Resource Dependence – Review

January 25, 2012 § Leave a comment


Pfeffer and Salancik (78) define resource dependence as the ability to control critical resources.

Resource dependencies create situations where external forces control an organization.

Power is assumed to be the opposite of dependence.

Grandori (87) suggests that analysts use perception of goals to determine the type of theoretical perspective.

The resource dependence model should be adopted when there are multiple conflicting objectives of interest groups.


Power is relational, situational and reciprocal not just individual but a social relation property.

Power is a function of dependence, a product of structure and individual characteristics.

Natural systems such as resource dependence emphasize informal power structures.

Power is a function of the exchange relationship and varies by situation.

In zero-sum situation one party gains power and the other loses, however in a bigger pie situation overall power increases through interdependence via bridging strategies.


Symbiotic interdependence is the exchange of unlike resources and power is created as the importance of the exchange increases between groups.

Competitive interdependence causes two groups to compete for the same resources of a third party (Scott 03). Exchange theories are applicable among various resources and levels ranging from individuals to orgs.

Individuals seek to maintain power greater than dependence or else seek out a coalition (Thompson 67).


Thompson (67) introduced the power-dependency model, followed by Walmsley and Zald’s (70;73) political economy model.

Pfeffer and Salancik’s (78) resource dependency model proposes that orgs exchange resources with the environment as a condition for survival.

The need for resource acquisition creates dependencies between orgs that cause political problems requiring political solutions.

Orgs adapt and increase chances for survival if managers can acquire resources without dependencies that reduce power.


Dimension affecting dependence are munificence-scarcity, concentration-disperson, and coordination-non-cordination. Organizations can manage their task environment through buffering or bridging strategies.

Buffering protects the technical core from environmental disturbances through coding, stockpiling, leveling, forecasting and adjusting scale.

Bridging creates flexible boundaries through bargaining, contracting, co-optation, hierarchical contracts, mergers, joint ventures, associations, and government connections.


Bridging strategies are the most common solution to interdependence problems (Pfeff Salancick 78).

Mergers are when two orgs combine and vertical integration is a merger of firms at different stages of the production process (Pfeff 72).

Joint ventures are when two or more firms pursue a common interest and require less pooling of resources and usually occur when competition is high and event horizons are short.

However, the definitional operational activities either spatial, temporal or the outcome of interaction frequency makes joint venturing difficult.


Resource dependency theorists stress that orgs have coalitions of interests apart from the personal goals of those in power.

Weber’s (68) bureaucratic structures are ideal types of rational structures and Crozier’s (64) normative perspective focuses on the progressive acceptance of discretion away from intentions towards abuse of power.

Both bureaucratic and normative perspectives are functional approaches with resource dependence effects.

Functions of establishing culture, norms and legitimacy are not defined economically but organizationally.

Brown’s (78) political cultural model focuses on power from a framework that defines meaning of actions and decisions similar to symbolic management and neo-institutionalism (Pfeff Sal 78, M&R 77; P&D 91)


Personality – Review

January 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

PERSONALITY; Paradigms: psychoanalytic, trait, behaviorist, humanistic, social-cognitive, biological


Psychoanalytic: Freud anticipated parallel distributed processing models of cognition, conceptualizing behavior and consciousness as ongoing compromise among numerous independently operating mental subsystems (Rumelhart et al. 1986).


Trait: Behavior in one situation correlates with their behavior in a second situation; Behavioral consistency and change are orthogonal phenomena (Funder Colvin 1991)

Situation versus Person effect on behavior is a false dichotomy.

Big Five: extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness and openness to experience (McCrae Costa 1999)

Two issues: 1. Independent 2. Subsume all?; Any personality construct can be mapped onto the big 5; cannot derive every personality construct from the big 5

Other Approaches: Narrative Methods (McAdams 1999), Longitudinal Data (Caspi & Siva, 1995), Typology (Caspi 1998), Behavioral genetics, Physiology/Anatomy


Behaviorist: Watson (1925), Skinner (1938) behavior as a function of environmentally imposed reinforcement contingencies. Omits phenomena such as vicarious learning.


Humanist: Only way to understand another human being is phenomenologically, by understanding distinctive experience of reality (Rogers 1951, Kelly 1955)

Phenomenological, cross-cultural concern has led in two directions: Any analysis of another culture must be hopelessly distorted; Try to distinguish between the psychological elements shared by all cultures (etics) and those distinctive to particular cultures (emics) (Triandis 1997); Big five offered as possible etics


Social learning: one’s belief about reinforcements, not reinforcements themselves determine behavior (Rotter 1982).

Bandura (1999) emphasized self-efficacy, beliefs about one’s capacities, in his “social cognitive theory

Mischel (1999)cognitive-affective personality system” (CAPS) influenced by parallel-distributed processing models of cognition.

