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Organization Theory

Organization Theory. Building a Model of Empowerment Practice. The role of theories. Theories describe the distribution of power & resources in organizations, how organizations function, how people interact in organizations, and how organization systems maintain themselves.

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Organization Theory

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  1. Organization Theory Building a Model of Empowerment Practice

  2. The role of theories • Theories describe the distribution of power & resources in organizations, how organizations function, how people interact in organizations, and how organization systems maintain themselves. • Theories must be empirically tested and verified. • Independent and dependent variables must be identified in order to test a theory. • Therefore theories contain assumptions about cause and effect relationships

  3. Theories can either be broad and abstract and pertaining to general patterns in society or describe patterns that occur in specific situations

  4. The “effect” aspect of cause and effect relationships are outcomes, things that occur because of specific events or actions. Consequently, they suggest specific actions or skills that can be used by social workers to produce results.

  5. General and More Specific Theories|Practice Activities in Model(Intervention or Cause)|Outcomes or Effects

  6. In social work, we use theory to define a specific set of actions or interventions that can be used to produce outcomes. We may also apply aspects of theories to certain situations.

  7. For example, power-dependency theory tells us that resource donors acquire power by transferring money and goods to people that can’t reciprocate. This suggests that nonprofit organizations should not accept funds from a single large donor if they want to be independent. This theory can also be applied to relationships between clients who receive free services and the organizations. Unless the client has alternative options for service, can go without the service, can exchange services with the organization or use power to pressure the organization, they will be dependent upon and obligated to the organization!

  8. In social work, we differentiate between perspectives, theories, and models • A perspective is an approach to practice that involves basic value assumptions about best practices. For example, the strengths perspective tells us to look at the individual’s, community’s, or organization’s strengths rather than deficits. Perspectives give us only very general information about the outcomes specific actions will produce. • A theory contains assumptions about cause and effect relationships that have been established as valid through empirical testing. Theories help us link specific actions or interventions with specific outcomes. • Practice models provide detailed frameworks for understanding social problems and developing responses to those problems. Models include, a theoretical framework, an intervention approach, and probable outcomes associated with this approach.

  9. Historical overview of organizational theory • Weber – developed organizational theories in early part of the 20th century based on German models of public organizations. Ideal organizations had organizational structures, clearly defined supervisory structures, and standardization of tasks. Decision-making was to be rational (objective) and not based on political motives. • Taylor developed “Scientific Management.” This method was to be used by managers find the most efficient or scientific method for breaking down work into concrete tasks that could be assigned to individual workers. Efficient performance was expected to maximize work output (Scott, 1987). Often efficiency “experts” were brought in to industrial plants to conduct time and motion studies to find the best allocation of staff resources and skill assignments

  10. Basic assumptions of the systems approach are incorporated into many theories about how organizations work: • Organizational systems change constantly through interaction and exchange with their environments. • Effective organizational systems are highly open – but boundaries between the organizational system and its external environment are well defined. • Organizational systems may be orderly and predictable but may also be disorderly and unpredictable. • Order may rest on coercion and domination as well as consensus and cooperation. • Places equal emphasis on conflict and change as order and stability.

  11. Human Relations Theory • Originates from experiments conducted on plant works at an AT&T factory in Chicago (the Hawthorne effect). • The researchers found, among other things that people simply react and change their behavior in response to being observed. • Other major findings were that organizations have unique cultures influenced by the values of participants and the fact that people tend to form groups. Consequently, most workplaces contain informal leaders who may influence the behavior of other workers. • These leaders and the values shared by group members influence how workers perform. • Mayo, the primary researcher, based his theory on the assumption that managers should attempt to use these group norms to influence and motivate workers. • He also argued that workers need to feel that they have a certain amount of control over their own work. They should also be given awards for performance. He also felt that workers perform better in teams or groups.

  12. Other theories focus on: • Organization structure. • Organization culture and groups of people interacting in organizations. • How organizations adapt to external demands. • How power is achieved and used in organizations.

  13. In social work: • Strengths and Systems Approaches are Perspectives. • The systems perspective can be used to create a model of the different component parts of organizations and their environments. • Empowerment is a perspective, is a distinct model of practice, and is a theory in development (some empirical testing and identification of specific types of outcomes).

  14. Models of Organizational Practice Include • Theory X. Control, discipline, and sanctions are needed to force people to do their work. • Theory Y. Management can take action so that employees will become motivated to do their work. All workers are to be regarded as goal-oriented and as having potential to further develop their own talents and skills. • Contingency Theory – Employees are motivated by different things, but need to achieve a sense of competency. Therefore the manager must provide appropriate incentives to motivate individual employees. • Human Relations Approach. To maximize performance, staff members need autonomy, involvement in management decisions, and appropriate rewards. People react as group members. • Theory Z – focuses on quality of production, collective accountability and loyalty. Decisions are made by consensus. • Participatory Management – Staff involvement in organizational decision-making increases job satisfaction and productivity; decreases staff turnover. • Feminist Management - Fights oppression; creates “management partnerships” among participants; assumes women manage differently then men, focusing on interpersonal relationships rather than traditional approaches to power & authority. Decisions are made by consensus & cooperation. • Total Quality Management – Management produces an organizational culture based on product quality, consumer satisfaction, standardization of production, and employee empowerment.

  15. Empowerment Model in Social Work Practice

  16. Empowerment Model in Organizations

  17. Empowerment Outcomes

  18. Theoretical Components of Empowerment Model • Systems and Ecological Approaches (practice should occur at multiple levels – personal, inter-personal, and political). We also should be knowledgeable about how different systems interact and/or compete with one another. • Human relations/Participatory Management. Staff should be involved in organization decision-making. To motivate workers, managers must provide opportunities, training, and incentives to help workers obtain a sense of competence. • Contingency Theory. Ecological Perspective – social problems occur when individuals interact with the social environment. There is continuing competition for resources. • Conflict Theory – Various social groups in society and within the organization compete for resources. Allocation of services is often determined by perceptions of in-group versus out-group status of recipients. Members of oppressed groups should acquire power in order to gain resources and civil rights. • Feminist Theory – organizations should minimize the social distance between administrators, staff, and clients. All should be partners in decision-making. • Transformative model/Social constructivist paradigm-Service consumers should be equal partners with staff in decision-making process. Service users/consumers reduce own feelings of oppression and low self-esteem by engaging with the organization in social action. • Power-dependency Theory. Clients who receive free services are dependent upon or can controlled by the organization. Therefore service delivery should incorporate the principle of reciprocity (service users contribute something back to the organization). The organization should create structures that help service users obtain power. • Political-economy Theory. People inside the organization represent a variety of different constituency groups with different amounts of power. People within the organization are influenced by the organization’s external environment. The manager must reconcile internal/external demands on the organization. One way to do this is for the organization and its members to develop sources of political power. • Total Quality Management. Work teams develop quality indicators and work to achieve these goals. This method results in the psychological empowerment of workers and improvements in service quality.

  19. Introduction to Start-up.com: Understanding Organization Culture • Values and perspectives of organization participants influence how organizations function. • The organization’s mission and the philosophy of managers and other decision-makers influence what the organization can do. • Participants bring their own experiences and ways of interacting into the organization. • Organization structure and technology also influence how the organization operates and the influence the organization has on its members.

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