Cover of Formal Organizations by Peter M. Blau and W. Richard Scott
Formal Organizations
A Comparative Approach
Peter M. Blau and W. Richard Scott

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2003
344 pages.
$29.95

Paper ISBN: 9780804748902

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Upon its publication in 1962, this book became one of the founding texts of organizational sociology. Bringing together diverse approaches, it presented a new focus of interest: the formal organization. Blau and Scott raised the level of analysis from attention solely on individual participants and work groups to a broader understanding of organizations as collective actors.

In the book, the authors reviewed multiple types of studies—including case studies, experimental research, and surveys—and integrated them to define new central themes. They used their own empirical studies of two social welfare agencies to illustrate the ways in which varying organizational contexts shape work group and participant attitudes and activities. Formal Organizations served to integrate research on both formal and informal systems, authority and leadership, and stressed the importance of links to the wider environment. This reissue, which includes a new introduction by Scott, makes this seminal work accessible to a new generation of scholars and practitioners.

About the author

Peter M. Blau was Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and the University of North Carolina. W. Richard Scott is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Stanford University.