Sociology of Organization


Sociology of Organization is understood as arranged, facilitated and intentional activity of human creatures to build or compile a common unmistakable or intangible item.

This activity is more often than not surrounded by formal participation and frame.This article has two primary goals: to review the literature on network organizations and to interpret explanations for its behaviors in terms of established analytical principles.



  • Akgün, Ali E. / Byme, John C. / Lynn, Gary S. / Keskin, Halit [2007]
    Organizational unlearning as changes in beliefs and routines in organizations
    In: Journal of Organizational Change Management, 20(6): 794-812
    There is a plethora of studies on organizational learning, but surprisingly little is known about the conceptualization and operationalization of organizational unlearning. This paper discussses organizational unlearning based on the organizational change and memory literature enhancing the organizational learning and change scholarship. It is argued that unlearning is conceptualized as organizational memory eliminating, and is operationalized as changing beliefs and routines covariates in organizations. The authors show that organizations first need to unlearn established beliefs and methods which have created rules and competency traps, in order to be receptive to new market and technology information.
  • Alstyne, Marshall van [1997]
    The State of Network Organization: A Survey in Three Frameworks 
    From: Journal of Organizational Computing, 7(3) 
    This article has two primary goals: to review the literature on network organizations and to interpret explanations for its behaviors in terms of established analytical principles. Tools from computer science, economics, and sociology give three markedly different interpretations of its core attributes but they also settle on a handful of common themes. The proposed benefits are a clarification of what it means for an organization to be network structured, a few insights into its origins, and a suggestion of where the boundaries to some of its different forms might lie. You can download this article in pdf format.


  • Benschop, Albert (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Briody, Elizabeth / Meerwarth Pester, Tracy / Trotter, Robert [2012]
    A story’s impact on organizational-culture change
    In: Journal of Organizational Change Management, 25(1): 67-87
  • Brynjolfsson, E. / Renshaw, Amy A. / Alstyne, M.V.
    The Matrix of Change: A Tool for Business Process Reengineering
    Business process reengineering efforts suffer from low success rates, due in part to a lack of tools for managing the change process. The 'Matrix of Change' can help managers identify critical interactions among processes. In particular, this tool helps managers deal with issues such as how quickly change should proceed, the order in which changes should take place, whether to start at a new site, and whether the proposed systems are stable and coherent. When applied at a medical products manufacturer, the Matrix of Change provided unique and useful guidelines for change management. You can download this article in pdf format. From: Sloan Management Review, Winter 1997.
  • Business Process Reengineering & Innovation 
    A Business Researcher's Interests (BRINT). An extensive annotated collection with resources on BPR: papers, books, periodicals, bibliographies, tools, projects etc.


  • CC&S Management Consultants
    Organizational Learning, Systems Thinking, Teams and Teambuilding. A meeting point for people and organizations who want to make the Learning Organization a reality. English and Dutch version.
  • Centre de Sociologie des Organisations / Center for the Sociology of Organisations (CSO)
    The C.S.O. has initiated current empirical research on the functioning of organizations and on the institutional dynamics in the private and public sectors. Through its numerous empirical studies, the Center has made important contributions in this research area in France. The director of the CSO, Erhard Friedberg, is currently conducting a series of filmed interviews with those he considers to be amongst the founding fathers of the organizational sciences. The aim of these interviews is to trace the origins and the major turning points in the field of the organizational sciences.
  • Centre de Recherche en Sociologie des Organisations (CERSO) 
    The site for the Center for the Sociology of Organizations (Universite Paris IX Dauphine) includes a presentation of two postgrad formations and of the current research activites and seminars of the laboratory.
  • Child, John [1975]
    Managerial and Organizational Factors Associated with Company Performance - Part II. Contingency Analysis
    His seminal 1975 JMS article on contingency theory, which identifies as the means to superior performance those attributes which enable a company to cope better with its particular operating conditions. The factors associated with high performance are expected to vary along with differences in a company’s context - especially with the differences in its environment, size and technology. The central argument in contingency theory is “that there is no single mode of organizing which can serve as an optimum for all situations” [p.27]. The contingency approach emphasizes that company decision-makers should adequately secure and evaluate information on their operating situation, and that they should adapt the design of their organization when necessary. See also his more recent book Organization. Contemporary Principles and Practice [2004].
  • Classified Guide to the F.W. Taylor Collection 
    The personal papers of the founder of Scientific Management. You can browse or search the digital collection.


