Organizational Paradigms and Theories

Topics: Organization, Management, Organizational studies and human resource management Pages: 5 (1446 words) Published: May 16, 2010

Organizational Paradigms and Theories

Organization Development(OD) in the past has been define as a body of knowledge and practice that enhances organizational performance and individual development, viewing the organization as a complex system of systems that exist within a larger system, each of which has its own attributes and degrees of alignment. OD was originally applied to human problem in social systems (Gallos, 2006). OD interventions in these systems are inclusive methodologies and approaches to organization design, leadership development, change management, performance management, coaching, diversity, and work/life balance (Nielsen, 1984 pp. 2-3).

Today many experts would agree organization development is the attempt to influence the members of an organization to expand their candidness with each other about their views of the organization and their experience in it, and to take greater responsibility for their own actions as organization members (Nielsen, 1984 pp. 2-3). Researchers have added a psychology component in studying organizations, thereby looking at the organizations as social systems that coordinate people’s behavior by means of roles, norms and values (Haslam, 2004 Pg1).

Psychologists have identified several organizational theories of paradigms in order to closely look at organizations and their psychology. This paper will examined theoretical roots of paradigms in the study of psychology. A road-map to an effective organizational design, utilizing paradigms and OD theories will also be discussed. Theoretical roots of OD into Haslam’s paradigm

Social scientists and psychologist studies have learned that our paradigms have a powerful effect on how we interpret the world around us. As we examine Haslam’s paradigms (2004) we find that they have associations with theories of the past scholars. Their studies are consider classic and are widely discussed. For example, the economic paradigm is closely associated with Fredrick Taylor at the start of the twentieth century laid the grown work for scientific management principles also know as “Taylorism” which will be discussed later in this paper and its relationship to organization design. Taylor believes that management and workers and their work were an exact science and that the job of a manager was to perfect and organizations should implement that science (Haslam, 2004 Pg3).

In later years Munsterberg a student of psychology studied the individual difference paradigm in which he analyzed organization behavior. (p6) He is often identified as the founder of industrial psychology. Munsterberg was consistent with Taylorism” and augured researchers must look first, to develop precise analysis of requirements of any job and identify key psychological components of it (Haslam, 2004 Pg7). He also concluded that researchers should devise test that could be reliable to reassure a person’s aptitude in important areas (Haslam, 2004 Pg7).

Early paradigms appeared to be successful in studying organizations environments; however, some doubt they were appropriate. A research scholar name Elton Mayo, began to look at “Taylorisim” from a human relations perspective. Mayo analysis of a human relations paradigm concluded that organizational behavior shaped by group membership and group interest was the rule, not the exception and individuals act in terms of their personal interest only when social associates failed them. Mayo and colleagues identified important limitations that existed within the paradigms and underlined the significance of the social dimensions to organizational life (Haslam, 2004 Pg10).

Researchers continue to study pervious paradigms which led to theories of a cognitive paradigm drawn from a social cognition movement in social psychology. The theory concluded that peoples social behaviors is not simply determined by just environmental factors but is mediated...

References: Borgatti, S. T., (1996). Scientific Management. Retrieved December 15, 2009 from the World Wide Web:
Drucker, Peter F., (1999). Management challenges for the 21st century, New York: Harper Business
Gallos, J. V. (Ed.). (2006). Organization development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Haslam, S. A. (2004). Psychology in organizations: The social identity approach. (2nd ed.) LA: Sage Publications.
Mohrman, S. Ph.D. (2006). Course DVD: “The OPD Professional”. Laureate Education, Inc.
Morgan, G., (1997). Images of organizations. (2nd sd.). Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Nielsen, “Becoming an OD Practitioner”, Englewood Cliffs, CA: Prentice-Hall, 1984, pp.2-3
Organization Design: The Right Way. (2001, May). Retrieved Dewcember15, from
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