Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Volume 19 Issue 1 (March 2011), Pages 1-64

Problems in the Organization of Organization Theory: An Essay in Honour of Todd LaPorte (pages 43-50)

This essay examines a peculiar problem in organization theory – its failure to achieve useful research‐based prescriptions for organizational design and practice in the face of challenges posed by new technology and evolving social problems. It is argued that an important part of this problem in organization theory is the under‐specification of its major concepts. Three under‐specified concepts in particular are examined – complexity, interdependence and scale. The analysis of these concepts is undertaken in the context of Todd LaPorte's work to promote, through well‐posed questions, clearer and more specific formulations of these and other concepts as independent variables in organizational analysis. The essay concludes with suggestions for continuing the specification of major concepts in organization theory in ways inspired by LaPorte.

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