Donaldson, Lex [2008]
The conflict between contingency and institutional theories of organizational design
The contingency theory approach to organizational design states that the structure that fits the contingency produces beneficial outcomes for the organization. The author argues that institutional theory also implies that there is an institutional fit that produces beneficial outcomes for the organization. Contingency fit produces internal effectiviness, whereas institutional fit produces external legitimacy and support. So contingency and institutional theories tend to conflict by prescribing different structures as their fits.


  • Gergen, Kenneth, J. (Swarthmore College) / Tojo Joseph (George Mason University)
    Organizational Science in a Postmodern Context 
    The thesis is that certain arguments within the postmodern dialogues, when properly extended, yield a promising vision of future organizational science. After developing these arguments, he explores several implications and illustrates their potential in ongoing work.
  • Gulledge, Thomas R. / Haszko, Ruth, A. (George Mason University, USA)
    Information Technology Enabled Organization, The 
    Also available in French and in Spanish. The article focusses on the drivers within organizations that are enabling the change that is displacing workers and managers. It shows how firms are integrating processes with new information technologies and systems, and discusses the resulting implications for workers and managers. The authors consider competing views of the societal impacts of the information revolution, and suggest some policy implications and avenues for further research.


  • Hahn, Martin [2007]
    Contingency Theory
  • Heylighen, F.
    Cybernetics and Systems Theory 
    A collection of links on the field of cybernetics and systems theory, provided in the context of the Principia Cybernetica Project.
  • Hill, Charles W.L. - School of Business, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
    • [1995] National Institutional Structures, Transaction Cost Economizing and Competitive Advantage: The Case of Japan
      In: Organization Science, 6(1):118-131
      Decisions about economic goverance take place within a broader institutional and cultural framework. Many organizational economists have been reluctant to include this kind of variable in their analysis. Hill shows that failure to do so may render our analysis useless.
    • The Organizational Advantage: The Firm as an Engine for the Discovery of Knowledge 
      Hill suggests that established firms enjoy a relative advantage over the market alternative when it comes to the discovery of economically valuable knowledge. This advantage is founded upon three main factors; (i) the superior ability of firms to communicate knowledge among organizational members, and as a consequence, to generate new knowledge, (ii) the ability of firms to create incentives that encourage individuals who would otherwise not do so to engage in the knowledge discovery process, and (iii) the co-specialized, personal, and tacit nature of knowledge, which precludes separating out such knowledge for sale through the market mechanism. The result of this theorizing is the construction of an efficiency rationale for the existence of the firm in a competitive marketplace that is not based upon the assumption of opportunistic behavior, and does not rely upon asset specificity or monitoring problems as key explanatory variables.
    • [2009] The Organization of International Business



  • Living Archives of Organization Theory
    Erhard Friedberg, director of the Center for the Sociology of Organizations (Paris, France), presented a series of filmed interviews with some of the founding fathers of the organizational sciences. You will meet Michael Crozier, Paul Lawrence, Herbert A. Simon, Thomas C. Schelling, Charles Perrow, William Foote Whyte, Peter Drucker, James G. March, Philip Selznick, Chris Argyris, Peter Blau, Ronald Burt, Mark Granovetter, and Charles Lindblom. And there are more interview to come. The interviews can also be seen on YouTube.
  • Lloyd, Seth [1995] (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
    Learning how to control complex systems


Merton, Robert K. [1957]
Bureaucratic Structure and Personality
From: Robert K. Merton, Social Theory and Social Structure. Glencou, IL: Free Press, 1957, pp. 195-206.


  • Organization and Management Theory (OMT) 
    Division of the Academy of Management includes resources for organization scholars.
  • Organizations Evolving by: Howard E. Aldrich. 
    Written with grace and clarity, Aldrich cogently consolidates state-of-the-art thinking and research on organizational environments, a domain of inquiry that he helped pioneer 20 years ago with his classic "Organizations and Environments". He establishes how diverse literatures ranging from transaction-cost economics to intepretive theory are premised on evolutionary foundations, and explores their convergences. He synthesizes cutting edge research to illuminate how variation, selection and retention processes unfold at multiple levels within and outside organizations. The book was published by Sage Publications, 1999. The site offers a table of contents and a downloadable chapter 1, sample syllaby using the book and a discussion forum for comments and discussion.
  • Organisations, Occupations and Work (ASA)
    A specialist subsection of the American Sociological Association.
  • Organizations as Complex Systems 
    A Business Researcher's Interests. An extensive collection of annotated resources on organizations as complex systems.


