, 2009). Positivists believe that it is through hypothetical testing of theories and theorization against the reality found that truth is discovered. It is basically the gathering of data to discover the correspondence between our conceptualization of reality and the empirical world and to substantiate the knowledge of what is real.
In contrary, the symbolic interpretivist approach on epistemology is interpretivism. Interpretivism is anti-positivist as it dismisses the “view that the world of human affairs can be studied in the manner of the natural sciences” (Burrell and Morgan, 1979, p. 253). It believes that we cannot analyze the truth using statistical methods (Brand, 2009). From an interpretivist’s point of view, how “truth” is derived is dependent on the person who is directly involved, and hence is established through various interpretations of the knowledge constructed.

Modernist perspective on the relations between technology, organisations and employees
In general, modernists think of technology in terms of the means organizations use to utilize inputs such as raw materials to produce an end product, whether or not these finished outputs are goods or services. They define technology as a system based on the application of knowledge, manifested in physical objects and organizational forms for the attainment of specific goals which may be for practical reasons, symbolic reasons or for reasons of generating profit. In addition to that, from the deterministic perspective in contingency theory, it is seen that different technology types match up to different environments, have a need for various social structure and influence human behavior and actions. They also theorists look at technology from the different organizational levels, for example at unit and task level (Hatch and Cunliffe, 2006).
Early modernists who examined technology zeroed in to the variety of core technologies that were used in those days as well as the repercussions of the various core technology so as to discover “the best way” to organizing. As such, early modernists such as Thompson, Perrow and Woodward created typologies of technology which expanded contingency theory by demonstrating that social structure was dependent on the selection of production methods and conditions of the environment.
According to Woodward’s study of technology, there are 3 different levels of technology complexity for organizations, being small batch and unit production, large batch and mass production and continuous process production. Her study had brought about the notion that technology points out...

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