The Social Psychology of Organizations

Topics: Sociology, Organization, Psychology Pages: 9 (2117 words) Published: April 13, 2013

This book has its origin in the program of research on human relations in organizations launched by Rensis Likert in 1947 as one of the major programs of the survey research center of the University of Michigan. From its inception, this series of researches has been concerned with problems of morale and motivation, productivity and effectiveness, power& control.

Also The book is an attempt to extend the description and explanation of organizational processes we have shifted from an earlier emphasis on traditional concept of individual psychology and interpersonal relationship. The interdependent behavior of many people in their supportive and complementary actions takes on a form or structure which needs to be conceptualized at a more appropriate stage. Hence the effort has been directed at the utilization of an open system point of view for the study of large scale organization

Past approaches to the study of social problems and social behavior have been limited by a lack of adequate conceptual tools. This limitation has been manifest both in psychology and sociology, although in different ways.
Psychologists have been characteristically unable or willing to deal with the fact of social organization and social structure. Societies and organizations consist of patterned behaviors, and the behavior of each individual is determined to a considerable extent by the requirements of the larger pattern. This context is not often incorporated into psychological theories. Some such theories –the psychoanalytic, for example- deal with the influence of the family on the individual.

Even social psychology, however, has neglected the organizational and institutional level, and textbooks of social psychology typically conclude with some treatment of small face-to-face groups. This book is an attempt to extend such discussions by beginning where many left off-with the behavior of people in organizations.

This book proposes that the resolution of such theoretical difficulties can best be achieved by means of open-system theory. This theoretical approach is not yet fully developed, but is exemplified by several important lines of work. These include the event-structure theory of F.H.Allport, the general systems approach of J.G.Miller and his colleagues, and the sociological theory of Talcott Parsons. Open-systems theory seems to us to permit assumption of entropy, the necessary dependence of any organization upon its environment.

Organizations and the system

The open-system approach to organizations is contrasted with common- sense approaches, which tend to accept popular names and stereotypes as basic organization in terms of the goals of its founder and leaders.

Organizations as a special class of open systems have properties of their own, but they share other properties in common with all open systems. These include the transformation of energy from the environment, the through-put or transformation of the imported energy into some product form which is characteristic of the system, the exporting of that product into the environment, and the reenergizing of the system from sources in the environment.

Open system also share the characteristics of negative entropy, feedback, homeostasis, differentiation, and equifinality.

Open system are not at rest but tend toward differentiation and elaboration, both because of subsystem dynamics and because of the relationship between growth and survival. Traditional organizational theories have tended to view the human organization as a closed system. The tendency has led to a disregard of differing organizational environments and the nature of organizational dependency on environment. It has led also to an over concentration on principles of internal organizational functioning, with consequent...
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