  • Robbins, Harvey / Finley, Michael
    Why Teams Don’t Work 
    A witty and incisive page about the dysfunctions of organisations and management thought.
  • Rocco, Elena -Laboratory of Experimental Economics, University of Trento, Italy
    • [1998] Trust Breaks Down in Electronic Contexts but Can Be Repaired by Some Initial Face-to-Face Contact
      Trust is the prerequisite for success when a collaborative task involves risk of individualistic or deceitful behaviors of others. Can trust emerge in electronic contexts? This issue is explored in an experiment in which trust emergence is measured in both face-to-face and electronic contexts. In this experiment trust is revealed by the degree of cooperation the group is able to reach in solving a social dilemma, i.e. a situation in which advantages for individualistic behavior make group cooperation highly vulnerable.
    • Cooperative Efforts in Electronic Contexts: the Relevance of Prior Face-to-Face Interactions 
      The organizational shift toward horizontal mechanisms of coordination - where communication and cooperation take precedence over predefined vertical lines of authority and discrete market transactions - has been enabled by information technology (IT). In particular communication media supported by electronic networks facilitate the emergence of fluid and flexible patterns of working relations, giving rise to innovative contexts for interactions and collaborative work that span traditional organizational boundaries. IT offers a great potential for communication. But networked organizations are not the same as electronic networks nor can they be built entirely on them. Working relations in the networked organization are intrinsically embedded in a social context made of culture, social norms, practices, habits, and expectations. These elements are primarily shaped by ongoing face-to-face interactions. Electronic networks might complement existing face-to-face relations. The extent to which networks developed through face-to-face interactions might become synonymous to networks of computer-supported relations is an issue that needs to be explored. Elena attempts to shed some light on this issue, with a specific focus on the relation between electronic-mail and cooperation. Her research question is: to what extent can computer-mediated communication support spontaneous mechanisms of mutual adjustment and trust building that are essential for the development of stable cooperation?
  • Rocco Eleana / Warglien, Massimo [1996]
    Computer Mediated Communication and the Emergence of “Electronic Opportunism”


Self-Organization, Autopoiesis, and Enterprises by: Randall Whitaker 
A paper on the autopoietic theory of self-organization and its application to enterprises and their management.


