- Notes on Contributors
- Frederick Winslow Taylor
- Mind, Method, and Motion: Frank and Lillian Gilbreth
- Henri Fayol
- Mary Parker Follett
- George Elton Mayo
- Lyndall Urwick
- Chester Barnard and the Systems Approach to Nurturing Organizations
- The Tavistock Group
- Deeply Engaged, Intuitively Analytical and Determinedly Applied: Tom Burns and Joan Woodward in Context but not in Concert
- W. Edwards Deming
- The Life and Diverse Contributions of Dr J. M. Juran
- Edith Penrose's Contribution to Economics and Management Scholarship
- Peter F. Drucker
- Herbert Alexander Simon: Philosopher of the Organizational Life-World
- Alfred Chandler's Managerial Revolution: Developing and Utilizing Productive Resources
- The Aston Studies: A Journey Towards a Science of Administration?
- James March, Richard Cyert, and the Evolving Field of Organizations
- Geert Hofstede
- John Paul Kotter
- Henry Mintzberg
- The Competitive Advantage of Michael Porter
- Ikujiro Nonaka
- Sumantra Ghoshal
- C. K. Prahalad
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines the Aston Studies, a series of comparative investigations into the sources of organizational structure carried out over the 1960s and 1970s. They were essentially designed to test the notion that organizational structure must in some way fit its operational context, and that these contingent conditions could be ascertained in a universally determinative fashion. The question of ‘fit’ in the Aston exposition of contingency theory has been challenged at a number of levels. The article suggests that the assumption that statistical correlation offers a performative meaning to a relationship, while of evident heuristic value, has come to be questioned in the ideographic critique of some Aston researchers. In this sense, the Aston mission to establish a science of organizational design has been overtaken by applied research in organizational strategy, often driven by relatively limited measures of realized performance and with little concern for its wider social systemic implications.
Ray Loveridge is Director of the MSc (Management Research) and Research Fellow at the Saïd Business School, and a member of Brasenose College, Oxford. He is Emeritus Professor at Aston University, UK and a Council member of the Tavistock Institute, London, and of the Scientific Committee of the Bocconi Research Center on Business Organization, Milan. His current research is on the emergent global role of professional associations. His recent publications include: ‘The Social Reconstruction of Institutions’, Human Relations, 50/8 (1997); ‘Globalization in the Telecommunications Sector–The Dynamics of Firms, Governments and Technologies’, Competition and Change, Summer (1999); ‘The Firm as Differentiator and Integrator of Networks’ in D. Faulkner and M. de Rond (eds.), Co-operative Strategies (2000). His early career was in aero-engineering before gaining scholarships to Ruskin College and a first degree in economics at Churchill College, Cambridge. He subsequently taught and researched at the London School of Economics, London Business School and Aston Business School, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.