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Examining risky systems in the book, I focused upon the unexpected interactions of different parts of the system that no designer could have expected and no operator comprehend or be able to interdict.The difficulty of anticipating unexpected interactions appeared to stem from a system design that emphasized efficiency and speedy construction and speedy operation.This course is an intensive reading and discussion seminar that aims to provide a critical understanding of the history, the dominant paradigms, and the emerging trends in the study of organizations. “The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields.” .
The 1979 installment expanded and sharpened the 1972 chapter on the environment; critically examined a new boy on the block, the population-ecology school; but gushed over another new entry, network analysis.
In the last installment in 1986 the serial finally found the implicit theme in the previous ones and pushed for a power analysis of both the internal operation of organizations and especially their role in society. But back in 1979 I had been asked for a position paper on the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.
Prosper they did, until the end of the 19th Century when both New England and Philadelphia textile firms went into a slow decline because of foreign competition and cheaper labor in the southern states.
The US railroad industry started out, necessarily, as a number of small organizations geographically dispersed and mostly public or public-private in ownership.
They were fully integrated systems; huge companies with highly specialized tasks, mass producing cheap fabrics, with a frozen technology.
The firms owned the towns, the water supply that drove the mills, and, in effect, owned the workers and their families. An Analysis, Critique, and Assessment of Research on Interlocking Directorates.” -88. “Institutional Logics and the Historical Contingency of Power in Organizations: Executive Succession in the Higher Education Publishing Industry, 1958-1990.” . If a firm did not get enough business to survive, its workers merely moved to another nearby that did get orders; owners became workers, as workers became owners; innovations spread rapidly as the experimenters - not locked into a huge mass production machine - moved about."Renting rooms with power" resembled "changing jobs without changing your car pool," as in Silicon Valley a century later. The first edition (1972) argued for the importance of bureaucracy in organizations - in contrast, most notably, to the human relations school that was then dominant - and for the importance of organizations in shaping society.True to the subtitle, its chapter on the institutional school argued that power played a larger role than the institutional school, and my mentor, Philip Selznick, admitted to.One important reason for the different industrial system was that laws of Massachusetts favored capital accumulation while Pennsylvania had laws that favored investments in public services such as transport, thus less capital was available for private ventures.With concentrated capital the Boston wealthy could build huge mills; with distributed capital, only small firms could prosper in Philadelphia.Highly centralized, very efficient, and very profitable, they were all giants, though vulnerable to economic downturns and to disastrous fires and floods.In contrast, the textile industry around Philadelphia, as large as the New England one, was made up of small firms, decentralized, innovative technologically, emphasizing high quality and producing more expensive fabrics.