Organizational Learning - Learning Organizations


Virtual Organizations

  • DeSanctis, Gerardine / Monge, Peter [1998]
    Communication Processes for Virtual Organizations
    In: JCMS 3(4)
  • Emergent Organizational Forms and Virtual Organizations
    An extensive collection of references to research, books and articles on new organization forms, intranets, and virtual communities. With many links to other WWW resources on new organization forms. From: A Business Researcher's Interest.
  • Grabowski, Martha /Robers, Karlene H. [1998]
    Risk Mitigation in Virtual Organizations
    In: JCMC 3(4) June 1998.
  • GroupWare
  • Handy, Charles  [1995] - London Business School, England
    Trust and the Virtual Organization
    In: Harvard Business Review, May-June 1995.
    Managing people and work in new organizational settings will require trust. Managers must move past traditional views of control, efficiency and accountability approaches when the nee to manage employees the cannot see. How do you manage people whome you do not see? Handy explains some managerial, organizational and societal dilemmas, formulates some rules of trust, and tries to find some anwsers.
  • Hughes, John A. / O'Brien, Jon / Rouncefield, Mark / Tolmie, Peter [1998]
    Some ‘real’ problems of ‘virtual’ teamwork
    An ethnographic study of the implementation of virtual teamworking within a large bank. The use of IT to support decision-making, quality control and customer services is combined with mahor organizational changes. It highlights a number of organizational problems (such as 'passing the buck' and managerial problems) that emerge with the movement towards virtual teamworking.
  • Hughes, John A. / O'Brien, Jon / Randall, Dave / Rouncefield, Mark / Tolmie, Peter
  • Kimble, Chris - University of York, UK
    • [2010] Some Research Challenges for Studies of Virtual Communities Using On-Line Tells
      In: International Journal of Virtual Communities and Social Networking, 2(4):23-30.
    • [2011] Building effective virtual teams: How to overcome the problems of trust and identity in virtual teams
      In: Global Business and Organizational Excellence, 30(2): 6-15.
      An exploration of some of the challenges faced when managing virtual teams, in particular the role played by trust and identity in virtual teams. It outlines why teams and virtual teams have become a valuable part of the modern organization and presents ten short case studies that illustrate the range of activities in which virtual teams can be found. Following this, the article examines some of the common problems encountered in virtual team working. It discusses two broad classes of solutions. The first are solutions that are essentially technical in nature (i.e., where changes to or improvements in technology would help to solve or ameliorate the problem); the second are more organizationally based (i.e., where the root of the problem is in people and how they are managed). The article concludes that both the technical and the organizational solutions need to be considered in parallel if an attempt to build an effective virtual team is to be successful.
  • Kimble, Chris / Selby, William [2000]
    An Interdisciplinary study of Information Systems: Christopher Alexander and IS Failure
    In: Proceedings of 5th UKAIS Conference, University of Wales Institute, Cardigg, McGraw Hill, April 2000, pp. 356-265. 
    Based on the idea that physical and virtual office spaces exist to serve parallel organisational requirements, it is argued that designers of information systems should be able to learn from the experience of otherin order to improve their methods and redefine their objectives. The work of Christopher Alexander is reviewed to show how his work on architectural patterns has been of value to the designers of object-oriented systems. This provides an example of how insights into virtual organisations can be gained by looking at them from the perspectives of other academic disciplines.
  • NetAge: Virtual Teaming Tools and Expertise 
    NetAge helps people work together across boundaries of space, time and organizations using technology. The site provides information about 21st century organizations, virtual teams, teamnets, and networks.
  • Shumate, Michelle / Pike, Jon [2006]
    Trouble in a Geographically Distributed Virtual Network Organization: Organizing Tensions in Continental Direct Action Network
    In: Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11(3): 802-824.
  • Sieber, Pascal / Griese, Joachim (eds.) [1998]
    Organizational Virtualness
  • Tolmie, Peter / Hughes, John / Rouncefield, Mark / Sharrock, Wes
    Managing Relationships - Where the ‘Virtual’ Meets the ‘Real’
    Notions such as the ‘virtual organisation’ and ‘virtual teamwork’ have recently received much attention. Focusing on the customer-facing work of a ‘Relationship Manager’ in a major UK retail bank that is moving towards a ‘virtual’ model, the authors empirically assess the proposed outcomes of such organisational change. They consider the way IT-mediated resources are brought to bear within the interaction, the way any decisions made subsequently get justified to the organisation, and the way strategic plans are instantiated in everyday work. Their findings indicate that it is the stable interactional competences that Relationship Managers exhibit in their negotiations with their customers that enable any changes, ‘virtual’ or otherwise, to be rendered ‘real’.
  • Virtual Organization Mamangement Institute Blog
    Articles and postings on Virtual Organization Management and Virtual Organization Recruitment.
  • Virtual Organizations 
    Special issue on virtual organizations of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Volume 3, Issue 4.


An intranet is the use of internet technologies within an organization or company to achieve better results than the conventional means of data access and transfer. It is used as a management system for documents and records, and it can serve as a foundation for knowledge management.

An intranet supports organizations to improve their business processes through customer and partner collaboration tools, seamless business process integration and rapid access to dynamic organizational information. Streamlined collaboration practices, rapid information discovery, and dynamic data integration make it much easier for employees to access, distribute, and share information in real time.


  • knowledge management. An intranet supports organizations to improve their business processes through customer and partner collaboration tools, seamless business process integration and rapid access to dynamic organizational information. Streamlined collaboration practices, rapid information discovery, and dynamic data integration make it much easier for employees to access, distribute, and share information in real time.
  • Good Documents
    A site that discusses how to create good business documents in the linked, on-screen environment of intranets and the internet. "Writing for reading with a browser is different than writing for paper. Writing everyday documents that are destined to be read on-screen and not printed out means different words and organization than the same ideas written to be printed out on paper. You can't take what you wrote for paper, paste it into an HTML editor, mark it up with a few tags and call it an on-screen document. You need to write specifically for the screen if you want to take best advantage of the medium."
  • Intranet Journal 
    Offers news, opinions, intra-views, FAQ, resources, design tools, chat and more. Or do you want a real-time chat with your fellow intranetters?
  • Intranet Journal: Best Practices 
    On-going intranet development case studies written by IT professionals developing corporate webs.
  • Intranet Resources 
    A collection of sites that offer some perspective on building Intranets, networks that leverage IP and Internet technologies to better connect customers and businesses.
  • Intranet Resources and Info 
    A collection of links maintained by Intranet Services (New Zealand). Editor: David Storm.
  • Intranets
    About.com Guide edited by Bradley Mitchell.
  • Intranets.com
  • Intranets: What? Why? How?
    A comprehensive list of links to intranet resources, presented by Brint.com.
  • Strom, David [1995]
    Creating Private Intranets: Challenges and Prospects for IS
    A white paper for Attachmate Corp.. These days the internet is everywhere: ads for au courant clothing on bus shelters, television programs, and even underwear have their own addresses on the World-Wide Web, the most popular of Internet services. With all this attention, it seems as if the internet has become the only topic for computing professionals these days. According to Strom, this focus may be misplaced: "it is the Intranet, the internal internet, that is the key information technology revolution for the remainder of this century." He describes the rise of corporate intranets, provides a description of some of their key features, and offers advice about how to manage the transition from mostly SNA networks. He also highlights some key Intranet enabling technologies from Attachmate and others.
  • Telleen, Steven L. (director of IntraNet Solutions)
  • WikipediaIntranet | Intranet Strategies | Enterprise Portal | Local Area Netwerk (LAN)

