Exploring Organizational Paradigms

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About this sample


Words: 1791 |

Pages: 4|

9 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

Words: 1791|Pages: 4|9 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

Organizations shape our lives. They have an influence over our lives, our freedom and our behaviour. Organization theory is a social science that tries to understand the behavior of organizations. Organization theory is a whole of prepositions that explains how organizations build relationships with particular environmental factors and how they manage. Furthermore, organization theories are meant to find solutions to possible issues in an organization, or increase the capability of the organization. Organization theory finds ways that will develop the organizations.

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Modernism There are three main paradigms in organization theory. These are Modern, Postmodern and Symbolic Interpretive. All of them have a different approach to organizational studies. These paradigms work for different causes, therefore uses different methods to study behaviour. This essay will give a brief information on each paradigm, will talk about their ontology and epistemology. Also, the behaviour of organizational members of each paradigm will be discussed. Then, the essay will be talking about best ways to study behaviour with giving examples of the members and their studies. Moreover, this essay will compare the goals and the purpose of each mean paradigm.

Modernism Society has gone through major changes in the 19th century. Some of these changes are urbanization and industrial revolution. Due to the industrial revolution, there has been some developments in the society. These developments are; extensive groups of humans working along together, laborers starting to work with the machines, the industry developing swiftly, and the businesses encountered with tests. Due to these developments, researchers looked for a way to organize people, and maximize the manufacturing, and managing extensive groups. In order to find solutions to these problems, maximizing the efficiency and manufacturing has become important. Theories have been developed for administration and increasing the efficiency. This era in the world is called Modernism.

Modernism understands the nature by the human intellectual. Furthermore, modernist angle is about using the five senses rather than emotions. This paradigm claims that the only way to be accurate is through the rationality. Modernism in organization theory values statistics in order to come up with a rational decision. Modernists believe in objectivism, because only scientific research methods can come up with un-biased, objective and numerical results. Modernist ontology is realist, and its epistemology is positivist.

An organization that is modernist, focuses on the performance. Its main goal is increasing the production. Therefore, employees go under a supervision. When it comes to employment, modernism in organization theory uses scientific methods. Modernist organizations are very disciplined, and fully controlled. These rules affect the behaviour of its organizational members because the members must focus on the efficiency and the development of the organization. Meanwhile, they are not allowed to speak about their thoughts and complaints. That’s why Modernism has a ‘bad side’. It doesn’t concentrate on the ideas of the members.

Modernist Theories First example theory is called Scientific Management Theory. However, it’s called ‘Taylorism’ in the literature. Taylorism refers to Frederick W. Taylor’s views about management. According to this theory, scientific methods must be used to study the behaviour of organizational members. The founder of the theory, Taylor is an engineer who values efficiency. He studied the motions of iron workers to find ways to maximize the production. With his motion studies in the organization, he built up the foundations of this theory. Scientific management theory mentions that workers should be supervised, and the workers should be given tasks according to their abilities.

Another theory is called bureaucratic theory, founded by Max Weber. This theory focuses on the organizational structure. Weber believed that organizations need to be like the Government. He didn’t believe in a charismatic leader. He believed employees must be given roles according to their abilities. Weber’s bureaucracy has a hierarchal structure, meaning employees with a lower rank must answer to an employee with a higher rank. What’s more, he believed employees and managers should have a professional relationship rather than a personal relationship. The management style in Weber’s idea of bureaucracy is defined by rules, the rules are written for each employee, and there are also rules for unexpected situations.

Symbolic Interpretive Symbolic interpretivism has a different perspective. Its perspective is subjective. Symbolic interpretive is a relativist ontology and its epistemology, nature of knowledge, is interpretivist. Symbolic refers to slogans, interactions, and meanings. Symbolic meanings have an influence on behaviour. For example, a designer outfit is much more expensive than a regular outfit. However, wearing a designer outfit attracts more people, which gives confidence to people, that’s why people keep on buying designer clothes rather than regular clothes.

Symbolic interpretive discusses how humans define the outcome of their experiments. It looks for hidden meanings of the actions of the employees. What’s more, it helps people understand what’s good or what’s wrong. In comparison to modernism, symbolic interpretive is subjective and its perspective goes beyond the five senses. According to my workshop notes, (Review and Essay Plan, December 2018) It looks for ‘first-hand’ knowledge, and uses qualitative research methods to study behaviour. Therefore, symbolic interpretive perspective claims surveys won’t help, and it suggests researchers go and talk to people in person, to conduct interviews.

Symbolic interpretive perspective explains why people do such things, for example, they didn’t have an idea about something so it became a norm for them. Symbolic interpretivists believe that it is not possible to know if an employee is working or not when someone doesn’t validate their work. Symbolic interpretive claims that such things, like logos, build a connection with the organization and the employee. Symbolic interpretivists believe that an organization is like a society because of its flexibility. They see the organization as a place where people can get creative, and take a part in the work that has a meaning for them.

