Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Rational Organizational Theory
Duane M. Covrig
Theories have histories, and rational theories of organizations are no exception. Rational views of organizations dominated the early world of organizational development and leadership (mid-1800s to World War II) as well as the early study of organizational sociologists in Germany and America (pre-1950s). During these periods, organizations were largely viewed as “pure” forms of bureaucratic structure, complete with hierarchical authority, driven by goal specificity and rational understandings and formalization. Rationality refers not to the selection of goals but to their implementation as well as their technical and functional rationality that structures work activity with emphasis upon information, efficiency, optimization, implementation, and design. Scientific management research became the main vehicle by which rational theories of organizations were applied to organizations. Its focus was to improve specific technical and ...