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[Xmca-l] Re: An article on the evolution of organizational paradigms you might find interesting

These are fascinating questions, Zlatko. There are lot of theories, too, about how the changing technology of communication affects psychology, from speech-only, to laborious writing techniques like clay tablets and vellum, to pen-and-paper, to the printing press, the telephone, the email, etc. The impact at the mezo-level, i.e., organisations - half way between Psychology and Social Theory, is also evident. Artefacts are the material bearers of culture after all. Also, I have noticed that the evolution of management forms mirrors or more likely, is mirrored by, forms of social and political organisation. This is a very rich field for cultural psychological research!


Andy Blunden
On 20/08/2017 8:07 PM, Zlatko Bodrozic wrote:
Many thanks for your comments, Mike.

Since I was a PhD student I was fascinated by Scribner's (1985) analysis of "Vygotsky's Uses of History,". One could say that our paper (and my PhD) was inspired by her article. We study the connection between
(1) the long-term evolution of technologies
(2) the long-term evolution of organizational paradigms
(3) the long-term evolution of  management models
(4) micro processes of organizational and managerial innovation
(see the attached figure for a visualization)

For the long-term technological processes, relying on a neo-Schumpeterian framework (Carlota Perez), we study subsequent technological revolutions (railway, steel &electricity, automobile, ICT). We argue that the emergence of a technological revolution in leading industries generates radically new organizational and management problems. The solution to these problems takes the form of a new organizational paradigm (professionally-managed firm, factory, corporation, network). This new paradigm emerges in two cycles. In a first cycle, we see the emergence of a new management model that represents a revolutionary break with the prevailing organizational paradigm (Line-and-staff, Scientific management, Strategy-and-structure, Business process). The appearance of this model typically generates unintended consequences (often related to human problems), which in turn prompt a second cycle that generates another management model that rectifies those dysfunctions and thereby rebalances and stabilizes the new organizational paradigm (Industrial betterment, Human relations, Quality management/organizational culture and learning, Knowledge management).

(The connection to individual human development would be: An organizational expert working in the early 19th century, time-traveling into the present, would first need to master many of the lessons accumulated by the successive paradigms and models of the last century and a half. Each of the models that has left its mark on the overall evolution of management and organization offers a lesson for the individual.)

We clearly see connections between this four processes, and—coming now to your question—we would also argue that there should be connections to the the longer-term evolution of social institutions. Actually, Paul Adler and I currently study the evolution of workplace communities—the fabric of workplace social relations—, and we are confident that we can make a connection to the 4 processes mentioned above.

Regarding the question of an "orthogenetic principle": I need to think about this more. What we say in our paper is that the we see indicators of growing complexity of the division of labor, growing interdependence among actors, and increasing scope of the corresponding integration and control efforts. These indicators might be read as related to what Paul Adler (2012) calls the “socialization of production”, but we have to explore this more.

Kind regards, Zlatko

Thank you for this paper, Zlato. We have not heard from Paul on this list
for years, but
his work has remained on the horizon. Now you have brought it back to us in
an interesting formulation.

I was struck by the parallels between the way you framed your question and the question that developmental psychologists (perhaps pedologists,

we argue that technology is a powerful factor shaping the evolution of
management models’ contents

a couple of months ago Roy Pea gave a talk at the Piaget society meetings in which we made a very similar point with respect to the role of culture in human development. Simplifying brutally, we argued that new technologies entail changes in social relations that subsequently change the environment of development for the en-culturating organism. This formulation, we suggested provided piagetians to reconcile contradictions between the
biological and the social sides of Piaget.

The similarity of the arguments raises a question for me about principles of development that appear non-accidently related at different levels of
'individual organism, individual organism as constituitive of a social group, the institutional structure of the organism's environment, the structure of that proximal society and its relation to the organization of the species of which it is a part. Does some sort of "orthogenetic principle" apply across different scales of social processes?

Short of that, what are we to make of the "limited" differences we see in the dynamics of different levels of the system in relative sychrony,
perhaps a crisis, perhaps an opportunity?

David has been point toward a sociology and linguistics to bring together various apparently combinable mode of theorizing a CHAT account of development that generalizes across scales (themselves differentially mutable from the perspective of a single human organism). This work, and that part of Yrjo's work focused on organisms seems to be pointing in similarly directions. If that it correct, it extends the links to the study of social institutions, a topic currently of general interest in the CHAT

In any events, thanks.


On Sat, Aug 19, 2017 at 6:52 AM, Zlatko Bodrozic <bodrozic@web.de> wrote:

Dear colleagues,

some of you might find our paper (co-authored with Paul Adler) on the historical evolution of management models and organizational paradigms interesting. We published it this year in Administrative Science Quarterly. While it is based on a Neo-Schumpeterian framework (Schumpeter, Freeman, Perez), it was equally informed by cultural-historical activity theory. You can download a copy by using the link below, and we would be delighted
to get any reactions to it that you might share with us.

Best wishes,
Zlatko Bodrožić and Paul Adler

Bodrozic, Z., and P.S. Adler (forthcoming) The Evolution of Management Models: A Neo-Schumpeterian Theory. /Administrative Science Quarterly/ Download <http://www-bcf.usc.edu/%7Epadler/research/models.pdf>