- List of Contributors
- Introduction: The Need for Meta-theoretical Reflection in Organization Theory
- Organization Theory as a Positive Science
- Organization Theory as an Interpretive Science
- Organization Theory as a Critical Science? Forms of Analysis and ‘New Organizational Forms’
- Organization Theory as a Postmodern Science
- The Origins of Organization Theory
- The Historical and Epistemological Foundations of Organization Theory: Fusing Sociological Theory with Engineering Discourse
- Feminist Theory and Organization Theory: A Dialogue on New Bases
- The Styles and the Stylists of Organization Theory
- Pluralism, Scientific Progress, and the Structure of Organization Theory
- The Agency/Structure Dilemma in Organization Theory: Open Doors and Brick Walls
- Modes of Explanation in Organization Theory
- Micro and Macro Perspectives in Organization Theory: A Tale of Incommensurability
- Economic versus Sociological Approaches to Organization Theory
- Meta-theoretical Controversies in Studying Organizational Culture
- Actionable Knowledge
- Theory and Practice in the Real World
- Organization Theory and Ethics: Varieties and Dynamics of Constrained Optimization
- Character and Virtue in an Era of Turbulent Capitalism
- The Future of Organization Theory: Prospects and Limitations
- Managing Organization Futures in a Changing World of Power/Knowledge
- The Future of Organization Studies: Beyond the Selection–Adaptation Debate
- At Home from Mars to Somalia: Recounting Organization Studies
- New Times, Fresh Challenges: Reflections on the Past and the Future of Organization Theory
Abstract and Keywords
Organizational theory and ethics are not only mutually informing and entangled historically, they may also be codependent. A key foundational principle in both organization studies and ethics is ‘constrained optimization’. The operating and at least implicit primary purpose or reason for being of an organization is what is optimized. Optimization is both a normative idea and a descriptive idea. This article focuses on various types of business organization. What is constrained and optimized for government and nonprofit organizations can be very different. It proceeds, analyzes, and compares how key theorists from the time of Adam Smith, who analyze both ethics and business organizational forms, consider varieties of constrained optimization. This article considers six different types of constrained optimization and analyses change processes through which varieties of constrained optimization evolve.
Richard P. Nielsen, Babson College, Boston, USA.
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