“Organization”. A Multi Facet Concept

Carlotta Meo Colombo - PhD in “Economia Aziendale” Doctoral School of Social Sciences Department of Economics and Business Sciences University of Pavia (Italy)


The study of organizations implies to observe entities that show a lot of different possible characteristics and definition should help us to understand specific features of them since many authors tried to provide their own definition; as Baum and Rowley suggested, although we could construct a mental model of an organization, it’s difficult to give a single formal definition of it (2005). The aim of this paper is to provide a reasoned review of many different perspectives about organizations, to give a full analysis and to provide a structure of investigation and, lastly, to present which perspective we will be useful, as a key of reading, for future developments. We embrace their point of view, and we consider useful to present a framework based on three definitions suggested by Scott (1998) about organizations as rational, natural and open systems. 

(1) Organizations can be conceived of as rational social systems as they are built to achieve goals and show a high formalization of internal social structures. 

(2) Organizations can also be viewed as natural social systems where participants share a common interest, while behaving in informally collective activities. 

(3) Lastly, organizations are open systems, because they are embedded in an environment in which they behave and set goals. 

The paper concludes the analysis of the three different perspectives developing a matrix in which are created “landscape” of analysis, according to the matching of the different perspectives presented. 

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13132/2038-5498/12.4.487-506


Registered by the Cancelleria del Tribunale di Pavia N. 685/2007 R.S.P. – electronic ISSN 2038-5498


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