Understanding Business Organisations

Understanding Business Organisations

Understanding Business Organisations

Understanding Business Organisations

Synopsis

This work introduces the reader to classic debates and new perspectives on organizations and their role in the modern business world. At a time when sweeping changes are taking place in business practice, this volume demonstrates that organizational theory remains vitally relevant to students of business.

Excerpt

This is a book to be used to inform and support teaching. It is a sort of teaching text, but an unusual one. It consists not of the usual interpretation, guidance, review and assessments that properly characterise teaching texts, but of a collection of materials that can be used to support and illustrate such analysis. This volume is a small portable library, a replacement for a reading list. And this is exactly the role it plays in an Open University course, where it constitutes the teaching materials for an introductory module on organisations and where it is accompanied by a Study Guide which directs, supports, guides, encourages and tests students' work and learning on these materials.

The subject addressed by this collection is organisational analysis. The level is introductory. This has had significant implications for the choice of materials to be included. They have been chosen because they carry and sustain a developing and emerging narrative. This narrative, which comprises three sections, is described below. The narrative element is important because it means that the chapters of this volume have been selected not only for their individual contributions but for their collective contribution, and for the way they relate to each other and to the broader argument. So the links between these selections are important: in some cases this relationship is one of support and development. In other cases it is one of dialectic and difference.

Increasingly, academic programmes are being required to address not only issues of content and knowledge, but of skills. The course for which this volume supplies the teaching materials is explicitly committed to developing skills, and the selection in this volume reflects this commitment. Teachers who wish to develop skills will find that the choice, order, progression and interrelationships between these materials supplies a fruitful basis for the identification and development (and if necessary testing) of such key cognitive skills as identifying arguments from texts, summarising arguments, assessing arguments and contrasting and comparing different positions. This volume is introductory. It establishes the fundamentals of thinking about and theorising about organisations. It is not indifferent to fashion (and some later selections engage directly with current fashions in organisational restructuring) but its first priority is to establish some continuing and underlying issues in organisations and in our understanding of organisations. Many of these have historic roots in the history of organisations and their continuing and fundamental features and tensions, and in organisation theory. This is the reason why some of the selections here are drawn from work over the last twenty or so years or even more: they are classics or they are about classics and as such they identify and deal with the fundamental, long term issues of

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