ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS: OLD MODELS AND NEW CONSTRUCTS
David A. Whetten University of Illinois
Kim S. Cameron University of Michigan
More than a decade ago, a symposium at the annual Academy of Management meetings was organized in which several well known scholars discussed the current state of organizational effectiveness. The symposium highlighted the disarray and conceptual confusion that surrounded this construct. The discussion occurred at the height of the scholarly debate over the relative merits of competing models of organizational effectiveness ( Goodman & Pennings, 1977; Price, 1982). Seven books and many articles were published on the topic in the late 1970s and early 1980s, most arguing for a particular effectiveness model. None of the competing models of effectiveness emerged as the dominant perspective, and some writers became so frustrated by the confusion that they recommended a "moratorium on all studies of organizational effectiveness, books on organizational effectiveness, and chapters on organizational effectiveness" ( Goodman, 1979, p. 4).
In 1983, we countered this recommendation by arguing that "despite its chaotic conceptual condition, organizational effectiveness is not likely to go away" ( Cameron & Whetten, 1983a, p. 1). Three main reasons why effectiveness was here to stay were presented. First, organizational effectiveness lies at the center of all models and theories of organizations. That is, all conceptualizations of organizations include some notion regarding the difference between effective and ineffective performance. Second, it logically follows that effectiveness is the ultimate dependent variable in organizational research. Evidence of effective performance is either assumed or required in most research on organizations.