Why Study Organizations?

Organizations Are Taking Over

Organizations are everywhere. Increasingly, they are taking over the tasks that used to be performed by individuals and families. For example, it used to be that when a couple got married, their friends and relatives built them a house to live in. Now, the construction is done by developers and the distribution is handled by the market.

Food collection is done by agricultural businesses. Hunting has been replaced by cattle factories and poultry companies. Food preparation is increasingly performed by consumer packaged goods companies, and by restaurants. Pretty soon, you'll be able to hire an organization to eat the food too. :-)

Child-rearing is increasingly performed by a network of organizations including schools, day-care centers, television networks, summer camps and churches.

Most of us are born in an organization (the hospital) and will die in one too (the hospital again, or the nursing home), and then a funeral parlor will take care of the body.

Organizations organize our lives. Our schedules are almost entirely set by organizations. This is especially true for students, whose lives revolve around school-imposed classroom schedules, library-cafeteria-computer center hours, course deadlines, etc.

All this means that what happens in the economy and in the courts and in technology (all elements of the environment of organizations) affects all of our lives profoundly. The reason most organizations do things the way they do is largely a function of what they can make money doing, what is legal, and what technology permits. The school cafeteria is organized as a self-service operation not because you personally asked for it to be that way but because it's an economical way to do things.

Organizations Determine Socio-Economic Status

Increasingly, prestige in industrialized nations is determined by occupation, and by rank within the organization we work for. So bankers (an occupation) have a certain status in society, and bankers who are senior vice-presidents (a high rank) are particularly blessed.

Similarly, most people's income is derived from their jobs in organizations, so organizations also largely determine the amount of money that individuals have.

Finally, organizations wield considerably more power than individuals do, so the individuals who control organizations also have considerable power.

Revised: January 04, 2001 Go to Home Page