chapter  6
19 Pages

Leadership and the Study of Organizations

This book deals with the literature on leadership in organizations. In spite of this fact, the organizational context of much leadership behaviour is a good deal less than fully explored by the researchers whose work has been examined. Indeed, the fact that leadership takes place within organizations is almost incidental to many studies. In large part this is because the general domain of research known as 'organization studies' or 'organizational analysis' has bifurcated into two sub-fields. One sub-field is known as 'organizational behaviour', which is primarily oriented to individual and small group level behaviour within the organization. Within this area of study is invariably found a concern for motivation, satisfaction, conflict and similar topics. The study of leadership in organizations is typically located within this sub-field. The second sub-field is often referred to as Organization theory', and is typically concerned with attributes of the organization as such — its structure, its environment, and organizational change. At the extreme of this sub-field is the suggestion that organizations as such can act (Thompson, 1967). Of course, some overlap exists: textbooks on organizational behaviour typically contain a chapter or two on organizational context; those dealing with organization theory frequently deal with the implications of the structure for individual and group-level phenomena. Nonetheless a clear division exists. Many of the articles we have examined in this book thus far have been published in predominantly psychological journals like Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behaviour and Human Peformance, and Personnel Psychology. Research emanating from organization theory has typically been published in Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Studies, and sociology journals. The Administrative Science Quarterly and management journals like Academy of Management Journal publish articles from both sub-fields, but the former has become recognized as a major forum for the investigation of issues relating to organization theory.