Organizational Behavior: Foundations, Theories, and Analyses

Organizational Behavior: Foundations, Theories, and Analyses

Organizational Behavior: Foundations, Theories, and Analyses

Organizational Behavior: Foundations, Theories, and Analyses

Synopsis

The book begins with a treatment of the role of science and the nature of theory and research. A discussion of the early origins and history of organizational behavior follows. This is the most comprehensive coverage of how organizational behavior emerged and grew. It presents and evaluates the first generation theorists, whose work began during the first 20 years. The subject matter covered is motivation, leadership, and organizational decision making. The institutional culture of organizational behavior is discussed and a vision for the future of the field is stated. Here the early history and the evidence from the theories are brought together in an effort to assess the identity of organizational behavior and where it might be headed.

Excerpt

Its title largely defines what this book is about: it presents a host of organizational behavior theories, evaluates each, including research bearing on it, andoftheoriesand places the theories in a historical context that consists of the circumstances and values of the emerging field of organizational behavior. There is a good deal that would pass as biography as well, and at the end an agenda for organizational behavior's future, but the essence of the volume is its coverage of the theories themselves.

Since books of this type are rather unusual, it may prove helpful to outline what the reader might gain from a perusal of these pages. First and foremost is a gain in knowledge of the field. Few people are able to devote the time to broad study of the literature that retirement has made possible for me. I believe that even the most serious scholars of organizational behavior will find some new theories and certain provocative ideas here. In this vein the book should prove useful to those who are searching for subjects to investigate, hypotheses to test, and research designs to use. Several books present many of these theories without moving on to evaluation; others consider a circumscribed set of theories and do evaluate them. What I have attempted is to provide a broad overview of organizational behavior's theories, along with an assessment of the validity and usefulness of each.

In addition to unearthing research opportunities, the book may also prove a useful source for those who aspire to write theory. It can provide examples of good theories (which have advanced knowledge substantially) and also of not-so-good theories (which have led us up blind alleys). Theorists, like others, need role models; most of the theorists considered here have had such models, and building a strong science for the future will require theorists who do the same. Furthermore, a reading of what is said here can serve to aid in establishing the frontiers of existing knowledge - thus to stave off reinventing what we already know, and to establish a starting point for true creative contribution. Penciling in boundaries in this manner at various points in time is essential for any advancing field.

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