Exploring the Paradigm Wars in Organisation Theory
The field of organisation theory is characterised as a fragmented body of knowledge, with many competing theories to explain organisational action.
Your task is to critically analyse the contribution that strategic choice and determinist theories (Resource Dependency Theory; Institutional Theory; Population Ecology) make to our understanding of organisational action. Which perspective do you find most compelling – strategic choice or determinism? Explain your reasoning.
Write an essay-style response to this question, referring to the current academic literature on this topic. As a general rule, a minimum of three (3) academic references from peer-reviewed journals, in addition to references from the subject core text is required. You may find this resource on Essay Writing helpful.
This essay is a critical review of the influential ideas about the role of managers in shaping organsational outcomes. Most critical essays follow this type of structure:
- Open the essay with a short introduction to the area.
- Provide a response to the essay question.
- Provide a summary or ‘road map’ of your essay (a very brief outline of what you will discuss)
The main body of your essay will consist of paragraphs, which are akin to building blocks in the construction of your argument. Ensure that you:
- develop a discussion, informed by the key academics in the field, which answers the essay question
- demonstrate your knowledge of the field
- offer exposition and evidence to develop your arguments. Evidence will be the references to seminal works and key empirical studies
- use relevant examples and authoritative quotes – however only use quotes for effect. Excessive quoting does not demonstrate your understanding of the field.
- if your question has multiple parts, consider using subheadings to break up the text into a logical structure.
When structuring your paragraphs, remember that a paragraph is a related group of sentences that develops one main idea. Each paragraph should contain:
- a topic sentence that states the main idea to be discussed
- supporting sentences, which explain and develop the point that you’re making
- evidence – your points should be supported by evidence from your readings
- analysis – analyse and interpret the evidence. Consider the implications, significance and impact of what you have been discussing, and conclude the paragraph with a critical conclusion you have drawn from the evidence.
In the conclusion, you need to:
- restate your response to the essay question
- summarise the main points
- finish with a broad statement about the implications of the topic for practice.
- ensure you don’t introduce any new information into the conclusion.
Make sure you cite and correctly reference your sources, using the Academy of Management referencing style.
Also, ensure that you understand the difference between quoting and paraphrasing. For help with paraphrasing, see the Purdue Online Writing Lab.