Social-Cognitive: focuses on the cognitive processes of the individual, especially perception and memory (“schema”)

Higgins (1999) theory of self-comparison: people compare who they believe they are with who they ought to be and who they hope to be

Baldwin (1999) relational schemas,” self-images evoked by interactions with specific other people

Dweck’s (1997) Goal orientation theory: fundamental worldview (incremental-entity) to a goal orientation (learning-performance) to a behavioral pattern in response to failure (mastery-helplessness)

Integrated Social-Cognitive Approaches:

Bandura’s (2001) social cognitive theory of personality updates social learning theory with an emphasis on self-regulation.

Mischel’s (1999) CAPS theory integrates cognitive social learning variables (encoding processes, subjective stimulus values) that includes culture, society and genetics



Anatomy/Physiology: Testosterone is important for sociability and positive affectivity as well as aggressiveness and sexuality (Dabbs et al 1998)

Neurotransmitter serotonin is important for affect regulation (Knutson et al 1998, Zuckerman 1998)

Behavioral Genetics: personality is to some degree genetically influenced: Identical twins reared apart have similar traits (Plomin et al 1990a).

Families matter; experimental studies show that when parents change their child-rearing strategies the outcomes for their children change (Eisenberg et al 1999)

Next phase: turn attention toward the development of process models that describe how a gene creates a neural structure that creates a disposition of response that in interaction with the environment, creates a personality trait.

Evolutionary: certain behavioral propensities were particularly likely to survive and leave descendants

Evolutionary approach to psychology questioned on several grounds:

1. Too quick to assume specific behavioral patterns are directly determined by biological mechanisms

2. Traditional division of labor, resources, and power between the sexes are susceptible to cultural explanations (Eagly Wood 1999)

3. Breadth makes the theory difficult to test in any convincing way.


Research Issues: Encompasses three elements: the person, the situation, and behavior.

1. Situation and Behavior need more attention.

2. Lack of descriptive data: Need comprehensive inventory of facts concerning associations between personality and behavior, directly observed in a range of situations.

3. Basic training in psychometrics—the essentials of measurement, reliability, and validity


Relations with Other Subfields: clinical psychology, developmental psychology and social psychology.

Organizational Justice – A Review

January 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

ORGANIZATIONAL JUSTICE requires an understanding of what people perceive as fair.

Balance theory (Heider, 1958), Cognitive dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957), Psych reactance (Brehm, 1966), Frustration-agression hypothesis (Dollard et al.,1939)

Distributive justice (Homans, 1961; Adams, 1965): fairness of resource distributions; Procedural justice (Thibaut & Walker, 1975): fairness of decision-making procedures; Interactional justice (Bies & Moag, 1986; Greenberg, 1993a): nature of the interpersonal treatment received from others


Relative deprivation phenomenon; people’s reactions to outcomes depend less on the absolute level than on how they compare to others

Established importance of social comparison processes in judging satisfaction with outcomes.

Social exchange (Homans, 1958) process by which an actor’s behavior influences the activities of at least one other individual.

Distributive injustice; whenever profits fall short of investments, anger, whenever profits exceed investments, guilt.

Parties reach different conclusions because of inherently subjective nature of the perceptual processes involved.

Role of Expectations. Blau (1964) satisfaction depends on benefits received relative to expectations

General expectations are driven by prevailing societal norms and standards (Gouldner, 1960)

Blau (1964) distinguished: economic exchanges, contractual in nature and social exchanges, favors that create diffuse future obligations

Blau (1964) social exchange relationships depend on trust that future obligations eventually will be fulfilled over the long term

Adams’s (1965) equity theory noted any exchange relationship could be perceived as being unfair to the parties involved.

Individuals compare their outcome/ input ratios to the corresponding ratios of some comparison others or to an earlier time.

Walster et al. (1973) 1. Adams’s (1965) formula for computing the equity ratio led to counterintuitive predictions when handling negative inputs

2. Distinguished between two forms of inequity restoration (a) restoring “actual equity,” (b) restoring “psychological equity

Leventhal (1976a): Proactive perspective by shifting focus from the reactions of reward recipients to the behavior of reward allocators

Allocation norm, defined as “a social rule that specifies criteria that define certain distributions of rewards and resources as fair and just


Blau (1964) acceptable codes of conduct on the part of exchange partner

Leventhal’s (1980) noted that equity theory ignores the procedures that result in the outcome distribution.

Thibaut, Walker (1975) (a) Adversary system, judge controls the decision but not the presentation of evidence

(b) Inquisitorial system, judge controls both the outcome and the procedure

Procedures, not just outcomes, could drive key attitudes, lending legitimacy to process fairness as an area of inquiry

Distinguished between two specific forms of control: decision control and process control.

Leventhal (1976b, 1980) procedural justice should be relevant in allocation contexts

Leventhal (1980) 6 rules for fair procedures: • Consistency. • Bias suppression. • Accuracy. • Correctability. • Representativeness. • Ethicality.

