Organizations in Action: Social Science Bases of Administrative Theory

Posted: 4 Nov 2009

Date Written: 1967


The research regarding complex organizations is scarce at this time. Few research studies have investigated the function both of the open, uncertain systems and the closed, certain systems of different organizations. This book is cited as a "conceptual inventory;" its main purpose is to formulate possible propositions to further study the similarities and differences of organizational behaviors across disciplines. It explores such issues as organizational design, technology and structure, and assessment of organizations. The analysis then examines the ways in which the following variables and concepts impact an organization: human variables, discretion, control of complex organizations, and the administrative process. Based upon the conducted research, both external sources (generalized and contingency) and internal sources (interdependence) of uncertainty are identified among complex organizations. Although most organizations seek a state of self-control, the means by which they achieve this state differ between organizations. The differing responses of administrators to uncertainty within their respective organizations are explored. Possible areas of future research are proposed, including the utilization of both operational and conceptual research. (AKP)

Keywords: Rationality, Interdependence, Organizational structures, Technologies, Environment, Uncertainty, Systems design, Behavior (individual), Organizational behavior, Organization theory

Suggested Citation

Thompson, James D., Organizations in Action: Social Science Bases of Administrative Theory (1967). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship. Available at SSRN:

James D. Thompson (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics