The Sociological Perspective This section of the course introduces students to the discipline of sociology, focusing on its history, the questions and scientific methods that characterize it as a field, and what distinguishes it from other social science disciplines. Included in this definition is the ongoing evolution of sociology as a discipline that is both basic science and applied science. Important in this perspective are the elements of sociological practice and possible careers in sociology at all levels of academic preparation.
Such organizations as businesses and armies have been studied by social surveys, statistical field studies, field experiments, and laboratory experiments on replicas of their social hierarchies and communication networks.
In economics and business management, in the early part of the 20th century, scholars began studying the modern business firm. The goal was partly to understand its role in the economy, but much of the focus was on helping managers run firms more efficiently and effectively.
Over time, organization theory emerged as a coherent multidisciplinary field of research.
Scholars in that field consistently aimed at crafting a general theory of organization, a science of organizations that applies equally well to all sorts of formal organizations. A key assumption in the field was that there is no fundamental difference between public and private organizations.
However, the sociologists, business-school professors, and economists that dominated organization theory focused most of their empirical research on business firms in the United States. Thus, it remained a matter of debate how well those theories applied to public organizations.
Key questions, units of analysis, and debates Organization theory is focused on understanding how organizations work, why they come to be structured in particular ways, and why some organizations are more successful than others.
Researchers have addressed those questions by employing a variety of units of analysis. One strand of research examines individual organizations—looking, for example, at how internal structure or organizational culture affects performance.
That view allows one to understand, for example, how powerful organizations shape others within a field and how organizations come to rely on one another. Other research looks at entire populations of organizations, using statistical tools to see how a population changes over time as some organizations flourish and others die.
Overall, a large proportion of work in organization theory centres on organizational relationships and the interaction between an individual organization and its external environment. Three perspectives appear to be dominant in organization theory.
The rational system perspective focuses on the formal structures of an organization and sees the organization as a group of people who work together to pursue specific goals. The natural system perspective advances the idea that informal and interpersonal structures within an organization are more important than formal structures.
People within an organization have multiple interests, and consensus-building or conflictual processes drive organizational action. Last, the open-system perspective argues that one cannot look at an individual organization in isolation. In that view, organizations are intertwined with their environments to the extent that the organization-environment boundary is indistinct.
Likewise, three dominant debates or issues are dominant within the field of organization theory. The first concerns whether efficiency and the quest for efficiency are the main determinants of organizational structure, performance, and persistence.
Whereas some maintain that the most-efficient organizations persist and prosper, others argue that organizations can succeed through the use of other strategies. For example, an organization may do well because it is perceived to have great legitimacy or because it has formed alliances with powerful actors.
A second debate concerns the degree to which organizations can actively change or co-opt their environment. A last debate focuses on the question of whether organizations are able to adapt in the face of environmental change. Although some research has demonstrated that managers can change their organizations in the face of challenges, other research suggests that it is rare for adaptation to be carried out successfully.Three Major Perspectives in Sociology Sociologists analyze social phenomena at different levels and from different perspectives.
From concrete interpretations to sweeping generalizations of society and social behavior, sociologists study everything from specific events (the micro level of analysis of small social patterns) to the “big picture” (the macro level of analysis of large social patterns). While many sociologists have contributed to research on society and social interaction, three thinkers form the base of modern-day perspectives.
Émile Durkheim, Karl Marx, and Max Weber developed different theoretical approaches to help us understand the formation of modern industrial society.
It's important for social sciences, like psychology, economics, and sociology, to follow theoretical perspectives as a framework for understanding phenomena, such as the ways people form groups. Start studying Midterm Review.
Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. The scientific study of these interactions and of social organization is called sociology.
perspectives. Moral sensibility and self-concept remain undeveloped. Three Major Perspectives in Sociology Sociologists analyze social phenomena at different levels and from different perspectives.
From concrete interpretations to sweeping generalizations of society and social behavior, sociologists study everything from specific events (the micro level of analysis of small social patterns) to the “big picture” (the macro level of analysis of large social patterns).
A fundamental feature of social life is social interaction, or the ways in which people act with other people and react to how other people are acting.
To recall our earlier paraphrase of .