A Typology of Organizational Behavior: At the Crossroad of Risk and Uncertainty*
Jeong-han, Kang, Won, Han Sang, Development and Society
Four modes of organizational behavior are proposed by crossing two behavioral dimensions adopted from organizational ecology (inertia vs. change) and neoinstitutionalism (normative vs. deviant). Those four modes are innovative (deviant change), reformative (normative change), conservative (normative inertia), and reactionary (deviant inertia) modes in the life-cycle of organizational behavior. Also identified are two distributional characteristics underlying each behavioral dimension: low risk vs. high risk underlying inertia vs. change, and certainty vs. uncertainty underlying normative vs. deviant. Through the integration of inertia-conformity and risk-uncertainty dimensions, hypotheses are generated on how transition to the next mode can be either promoted or hindered by sociopolitical resources at the organizational level and by intervention of the state and the civil society at the societal level. The typology and hypotheses outlined in this paper aim to further theoretical articulation and empirical tests on the evolutionary dynamics of organizational forms and institutions in the market.
Keywords: Inertia, Conformity, Risk, Uncertainty, Organizational Behavior, Institutions, Organizational Forms
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Population ecology and neoinstitutionalism lead organizational theories that incorporate organizational environments and view organizational dynamics at the macro-level. Organizations are either selected by their environments, according to population ecology (Hannan and Freeman, 1977), or adapted to institutional legitimacy, according to neoinstitutionalism (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983). Their emphasis on the interdependence between organizations and institutional environments identifies organizational form in population ecology or organizational field in neoinstitutionalism as the primary element in organizational evolution, but there has not been much research on how organizational forms or fields change (Meyer, Gaba, and Colwell, 2005). This lack of research concerning dynamism at the macro-level can be found in each theory.
First, population ecology is largely lacking in empirical research on population dynamics in spite of its theoretical interest in it. Carroll and Hannan (2000) theoretically articulated the concept of organizational "form," but most empirical studies focus on the dynamics of individual organizations within a given industry, population, and form, which is likely in a stable, rather than in a dynamic environment. In a word, the dynamics of organizational form is understudied in the literature of population dynamics (Chiles, Meyer, and Hench, 2004; Singh, 2006: 179). Population ecology did not theorize the dynamic nature of environments as much as it did for organizational structures. According to population ecology, the environment of a particular form is the density of other forms, while those other forms need to be explained by their own environment. Political factors are hardly implemented in such environments (Ingram and Simons, 2000), and population ecology is not able to provide standard research guidelines for form-dynamics as much as it did for individual dynamics.1 Organizational environments are theorized in terms of risk and uncertainty, and sociopolitical factors that can affect risk and uncertainty are explored in this paper.
Second, neoinstitutionalism theoretically tells a convincing story of how strong a dominant institution is, as captured by the image of institutional "iron cage" (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983) which is named after Weber's bureaucratic "iron cage" (Weber, 1970), but it does not provide a comparable story of how the self-enforcing cycle of an institution can be eventually broken (Greif and Laitin, 2004). Driving forces for institutional changes of each case are examined (Haveman, 2000). Empirically, neoinstitutionalism has been accumulating diverse, interesting case studies but their general hypotheses have hardly been tested. …