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Article

James Reveley and John Singleton

By juxtaposing fatal colliery explosions in early twentieth-century Britain and in 2010 at Pike River, New Zealand, this paper aims to investigate the generalizability of…

Abstract

Purpose

By juxtaposing fatal colliery explosions in early twentieth-century Britain and in 2010 at Pike River, New Zealand, this paper aims to investigate the generalizability of the mock bureaucracy concept to underground coal mining disasters.

Design/methodology/approach

The main source is published official accident inquiries; a methodological reflection justifies the use of these materials.

Findings

Mock bureaucracies existed in the British underground coal mining milieu from the time when safety rules were first formulated in that industry context. As for Pike River, it is an exemplary case. The development in 1970s Britain of a new approach to safety management (the Robens system), and its subsequent export to New Zealand, means that a contemporary coal mine under financial duress, such as Pike River, is a prime site for mock bureaucracy to flourish.

Originality/value

Although the concept of mock bureaucracy has been applied to an explosion in an underground coal mine before, this is the first paper to explore the concept’s historical usage and generalizability in explaining the environing context of such explosions.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Bureaucracy and Society in Transition
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-283-3

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Book part

Haldor Byrkjeflot

It is doubtful whether Max Weber would have been appreciative of his current status as the father of organisation theory. Weber did not develop the concept of bureaucracy

Abstract

It is doubtful whether Max Weber would have been appreciative of his current status as the father of organisation theory. Weber did not develop the concept of bureaucracy as part of a quest to advance a science of organisations, or in order to do a microanalysis of the internal structure of particular organisational units. The concept of bureaucracy was an ideal-typical concept developed as a point of departure for comparisons across historical periods and geographic settings. Weber’s research was motivated by macroscopic and historical questions such as ‘why did capitalism develop in the West’ and, ‘how do persons in the West and other civilizations attach meaning to their activities?’ Unlike consultants and organisation theorists that make use of him today, it was not a major concern for Weber to develop criteria for the most efficient kinds of organisations. Rather, his concern was to identify variations in administrative and bureaucratic cultures and patterns by the means of the bureaucratic ideal type. It is maintained in modern textbooks in organisation theory that there has been a development from a closed and rationalistic paradigm towards an understanding of organisations as open and natural systems, and Max Weber’s theory of bureaucracy is taken as a point of departure for this kind of narrative. This classification of Weber as an example of a rational and closed approach is highly questionable. The cross-societal and historical approach used so effectively by Weber, is put on a sidetrack in such mainstream narratives. It would be more in the spirit of Weber to focus on organising as an activity, bureaucracy as an ethos and to study organisations within their particular political and cultural contexts.

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Bureaucracy and Society in Transition
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-283-3

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Organization Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-946-6

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Abstract

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Organization Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-946-6

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Abstract

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Journal of Management History, vol. 24 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article

Alan Lowe and Joanne Locke

The purpose of the paper is to use a case study setting involving the implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to expose and analyze the conflicts in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the paper is to use a case study setting involving the implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to expose and analyze the conflicts in the characterizations of the post bureaucratic organisation (PBO) in the literature. ERP implementations are often accompanied by increasing levels of stress in organizations that place pressures on organizational relationships and structures. Additionally, ERPs are regarded as introducing their own techno‐logic of centralization, standardization and formalization that provides an apparent contrast to the exhortations about employee empowerment.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study of ERP implementation in a medium‐sized entity is presented. The paper explores aspects of ERP and PBO from the context of postmodern organization theory.

Findings

Some concerns about PBO identified in the literature are reflected in the case situation. For example, there is a commitment to give up private time and work flexibly by some employees. The paper also provides evidence of the way the management team substitute their reliance on a key individual knowledge worker for that of an ERP system and external vendor support. Paradoxically, trust in that same knowledge worker and between core users of the system is essential to enable the implementation of the system.

Originality/value

This paper adds empirical insight to a predominantly theoretical literature. The case evidence indicates some conflicting implications in the concurrent adoption of PBO and ERP.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 21 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Article

Enid Mumford

Job satisfaction is a nebulous concept. Managers talk about it a great deal, but, if pressed to explain exactly what they mean are hard pushed to provide a precise…

Abstract

Job satisfaction is a nebulous concept. Managers talk about it a great deal, but, if pressed to explain exactly what they mean are hard pushed to provide a precise definition. Vroom had described it as:

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 1 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Book part

Paul S. Adler and Charles Heckscher

“Shared purpose,” understood as a widely shared commitment to the organization’s fundamental raison d’être, can be a powerful driver of organizational performance by…

Abstract

“Shared purpose,” understood as a widely shared commitment to the organization’s fundamental raison d’être, can be a powerful driver of organizational performance by providing both motivation and direction for members’ joint problem-solving efforts. So far, however, we understand little about the organization design that can support shared purpose in the context of large, complex business enterprises. Building on the work of Selznick and Weber, we argue that such contexts require a new organizational form, one that we call collaborative. The collaborative organizational form is grounded in Weber’s value-rational type of social action, but overcomes the scale limitations of the collegial form of organization that is conventionally associated with value-rational action. We identify four organizational principles that characterize this collaborative form and a range of managerial policies that can implement those principles.

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Toward Permeable Boundaries of Organizations?
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-829-3

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Article

Bill Richardson

Describes a range of contexts associated with the learningorganization literature and the job of learning organization leader.Offers prescriptions about how classically…

Abstract

Describes a range of contexts associated with the learning organization literature and the job of learning organization leader. Offers prescriptions about how classically administered productivity improvement might be implemented in organizations, on the one hand, and how self‐organizing, learning networks might be facilitated, on the other. Also examines the problems and leadership challenges associated with organizationally destructive learning communities.

Details

The Learning Organization, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-6474

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