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Organizations act, but what determines how and when they will act? There is precedent for believing that the organization is but an extension of one or a few people, but this is a deceptively simplified approach, and in reality makes any generalization in organizational theory enormously difficult. Modern-day organizations - manufacturing firms, hospitals, schools, armies, community agencies - are extremely complex in nature, and several strategies, employing a variety of disciplines, are needed to gain a proper understanding of them. Organizations in Action is a classic multidisciplinary study of the behavior of complex organizations as entities. Previous books on the subject focused on the behavior of people in organizational contexts, but this volume considers individual behavior only to the extent that it helps explain the nature of organizations. James D. Thompson offers 95 distinct propositions about the behavior of organizations, all relevant regardless of the culture in which they are found. He classifies organizations according to their technologies and environments, and the theme that organizations must meet and handle uncertainty is central to the book's thesis. Organizations in Action is firmly grounded in concepts and theories in the social and behavioral sciences. While it does not seek to offer an actual theory of administration, the book successfully extends the scientific base upon which any emerging administrative theory must rest. This classic work is of continuing value to organizational and management specialists, behavioral scientists, sociologists, administrators, and policymakers.
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About the Author

James D. Thompson taught business administration and sociology at Indiana University and Vanderbilt University. He contributed numerous articles to scholarly journals, including American Journal of Sociology, Administrative Science Quarterly, and American Sociological Review. Mayer N. Zald is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Occupations and Organizations in American Society, and co-author (with John McCarthy) of Social Movements in an Organizational Society, available from Transaction. W. Richard Scott is professor emeritus of sociology at Stanford University. He is the author of Organizations: Rational, Natural and Open Systems and Institutions and Organizations, and is a former editor of Annual Review of Sociology.

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