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

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

Management Organization Theory
Royston Greenwood, Bob Hinings
  • LAST REVIEWED: 19 October 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 June 2015
  • 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. 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 2007, Jones 2010). 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).

  • Daft, Richard L. Organization Theory and Design. 9th ed. Mason, OH: Thomson South-Western, 2007.

    E-mail Citation »

    Focuses on organizational design, managing contextual relationships, and managing dynamic processes.

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

    E-mail Citation »

    Looks at organizational design and change.

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

    DOI: 10.4135/9781483329628E-mail Citation »

    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.

    E-mail Citation »

    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.

    E-mail Citation »

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

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