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Institutionalized Organizations: Formal Structure as Myth an
Transcript of Institutionalized Organizations: Formal Structure as Myth an
Prevailing Theories & Institutional Sources
Distinction between the formal structure of an organization and its actual day-to-day work activities
Formal structure: "blueprint" of activities
Myths generating formal organizations have 2 properties:
They are rationalized and impersonal prescriptions that identify various social purposes and pursue them rationally through a rule-like method.
They are highly institutionalized and beyond the discretion of an individual or organization. They must be taken for granted as legitimate.
Myths make formal organizations easier to create.
"As rationalized institutional rules arise in given domains of work activity, formal organizations form and expand by incorporating these rules as structural elements.”
As institutional myths define new domains of rationalized activity, formal organizations emerge in these domains, and
As rationalizing institutional myths arise in existing domains of activity, extant organizations expand their formal structures to become isomorphic with these new myths.
"The more modernized the society, the more extended the rationalized institutional structure in given domains and the greater the number of domains containing rationalized institutions."
Organizations are structured by the phenomena in their environment and become isomorphic with them and with other organizations.
Rational institutional myths come from..
Elaboration of complex networks
Degree of collective organization of the environment
Leadership in organizations
The Impact of Institutional Environment on Organization
Rationalized institutions create myths of formal structure, which shape organizations
Failure to incorporate the proper elements of structure is irrational
Myths present organizations with great opportunities for expansion
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John W. Meyer and Brian Rowan
"Organizations that incorporate societally legitimated rationalized elements in their formal structures maximize their legitimacy and increase their resources and survival capabilities."
Long-run survival prospects of organizations increase as state structures elaborate and as organizations respond to institutionalized rules
Structural Inconsistencies in Institutionalized Organizations
Categorical rules conflict with the logic of efficiency
High levels of generalization
Resist ceremonial requirements
Maintain rigid conformity; cut external relations
Decoupling and the logic of confidence
"Because attempts to control and coordinate activities in institutionalized organizations lead to conflict and loss of legitimacy, elements of structure are decoupled from activities and from each other"
Hospitals and schools
"The more an organization's structure is derived from institutionalized myths, the more it maintains elaborate displays of confidence, satisfaction, and good faith, internally and externally."
Most reasonable way to get participants to make their best efforts
"Institutionalized organizations seek to minimize inspection and evaluation by both internal managers and external constituents"
Inspection and evaluation can uncover events and deviations that undermine legitimacy
Institutionalized organizations minimize and ceremonialize inspection and evaluation