Most of my work focusing on educational systems – including universities, public elementary schools, private schools, and training programs in organizations – was…
Most of my work focusing on educational systems – including universities, public elementary schools, private schools, and training programs in organizations – was supported by Stanford University centers and grants separate from the Training Program, for example, the Stanford Center for Research and Development in Teaching (1968–1977) and the Institute for Research on Educational Finance and Governance (1979–1986). Faculty collaborators in these studies included Elizabeth Cohen and Terrence Deal in the School of Education, and John W. Meyer, my colleague in Sociology. A number of NIMH trainees participated in these studies, including Andrew Creighton, Margaret Davis, and Brian Rowan. Other doctoral students involved in this research included Sally Cole, Joanne Intili, Suzanne E. Monahan, E. Anne Stackhouse, and Marc Ventresca.
In 1981, W. Richard (Dick) Scott of Stanford's sociology department described a paradigmatic revolution in organizational sociology that had occurred in the preceding…
In 1981, W. Richard (Dick) Scott of Stanford's sociology department described a paradigmatic revolution in organizational sociology that had occurred in the preceding decade. In Organizations: Rational, Natural, and Open Systems (Scott, 1981), he depicted the first wave of organizational theory as based in rational models of human action that focused on the internal dynamics of the organization. He described the second wave, found in human relations theory and early institutional theory, as based in natural social system models of human action but still focused on the internal “closed system.” A sea change occurred in organizational theory in the 1970s as several camps began to explore environmental causes of organizational behavior. The open-systems approaches that Scott sketched in 1981 were still seedlings, but all would mature. What they shared was an emphasis on relations between the organization and the world outside of it. The roots of these new paradigms can be traced to innovations of the 1960s. Contingency theorists Paul Lawrence and Jay Lorsch (1967) had argued that firms add new practices and programs largely in response to external social demands and not simply to internal functional needs. James Thompson (1967) argued that organizations come to reflect the wider environment and particularly the regulatory environment.
The theoretical and practical significance of the concept of subordinate loyalty to immediate superior is developed, and then, an empirical exploration of administration…
The theoretical and practical significance of the concept of subordinate loyalty to immediate superior is developed, and then, an empirical exploration of administration behavior that best predicts subordinate loyalty to elementary and secondary principals is undertaken. Data were collected from the principals and faculties in eighty public schools. Those characteristics of principal behavior accounting for the greatest explanation of loyalty are Thrust, Consideration, Initiating Structure, and Nonauthoritarianism; however, somewhat contrasting profiles emerge in predicting teacher loyalty in elementary and secondary schools. While Initiating Structure of the principal has high value in the secondary schools, it is Consideration, not Initiating Structure, which is most salient in elementary schools.
Institutions operate at the core of all social structures, and it is vital to social science that we understand how they are established, maintained, and transformed…
Institutions operate at the core of all social structures, and it is vital to social science that we understand how they are established, maintained, and transformed. Considerable progress has been achieved in pursuit of this agenda, particularly in the last three decades, which have witnessed a resurgence of scholarly attention and productive inquiry. Institutions operate at multiple levels within a social structure. Recent students have concentrated efforts on their microfoundations, focusing on the agents who construct and reconstruct them and the mechanisms at work in producing, reproducing, and changing them. And of late, new efforts have been addressed to macro-structures and forces at work in sustaining and changing societal and global institutional systems.
Media characterizations of the state of higher education in America often seem bipolar. They emphasize either the accomplishments of the most successful elite schools or…
Media characterizations of the state of higher education in America often seem bipolar. They emphasize either the accomplishments of the most successful elite schools or the failures of colleges that are beset by problems and falling behind the performance of schools in other developed societies. A more complete understanding of higher education is obtained by embracing an organization field perspective, which recognizes the multiplicity of schools that exist – their varying origins, missions, structures, and performance metrics. This diversity is concretized by focusing on the evolving characteristics of colleges in one metropolitan region: the San Francisco Bay Area. The field perspective also calls attention to the support and governance systems that surround colleges and account for much of the stability of the field.