Unlike modernists, symbolic interpretivists want to emphasize organizing rather than building a hierarchal structure. The focus in symbolic interpretive is rebuilding an organization by observing and communicating. Symbolic interpretivists require interpretation and affirmation that have a meaning when they examine organization culture. Symbolic interpretive suggests when there is a compassion between employees within an organization, that will help them to be more productive. Symbolic interpretive perspective aims its organizational members to find what they care about, so they can be successful in their work.

Symbolic Interpretivist theories Chicago school is where the fundamentals of sociology were made. It is famous for its symbolic interactionist perspective. This school studied philosophical pragmatism and the changes of the city in a sociological way. The school was interested in relationships between individuals and groups, therefore they did their studies on social psychology and anthropology. One of the most important aspects of this school is that it used an empiric approach in its studies. Another important thing to remember is that the Chicago school also valued participant examination research. The school used radio and newspapers to do propaganda, and they’ve seen social life as an ‘interaction system,’ and considering that social relationships are done by interaction, the school tried to find solutions to social problems.

Herbert Blumer believed that people were affected by the things that had meaning for them; the meanings of stuff that were created from social communication; and these meanings change due to the interpretive aspect of communication.(Simosi, 2019)

The Iowa School is another one of the leading schools of symbolic interactionism. In comparison with the Chicago School, The Iowa school used quantitative methods rather than qualitative methods.

Postmodernism in OT The extensive controlling aspect of modernism was denied in time, social protests were made, the ‘privileged young man’ lost its power. During the postmodern era, ethnic minorities and oppressed groups came together. Postmodernism is about examining every community, the postmodern perspective understands an organization by critiquing and diminishing managerial ideas. The fundamental philosophers of postmodernism are Michael Foucault and Hayden White. According to my workshop notes, (Postmodernism, November 2018) postmodern organizations have a flat structure, such as IT workers. Postmodernism in organization theory doesn’t believe in a structure. In modern organizations, there were boundaries between the employees and the managers. However, in postmodern organizations, these boundaries have lost their power.

Unlike modern perspective, postmodern perspective values ‘the creating of an organization’ rather than the structure of an organization. Postmodern organizations use decentralization and dedifferentiation. According to Chia (1995), the postmodern approach of thinking is an approach that qualifies activity, shift, growth, and development. Postmodern epistemology believes that the world is made up by the language people share, and members of each language find a meaning of the world by their special forms and games of the language. Postmodernists must try to expose the power relations to show the frailty of the organizational life activity. (Parker, 1992)

In a postmodernist organization, employees don’t answer to their superior like in a modernist organization. Postmodernist organizations choose to empower their members to be successful, and within the organization, each employee is responsible for themselves. These organizations get use of the dissimilarity as its resources for sufficient achievement. () All things considered, with its flat structure and flexibility, postmodernist organizations give its organizational members a free environment to work. It motivates its employees not with salary, it motivates them through empowerment. For that reason, these aspects of postmodernist perspective have a beneficial influence over its organizational members.

Postmodernist Theories Postmodernism opposes modernism by claiming that people cannot be studied scientifically. But like modernism, postmodernism uses quantitative methods to study. There are two main theories that were used by postmodernists. These theories are Deconstruction and Post-bureaucratic theory. Post-bureaucratic theory was made to oppose the hierarchal structure of Modernism. According to Wasson (2006), in post-bureaucratic organizations, employees interact their work with the other employees from different areas in the organization, or even with another organization. Deconstruction was first seen in Jacques Derrida’s work called Voice and Phenomenon in 1967. It’s a text analyzing strategy that tries to find different meanings of the text. In that case, Deconstruction can be seen as an opposed analyzing strategy. (Rutli, 2016)

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Organization theories are developed for forming an organization, understanding an organization, and criticizing and exposing an organization. In conclusion, modernism in organization theory has been proven to be successful when it comes to efficiency. However, the satisfaction of the workers must be more important to the organization than the profit. I agree with symbolic interpretivist claim that when the employees have a decent relationship with each other, they can be successful. Also, when an employee has a connection (logo, etc.) with the organization he takes part in, he is more motivated to do his work, therefore, he becomes more successful. Postmodernist organizations lack hierarchal structure, they use technology, and unlike modernist organizations, members of the organization do not answer to their superior in a postmodernist organization. In a postmodernist organization, every employee is responsible for themselves. When every employee is seen as an equal, I believe it gives confidence to its employees.

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Exploring Organizational Paradigms. (2024, February 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from
“Exploring Organizational Paradigms.” GradesFixer, 13 Feb. 2024,
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