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Modernist and Symbolic Interpretive Theories

Discuss about the Modernist and Symbolic Interpretivist Prespectives Sustainability.

The studies regarding organizational theories are characteristically multidisciplinary. They include various concepts from numerous fields like anthropology, sociology, social psychology, political science, engineering and industrial psychology. Its multifaceted collection of notions and methods to explore information of the organization. Nevertheless, there the prime standpoints or organisational theories are the Modernist, Critical theorist, Symbolic Interpretivist and Postmodernist. These perspectives assist the researchers to create understanding with regard to the organization and recognize methods that could be used to achieve, progress and renovate sustainability of the organizations. In this essay we would explore the modernism and symbol interpretive perspectives and the try to understand them with regards to enhancing and maintaining the sustainability in the organization.

The word ontology denotes to a branch of philosophy that that studies assumptions about existence and definitions of reality. It deals with theory of what exists while epistemology refers to how we know what we count as knowledge. In this essay we would primarily analyse two readings namely:

The paper would critically evaluate how the ontological and epistemological positions by these readings through light upon the role of modernist and symbolic interpretivist perspective in the organisation’s sustainability.

 

In order to understand the meta-theoretical perspective of modernist and symbolic interpretive organisational philosophies, we can consider the following four parts. The first part is ontological, for modernism ontology lies in its core of objectivism. Modernist perspective is based on the philosophy that the presence of exterior realism does not depend on our acquaintance about it. While the symbol interpretive ontology relies on subjectivism. It trusts that one is incapable of knowing an exterior or objective presence other than the subjective consciousness about it that one already possesses. The second part is epistemology, which is positivism for the modernism perspective. It trusts in the certainty concluded by effective conceptualization and dependable measurement to assess knowledge. The knowledge accrues, permitting humans to grow and advance. However, in symbol interpretive, certainty is comparative to time and place and the persons finding that meaning. The third part is theory assumptions, where modernism theory aims to discover regulations which are universal and applicable to every situation. Whereas, symbol interpretive theory tells that people put in efforts to give order and meaning to their knowledge within precise backgrounds. Finally, the fourth part, method of modernism, grounded upon arithmetical means to determine the association among the proposition and the practical world. Like in modernism, to elucidate a social phenomenon collection and analyses of arithmetical data from design of populace is done. While in the symbol interpretive, use of qualitative approaches is done by means of observation and explanation to gather information for evolving theory by inductive procedure (Boist and Mckelvey, 2010).

Sustainability

Comparing the two perspectives, we can say that in the modernism perspectives, the empirical realism is obtained only by the use of five senses and repeating its practice. While, in the perspective of symbol interpretive, empirical realism incorporates various types of experiences which are beyond capability of just the five senses like intuition, emotion, etc.to understand it better we can take an example, that is when an employee is physically present in office, then modernism perspective would conclude that he is working and his presence is solely sufficient to evaluate that he is performing his duties. However, the symbol interpretive perspective would not believe in mere presence of employee proof of his performance of duties until someone else can experience and authenticate the work done by the employee (Hassard and Pym, 2012).

As per the readings formulated by Kearins and Gilson (2005), the ‘Editorial: Theoretical perspectives on sustainability’ and Hatch and Cunliffe (2012), the ‘Organization theory: Modern, symbolic, and postmodern perspectives’, the organisations thrive to achieve the sustainability in their growth and success. Sustainability concerns which the today’s society and business face are majorly classifies dichotomously with regards to the wide ecological and social issues against the need of organisation to uphold sustainable commercial revenues. Today the decision making in the corporate world is highly dominated by the impulses of short-term capital markets. However, together they suggest a position which is beneficial for both sustainability of the company’s profits along with the sustainability of the environment its operating it. Kearins and Gilson (2005) argues about the operation of sustainability as a theoretical construct that has the latent to enlighten practice. Hatch and Cunliffe (2012) suggested that the ontology for the modernist perspective includes the objectivism, which believes in steadfast reality which exists outside the human influence, while the symbolic interpretivist perspective ontology put faith in several phenomena that could not be known using the objective ontology. They also emphasised by the modernist view of epistemology is the positivist that assume one can find the reality about on occurring by using the scientific methods while the epistemology for symbolic interpretivist perspective believes that the knowledge can be created and understood only when the contexts is explored that give meaning to that knowledge.

Perspective of Modernist and Symbolic Interpretivist theory on sustainability in an organisation

The views opined by the modernism and symbol interpretive perspectives about the management, improvement and sustainability of an organisation give different narrative insights. The modernism viewpoint primarily intensive on the power of leaders on understanding the culture and operation of an organisation and putting in practice the tactics that can enhance the efficiency and sustainability of the company. As per the modernism, the organization can be considered as a sovereign, objective unit and which takes an optimistic method to creating knowledge. In this viewpoint for the long term sustainability of the company it must have efficient and robust culture with all the stakeholders playing active part in achieving the company goals. The managers with modernist approach believe in the effect of supportive corporate culture in the fruitful performance of the company. They also accept that employees must be given proper sustainable structure in order to enable them to achieve the desired corporate goals. Likewise, they contend that exterior influences can aid establishments to progress their performance only when the members of the organisation adopt the changes. Quantitative technique is used to evaluate and measure the influence of these perspectives with the sustainable growth of the company.

