- Peer Review: Organizational Theory
This resource is a relatively short textbook (123 pages) that addresses selected topics related to organization theory and organizational behavior. Some topics are covered in depth and others at a very summary level. It is important that consideration be given to the scope and depth of material addressed in the book. The book is feely available as an Adobe PDF file, but requires registration at the bookboon.com website and contains advertisements every few pages, primarily for educational programs and products. The book draws on a northern European context with regard to examples and a number of the references. The book would probably be most useful for an upper level undergraduate course, and would probably need additional readings/or cases as supplements or could be used as a supplemental reading itself.
This e-book (2014) provides a forward-looking view of challenges to organizations. In chapter 1, the focus is on using a role model organization (A. P. Mueller Group), discussing how other organizations are too self-satisfied, do not master the process of change and underestimate the significance of vision. Chapters 1 and two were reviewed.
- Type of Material:
Open (Access) Textbook
- Recommended Uses:
This is a textbook that would be suitable for readings related to topics in organization and management theory for learners as part of a course. There are no explicit assignments, study questions or other resources included in or with the book.
It is recommended as supplemental because this provides a comprehensive history of organizational theory.
- Technical Requirements:
Google Chrome Version 72.0.3626.109
Adobe Reader version 19.010.20098
Java 8 Update 161
Adobe Flash 188.8.131.52
- Identify Major Learning Goals:
The student should be able to:
- Receive an overview of organizational theory history
- Distinguish between three major approaches to organization theory - administrative/structural; behavioral; and open systems/contingency.
- Identify the roles of leadership and management in influencing organizational results.
- Relate the three organizational theory approaches to the roles of leadership and management.
- Look at this topic in terms of challenges in the future of the discipline.
- Target Student Population:
This textbook would be most suited to upper division undergraduate management courses as a supplemental reading in selected areas of organizational behavior, organizational development, and organization theory or could be used as the foundational resource for a course with other supplemental readings and/or cases added. It might also be used as a reading resource for gradiate students in organizational behavior, development and/or strategic management courses.
- Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
A fundamental understanding of organizations to include culture and basic functions would be beneficial, as this book discusses theory which requires a fundamental understanding of organizations. Users should be able to browse the Internet, download a PDF file and page through documents.
- Provides a review of major approaches to organization and management theory.
- Uses a recognized framework (i.e., Scott’s approach of rational, natural, and open systems) for organizing the material.
- Provides a reasonably succinct discussion of the topics it addresses.
- Provides citations to classic literature on each of the major theories and some more modern references on selected theories.
- Provides the necessary characteristics and requirements of future organizations that could be a good source for discussions and comparisons of current situations.
- Table of contents, providing assistance in navigating through the e-book,
- The book is written from a European, particularly northern/Nordic, perspective in terms of examples, references, and contextual information. While this is useful in terms of providing a non-north American perspective, it makes it more challenging for non-European readers.
- This is a relatively short textbook (123 pages) so it is limited in the depth provided to most topics.
- Supplemental readings would probably be needed for upper division undergraduate courses and certainly for graduate level courses.
- No review/study questions, exercises, or other assignments are provided within or along with the textbook.
- As with any free e-book, the ads can be distracting.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
- The book covers most of the major organization theories and makes useful connections to applications in the leadership and management of organizations.
- The chronological unfolding of major events associated with these theories is outlined to provide context for the evolution of the theories.
- The book is relatively short and so is succinct – which provides opportunities to customize and extend the textbook by providing supplemental readings/resources for more depth and examples/applications.
- The e-book is subdivided by three analysis levels, task performance and structure, motivation, and adjustment to surroundings
- Neither learning objectives, nor prerequisite knowledge are specified by the author.
- A more robust introduction to the textbook would be useful that clearly specifies the definition of organization theory and its importance to managerial practice.
- Likewise, a more robust “Conclusion” would be useful that summarizes key points and the contributions of each of the unfolding theories to managerial practice.
- The first person is used frequently; this would have been better (in the opinion of the reviewer) if written in the third person consistently.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
- The textbook has a number of very useful diagrams that relate to most of the theories which are very useful in clearly understanding the theories.
- The book has a logical organization that is based on a recognized framework that makes it relatively straightforward to follow the unfolding concepts.
- References are provided at the end of each section.
- Instructions are not needed as this is a textbook, but a stronger introduction with clear learning objectives would be very helpful (as noted earlier).
- The textbook is provided from the website as an Adobe Acrobat PDF, so it is not interactive and has no supplement web-based or other interactive features or other unique design attributes.
- The were no accessibility issues noted for routine use as a PDF, but beyond that is an open question.
- Other Issues and Comments:
- This textbook was apparently written by Scandinavian authors that primarily use examples from European, primarily northern European, organizations which might not be familiar to North American learners.
- Addresses some theories that are little discussed – such as, Pathfinder theory of motivation, Values-Based leadership, Appreciative Inquiry – which is a useful contribution.
- Provides informative discussion of the relationship of age and motivation.
- Adams Equity Theory of Motivation is not explicitly addressed, but the concept is addressed in a discussion of Justice theories (Distributive and Procedural).
- Some of the writing is a little more challenging to follow as the wording, terminology, framing, and flow are somewhat different than typically seen in North American textbooks.
- The strongest features would be the historical perspective, looking into the future, and the integration of different theories and models (such as administrative theory) that is not necessarily found in standard textbooks.
- Creative Commons: