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STUDIES IN ADMINISTRATIVE THEORY

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ROBERT HEFNER and EDWARD SEIFERT
1st edition June 19980, 406 pages, $29.95 
ISBN 978-0-89641-046-6  Review Shopping Cart

 

The task of the current work is to emphasize the importance of administrative theory gleaned from the behavioral sciences as it can be employed to improve what Bernard called efficiency in the organization. This volume is devoted to a study of why and how theory is needed and developed as well as an examination of different categories or classifications of theory. Literally it is a study of the "Theory of Theory" as viewed by a pragmatist. With this purview in mind, the study of interpersonal, one-on-one, or one-on-group relationship is to be treated elsewhere.

This collection was developed by examining many articles which seemed to constitute a continuum of thought about administrative theory. It is not a text complete with exposition, rhetoric, and study guides. The anthology form is used with mere divisional synopses to give the student of administration both classical and contemporary thought concerning theory. One emphasis is on theory construction so students can better understand why theory can serve them as an administrative tool. A second emphasis relates to theory classifications as bureaucratic, systems, and those gravitating toward egalitarianism. The third emphasis which is unstated in most articles but pervades the array of thought, is the practical value of theory for the practitioner. Models, paradigms, and other theoretical forms are available to the student from diverse sources. Thus, this anthology assists the practitioner in acquiring an understanding of the basic constructs of theory and of their general application to any organization.

Seven sections are used in the book. They are arranged to provide a logical progression of thought about theory. Three parts are related to theory development. Considerations of a need for theory entail historical progress, comments about a general theory, and speculation about the use of theory. Theory development is considered by an examination of the structure of concepts and abstractions. The third section examines the nature of theory to include structure and the whys and how of developing theory.

The pivotal segment of the book looks at models and their content, type, value, and development. This section contains examples of models and contrasting thoughts and analyses of models by Getzels, Stogdill, and Luthans. Secions concluding the volume are devoted to an examination of bureaucracy, systems, and professional and collegial models and theories. Contemporary thoughts about bureaucracy presented in the first of these sections provide a prelude for considerations of newer organizational forms. Systems theory tends to dissolve more into a different perspective of theory rather than to become a totally new concept when the next group of articles is contemplated. Evolving models of an egalitarian bent are discussed in the concluding section, which addresses professional and collegial designs.

Altogether, the readings present a unique approach to the study of theory in that they provide knowledge of the conceptualization, structure, and use of theory for the manager: an "ivory tower" concentration of interest from a pragmatic articles to acquint the student with what has been, is, and may be the vogue in administrative theory. Each article was field tested with students of diverse backgrounds and capabilities. The best students apply their knowledge in organizational settings; less knowledgeable ones have a better understanding of what theory is an is not, and from that base they too may grow.

Who then is interested in a manual such as this? Anyone interested in the study of administrative theory is the answer. Students of management or administration by title, but from the disciplines of business, education, sociology, health and political sciences, or industrial psychology equally share this field. Articles in the book are drawn from journals either published by or read by members in each of these groups. The conceptual nature of the collection is equally applicable to all these disciplines.

 

CONTENTS


Chapter 1: THE NEED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE THEORY

Chapter 2: CONCEPT STRUCTURE AND DEVELOPMENT

Chapter 3: THE NATURE OF ADMINISTRATIVE THEORY

Chapter 4: MODELS IN ADMINISTRATIVE THEORY

Chapter 5: BUREAUCRACY

Chapter 6: SYSTEMS IN ADMINISTRATION

Chapter 7: PROFESSIONAL AND COLLEGIAL MODELS

 

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