Greenberg and Folger (1983) described the effects of “choice” and “voice” on employee reactions.

Folger, Greenberg (1985) procedural rules could be used to make performance evaluations fairer by giving employees input into the appraisal process, allowing them to complete self-appraisals, and improving record-keeping procedures.

Performance evaluation and compensation systems join dispute resolutions as most widely applied areas


Bies and Moag’s (1986) fairness of interpersonal communication 4 rules: • Truthfulness. • Justification • Respect. • Propriety

Unclear whether enactment of procedures constituted an entirely different justice dimension or simply another facet of procedural justice

2 Dimensions: interpersonal justice and informational justice (Greenberg, 1993a).

Interpersonal justice: respect and propriety rules; Informational justice: justification and truthfulness

Greenberg (1993b) found interpersonal and informational justice each had unique effects on theft

Distinction between procedural justice and interactional justice reflects two distinct factors: differences in justice content and in justice source.

INTEGRATIVE WAVE: Counterfactual, group-oriented and heuristic conceptualizations.

Counterfactual Conceptualizations: “what might have been”, include referent cognitions theory and fairness theory.

Referent Cognitions Theory. Folger (1986b) value in detailing cognitive and affective, focused on feelings of anger and resentment

Fairness Theory. Folger & Cropanzano (1998, 2001) seeks to explain when an authority will be held accountable for an injustice

Group-Oriented Conceptualizations

Group Value Model. Lind, Tyler (1988) alternative to self-interest model, emphasis on group memberships, attuned to status and treatment

Tyler (1989) criteria affirming group values: (a) bias suppression (neutrality); (b) benevolence ( trust); and (c) interpersonal justice (standing)

Relational Model. Degree authorities as legitimate.

Tyler, Lind (1992) Procedures are manifestations of basic process values, acquire substantial significance as symbols of group values.

Tyler (1997) explicitly tested a core proposition of the model-that relational judgments predict the legitimacy of authorities.

Group Engagement Model. Tyler, Blader (2000, 2003) argued justice is a key driver of intrinsic forms of motivation and task, citizenship behaviors

Forms of procedural justice and interactional justice originating with supervisors and organizations drive identity judgments.

Distributive justice influences perceptions of group resources, which in turn impact identity judgments.

Social identity mediation hypothesis. “People’s willingness to cooperate with their group flows from identity information they receive from the group.”

Heuristic Conceptualizations. Mental shortcuts used in forming and using psychological judgments of fairness.

Fairness Heuristic Theory. Lind (2001) decisions can be automatic as well as deliberate; psychological shortcut used to decide whether to accept or reject the directives of people in positions of authority

Core proposition: fairness heuristics are formed quickly, using whatever information is available, used to guide subsequent decisions; used as a proxy for trust.

Fundamental dilemma: 1. Valued outcomes obtained by identifying and complying with authority requests; 2. Complying with requests, vulnerable to exploitation.

Uncertainty Management Theory. Justice manipulations were stronger when uncertainty was made salient; trust is on of many factors uncertain.

People use fairness to manage their reactions to uncertainty, finding comfort in related or even unrelated fair experiences.

Fairness can remove uncertainty related to an authority’s trustworthiness, but can mitigate effects of uncertainty nothing to do with authority relationships.

Motivation – Review

January 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

MOTIVATION: is a psychological process resulting from the interaction between the individual and the environment

If orgs are goal oriented social groups then motivation is a crucial technique of managers to accomplish org goals (Nicholson et al. 95)

Taylor’s (11) scientific management approach: rewards and punishments; Freud (13) motivation is unconscious

HR School worker morale has effect on performance making motivation more explicit (Barnard, 38; Mayo, 33; R&D, 39)

Behaviorism effect of environmental stimuli on observable behavior, identified role for motivations in conditioning approaches leading to modern theories (Watson, 13; Skinner, 53)

Work motivation: energetic forces originate both within and beyond individual’s being, initiate work-related behavior, determine form, direction, intensity, duration (Pinder 1998)

Goal-setting, Social cognitive and Organizational justice theories are the three most important approaches to work motivation to appear in the last 30 years.

Needs: Maslow (43) physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization; as lower needs satisfied, higher order needs take over

McGregor’s 1960 Theory Y supervisor and employee share the same identity; Theory X Leader-member don’t; Theory X places exclusive reliance upon external control of behavior, whereas Theory Y emphasizes self-control and self-direction

Herzberg (59) Distinction; Deficiency needs, hygiene factors need to maintain a minimum level (salary) and Growth needs, motivators that drive upward; claimed satisfaction-dissatisfaction not polar opposites.

Existence, relatedness, and growth (ERG) needs model and the need for achievement, authority, power and affiliation were developed in response to Maslow (Alderfer 69; McClelland 55).

Hogan & Warremfeltz (2003) argued that people have innate biological needs for (a) acceptance and approval: (b) status, power, and control of resources: (c) predictability and order.