Organization fields are shaped by both isomorphic and competitive processes. Isomorphic processes have been dominant for many years, but now competitive processes are in ascendance. All fields are embedded in wider societal structures, and the field of higher education is richly connected in modern societies with the economic, stratification, and political spheres. Some of these interdependences reinforce within-field processes, some recast them, and still others disrupt them. The appearance of new technologies, new types of students, and changing work requirements have begun to unsettle traditional field structures and processes and encourage the development of new modes of organizing. Over time, the dominant professional mode of organizing higher education is being undercut and, in many types of colleges, supplanted by one based on market forces and managerial logics.
If one examines the changing nature of organizations and the contexts in which they operate over the past half-century, a number of developments have worked to soften and…
If one examines the changing nature of organizations and the contexts in which they operate over the past half-century, a number of developments have worked to soften and erode early distinctions around which much comparative research was conducted. Three types of changes encourage convergence.
Every paper needs a theme. Luckily, the venue defines the theme for me; how did the initial conditions at Stanford affect the development and diffusion of population ecology as a theoretical research program. I use the term theoretical research program reluctantly, especially considering the context of the department of sociology at Stanford University during the 1970s and 1980s (Lakatos & Musgrave, 1970). Nonetheless, I believe that population ecology can be usefully described as such. It is not a theory but rather a collection of theories developing over time with progressive problem shifts. There are methodological rules that define what paths of research to pursue and to avoid (Pfeffer, 1993, p. 613).
In this chapter, we describe a multilevel, longitudinal, comparative case study approach for investigating organizational heterogeneity based on our experience studying…
In this chapter, we describe a multilevel, longitudinal, comparative case study approach for investigating organizational heterogeneity based on our experience studying institutional change in the health care field (Scott, Ruef, Mendel, & Caronna, 2000). By examining the relationship between organizations, populations, and fields, differences between organizations can be captured in terms of their organizational identities as well as their (changing) relationships with the organizational field. We discuss the analytical strategies we used in our study of institutional change and describe our findings of organizational heterogeneity across levels and over time. We conclude with suggestions for future research that incorporate elements of our study design and lessons from our research process and outcomes.
Social science attention to the distinctive role played by the professions in modern society dates, at least, from the 1930s, beginning with the pioneering research of…
Social science attention to the distinctive role played by the professions in modern society dates, at least, from the 1930s, beginning with the pioneering research of Carr-Saunders and Wilson (1933) and the theorizing of Parsons (1939). A considerable body of work was produced well into the 1960s, most of which embraced what was subsequently termed a functionalist approach. It was argued that in return for employing their specialized knowledge in the client's interest, professionals were ceded the right to set standards of training and practice and to exercise autonomy of decision making in their spheres of competence (e.g., Goode, 1957; Goss, 1961; Greenwood, 1957; Hughes, 1958b). Considerable effort was expended in differentiating between more- and less-fully developed types of professions (e.g., Etzioni, 1969; Scott, 1965), as well as identifying the stages and strategies by which professions acquired their distinctive features and status (e.g., Abbott, 1988; Freidson, 1986; Wilensky, 1964).
The circumstances for the emergence of new ideas in organizational theory have previously been explored from several viewpoints. Researchers trace the origins of new ideas…
The circumstances for the emergence of new ideas in organizational theory have previously been explored from several viewpoints. Researchers trace the origins of new ideas to previous literature or compare ideas across continents and countries. The author takes another point of departure. Following Merton (1957, 1963), she focuses on “multiple discoveries” in science, studying the independent, simultaneous (re-)discovery of certain aspects of institutional theory in organizational theory. Specifically, she follows the circumstances under which two pairs of researchers proffered similar explanations for the phenomena they encountered (Jönsson & Lundin, 1977; Meyer & Rowan, 1977). Without ever having met, they suggested an analogous way of understanding the concept of organizing, though their research used different frames of reference and field material and was published in different outlets. The author’s analysis of the circumstances surrounding the two papers led her to explore elements in the emergence of new ideas: the Zeitgeist – the spirit of the times – international networks, and collegial work. When these factors are in play, physical meetings do not seem to be required, but scholars must be involved in networks in which their colleagues provide judgment and advice.