Many Environmental Organizational Theorist Have a Central Claim
Q1. Many environmental organizational theorist have a central claim or conclusion to their arguments that organizations, their success, their design, and their processes are mostly dictated by the environment. Write an essay explaining why environmental theorist believe this (that is explain the logic of their argument) and then write a critique of it in terms of whether or not you think they were correct? Are managers mostly constrained by the environment? Is the idea of managerial or organizational agency a myth? Be sure you use examples (made up or real) when both describing their theory and in your critique. You can also draw on any of the books we read to help you with your response. Good responses have details, examples, and draw from the material from the class including lectures, readings, postings, and movies.
Q2. Tett’s book on Silo’s identifies a major problem of many large organizations — the rise of isolated silos and a variety of problems that come from their isolation. She also suggests some cases where individuals and organizations have been able to “bust” these silos or think about them in different ways. Write an essay that uses organizational cultural and/or organizational environment approaches and make an argument that one of those two approaches does a better job finding solutions to the problems of silos as Tett sees them. To be specific, write an essay that first details the concept of Silos as offered by Tett, then briefly explains the problems they create, and then talks about some of Tett’s suggested solutions to the problem. Then make an argument that either the culture approach or the environment approach offers a meaningful way to see and deal with the problem of Silos.
Q3. Two major themes or tensions emerged in different ways this semester across all the readings. First is the human factor. Organizations are about controlling and/or managing individuals suggesting that they are passive objects. Yet humans are not passive objects but at the same time they are not fully active and autonomous subjects. Second is the theme of differentiation and integration. That organizations are forced to both differentiate (split up roles and responsibilities) and bring those pieces back together. This causes a tension that must be dealt with.
Q4. Write an essay drawing on the recent readings (you can chose which ones): environment, culture, and technology, or any of the four books we have read this semester and talk about how they addressed these two major themes mentioned above. How does it deal with the human factor? How does it deal with managerial issues that require coordination and integration? You must draw on thinkers that we read and/or specifics discussed in class. In your conclusion, answer the question about whether or not you think the process of differentiation and specialization inherently makes the integration process mostly a charade to make individuals feel better and behave better in organizations.
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