The paper 'The Strengths and Weaknesses of the Sociological Paradigms as Suggested by Burrell and Morgan ' is a great example of a Management Assignment. The sociological paradigms as proposed by Gibson Burrell and Gareth Morgan are widely debated in the literature. Among the widely acceptable conclusions among scholars who have debated the paradigm is that although they have contributed to organizational theory, the hypothesis suggested in the paradigms have strengths and weaknesses. This essay hence critically evaluates the sociological paradigms with the intention of highlighting the weaknesses and strengths contained therein.
In their 1979 submission, Burrell and Morgan (cited by Hassard, 1991), make use of the subject-object debates as used in the social science theory, and the consensus-conflict debates as used in the theory of society, to come up with four paradigms. The paradigms are: The functionalist paradigm, which suggests that humans have the capacity to act rationally, and therefore holds that hypothesis testing, can be used to gain an understanding of organizational behavior especially in political, finance, and policy-related analysis (Ardalan, 2008). According to Burrell and Morgan (1979, cited by Hassard, 1991), the functionalist perspective seeks to provide explanations to the prevailing status quo, social integration, social order, and social consensus.
One of the theories classified under the functionalist paradigm is the Finance Theory, which according to Ardalan (2008, p. 61) “ views science as the outcome of the search for objective truth” . The search for truth is on the other hand based on models, which provide insights into the world. According to Suranovic (2010), the insights obtained through the use of economic models cannot be obtained solely through discussing issues.
Other theories under this paradigm include the social system theory, the social action theory, and the integrative theory (Ardalan, 2010). The interpretive paradigm, which posits that the stability of behavior in an organization setting can be understood by considering the viewpoints that each individual stakeholder has. To understand individual behavior, researchers who prescribe to this paradigm argue that it is essential to observe ongoing processes in an organization (Schwadt, 1994). Proponents of the interpretive paradigm argue that the subjective experience of the world is the best place to make them understand the world (Hassard, 1991).
Researchers who use this paradigm enter into dialogue with their chosen subjects, in a bid to understand why the subjects behave the way they do, and in the process understand their inner minds or the non-logical side of life (Hassard, 1991). An example of theories that fall under the interpretive paradigm is the grounded theory, which requires the researcher “ to enter the worlds of those under study in order to observe [their] environment and the interactions and interpretations that occur” (Goulding, 1999, p. 5). The radical humanist paradigm, which posits that dominant social ideologies act as social constraints, hence limiting the potential that people have (Hassard, 1991).
The main argument in this paradigm is that people are not allowed to be their true selves and are hence always rebelling (Ardalan, 2010). According to Hasssard (1991), the radical humanist paradigm regards society as anti-human, hence focusing more on the alienated status of people. This paradigm believes that people are trapped within their own creations, for example, materialism, and in the process develop false consciousness. Examples of theories under the radical humanist paradigm include the critical theory, French existentialism theory, and Solipsism Theory. The radical structuralist paradigm, which posits that natural structural conflicts are bound to occur in the society, and are thus the cause for changes that occur in the economic and political spheres (Ardalan, 2010).
According to Ardalan (2010), the radical structuralist perspective is a critique of the status quo and argues that radical change is built into the society’ s very nature. Hence, researchers who follow this perspective not only seek to understand the world but also seek to initiate change hence upsetting the status quo.
Examples of theories under the radical structuralist paradigm include conflict theory and the Russian social theory (Ardalan, 2010).
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