chapter  5
109 Pages

Functionalist Organisation Theory

WithGibson Burrell, Gareth Morgan

This chapter presents a systematic analysis of theories of organisation against the theoretical background defined by the functionalist paradigm. It shows how elements of functionalist organisation theory converge upon various factors which characterise a pluralist approach to the study of organisations. Within the context of the functionalist paradigm, the majority of existing theories tend to be located within a relatively narrow range of academic territory. The study of organisations has established itself as an increasingly significant area of social-scientific investigation. The dominant perspective within the field of organisation studies is characterised by a close and interactive relationship between social system theory and objectivism. A consideration of socio-technical systems theory leads naturally to an examination of the open systems approach to the study of organisations. Herbert Simon’s theory of administration has proved tremendously influential and has stimulated considerable interest in decision-making approaches to the study of organisations.