CMN 2148: Lecture #3 Sept 19 2012
Object of the Lecture: Plant – to represent the humanside of work
Organizations as Organisms:
During the 1930s, models of bureaucracy were questioned.
“People weren’t treating each other very well. I wanted to help find a way to make relationships better”
(Communication theorist Kenneth Burke on how he became interested in human communication).
The Great Depression, WWII, and new views of human behaviour influenced dissatisfaction with scientific
The 1927 film, Metropolis, reflects concerns of many about the dehumanizing aspects of “modern
And this led to..
The idea that organizations are “living systems” that need to be nurtured and maintained in order to thrive.
Humanbased ways of looking at organizations. Not just machines with replaceable parts. Looking at the
“health of the organization”.
The health of the employees /individuals contributes to the health of the organization. Ex: building a gym for
employees and healthy food options healthy employees= healthy organizations.
Polar bears: arctic
Rattle Snakes: desert
Sea Otters: ocean
Both thrive in their environment
Bureaucratic orgs: Stable environment – The Government
Adaptive orgs: Competitive environment McDonalds
Creative, projectoriented orgs: high tech environment
Biology and Organizational Theory:
Complex organisms Organizations ecology Social ecology (context)
The Theoretical Foundations of Organismic Schools:
With WWII, academics, managers and military personnel come into direct communication with each other
(“The Triple Alliance” – Charles Redding, Organizational Communication Pioneer).**
Academics ( researchers/professors) and organizational managers and hooked up with military personnel
This alliance led to organizational communication as a field of study:
Human Relations School
Human Resources School
Recognition ofpeople in organizations
People have complex needs that must be addressed
Allowing people to satisfy their personal needs.
Human Relations Theory:
Humans attribute meaning to their experiences and behave according to these meanings.
Focused on fulfilling people’s needs:
“A happy worker is a productive worker”
Hawthorne Studies established the HR Schoo