Need-based theories explain why a person must act; they do not explain why specific actions are chosen in specific situations to obtain specific outcomes.

Needs theories are criticized as too general not accounting for individual differences and there is little empirical support for Maslow’s hierarchy.

Trait Theory Personality is the primary predictor of motivation such as core self-evaluation as one’s appraisal of people, events, and things in relation to self (Schmitt et al., 03; Judge et al., 97).

Personality traits; extroversion, conscientiousness, self-regulatory, self-monitoring strategies, tenacity, core self-evaluations, goal orientation predict and/or influence job search, choice of job, job performance and satisfaction.

Tett & Burnett (2003) Person-situation interactionists model of job performance lays groundwork specifying conditions which particular personality traits predict, explain performance in specific jobs

Dweck (1999) Goal orientation theory argued that people’s conception of ability influences goals they pursue.

Learning goal orientation (LGO); ability malleable, focuses on acquisition of knowledge and perfecting competence. Positively associated with openness to experience, optimism, internal locus of control, effort

Performance goal orientation (PGO) ability fixed, choose tasks that allow them to easily demonstrate proficiency at the expense of learning something new. PGO is negatively related to self-efficacy

Values: guiding principles in the life of a person (Prince-Gibson & Schwartz 1998) acquired through cognition and experience.

Step closer to action than needs and focus on the influence of perceptions of fairness on action or on the effects of values in general such as in expectancy theory.

Goals are similar in meaning to values except that they are more specific. Goals are the mechanism by which values lead to action.

Context: National Culture: Steers & Sanchez-Runde (2002) Three sets of distal sources: 1. self-concept, beliefs, needs, and values, 2. work ethic, nature of achievement, ambiguity tolerance, locus of control and 3. environmental factors such as education, socialization, economic propensity, and political/legal systems

Sue-Chan & Ong (02) Self-efficacy mediated goal assignment-performance for low power distance

Job Design Characteristics: Challenged relationship between job attributes and attitude (Locke & Sirota, 76; Vroom, 64)

Job design has focused on the importance of job characteristics such as autonomy, learning, performance, OCB, and satisfaction, (Gustafson & Mumford, 95; Nord & Fox, 96)

Autonomy important only where work is not routine or predictable. Unenriched routines have been linked to job depression (Parker, 2003).

Campion (2002) Three major job components as complexity, social environment and physical demands with the latter two relatively ignored.

Porter and Lawler (1968) argued that the conceptual tools measuring the interactions job characteristics and people determine when enriched jobs will lead to beneficial outcomes.

Job design does not address interpersonal or situational factors of workplace that might impact psychological states and ignores teamwork, workplace culture, and does not consider previous experience, education, or socialization of the worker.

Person-Context Fit: Goodness of fit models simultaneously considers individual and contextual variables.

The basic assumption underlying these models is that the relationship between person variables and both individual and org outcomes is contingent upon various features of the environment (Shaffer 1953).

Three varieties of fit: Person-environment fit: organizational identification and turnover decisions; Needs-supplies fit: employee satisfaction; Job demands-employee abilities fit

Attraction selection attrition (ASA) model states that people gravitate to organizations and jobs that are congruent with their values (Schneider et al. 2001).

Limitation of P-E fit research is that interactions between the person and characteristics of the job or organization are usually treated as stable states rather than as dynamic.

Cognition: is inherent in motivation. Sensations of pleasure and pain are informational. Based on needs, values, and the situational context, people set goals and strategize ways to attain them (Locke & Henne 1986).

Goal-Setting Theory: Goal setting in work design warned about the folly of rewarding A, while hoping for B (Kerr 75).

Locke and Latham (2002) proposed motivating workers by goal setting. Mixing informational and motivating values, specific, difficult, and challenging goals are accepted by workers. The combination of goal setting with feedback on performance, as objective and timely as possible, creates a loop of success.

Expectancy Theory: transcends need theories and simple behaviorism by predicting that cognitive choice is motivated by outcome expectancy.

Expectancy assumes people seek rewards and avoid punishments along the lines of the stimulus-response-reward model (Skinner, 59).

Vroom (64) proposed that expectancy links effort to performance, through valence, instrumentality and expectancy (VIE).

Expectancy theory’s intrinsic rewards allowed the development of alternate approaches such as designing jobs and managing creativity (Hackman Oldham 76; Collins Amabile 99).

Expectancy theory fails to account for other types of justice beyond distributive such as procedural and interactional (Greenberg 93b).

The instrumentality of expectancy theory does not accommodate work motivating even if a reward is social and not material.

Social Cognitive Theory: effect of environmental antecedents and consequences are mediated by cognitive variables.

A dual control system in the self-regulation of motivation, proactive discrepancy production system, works in concert with a reactive discrepancy reduction system (Bandura 2001).

People are motivated by the foresight of goals, not just the hindsight of shortfalls.

