Organizational Paradigms

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Organizational Paradigms: Rational, Natural and Open Systems University of Phoenix

Organizational Paradigms: Rational, Natural, and Open Systems What are organizations? How do we construct successful organizations? What is the most effective organizational structure or culture? Jones (2007) defines an organization as a tool individuals use to coordinate actions in an effort to achieve goals. “Organizational culture is a by-product of the interaction between employer and employee” (Baker, 2009, p.28). The culture, values and objectives of the organization are established by organizational leaders. According to Ohm (2006), “it is the set of unspoken interactions, relationships and expectations that spell out “how we do business” around here (p.15). Defining the structure or culture of an organization could be a daunting task for individuals. Baker (2009) suggested that simply put, organizational culture defines the way we do things around here. Organizational culture, clearly defined goals, visions and objectives as well as individuals are all contributors to the success of the organization. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the three predominant organizational paradigms that provide additional insight required for in depth analysis and deeper understanding into the nature of organizations. In an effort to appreciate the significance of organizations, we must comprehend the varying perspectives on organizations. Rational, natural and open organizational perspectives will be discussed through the use of specific real-world organizations. The aspects of the aforementioned paradigms as reflected in the organization will be discussed through clear, concise examples. The subsequent section briefly highlights the characteristics of rational, natural and open systems.

Organizational Paradigms: Rational, Natural and Open Systems Rational Systems
Rational organizations are defined as cooperative groups of highly formalized organizations oriented to achieve precise goals (Scott & Davis, 2007). According to Scott and Davis (2007), “from the rational system perspective, organizations are instruments designed to attain specified goals (p.35). Primary focus is placed on accomplishing clear, concise, detailed goals and following documented rules and roles that assist with the development of the optimal goal. Rational management theorist such as Weber, Taylor, Gulick and Urwick developed technical rational organizations, which resulted in the standard within larger organizations (Alkadry & Nyhan, 2005). Formalization, which proposes that organizational actions should be consistent at all times, is a characteristic of the rational systems perspective. This concept of a single standard process for actions is present within the Smoothie King Franchise that I frequent in Georgia. Ingredient cards identifying all the fruits included in their delicious smoothies are displayed in a number of places throughout the store. The standard preparation procedures are located behind the counter near the blenders to ensure preparation activities are consistent regardless of the employee performing the activity. In an effort to improve supply chain efficiency, `Wal-Mart adopted the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag technology. RFID tags were attached to inventory prior to shipment from the Wal-Mart warehouse. Organizational leaders secured data from the tags, thus enabling them to see inventory movement and effectively make timely decisions (Powanga & Powanga, 2008). Frederick Taylor, a rational perspective theorist developed the scientific management approach. The belief was that tasks could be scientifically analyzed to define the processes that would provide the maximum level of output with the minimum level of effort (Scott & Davis, 2007). Krotov and Junglas (2008) stated “Since Wal-Mart has been a major driving force behind the recent explosion in RFID...
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