ERIC Number: ED207376
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Sep-26
How We Talk and How We Act: Administrative Theory and Administrative Life.
March, James G.
It is suggested that college administrators' actions do not necessarily need to follow from what they say. Assumptions of rigidity of organizations, heterogeneity of managers, clarity of objectives, and instrumentality of action are viewed as inconsistent with experience and tending to lead theorists astray. Modifications in assumptions of management are suggested by examining change, clear goals, managers and managerial incentives, and instrumentality in administrative life. The following conclusions are made: (1) Organizations change routinely and continually, and the effectiveness of an organization's management and response to its environment is linked to the effectiveness of routine processes. As a result, much of the job of an administrator involves the mundane work of making a bureaucracy work. (2) Some of the standard dicta that managers should define and pursue clear objectives need to be qualified by a recognition that clarity is sometimes a mistake and ambiguous preferences may be suitable. (3) Well-functioning organizations persistently produce a supply of nearly indistinguishable good managers and motivate managers to push themselves to the limit. (4) Administrators manage the way the sentiments, expectations, commitments, and faith of individuals concerned with the organization fit into a structure of social beliefs about organizational life. Administrators can affect organizations through their effect on the world views that surround organizational life. (CC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana.
Note: Seventh David D. Henry Lecture on Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Urbana, IL, September 25, 1980).