Perspective of Modernist and Symbolic Interpretivist theory on sustainability in an organisation

Modernists establishes the support for the validation of organizational practices. Modernists incline towards the evident results or prepared conditions instead of delving into the more complex social procedures involved in achieving of those results (Chia, 1995). The managers with the bend of modern mind perspectives are trained to only aim for the improvement of efficiency and productivity using the measurable scientific methods. Modernists adopt the view that in substantial ways, the distinct behaviours of employees at workplace is the result of standards, attitudes and opinions, which might also affect other employees. The employees must be given clear job instructions and code of conduct that they must follow to ensure the growth of business in terms of profits as well as reputation in the market. This would not only ensure that the goals of the company are met with ease but also the image of the company in public is of desirable employer, helping it to achieve long term sustainability.

Contrary to the modernist believes the symbolic interpretive perspectives, looks upon an organization as a communal unit which is sustained by the existence of various human relationships. It put emphasis on the subjectivist ontology and interpretive epistemology to understand the organisation. The believer of this perspective requires interpretation and authentication which are suggestive for the sustainability of the organizational. Symbolic-interpretivist trusts that individuals can be stimulated to be effective or extra conscious with the role they play in the overall company’s quest for its goals. Communal constructionist practises qualitative data collection approaches to make observation about the role of employees and success of company in achieving its targets and developing the robust sustainable corporation (Oliver, 2011).

Modernist theory has its base in the Taylor’s philosophies about organization. Though historically his notions received many criticism as they treated workers as mere creator of value like the working machines. His approach was void of any human aspects, emotions, mental situations, etc. As per Taylorism to have a sustained effective and efficient business the employees must be given distinct responsibilities and purposes. Also it suggested that the only way to keep the employees motivated was money (Holmes and Evans, 2013). Similarly, the bureaucracy approach is an example of another modernist perspective of the traditional management theories, it was given by Max Weber and it emphasised on the regulated form of hierarchical system in the company to ensure efficiency (Scott and Davis, 2013). The Symbol Interpretivist Theory on the other hand contends on that altering the organisational culture is extremely difficult proposition. The change in culture could be brought in by the way using training approaches to outline ‘ideal employee’, which could be done by examining present organisational philosophy, classifying the anticipated philosophy necessary for sustained development of the company and finally evolving agendas of modification to attain the anticipated philosophy. Or in a different way by fetching in new associates to organization to share their standards and models to other associates of the company. This approach believes in using the human emotions, aspirations and desires to excel in their personal roles to gain the motives of the company. They managers tend to use these human relationships for achieving the company goals and not only maintain the sustainable success rate but also ensure to give its immediate environment due regards to achieve sustainability. The now famous initiatives taken by various companies towards the corporate social responsibilities is an example of this approach which believes in sustained growth of the company along with society and environment at large (Chaudhri, 2014).

Conclusion

The various perspective of the organisational theories like modernism, critical, social interpretive and post-modernist assists the researchers and practitioners to comprehend the organization and its quest to achieve the sustainability. The organisation in itself is a complex array of notions and concepts and understanding it with the perspectives of modernism and symbolic interpretivist point of view, enlightens the insights about ways and procedures that the company can adopt to achieve greater sustainability. Both of these perspectives suggest their own unique procedures to achieve, improve and transmute the culture of organizational to make it conducive for the sustainability of the business. Since both have their own positive and negative aspects, it cannot be said that one perspective is better than the other. Under different circumstances both these perspectives can be utilised to achieve the goals set by the company. Since the function’s applicability is situational hence it comes to the discretion and knowledge of the managers and leaders of the organisation to choose the correct perspective at correct time to work out the best possible solution for the company in the present as well as for its sustainability in the long run. They must also ensure the sustainability aspect of the environment in which the company operates, since the organisation cannot thrive in success in isolation. Thus the sustainability of organisation along with its environment is necessary for the benefit of all the stakeholders.

Boist, M. and Mckelvey, B. (2010) ‘Integrating Modernist And Postmodernist Perspectives On Organizations: A Complexity Science Bridge’, Academy of Management Review, 35(3), pp. 415–433. doi: 10.5465/amr.2010.51142028.

Chaudhri, V. (2014) ‘Corporate social responsibility and the communication imperative: Perspectives from CSR managers’, International Journal of Business Communication, . doi: 10.1177/2329488414525469.

Chia, R. (1995) ‘From modern to Postmodern organizational analysis’, Organization Studies, 16(4), pp. 579–604. doi: 10.1177/017084069501600406.

Hassard, J. and Pym, D. (eds.) (2012) The theory and philosophy of organizations: Critical issues and new perspectives. London, United Kingdom: Taylor and Francis.

Hatch, M.J. and Cunliffe, A.L. (2012) Organization theory: Modern, symbolic, and postmodern perspectives. 2nd edn. New York: Oxford University Press.

Holmes, L. and Evans, C. (eds.) (2013) Re-Tayloring management: Scientific management a century on. United Kingdom: Ashgate Publishing.

Kearins, K. and Gilson, C. (2005) ‘Editorial: Theoretical perspectives on sustainability’, 9(1).

Oliver, C. (2011) ‘The relationship between symbolic Interactionism and interpretive description’, Qualitative Health Research, 22(3), pp. 409–415. doi: 10.1177/1049732311421177.

Scott, R.W. and Davis, G.F. (2013) Organizations and organizing: Rational, natural and open systems perspectives. Harlow, United Kingdom: Pearson Education.

Kearins, K. and Gilson, C. (2005) ‘Editorial: Theoretical perspectives on sustainability’, 9(1) and

Hatch and Cunliffe, A.L. (2012) Organization theory: Modern, symbolic, and postmodern perspectives. 2nd edn. New York: Oxford University Press.

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