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Introduction An organization is a consciously coordinated social entity with a relatively identifiable boundary that functions on a relatively continuous basis to achieve a common goal or set of goals Robbins 1990 p 4 Definitions of organizations as advocated by Robbins are by no means in short supply A cursory glance of any textbook which includes the eye-catching words Management or Organization Theory will paint a similar picture - that of the organization as a system which is functionally effective if it achieves goals formally defined through rational decision-making Clegg and Hardy 1999 p 1 This mainstream dominant view of organizations and organizational activity is firmly rooted in the functionalist paradigm as it is premised on assumptions concerning the unitary and orderly nature of organizations Clegg and Handy 1999 p 1 Mainstream writers who more often than not occupy the functionalist paradigm tend to cast organizations as normatively integrated systems thus ignoring political tensions and as a holistic entity thus overlooking organizational sub-units interest groups and coalitions This cosy image that is developed of organizations as cooperative social systems however inhibits the development of a political perspective Bacharach 1978 and as a consequence the orthodox consensus Atkinson 1971 within management literature adopts an apolitical view of organizations Organizations however are not the rational harmonious entities that have long been celebrated in managerial theory Bacharach and Lawler 1980 Rather they can be viewed as political systems as instruments of domination Morgan 1997 as arenas in which power politics and control are the games to be played by the organizations members - in short organizations can be viewed as Evil Empires IROB 2000 - orgainsations conceptualized as arenas of conflicting interests and values constituted through a power struggle As Reed points out Power remains the most overused and least understood concept in organizational analysis Nonetheless it provides the ideological foundations and epistemological scaffolding for a theory of organization that stands in
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