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1 Burrell and Morgan s Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis * *Heinemann, London, 1979

2 Main 4 debates in Sociology Is reality given or is it a product of the mind? Must one experience something to understand it? Do humans have free will or are we determined by our environment? Is understanding best achieved though the scientific method or direct experience?

3 Assumptions of the nature of social science Ontological is is reality external from conscious or a product of individual consciousness? Epistemological how can knowledge be acquired and how can the truth be found? Human nature are are we products of our environments or do we create our environments? Methodological what methods of inquiry are appropriate for finding truth? Objectivists search for universal laws to explain reality and relationships between elements. Subjectivists focus on how individuals create, modify and interpret the world. They see nature as more relativistic Axiological what is the role of values in research? Are researchers value-free vs. value-ladenladen

4 Ontology: Nominalism vs. Realism Nominalism assumes that society is relative and the social world is names, concepts and labels that make individual structure reality Realism assumes that the real world has hard, intangible structures that exist irrespective of our labels. The social world exists separate from the individual s perception of it.

5 Epistemology: Positivism vs. Anti- Positivism Positivism seeks to explain and predict what happens in the social world by searching for patterns and relationships. Hypotheses are developed and tested Anti-positivism rejects that observing behavior can help people understand it. Social science cannot create true objective knowledge of any kind.

6 Human Nature: Voluntarism vs. Determinism Determinism sees man as being determined by the situation and environment he is in Voluntarism sees man is completely autonomous and possessing free will

7 Method: Ideographic vs. Nomothetic Ideographic focuses on detailed observation of society Nomothetic involves hypotheses testing and employs methods such as surveys and other standardized research tools

8 Axiological: Value free vs. Value laden Value-free contends that researchers can conduct research without the imposition of values Value-ladenladen contends this is simply impossible

9 Assumptions about Society* Two theories about society: order and conflict Order or integrationist view sees society as relatively stable and based on consensus Conflict or coercion view sees society as constantly changing and disintegrating * Based on Dahrendorf s (1959) sociological theory

10 The Emergence of Paradigms Kuhn defines paradigms as: universally recognized scientific achievements that for a time provide model problems and solutions to a community of practitioners (Kuhn, 1970; p. viii) Burrell and Morgan use the term as a: commonality of perspective which binds the work of a group of theorists together (Burrell and Morgan, 1979; p. 23) Burrell and Morgan define four paradigms: functionalism, interpretivism, radical structuralism and radical humanism. Others, such as Chua (1986), prefer three primary alternatives: positivism (and its various forms neofuncitonalism, postpostivism, etc.), interpretivism (hermeneutics, phenomenology, ethnomethodology, etc.), and critical (Marxism, Critical Social Theory, etc.)

11 Sociology of radical change Radical Humanism Radical Structuralism French existentialism Anarchistic individualism Critical theory Contemporary Mediterranean Marxism Russian Social Theory Critical theory Subjective Objective Interpretivism Phenomenology Hermeneutics Phenomenological sociology Interpretive sociology Functionalism Integrative theory Social system theory Objectivism Interactionism and social action theory Functionalist sociology Sociology of regulation The Burrell and Morgan Framework (1979)

12 The 4 paradigms of social science Functionalist paradigm objective/regulation Interpretive paradigm subjective/regulation Radical humanist paradigm subjective / radical change Radical structuralist paradigm objective / radical change

13 Functionalist paradigm Primary paradigm for organizational study Assumes rational human action and believes one can understand behavior through hypothesis testing

14 Interpretive paradigm Seeks to explain the stability of behavior from the individual's viewpoint Researchers attempt to observe on-going processes to better understand individual behavior and the spiritual nature of the world

15 Radical humanist paradigm Concerned with releasing social constraints that limit human potential They see the current dominant ideologies as separating people from their true selves This paradigm is used to justify radical change It is anti-organizational in scope

16 Radical structuralist paradigm Theorists see inherent structural conflicts within society that generate constant change through political and economic crisis This is the fundamental paradigm of Marx, Engles and Lenin

17 Sociological Positivism vs. German Idealism Sociological positivism applies models and methods from the natural sciences to the social sciences German idealism sees reality in the spirit or idea and rejects the scientific method to understanding behavior

18 Classification Criteria Positivist Interpretivist Critical Beliefs about physical and social reality There is a single, tangible, fragmentable phenomenon of interest and there is a unique best description of any aspect of that phenomenon. (Orlikowski & Baroudi, 1991) Social world is not given. It is produced and reinforced through human actions and interactions. Interpretations of reality change with time, circumstances, objectives and constituencies. Humans become alienated from their potential by prevailing economic, political and cultural authority. Social reality is produced by humans, but also exists objectively and dominates human experience. Beliefs about the notion of knowledge Deductive logic to discover unilateral, causal generalized relationships, predict patterns of behavior across situations (Orlikowski & Baroudi, 1991). Involves getting inside the world of those generating the social process. The models are not unidirectional, but are circular or reciprocally interacting models of causality. No a priori researcher-imposed formulations of structure, function and attribution are assumed. What it has been, what it is becoming and what it is not (Chua, 1986). Interpretation of social world is not enough. Objective analysis of circumstances is possible through the lenses of theoretical framework. Beliefs about the relationship between knowledge and empirical world If the appropriate general laws are known and the relevant initial conditions can be manipulated, we can produce a desired state of affairs, natural or social. (McCarthy, 1978) Research is value free. Knowledge is never value-free. Weak constructionist view, the researcher merely describes the phenomenon in words of the actors. In the strong view, the researcher s interpretations intervene with the actual meaning of the world, thus the researcher is in part, enacting the social reality of the actors. Can transform both the actor and the researcher. Role of theory is to initiate change in social relations eliminating domination. Paradigm Classification Criteria adapted from Orlikowski and Baroudi (1991)

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