Mailing Lists in Organization Theory

  • ASQ
    Administrative Science Quarterley listserver. List managers: Will Mitchell and Brad Killaly (University of Michigan).
  • Business-Research 
    For business/organisation studies researchers/research groups seeking to network with academic peers and improve the quality of their research. List is part of networking activities of UK academics working in departments with less than maximum RAE ranking. Online subscription.
  • GDO-L 
    Forum for Gender & Diversity in Organizations. Online subscription.
    Knowledge production in organizational research sisciplines.
  • OIC 
    The Organizational Issues Clearinghouse. 
    Forum for the distribution of calls for papers, conference announcements, special journal issue announcements, etc. dealing with organizational issues. List Manager: Marc-David Seidel.
    Supports critical scholarly discussion, reflection and research in the areas of knowledge production in organizational research; of the institutional context of organizational studies; and of research policy and practice in this and related disciplines.

Journals in Organization Sociology

  • Administrative Science Quarterly (ACQ)
    A major journal in organisation theory. Includes table of contents of the current issue and information about the journal which publishes interdisciplinary research in organisational theory.
  • Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory
    An international forum for interdisciplinary research that combines computation, organizations and society.
  • Electronic Journal of Radical Organisation Theory (EJROT) - Univ. of Waikato, New Zealand. 
    The aim of the Journal is to stimulate leading edge discussion around radical ideas in the study and practice of organisation and management. They encourage the submission of: research articles which present new information, theoretical tracts which attempt to produce synthesis of existing ideas, radical approaches which can produce new images of organisations, visions of organisations and management practices which are not exploitative or oppressive for those who participate in them. They encourage perspectives that include interpretations of the broader societal contexts in which organisations are embedded.
  • Journal of Organizational Management Studies (JOMS) [open access]
    An international peer reviewed and applied research journal that include case studies, best practices, and experiences on management science. It provides academia and organization with a forum to discuss, present, and apply new ideas and fresh research in the management science.
  • Journal of Organizational Virtualness (E-JOV)
    An academic journal for theoretical and empirical research related to virtual organizations and networks. eJOV encourages research and debate at the intersection of different disciplines like business administration, economics, information systems, computer science, engineering, or sociology. While eJOV pursues a methodological pluralism, it puts particular emphasis on qualitative and constructive research.
  • Journal of Organizational Change Management [table of contents]
    Provides alternative philosophies (critical theory, postmodernism and poststructuralism) for organizational change and development.

Professional Associations

  • Academy of Management
    A professional society that is primarily composed of professors who conduct research and teach management in colleges, universities, or research institutes and doctoral students who are pursuing PhD's in management.
  • American Society for Training and Development (ASTD)
    The professional association and leading resource on workplace learning and performance issues. ASTD provides information, research, analysis and practical information derived from its own research and the knowlegde and experience of its members.
  • Institute of Organization Development (IOD)
    A privately held organization that provides educational services and consultation in the field of organization development.
  • International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPO)
    Dedicated to improving individual and organizational performance in the workplace.
  • International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations (ISPSO) 
    A forum for academics, clinicians, consultants and others interested in working in and with organizations utilizing psychoanalytic concepts and insights.
  • Organization Development Network
    An association of organization development practitioners. The OD Network supports its members in their work in human organization and systems development, and offers leadership and scholarship to the profession.

Google Scholar - Stand on the shoulders of giants

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