Co-operation and Outsourcing in the Global Economy
New Perspectives on the Modern Corporation series
Edited by Mario Morroni
Chapter 4: Types of Complementarity, Combinative Organization Forms and Structural Heterogeneity: Beyond Discrete Structural Alternatives
Anna Grandori and Santi Furnari ‘If any approach to deﬁning organizational forms can be regarded as standard, it is one that regards forms as particular clusters of features. The example par excellence is Weber’s speciﬁcation of rational-legal bureaucracy in terms of the nature of authority . . ., procedures . . ., and the employment relation of the oﬃcial . . .’ (Polos et al. 2002, p. 87). 4.1 INTRODUCTION In spite of the broad consensus on the above concept, originating in the sociology of organization, apparently there has been much less eﬀort and consensus on a systematic deﬁnition of which are the fundamental ‘features’ of organization, and according to which laws they are supposed to cluster. In the ﬁrst section this chapter oﬀers a critical re-reading of the notions of organization forms in organization theory and organization economics aimed at singling out what has been established and what stands up to scrutiny on those two important issues.1 In the second section, building on these elements and on earlier works by the present authors (Grandori 1997, 1999; Grandori and Furnari 2008), the chapter provides a typology of organizational ‘features’, a theory of how they are expected to combine inspired by an analogy with chemistry, and a formalized operationalization of the main propositions through an innovative application of Boolean algebra. 63 64 Theoretical aspects 4.2 LIMITS OF THE ‘DISCRETE STRUCTURAL ALTERNATIVES’ VIEW OF ORGANIZATION FORMS A view of organization forms as discrete clusters of features or attributes has been dominant in the major...
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