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Functionalism Revisited: A practice based Functionalism
Unformatted Document Text:  Functionalism Revisited 10 In sum, both TCE and PAT, and RDT approach can be seen as a deterministic approach. For the former, individual actions are set with her attribute characteristics; for the latter, his actions are set by the holistic influence. The consequence of these critics was the advance of theory of Structuration in sociology. As mentioned earlier, the theory has been underutilized because of the difficulties in its methodological utilization. In the organizational research area, two approaches partially address the issue. Institutional Theory Institutional theory deals with two types of environmental influences: (1) state-wise and (2) organizational-wise. The first refers to the regularized, formalized rules of engaging in organizational activities imposed by the state (generally, but there are still some variations). The second is that organizational activities within the imposed environmental institutional elements generate their actions. It is more likely the process of routinization in Structuration or social construction (Zucker, 1987). That is, organizational activities are contingent upon or influence by their previous activities under the environmental influences. Usual arguments employ these two perspectives; and suggest that formal organizational structures and interorganizational relationships are “reflections of rationalized institutional rules” (Meyer & Rowan, 1977 , p.340). Zucker (1987) also points out that one of the distinctive processes in institutionalization is that organizations tend to mimetically follow the routes of business activities that are often recognized as examples of success. This in turn draws the boundaries of organizational activities. This notion also helps identify the reasons for “hard-to-change” organizational practices and structures. For instance, DiMaggio and Powell (1983) argue that the underlying force of shaping economic institutions in the 1980s may differ from what Weber once raised as locus of bureaucratization – i.e., efficiencies and market competition. Rather they argue that the bureaucratization in the 1980s was due to the more concrete and highly structured organizational field, which resulted in more homogenized organizational structures (or isomorphic institutional changes, in their terms, DiMaggio & Powell, 1983, p.150). They point out that such homogenization resulted from coercive (political influences and legitimation process under the state), mimetic (strong tendency of organizations’ following precedent shapes of other organizational structures due to uncertainty), and normative (resulted from strong professionalism among organizational members) isomorphism. However, one of the weakest points of this approach is that it does not address the causes of the environmental institutional elements; it implicitly suggests that they are given. One of the potential sources of environmental institution is reflexive monitoring of the state (Giddens, 1984) and political engagement of organizations (Zucker, 1987).

Authors: Kim, Hyo.
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Functionalism Revisited 10
In sum, both TCE and PAT, and RDT approach can be seen as a deterministic approach. For the
former, individual actions are set with her attribute characteristics; for the latter, his actions are set by the
holistic influence. The consequence of these critics was the advance of theory of Structuration in
sociology. As mentioned earlier, the theory has been underutilized because of the difficulties in its
methodological utilization. In the organizational research area, two approaches partially address the issue.
Institutional Theory
Institutional theory deals with two types of environmental influences: (1) state-wise and (2)
organizational-wise. The first refers to the regularized, formalized rules of engaging in organizational
activities imposed by the state (generally, but there are still some variations). The second is that
organizational activities within the imposed environmental institutional elements generate their actions. It
is more likely the process of routinization in Structuration or social construction (Zucker, 1987). That is,
organizational activities are contingent upon or influence by their previous activities under the
environmental influences.
Usual arguments employ these two perspectives; and suggest that formal organizational structures
and interorganizational relationships are “reflections of rationalized institutional rules” (Meyer & Rowan,
1977 , p.340). Zucker (1987) also points out that one of the distinctive processes in institutionalization is
that organizations tend to mimetically follow the routes of business activities that are often recognized as
examples of success. This in turn draws the boundaries of organizational activities. This notion also helps
identify the reasons for “hard-to-change” organizational practices and structures. For instance, DiMaggio
and Powell (1983) argue that the underlying force of shaping economic institutions in the 1980s may
differ from what Weber once raised as locus of bureaucratization – i.e., efficiencies and market
competition. Rather they argue that the bureaucratization in the 1980s was due to the more concrete and
highly structured organizational field, which resulted in more homogenized organizational structures (or
isomorphic institutional changes, in their terms, DiMaggio & Powell, 1983, p.150). They point out that
such homogenization resulted from coercive (political influences and legitimation process under the
state), mimetic (strong tendency of organizations’ following precedent shapes of other organizational
structures due to uncertainty), and normative (resulted from strong professionalism among organizational
members) isomorphism.
However, one of the weakest points of this approach is that it does not address the causes of the
environmental institutional elements; it implicitly suggests that they are given. One of the potential
sources of environmental institution is reflexive monitoring of the state (Giddens, 1984) and political
engagement of organizations (Zucker, 1987).


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