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Functionalism Revisited: A practice based Functionalism
Unformatted Document Text:  Functionalism Revisited 27 The above insight suggests that use of ideas from a functionalist/structuralist, or even economics, viewpoint may not be a bad idea even though they may have a pitfall of generalization. Network analysis as a methodological approach, while liberally employing structuralist/functionalist perspectives, enables us to recognize the process of structuration; and benefits our understanding the dynamic nature of social reality. Conclusion Why do such diverse findings exist in organizational studies? And what kinds of contributions would my stance (practice based functionalism) make in understanding organizational phenomena? First, some arguments in the studies discussed earlier tend to dismiss the local actions of organizational practitioners, which resulted from focusing on structural and functional influence over individual organizations and practioners (For example, Aldrich, 1976; Eisenhardt & Schoonhoven, 1996; Gulati & Gargiulo, 1999). Even though researchers in this field generally suggest that structural and functional influences are also affected by organizations and their members, specific processes of this link are usually omitted. On the other hands, some other arguments tend to sacrifice the details of the institutional, structural influences over individual organizational behaviors and practices (For example, Gulati, 1995; Uzzi, 1997). These studies accurately depict how organizational relations and formal structures are structured through organizational practices. However, in doing so, they often omit the general influences of specific industrial institutions (they are usually depicted as given). Such shortfall can be overcome by acknowledging that structural forces drive organizations in certain directions, and such forces are intermingled with organizational practices and relations. For this, longitudinal studies with both network (measuring relational factors) and attribute data would benefit understanding the dynamic nature organizational phenomena. That is, involving structural factors and functional characteristics in organizational phenomena and anticipating (hence collecting data accordingly) the recursive influences between organizational actions and the structural forces would result in more stable, hence plausible, explanation over organizational phenomena. I argued that the concept of social relationships for the explanation of social life might have gotten over-emphasized via the theory of Structuration. Discussing the “problems of order,” I acknowledged the importance of interactions and social relationships between the agents and the characteristics of duality between structure and actors. However, what intrigued me from the reading of structurational approach were the un-discussed or underestimated characteristics of regularities of social order, which seem to be rather visible and significant in organizations and economics in particular or in social life in general. This is so because such regularities are founded by human interactions.

Authors: Kim, Hyo.
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Functionalism Revisited 27
The above insight suggests that use of ideas from a functionalist/structuralist, or even economics,
viewpoint may not be a bad idea even though they may have a pitfall of generalization. Network analysis
as a methodological approach, while liberally employing structuralist/functionalist perspectives, enables
us to recognize the process of structuration; and benefits our understanding the dynamic nature of social
reality.
Conclusion
Why do such diverse findings exist in organizational studies? And what kinds of contributions
would my stance (practice based functionalism) make in understanding organizational phenomena? First,
some arguments in the studies discussed earlier tend to dismiss the local actions of organizational
practitioners, which resulted from focusing on structural and functional influence over individual
organizations and practioners (For example, Aldrich, 1976; Eisenhardt & Schoonhoven, 1996; Gulati &
Gargiulo, 1999). Even though researchers in this field generally suggest that structural and functional
influences are also affected by organizations and their members, specific processes of this link are
usually omitted. On the other hands, some other arguments tend to sacrifice the details of the institutional,
structural influences over individual organizational behaviors and practices (For example, Gulati, 1995;
Uzzi, 1997). These studies accurately depict how organizational relations and formal structures are
structured through organizational practices. However, in doing so, they often omit the general influences
of specific industrial institutions (they are usually depicted as given).
Such shortfall can be overcome by acknowledging that structural forces drive organizations in
certain directions, and such forces are intermingled with organizational practices and relations. For this,
longitudinal studies with both network (measuring relational factors) and attribute data would benefit
understanding the dynamic nature organizational phenomena. That is, involving structural factors and
functional characteristics in organizational phenomena and anticipating (hence collecting data
accordingly) the recursive influences between organizational actions and the structural forces would
result in more stable, hence plausible, explanation over organizational phenomena.
I argued that the concept of social relationships for the explanation of social life might have gotten
over-emphasized via the theory of Structuration. Discussing the “problems of order,” I acknowledged the
importance of interactions and social relationships between the agents and the characteristics of duality
between structure and actors. However, what intrigued me from the reading of structurational approach
were the un-discussed or underestimated characteristics of regularities of social order, which seem to be
rather visible and significant in organizations and economics in particular or in social life in general. This
is so because such regularities are founded by human interactions.


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