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A theory is essentially a set of concepts, propositions and ideals that have a direct relationship (Mullins, 2005). Therefore, the main approach used in the development of a theory is correlation which often assumes a causality relationship. Theories aim at providing systematic explanations of a phenomenon and they can do that from various point of views. The existing organizational theories seeks to provide an explanation of the functioning of the organizations and the main ideals that affect the development of the organization. The theories look at the aspects that affect the individual and group functionality since people are the main components of any organization (Schermerhorn, 2005). The paper will look at the ideals postulated in the classical theory, neoclassical theory, bureaucratic theory, systems theory and contingency theory in the organization setting. It will also go further to offer an opinion on the theories that are best situated to explain the functionality of the organization.
The advancement of the theories led to the onset of a systematic study of the organization. The theory essentially looks at the anatomy of the modern formal organization. Formal organizations have job unit or authority and responsibility being the major definitions of the scope of the organization (Schermerhorn, 2005). There is a deliberate creation of the organization with a succinct and definitions of the scope of each job. Each job has accountability and responsibility assigned to it. The theory looked at the organization as a machine. The workers were supposed to the moving parts or cogs in it and they had to work at their respective role for them to attain the overall goal of the organization. The theory posits that there is a perfect way of doing a job. The major flop of the theory is that it ignored the social aspects of the organization by designating workers as machines.
Neo classical theory
Shortcomings identified in the classical theories led to the development of the neoclassical theories. In this new body of knowledge, the organization was viewed as a social system. Therefore, the theories considered the input of human being as a major influence on the success of the organization. The theories also recognized the existence of an informal section in each organization that acts as a complement of the formal organization. The behavior and morals of the human being in the organization is dependent on a number of socio-psychological factors that motivate the people. The existence of the human beings in the organizations setting necessitates the creation of a common approach to work that reconciles the interests of the organization with those of the individual.
Neo classical theories opine that the team work in any organization is not automatic or inherent but it has to the gradually developed. Therefore, the organization is not a mechanical approach that is designed to increase the productivity. The major difference between the classical and neo classical organizational theories is in the recognition of the people influence in any organization. Neo classical theories have led to the development of a new approach to management such that the organizational structure of most of the modern organizations is developed in such a manner that it accommodates the interests as well as the influence of the people (Mullins, 2005). The organization structure designs that have been influenced by the propositions in this theory include; the development of a flat structure, decentralization at the lower management levels to act as incentive for creativity and recognitions of the informal organization as a complement for the formal organization. It has however been tainted to be shortsighted and too descriptive.
This theory was advanced by max weber. The theory has had a significant effect in the modern organizations since it is the most commonly used approach in the design of the organization (Heizer & Render, 2004). The word given to the theory has a negative connotation in that the management is deemed to be corrupt, inefficient and ineffective (Schermerhorn, 2005). It is also deemed to use, to a large extent, red tape to thwart the initiative of people at the lower levels of the organization. Therefore, the origination is less inclined to succeed since the initiative has to originate from the top management (Heizer & Render, 2004). The salient features in the bureaucratic organizational theory include the assertion that a particular person in an organization is major conduit of power or authority. The other salient feature is that within the social framework, there is a special instance of power called domination that can be enforced on another person despite the common resistance of human structuring.
The theory is similar to classical theories of scientific management since the theory postulates that the organization is more of a mechanized system that is composed of complex intertwined and connected elements that perform the function of creation of value (Schermerhorn, 2005). The components have the inputs, processes for conversion of inputs, outputs and feedback loops. The major shortcoming of this organizational theory is that it simplifies the organization. It also fails in the recognition of the input of the external environmental influences.
This theory is different from all the other theories in that it does not provide a single way of restructuring or running an organization. It accommodates the influences of external factors by looking at each organization in its own context. The theory is large contextual and it accommodates the fact that there is no heuristics in running an organization. The theory provides a solution to issues that organizations face that are unique to them owing to their external environment and nature of the business (Drucker & Maciariello, 2008). This theory is the most relevant of all the organizational theories since it provides tailor made solutions to an individual organization.
Drucker, P., & Maciariello, J. (2008). Management (1st ed.). New York, NY: Collins.
Heizer, J., & Render, B. (2004). Principles of operations management (1st ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Prentice Hall.
Mullins, L. (2005). Management and organisational behaviour (1st ed.). Harlow, England: Prentice Hall/Financial Times.
Schermerhorn, J. (2005). Management (1st ed.). New York: J. Wiley.
Human resource incorporates an important department in any organization. Human resource refers to a set of individuals who makeup the workforce of any organization. Its management, on the other hand, refers to strategies used by the organization while dealing with the workforce related to the organization. Watson Company is a well-known company for its welfare to its employee and as well its employee-oriented schemes of operation.
The company has a large workforce with over 800 workers, 80 management level employees and 150 administrative staff members. The company has a mission based on employee equality in that they ensure that services within the company are equal for all employees. Example is in their cafeteria where despite them being in different locations, their amenities, infrastructure and foods provided are of the same quality. Relations between the management and its employees are commendable and the company has not lost any employee despite a late reported trade union in the company. The paper highlights a case of human resource problem experienced in Watson Public Ltd Company.
Over the past few days, the company is experiencing some problems while supplying their products. Some of the problems include quality issues of its products. The company is experiencing and facing numerous complaints from its clients following the sudden change in the quality of its products. In other cases, some clients are reporting cases of product mismatch. As compared to earlier days, product mismatch (errors during packaging) are arising. This is affecting the company negatively as they are losing some clients.