Dysfunctional persistence was show shown to be the result of high goals, self-efficacy, and satisfaction with past performance (Audia, 2000).

Moods and emotions: influence the attainment of complex long-term goals and are interrelated with other constructs.

Positive affect exhibited higher levels of persistence, effort, self-reported motivation, and performance on two different tasks.

George & Zhou (2002) studied creativity and found negative moods signal that the status quo is problematic; hence employees exert effort to generate useful ideas rather than stop because of their satisfaction with the status quo.

Org Justice: Equity theory states that individuals in social interaction estimate ratios of contributions to rewards and compare (Adams 65).

Allows for someone to contribute less, and get less, allowing for generalized exchange not just ego-alter balances as in exchange theory and they form attitudes in relation to the perception among comparison others.

Distributive justice is the focus of equity theory and assumes motivation for resource outcomes and associated individual satisfaction are more salient in interpersonal settings.

Employees perception of unfair treatment respond both affectively (low commitment) and behaviorally (turnover) (Latham Pinder 05)

Further Research: Additional controversies are over the influence of money as intrinsic versus extrinsic, and the actual relationship between performance and satisfaction.

Effects of different segments of the life span and time lag between motivating intentions and actions (Carstensen & Mikels 05)

Durations, reciprocal causation, rates and dynamic changes of motivation are still in need of further research.

Neuroscience, computer models and the role of affect and emotion on motivation are other promising areas of research.

Team motivation and motivation at different levels of analysis present opportunities for extension.

Organizational Learning – Review

January 21, 2012 § Leave a comment


Organizational learning operates at the social psychological level of analysis that explores impacts of attitudes or behavior on org characteristics as context or environment or vice versa (Katz & Kahn 78).

Bertanlaffy’s (56) open systems perspective triggered research on how organizations obtain information about the environment and how it uses this information to make decisions and take action.

Org learning is through inference of past history; knowledge is encoded through production and adaptation of rules and tasks, the most central repository of knowledge being routines (Nelson,Winter 82).


Weick’s theory of social organizing, negotiated order and organizational learning are major theories in the open natural system perspective.

Organizational learning views organizations as loose coalitions that shift goals and preclude the assumption of stable rationality.

Organizations suffer from poor info processing, unresponsive aspiration levels, role ambiguity and inappropriate risk evaluation. Often the decision process is more important than the outcome.


The field originated with March & Simon (53,58) refuting economic claims that organization responses are determined solely by external constraints.

March introduced a rational information processing perspective that framed learning as rational oriented toward adaptation as well as non-rational due to bounded rationality.

The Carnegie school introduced bounded rationality to explain limited info processing abilities that led to quasi-resolution where contradicting goals become compatible by local rationality, satisficing levels and sequential attention to goals.


Behavioral theory of the firm is an info processing perspective that uses cognitive constructs at the organizational level such as goals expectations and choices that are constructed by processes where individual cognitions are in relationship.

Performance programs were introduced and focused on adaptation when performance levels go below the level of aspirations which tends to intensify innovative versus routine change (C&M 63;M&S 87).


March (91) proposed a dialectic tension between exploration and exploitation to explain pathologies predicting exploitation; the usage of existing knowledge drives out exploration the discovery process.

Countering change, Levinthal March (93) predict failure traps, an extreme focus on exploitation with high failure avoidance and propose myopia where decomposition into isolated blocks creates suboptimal learning with early learning unchallenged.

Levitt and March (88) propose the competency trap where the benefits of using routines are so large it does not allow for experimentation on new routines, there is also codification trap where rules prevent seeking new opportunities and needs.

Other barriers to change are superstitious learning and the disadvantages of quick learning (Lave & March 75; Lounama & March 87).


There are three top-level process of intra-organizational learning that can cause change creating, retaining and transferring knowledge.

Creation of knowledge has focused on demographic diversity and has found that favorable heterogeneity dimensions such as functional or background benefits must be balanced with coordination issues (W&O, 98).

Studies on knowledge retention and turnover effects show that when knowledge is stored in individuals, turnover has negative effects contingent of the quality of the replacement, or structure of the firm with hierarchy less affected (Carley 92).

Transfer of knowledge has studied the movement of individuals between various organizational locations and has shown that inter-firm mobility is efficient since it allows for the transfer of both tacit and explicit knowledge (Almeida Kogut 99).


A criticism of info processing studies is that measure items have little resemblance to actual thought.

The field also ignores the role of emotions, provides a minor role to social context and models processes using static schema (Fiol 02;Kukl 91).

A critique of org learning is that organizations have endogenous causes not reducible to rational response to the environment or individual behavior.

Learning theories also have little predictive power and measuring the effects of learning either through knowledge creation or the effect on performance can be difficult because learning is assumed to be tacit with multiple, nonhuman repositories and various factors need to be controlled.

The field is fragmented and diverging themes, such as sources forms and consequences of learning, are often attempted in single studies.


