Voortgezet Onderwijs | Middelbaar Beroepsonderwijs | Hoger Beroepsonderwijs | Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs

Organizations : rational, natural, and open systems, Scott, W. Richard

Chapter 5: Combining the Perspectives

The natural, rational, and open systems perspectives function as Kuhn's paradigms, and as such are not subject themselves to verification. All three co-exist with different methodologies accepted within each and each based on different rhetoric.

There have been three attempts at trying to intergrate the three perspectives:
Etzioni's structuralist model emphasizes the inevitable conflict between workers and managers and sees the rational and natural perspectives as "two sides of the same coin". Lawrence and Lorsch's contingency model notes that the rational and natural perspectives focus on entirely different organizational types that have adapted to different environments. Thompson's levels model adds that the three perspectives apply in differing amounts to different organizations, and suggests that the rational perspective is more suitable to the technical level, the natural to the managerial, and the open to the institutional level.
Cross-Classifying the Perspectives
Scott extends his historical account by proposing a typology of cross-classfied open/closed and rational/natural perspectives, though he acknowledges that the actual development wasn't quite as smooth as a 2x2 matrix would suggest.
Furthermore, the different approaches in organizational research also apply at different levels (social psychological, structural, and ecological). Closed sytem approaches were at the social psychological and structural levels, and the introduction of open system theory added an ecological approach.
Type I: Closed Rational System Models
All of these theorists portray organziations as "tools to achieve preset ends" and largely ignore the impact of the environment. This includes, Taylor, Fayol, Weber, and early Simon.
Type II: Closed Natural System Models
Most of these are