There is a rapidly growing interest in organisation theory, rather than in organisation per se. There have been several groups of theoretical formulations in the field: the classic axioms of the “principles of management process” approach to organisational problems; the decision theorists with their allies in the mathematical school; and two or more rather heterogeneous groups of social behaviourists that centre respectively on Human Relations and on the industrial sociologists. In fact, it is doubtful whether human organisations are comprehensible in the whole in terms of the analytical apparatus that we have at our disposal. This suggests that no “general theory” of organisation is likely to prove adequate, but it docs not deny that partial models are of value for analysis and prediction. The most rewarding such theories appear to be those which, like those of Brown and Paterson, centre on the sociological concept of “role”.
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