Garbage can theory (CMO 72) explains orgs as collections of choices looking for problems, issues and feelings looking for decision situations, solutions looking for issues and decision makers looking for work. Problems get attached to solutions by chance and goals change if the environment is unstable.

Garbage can theory was an extension of temporal sequencing of problem resolution focusing less on long-term strategic thinking and more on adhoc, emergent strategies that replace rational decision-making with vicarious or experiential learning.

Technologies are continually invented, shaped and modified in light of feedback from the environment.

Argyris (82) defined learning that changes the rules and methods for deciding as double loop learning.


Weick’s (79) theory of social organizing claims that organizations exist to reduce uncertainty through information flows.

The org is enacted through interpreted meaning of individual actions and examines how individuals “organize”, using trial and error, chance, superstitious learning, and retrospective sensemaking.

Sensemaking is an ongoing process where individuals create and use symbols to make sense of how reality is created and sustained.

Weick argues that actions may precede cognitions so that individual create reality a posteriori through sensemaking, which is strongly related to Festinger’s (57) consistency motive especially post-justification leading to escalations of commitment (Staw et al 81,87).

Weick doubts that evolution and adaptation necessarily result in improved organizational forms.


Pfeffer (97) critiques the refusal of sensemaking to recognize the symbolic role of management implicitly denying substantive reality.

Negotiated order or the symbolic interaction method focuses on how meaning is created and maintained in organizations through structures and rules.

There are various interpretive models of organizational cognitions such as stories and script (Martin et al. 93), and symbolic management argues that symbolism is as important as substance and organizations are systems of meaning creation.

If individual are social actors, the interpretation of reality can be socially constructed meaning, particularly acting in social situations leads to a natural meaning creation perspective (Weick 79).


There is debate about the validity of organizational cognition and the existence of cognitions above the individual level.

Levitt & March (88) assume a supra-individual basis for org learning as individual learning is too individual and pure decision-making is too forward looking.

Donnellon (86) argues that groups could engage in organized action without having developed shared belief.

Walsh (95) questioned how to account for the role of social processes in acquisition, retention and retrieval of info.

Nonaka & Takeuchi (95) claim orgs do not think only people.


Lant (02) attempted to reconcile the information processing and interpretive approaches by arguing for both.

Differences in the debate were that info processing focused on top manager while enactment focused on inter-organizational research of cognition and interpretation (Porac et al 95, 02).

The advocacy perspective is that the thinking organization is not a metaphor but empirically demonstrable by capability (Schneider 93).

Mixed positions offer that org consensus may happen on framing of issues, but not content (Fiol 94).

Gioia (94) posits that shared symbolism in social groups may create organizational cognitions without requiring similar beliefs.


A key mechanism is transactive memory that proposes that nature and amount of memorization is enhanced when people act together (Moreland et al 96; Wegner 86).

Group training reduces errors, improves retention and performance over individual training due to better transactive memory (Liang et al 96).

Transactive memory could have major implications for learning in self-categorization if members of the same social category share group prototypes (Turner 87).

Transactive memory implies distributed cognition if individual cognitions in a collective are important but primarily in the way it influences interaction with other member of the collective (Hutch 90,95).

Finally, transactive memory points to situativity, a theory that individual learning is best understood in a community of practice or apprenticeships (Lave 91).


There are opportunities for current research to study temporal effects and absorptive capacity.

Temporal effects models study how changes in knowledge have an effect on the ability to enact change at a later time.

Amburgey & Kelly’s (93) momentum model empirically verified temporal effects in a population of Finnish newspapers.

Cohen & Levinthal (90) introduced absorptive capacity as an organizational level ability to recognize and apply new knowledge.

Social network configurations of absorptive capacity have been studied such as the wheel structure (Bavelas 51) and weak ties (Gran 73).

Hansen (99) found support on weak ties for codified knowledge and strong ties for uncodified knowledge.

Leadership – Review

January 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

LEADERSHIP ability in formally assigned hierarchical role, to influence a group to achieve org goals (Hogan et al., 1994).

Authentic Leadership: pattern of transparent, ethical leader behavior; encourages openness (Luthans, Avolio 2003). Pseudo versus authentic transformational leaders

Transformational leadership behaviors transform, inspire followers to perform beyond expectations while transcending self-interest for good of org (Avolio 1999). Positive OB literature: hope, resiliency, efficacy, optimism, happiness, and well-being apply to orgs.

Broaden-and-build theory: positive emotions expand cognition, behavioral tendencies, encourage novel, varied, exploratory thoughts, actions.

Four factors authentic leadership: balanced processing, internalized moral perspective, relational transparency, and self-awareness.

Ethical leadership normatively appropriate conduct through personal actions and interpersonal relationships, and promotion of such conduct to followers through two-way communication, reinforcement, and decision-making (Brown et al. 2005).

