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The American Journal of Sociology says of this book "Mouzelis knows and handles the literature well and accurately brings the reader up to the early sixties. A summarizer, synthesizer, and historian of modern theories, he serves his novice well. The more initiated student of formal organizations will appreciate the critiques of his favorite theorists: Mouzelis cuts clean and bold. Along with order, he does add critical insight to his borrowed materials." This book is a carefully integrated and very straightforward guide to the labyrinth of theory on organizational phenomena, and surveys the most important approaches to the study of organizations and the manner in which these approaches are interrelated. The author's interest is in showing the successive stages of theory generation and development in the two major traditions of thought on this subject, thereby providing a coherent overview of the field, a method for systematically investigating it, and an unusually broadening supplement to the standard treatment of organizations in undergraduate and graduate courses.
The author discusses the writings of such theorists as Marx, Weber, and Michels who, from a very wide perspective, tried to assess the impact of large-scale bureaucracy on the power structure of modern society. He also examines the other tradition of organizational writings that starts with Taylor and the movement of scientific management. Finally, an analysis is made of recent theoretical trends that indicate a certain convergence of the bureaucracy and the managerial lines of thought.
In emphasizing the conceptual frameworks that underlie organization theory and in showing the dynamics of theory progression, the author provides students with invaluable assistance in understanding the levels of theoretical analysis, the variables to be taken into consideration, and the manner in which these variables may be accounted for in a systematic manner.