Lastly, severe cases of recklessness in the company is cropping up when its clients experience some delays in getting their ordered goods. These occurrences within the company are affecting it negatively and its competitors are using it as loop holes for overcoming it. When intervened by the management, they realize the behavior of their employees resulted from some decisions made by the management. The management hired new employees to higher-level posts without having consideration of some potential internal candidates. Another reason for the behavior by the employees was that the newly hired employees occupied higher ranks while the existing employees occupied same levels.
“If it isn’t scientific, it’s not good practice, and if it isn’t practical, it’s not good science,” is a quote by Morris Viteles, which is very common. Science provides evidence and reasonable explanations to describe reality. Therefore, if the situation is not scientific, this means that there is no evidence or reasonable explanations for the situation. For scientific evaluation, evidence is collected and then evaluated to prove if it is factual or fiction. Therefore, if something is not scientifically proven, then this might mean that it may either be factual or fictional. Science also needs to be practically proven in some certain situations. The reasonable explanations and theories used in science need proving, and some have to undergo practical testing. Therefore, if it cannot be proven scientifically, it is not good science. Research and practice play a vital role in the development of the organization. Research and practice need to be used concurrently to improve the performance of an organization.
Organization development refers to a field of research, practice, and theory that is directed to increasing the effectiveness and knowledge of people to achieve more success in an organization (McNamara). Organization development is a constant and continuous process that involves diagnosis, implementation, action planning, and evaluation (Gallos, 2006). The goal is to transfer knowledge, information, and skills from one individual to another in an individual. The process should increase the capacity of the individual’s in solving problems and the management of the future. Organizational development started from human relations in the 1930’s and at this time, psychologists discovered that organizational processes and structures increased worker motivation and behavior. Industrial organizational psychology is the scientific study of the workplace (Sizler, Cober & Erickson, 2011). Methods in psychology are used to evaluate critically business matters. The business matters reviewed are coaching, talent management, performance, organizational development, balance of life and work, and effective talent management. Industrial-organizational psychologists can identify behavior of workers and establish methods that can be used to increase productivity.
Action research is a process that is used to improve the social problems that people face in their everyday activities. Historically action research has been associated with the works of Kurt Lewin, who is constantly referred to as the founder of action research. Kurt Lewin reviewed the research methodology of action research and referred to the methodology into three terms. According to Kurt Lewin, action research methodology is dynamic, cynical and collaborative in nature. Through repeated cycles of planning and implementation, the researchers and groups involved in active research can enforce changes needed for social improvement (Gallos, 2006, p. 456). Action research is significant since it involves collaboration between the members since they have a common goal to achieve. Action research is used widely in universities and organizations to enforce change in a transitional way. The two types of action research are practical action research and participatory action research.
The practical action research method studies the social issues that constrain the lives of individuals. There are various social issues in the lives of individuals that action research can be used to solve. Organizational psychologists may at time focus on how ethnic and cultural diversity work out in the setting of an organization. One would wonder whether it is healthy to have ethnic and cultural diversity in an organization and the role it plays (Borman et al., 2004, p. 89). To create a conducive working environment, organizations must ensure that their workers feel comfortable and that there is no ethnic and cultural discrimination. The company should also ensure that there is no ethnic community or culture that is treated better than the other (Hofstede & Minkov, 2010, p. 123). Therefore, as a consultant for change, the use of practical action research would very effective. The use of action research can be effectively useful for a consultant of change since the research methodologies can be used to foster change.
Action research refers to research that is used to solve an immediate problem or show the process of solving a progressive problem. Action research is carried out by individuals working in teams, and their main agenda is to improve the way they solve issues and problems. Action research is used as an important approach to consultation when it comes to efforts of organizational change. Individuals who often use action research accredit the method with an empowering experience (Stringer, 2014, p. 178). Action research is deemed to provide positive effects for a number of reasons. Action research is relevant to the participants, and this is the main reason for the use by many people. Researchers are the primary consumer of findings, and every research project is carried out according to the rules set by researchers. The theoretical models in action research differ on the organizational issues and offer different intervention strategies to the various problems.
Cooperative inquiry is one of the major theories of action research, and it was explored by Peter Reason and John Heron. Cooperative inquiry refers to the carrying out of research with professional individuals, rather than carrying out research on people (Gallos, 2006, p. 79). In cooperative inquiry, everyone who is involved actively in the research decisions is considered as a co-researcher. In cooperative inquiry, there are four types of knowledge, which are in the research cycle. The four types of knowledge are practical understanding, propositional knowledge, presentational knowledge and experiential knowledge. Practical understanding refers to knowledge that comes with the proposals in the research while; propositional knowledge refers to the research methods papers used in research (Costello, 2007, p. 49). Participatory action research is a significant method for development and intervention within groups and communities. The method is used by universities, international development agencies, and local community organizations. The success of an individual as a consultant for organizational change depends on the ability to assess the unique circumstances that face an organization.
Costello, P. J. M. (2007). Action research. London: Continuum.
Gallos, J. V. (2006). Organization development: A Jossey-Bass reader. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Stringer, E. T. (2014). Action research. Los Angeles, Calif: SAGE.
McNamara, C. (n. d.). Organization development (OD)—The field and resources for OD professionals.
Silzer, R., Cober, R., & Erickson, A. (2011). Where I-O worlds collide: The nature of I-O practice. Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc.
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