Theory of charismatic/transformational leadership leaders raise followers’ aspirations and activate their higher order values such that followers identify with leader and his or her mission/vision, feel better about work, and then work to perform beyond simple transactions and base expectations (Avolio 1999).

Cognitive leadership way leaders and followers think and process info; self-concept theory, meta-cognitions, implicit leadership theory (Lord, Emrich 2000).

Lord and Brown (2001) values and self-concept mediating the linkage between the leader’s actions and the behavior of the follower.

Self-concept refers to identity salient in the moment consisting of self-views, current goals, and possible selves (Lord, Brown 2004).

Transactional leadership is largely based on the exchange of rewards contingent on performance.

Prototypical abstractions of leadership uses social identity formation to show that followers may be more drawn to leaders who are exemplars of groups they belong to or want to join.

New genre leadership emphasize symbolic leader behavior such as charismatic leader behavior, visionary, inspiring, ideological and moral values, transformational leadership such as individualized attention, and intellectual stimulation (Avolio 2005).

Tradional leadership models, describe behavior in terms of leader-follower exchange relationships, setting goals, providing direction and support, reinforcement behaviors based on “economic cost-benefit assumptions” (Bass, 1985).

Complexity leadership theory: interactive system of dynamic, unpredictable agents interact in complex feedback networks, produce adaptive outcomes such as knowledge dissemination, learning, innovation, further adaptation to change (Uhl-Bien et al. 2007)

Unit of analysis: Traditional leadership theory is the leader, the leader and follower, the leader and group, and so forth.

Complexity leadership is referred to as a complex adaptive system (Uhl-Bien et al. 2007).

Shared leadership emergent state, team members collectively lead each other defined by team-level outcomes (Pearce, Conger 2003)

LMX; leaders develop different exchange relationships with their followers, whereby quality of relationship alters impact on important leader and member outcomes (Gerstner, Day 1997).

Leadership researchers treat follower attributes as outcomes of the leadership process as opposed to inputs.

Followership research examines the role that followers play in the leadership process (Shamir 2007).

Meindl et al. (1985) social constructionist theory relationship between leadership and followership arguing that leadership is significantly affected by the way followers construct their understanding of the leader in terms of their interpretation of personality, behaviors, and effectiveness.

Substitutes for leadership theory focuses on situational factors that enhance, neutralize, and/or totally substitute for leadership (e.g. electronic brainstorming, group decision support systems). Evidence not sufficient to support main propositions in theory (Dionne et al. 2002, Keller 2006).

Servant leadership lists ten characteristics representing a servant leader: listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment, and building community.

Russell, Stone (2002) distinguished such leadership into two broad categories; functional and accompany attributes.

Spiritual leadership; “comprising the values, attitudes, and behaviors necessary to intrinsically motivate one’s self and others so that they have a sense of spiritual survival through calling and membership” (Fry 2003).

Two schools: theological sense (Whittington et al. 2005); inner motivation and drive a leader creates in followers (Fry 2005).

Comparative leadership compares leadership in two or more cultures, examining degree to which a practice that was developed in one culture applies to others (Gelfand et al. 2007).

Criticism and Open issues

Assumption of above perspective lies the idea that leader have a positive effect on organizations.

Critical approach describes leaders (or hierarchy) as the instruments of the dominance of a few over many (Bendix, 1956).

Dominance, law of oligarchy and goal displacement condition how one views eventual effects of leadership, issue of direction of effect

Whether there is really the existence of the leadership effect.

This causality criticism indicates inversion of causality abound in the field.

How followers cause the enactment by the leader in the case of gender differences.

Institutional Theory – Review

January 19, 2012 § Leave a comment


Institutional theory examines the conventional, standardized patterns of behavior or states of being in and across organizations and taken-for-granted beliefs that arise within and across organizational groups and delimit acceptable and normative behavior for members of those groups (Jepperson 1991; Elsbach 2002). Merton’s (1936) old institutionalism was the realization that officials orient actions around rules to the point that conformity interferes with the achievement purposes of the organization. Merton’s student at Columbia, Selznick, is considered the founder of institutional theory. “The most important thing about organizations is that, though they are tools, each nevertheless has a life of its own” (Selznick 1949). Selznick (1957) viewed the structural expression as an adaptive system where goals and procedures achieve a value-impregnated status becoming institutionalized, infused with value beyond the technical requirements of the task at hand.

Institutional theorists argue that formal structures can never conquer the non-rational dimensions of organizational behavior because individuals bring other commitments to the organization that restrict rational decision-making (Scott 2003). Procedures become valued as ends and structures adapt based on individual actions and environmental pressures. The institutional approach focuses on security and stability of relations, and homogeneity of outlook. Institutional theory proposes that many environmental forces are not based on efficiency but social and cultural pressures to conform. Selznick’s students (Clark, 1956, 1970; Zald & Denton, 1963) studied how structure features change over time in response of the environment and identified goal drift to explain changes in an operative’s goals.

