In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Organization Theory

  • Introduction
  • Textbooks
  • Journals
  • Handbooks
  • Collections of Readings
  • Thematic Collection
  • Communities

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Management Organization Theory
Royston Greenwood, Bob Hinings, John Amis
  • LAST REVIEWED: 23 June 2021
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 June 2021
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0024


Organization theory is concerned with the relationship between organizations and their environment, the effects of those relationships on organizational functioning, and how organizations affect the distribution of privilege in society. A central concept is organizational design (sometimes termed “organizational form”). Organizational design is important because the ability of societies to respond to various problems depends on the availability of organizations with different capabilities. Organization theorists are thus interested in the range of organizational designs; their governance, capabilities (e.g., the ability to innovate, learn, and adapt), processes (e.g., decision making), and consequences (and for whom); and how new organizational designs arise and become established. Recently, organization theorists have been applying their insights to “grand challenges” and in making an impact on practice (see online). The authors of this bibliography would like to acknowledge the suggestions and constructive advice of Tony Briggs, David Deephouse, Jennifer Jennings, Sally Maitlis, Evelyn Micelotta, Mia Raynard, Wendy Smith, and Tyler Wry.


Organizational theory texts may cover the breadth of the field (see, e.g., Scott and Davis 2007, Tolbert and Hall 2009) or focus on particular themes, such as organizational design or organizational change (see, e.g., Daft 2021, Jones 2010), or adopt a particular approach (see, e.g., Hatch 2018). Most textbooks are revised and published as new editions every two or three years. A very different introduction to the literature is provided in Pugh and Hickson 2007, which is organized around the works of important scholars (not all of whom are organization theorists).

  • Blomberg, Jesper. Organization Theory: Management and Leadership Analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2020

    Analyzes organzations through four theoretical frameworks: structural, human resources, power, and symbolic. Includes online resources, including powerpoint slides.

  • Daft, Richard L. Organization Theory and Design. 13th ed. Boston: Cengage, 2021.

    Focuses on organizational design, managing contextual relationships, and managing dynamic processes. Provides examples and research alongside time-tested principles.

  • Jones, Gareth R. Organizational Theory, Design, and Change: Text and Cases. 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2010.

    Looks at organizational design and change.

  • Hatch, Mary Jo. Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic, and Postmodern Perspectives. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

    Students are introduced to the range of organization theory perspectives and challenged to explain, explore, and evaluate those perspectives by drawing on their own experiences as well as the book’s diverse practical examples

  • Pugh, Derek S., and David J. Hickson. Writers on Organizations. 6th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2007.

    DOI: 10.4135/9781483329628

    Unlike most texts, this one is not organized by topic or perspective. Instead, the text summarizes the works of a range of major scholars.

  • Scott, W. Richard, and Gerald F. Davis. Organizations and Organizing: Rational, Natural, and Open System Perspectives. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007.

    Revision of Scott’s Organizations: Rational, Natural, and Open Systems (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1981), which ran to five editions.

  • Tolbert, Pamela S., and Richard H. Hall. Organizations: Structures, Processes, and Outcomes. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009.

    Based on classical and modern-day theory, this text examines the impacts organizations have on individuals and society.

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