Organizational Structure in the Middle East: A Comparative Analysis

By Miller, George A.; Sharda, Bam Dev | International Journal of Comparative Sociology, August-November 2000 | Go to article overview

Organizational Structure in the Middle East: A Comparative Analysis


Miller, George A., Sharda, Bam Dev, International Journal of Comparative Sociology


GEORGE A. MILLER [*]

BAM DEV SHARDA [*]

ABSTRACT

Despite the very large number of comparative organizational studies evidenced in the literature, few have been undertaken in the Middle East and only two involve a direct comparison of organizations in the Middle East with organizations in the West. In their comparison of organizations in pre-revolutionary Iran and the United States, Miller and Mahmoudi found strong support for the culture-free hypothesis and concluded that Iran could now be added to the growing list of countries showing a similar pattern of relationships among the major components of organizational structure. However, Miller and Sharda found support for the culture specific hypothesis in their comparison of organizations in Jordan and the United States. The purpose of this research is to show that Miller and Mahmoudi's conclusion may have been premature. Data were obtained from a matched sample of organizations in Jordan, and the causal model proposed by Miller and Mahmoudi is reanalyzed for all three countries employing a more rigorous met hodology. The results suggest that a model constraining all parameters to be equal, fits the data in both Iran and Jordan, but not in the United States. This finding is not consistent with the culture-free hypothesis and suggests instead that organizational structure is conditioned in important ways by the unique culture and institutions of the nation-state.

FOR MANY YEARS researchers have studied the impact of culture on organizational structure. In their review of the management literature, Adler and Bartholomew (1992) found that 70 percent of the articles discussed the role of culture. Of these, nearly all concluded that culture was important for understanding organizational behavior and management. On the other hand, in his review of comparative management theory Redding (1994) concludes: "This review inevitably leads to the conclusion that thirty years' work has make little impression on the immensely complex problem of cultures and organizational behavior" (p. 331).

Two contrasting perspectives and approaches characterize much of the research concerning the impact of culture on organizations. The first is best represented in the work of Hickson and associates (1974, 1979, 1981) with the advancement of their "culture-free" hypothesis. They argue that the relationships among the major components of organizational structure are similar across very different societies. Miller (1987), in his cumulation of the comparative studies, demonstrated that the effects of size on the major dimensions of organizational structure were remarkably consistent across very different kinds of organizations in very different societies.

A second approach is represented in the work of those who argue that different national environments and cultures influence significantly the way in which organizations are structured. This approach is evident in the comparative research undertaken by the Industrial Democracy in Europe (IDE) research group (1981a, 1981b). Their research assessed whether differences between organizations reflected the underlying socio-political structures of the different societies within which they are located. They found that societal differences explained much more of the variance in industrial democracy than did components of organizational structure. A similar conclusion was reached by Geert Hofstede (1980:372) on the basis of his comparative study of organizations in forty different countries: "The main finding is that organizations are culture-bound. This applies not only to the behavior of people within organizations and to the functioning of organizations as a whole; even the theories developed to explain behavior in organizations reflect the national culture of the author, and so do the methods and techniques that are suggested for the management of the organization".

Despite the vast number of such comparative studies, few have been undertaken in the Middle East (Ayoubi 1981; Badran and Hinings 1981), and only two involve a direct comparison of organizations in the Middle East with organizations in the West (Miller and Mahmoudi 1986; Miller and Sharda 1995). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Organizational Structure in the Middle East: A Comparative Analysis
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.