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Title:The Organizing Dilemma: Individualism, Collectivism, and the Control of Organization
Author(s):Wagner, John A., Iii
Department / Program:Business Administration
Discipline:Business Administration
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Business Administration, General
Abstract:The organizing dilemma is a puzzle posed by the dual necessities of social organization and member self-interest. On one hand, modern societies are based on organization, a pattern of interaction which is maintained through member contributions to organizing processes. On the other hand, member self-interest directs attention away from organizational well-being and toward the welfare of that entity defined as "self." The definitions of self with organization members possess stem from childhood socialization, in which language and behaviors are learned that provide implicit self-definitions, and from subsequent acculturation in which self-definitions may be modified by new social information. Two major kinds of self-definition may be adopted. Individualism denotes a definition of self in which selves are defined as distinct individuals, while collectivism refers to a definition in which selves are defined as distinct groups. Depending on members' definitions of self, the organizing dilemma may exist between personal interests and organizational welfare, or between group interests and organizational well-being.
The organizing dilemma can be resolved through the use of unilateral or participative control. This dissertation conceptualizes an ideal-typology of four organization forms resolving the organizing dilemma--associations of unilaterally controlled individualists, emergent communions of participatively controlled individualists, residual communions of unilaterally controlled collectivists, and communities of participatively controlled collectivists. Macro organizational characteristics pertaining to interaction patterns, social justice, member mobility, authority differentiation, knowledge distribution, power differences, economic distribution, and organizing process contributions are derived from attributes of the self-definition/control mix characterizing each organization form. Micro process differences related to motivation, leadership, job design, and compensation are based on a cross-cultural analysis of empirical counterparts. Suggestions regarding the identification of American organizational collectivism are offered, and normative paths of change among the four forms of organization are outlined. It is suggested that, in failing to address collectivism, American theorists of organization, organizational behavior, and organizational development have artificially limited their scope of inquiry. The dissertation serves as a first step in reducing this limitation.
Issue Date:1982
Description:268 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1982.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8218579
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1982

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