Organisations in Action: Competition between Contexts

By Peter Clark | Go to book overview
8NationsStructural and institutional variations INTRODUCTIONThe nation as a unit of analysis has now become of major interest with an array of different frameworks and collections of comparative studies as well as single nation studies (Clark and Mueller 1995, 1996). This chapter will review the development of institutional and structural perspectives and then compare three different current perspectives:
• the actor-culture theorising of Hofstede (1980);
• the new institutionalism (e.g. Scott 1995);
• the claim by Sorge (1991, 1995) that societal capacities are most significant when directed towards resolving tensions between sectors in respect of conflicting contingencies.

These three frameworks tend to minimise the role of national markets and the international political economy examined in the two previous chapters. Also, they tend to overstate the homogeneity within a nation. The final section of the chapter contends that nations probably contain a typical variety of institutional forms and considerable variation (Clark 1987).

Nations: unlike and alike

Attention to the nation as a significant dimension has unfolded in three major waves.

First, in the founding period for organisation behaviour cross-national comparisons were rare. The salient study by Crozier (1964) claimed that Franco-American differences in social structure did affect organisational processes, conflict, pace of organisational change, rationality and structure. In contrast to Crozier, most studies sought to discover universal features of the organisation found in all national settings (e.g. Pugh and Hickson 1976). There was only slight interest in how the differences between national contexts might shape the organisational action of firms within particular nations. That neglect was stimulated by the ‘bold hypothesis’ advanced by Hickson and colleagues (1974). They postulated

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Organisations in Action: Competition between Contexts
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations ix
  • Part I - New Political Economy 1
  • 1 - Two Themes, Three Disciplines and Five Perspectives 3
  • 2 - From Modernism to Neo-Modern Political Economy 17
  • 3 - Organisation Theory 37
  • 4 - Structuration, Domain Theory and the Realist Turn 66
  • Notes 86
  • 5 - Organisation Economics and Economic Sociology 87
  • Part II - Competition Between Contexts 107
  • 6 - Long-Term Political Economy 109
  • 7 - National Innovation-Design Systems 133
  • 8 - Nations 158
  • 9 - American Exceptionalism 180
  • 10 - Sectoral Clusters and Competition Between Contexts 194
  • Part III - Firms 211
  • 11 - Resource-Based Strategic Analysis 213
  • Notes 229
  • 12 - Contingent Recurrent Action Patterns and Repertoires 230
  • 13 - Knowledges 249
  • 14 - Morphogenesis/Stasis 267
  • Part IV - Zones of Manoeuvre 289
  • 15 - Organisational Management and Zones of Manoeuvre 291
  • Bibliography 314
  • Index 339
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