chapter  9
16 Pages

Anti-Organisation Theory

WithGibson Burrell, Gareth Morgan

The critical theory perspective suggests an approach to organisational analysis which is an anti-organisation theory on a number of counts. The perspective constitutes an anti-organisation theory in that its presuppositions stand in fundamental opposition to those of functionalist organisation theory; anti-organisation theory inverts the functionalist problematic on almost every count. Insofar as anti-organisation theory is launched in a reactive and partial sense, it almost certainly appears as an attack upon functionalism and as a negative and destructive force. From any perspective characteristic of the radical humanist paradigm, organisations as middle-range phenomena have a very precarious ontological status. The intersubjective status of the concept of organisation is extremely problematic. Organisations are examples of the ‘intermediaries’ which, from a radical humanist perspective, contribute to man’s alienation from his true being. Functionalist organisation theory, in focusing upon the exclusive study of middle-range reifications, is seen as perpetuating the divorce between human consciousness and totality.