Multiple PerspectivesTheories and theorizing are important features that every individual utilize everyday. Some theories or ideas seem true or wise sometimes like the old adage ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink’ are filled with common sense and are applicable to daily life. Theorizing and theories are based on concepts and abstraction. Concepts provide means and mental categories for organizing, sorting and storing experiences in memory while ideas are formed through a process known as abstraction. Thus, the abstractions and concepts lead psychologists, scholars, researchers and scientist into development of different perspectives (multiple perspectives) of organizational theories.
This is true for multiple perspectives: symbolic-interpretive, modern and postmodern (Burrell and Morgan, 1979). The theories and concepts of specific perspective offer specific tools that help in creating ideas about organizing and organizations. From personal view, some perspectives provide greater appeal for certain purpose compared to others. Therefore, understanding and having more knowledge of multiple perspectives, theories and concepts improves the position that an individual and managers will choose a useful approach to accomplish complexities that they face in their organizations.
Some of the people who championed the idea of multi perspectives were British theorist Gareth Morgan and sociologist Gibson Burrell in the idea 1979 book Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis (Burrell and Morgan, 1979). Burrell and Morgan argued that knowledge is based on different paradigms with which each comes with different assumptions about the world; thus from them, paradigms helps researchers to expound phenomena in different ways. Assumptions, beliefs and knowledge determine the way researchers will research, how leaders will manage their organizations and the relationship between different entities within the world (Miller, 1956).
Moreover, many organizations operates in uncertain, complex and contradictory situations, and this calls upon managers, employees to devise ways to utilize less to expect more, maximize short and long term investment and be more efficient ensuring and championing ethical and humane environment. To understand and be able to compare the different multiple perspectives; modernism, symbolic-interpretivism and postmodernism, it is important first to understand the underlying assumptions of these perspectives; a starting point is epistemology and ontology (Hassard, 1988). The difference between this two (epistemology and ontology) is that ontology is based on how to choose to define what is real while epistemology is determined in knowledge and criteria that is used to evaluate it.
Thus, ontology and epistemology provides means into which these multiple perspectives of organization theory through philosophical choices can be understood. Ontology can be viewed from two positions that of subjectivists at one end and on the other are objectivists. The same perspective is taken by epistemology in which one end is positivist and the other is interpretive (anti-positivist). Therefore, diversity in the approach of organizing and organizations theories requires extensive research and analysis of articles that researchers and authors have championed in their respective fields - an example presented by these multiple perspectives.
Thus, the aim of this paper is to analyze some journal articles exploring different perspectives and the underlying assumptions and beliefs that the authors developed their own or objective analysis through developing basis for multiple organization perspectives.