Meyer and Rowan’s (1977) “neo-institutional theory” suggests modern societies have institutionalized rules to provide a framework for the creation and elaboration of formal organizations; rationalized myths believed but not testable, originated and sustained. Social fitness is proposed as conforming to social myths. Neo-institutionalists define institutionalization as a process which actions are repeated and given similar meaning by self and others. Symbolic interactionists such as Zucker (1977) developed the micro-foundations of neo-institutional theory based on cognitions; focus on micro-processes within organizations.

DiMaggio and Powell (1983; 1991) coined “isomorphism” as a constraining process that forces population resemblance. A contingency argument is that organizations structured by the environment, become isomorphic. DiMaggio and Powell (1983; 1991) define three kinds of institutional isomorphism – coercive, normative, and mimetic. Coercive or regulative pressures are to adopt structures or rules. Mimetic, or culture cognitive pressures force organizations to copy others, often because of uncertainty. Normative pressures are to adopt forms. As the research focus moves from technical to institutional analysis, the key outcome moves from efficiency to legitimacy of social action.

There are agreements and differences between “old” and “neo” perspectives (Powell & DiMaggio, 1991). Both perspectives view the institutionalization process is non-rational action that signals dysfunction compared to a perfectly rational approach. Both old and neo focus on relationships between organizations and environment, but neither prevents the study of lower organizational aggregates. Both expect inconsistencies between formal organizational structure and reality and invoke concepts like culture as emerging factors of organizational life. The “neo” perspective complements rather than contradicts “old” institutionalism. A difference between perspectives is that conflict is a political process and constraints come from tradeoffs of vested interests in the old perspective, while “neodownplays the political process and constraints come from legitimacy and “common understandings” seldom explicitly articulated (Zucker, 1983; Hirsch, 1998; Scott, 1998). Another difference between perspectives is that the definition of environment is loose for the old, as local, multiples ties, and treaties, while the neo-perspective views the environment as non-local, at the whole sector or field level. Finally, the “old” perspective focuses on values where “neo” theorists prefer cognitive constructs.

Similarities and stability among organizations signal institutionalization processes at work through the effects of carriers such as culture, structures, routines, and stories. Institutional analysis depends on the elements analyzed, whether cognitive, such as deliberative processes, or normative such as organic, moral, or expectations constructs. Forms and effects of institutions occur in intra-organizational processes when protocols, procedures or routines obtain a “taken for granted” status (Elsbach 2002). The symbolic role of management has also been used to explain the emergence of institutions through the manipulation of job titles, classifications, and names of projects. Selznick (1957) observed that leaders infuse organization with values beyond the mere technical requirements by selecting the social base, central personnel, and determining the formalization of structure and procedures.

Neo-institutionalists argue that actors influence isomorphism through formal structures that reflect the myths of institutional environments instead of work activities (Meyer and Rowan 1977). Professions can either induce isomorphism or play the role of true reformers. Shenhav (1995) argued that the industrial engineer was a crucial role in Taylorist ideology, securing space for actors between labor and capital. Sutton (1994) found the HR profession used EEO laws to push for development of HR practices in modern organizations. Mobilized social groups are a class of social actors with capacity in institutional power, prevalent in political sciences. Stinchcombe (1965) noted that an institution as a “structure in which powerful people are committed to some value or interest“, could lead to searching for institutional effects in class analysis. Rao (1998) demonstrates the fight for control of a field through two different conceptions of organizations the success by one group defining the field.

Neo-institutionalists study the existence of institutional structure through diffusion, propagation, and changes in institutionalized field. Structural mechanisms that support institutional diffusion overlap with diffusion in social networks using cohesion, reflecting physical and social proximity. Haunschild (1993) studied imitation through board interlocks and found the mechanism was direct contact between actors. Factors capable of triggering institutional changes are performance failure, takeover threat, modernization, and demographic changes. When current science no longer accounts for a majority of the phenomenon observed, performance failure can result in “paradigm change” (Kuhn, 1970). Davis & Diekmann (1994) argued that the abandonment of the conglomerate form in the 1980s was triggered by performance failures and takeover threats. Haveman and Rao (1997) found various factors trigger institutional changes such as modernization and demographic changes.

Deinstitutionalization has been proposed through mechanical, functional, cognitive and cultural process. Zucker (1988) argued for mechanical reasons, using entropy, imperfect transmission, and the erosion of roles. Oliver (1992) argued for functional causes due to shifts in interest, power, social pressures, or group differences in beliefs. Davis & Diekmann’s (1994) analysis of conglomerate extinction found support for cognitive and language choices as mechanisms of deinstitutionalization. Meyer (1992) proposed that the success of the formal organization in institutionalizing and legitimating rationalization in societal definitions of person and action tend to lower the structural rationality of the formal organization. Oliver (1991) proposed “decoupling” as a response to pressures by isolating the technological core from the formal structure.