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Political Science


Whether public or private, government or family, school or church, organizations have a significant influence on everything we do. "The development of organizations is the principle mechanism by which, in a highly differentiated society, it is possible to 'get things done,' to achieve goals beyond the reach of the individual." Because of this, the study of organizations in society has received much attention. From the philosophers of ancient Greece to the corporate heads of the twentieth century, the question of how to organize in order to achieve specific goals and purposes has provoked interest.

Within the body of modern literature that has come to be known as organization theory, many studies have had great impact on our views of the organizations around us. Theorists such as Frederick Taylor, Elton Mayo, Chester Barnard, and Robert Merton, to name a few, conducted the early studies, which tended to focus on the structure and function of organizations. Perhaps none had so great an impact as the German sociologist Robert Michels, who was among the first to focus on the growth of public bureaucracy. [excerpt]


This is the first chapter of Kathleen Iannello's complete book, Decisions Without Hierarchy: Feminist Interventions in Organization Theory and Practice.

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