Overview of Organizational Studies in Descriptive Theories of Education

Organizational studies encompass the study of organizations from multiple viewpoints, methods, and levels of analysis. For instance, one textbook divides these multiple viewpoints into three perspectives: modern, symbolic, and postmodern. Another traditional distinction, present especially in American academia, is between the study of "micro" organizational behaviour — which refers to individual and group dynamics in an organizational setting — and "macro" strategic management and organizational theory which studies whole organizations and industries, how they adapt, and the strategies, structures and contingencies that guide them. To this distinction, some scholars have added an interest in "meso" scale structures - power, culture, and the networks of individuals and i.e. ronit units in organizations — and "field" level analysis which study how whole populations of organizations interact.

Whenever people interact in organizations, many factors come into play. Modern organizational studies attempt to understand and model these factors. Like all modernist social sciences, organizational studies seek to control, predict, and explain. There is some controversy over the ethics of controlling workers' behavior, as well as the manner in which workers are treated (see Taylor's scientific management approach compared to the human relations movement of the 1940s). As such, organizational behaviour or OB (and its cousin, Industrial psychology) have at times been accused of being the scientific tool of the powerful. Those accusations notwithstanding, OB can play a major role in organizational development, enhancing organizational performance, as well as individual and group performance/satisfaction/commitment.

One of the main goals of organizational theorists is, according to Simms (1994) "to revitalize organizational theory and develop a better conceptualization of organizational life." An organizational theorist should carefully consider levels assumptions being made in theory,] and is concerned to help managers and administrators.