The modernist perspective focuses on the organization as an independent objective and takes a positivist approach to generating knowledge. Modernist organization theorists focus on how to increase efficiency, effectiveness and other objective indicators of performance through the application of theories relating to structure and control.

Ontology of modernism: Objectivism, belief in an objective, external reality whose existence is independent of our knowledge of it.

Epistemology of modernism: positivism, truth through valid conceptualization and reliable measurement that allows to test knowledge against an objective would; knowledge accumulates, allowing humans to progress and evolve.

Theory of modernism: Finding universal laws, methods and techniques of organization and control; favors rational structures, rules, standardized procedures and routine practices that govern organizations.

Method of modernism: Based upon statistical methods to discover the correspondence between the hypothesis and the empirical world.


The symbolic-interpretive perspective focuses on the organization as a community sustained by human relationships and uses a predominantly subjectivist ontology and an interpretive epistemology. Instead of treating organizations as objects to be measured and analyzed, symbolic-interpretivists treat them as webs of meanings that are jointly created, appreciated and communicated. Symbolic-interpretive organization theory explores how meanings are created and realities made sensible to those who participate in sustaining them.

Ontology of symbolic-interpretive: Subjectivism, the belief that we cannot know an external or objective existence apart from our subjective awareness of it; that which exists is that which we agree exists.

Epistemology of symbolic-interpretive: Interpretivism, all knowledge is relative to the knower and can only be understood from the point of view of the individuals who are directly involved; truth is socially constructed via multiple interpretations of the objects of knowledge thereby constructed and therefore shifts and changes through time.

Theory of symbolic-interpretive: Describing how people give meaning and order to their experience within specific contexts, through interpretive and symbolic acts, forms and processes.

Method of symbolic-interpretive: Qualitative, inductive a process of developing theory from observation and interpretation.


The postmodernist will generate healthy skepticism toward any dominant theory and will license you and others to try something completely different. The postmodern perspective does all this by expanding the focus of theorizing from the organization per se, to how we speak and write about organizations. Thus one phenomenon postmodern organization theory addresses is theorizing itself. As such, postmodernism always makes you aware that theories are open to revision and invites you to ask who supports them and why. Postmodernism challenges categories, seeking to undermine them by blurring their boundaries and exposing the motivations that produced or maintain them.

Ontology of postmodernist: Postmodernism, the belief that the world appears through language and is situated in discourse; what is spoken of exists; therefore everything that exists is a text to be read or performed.

Epistemology of postmodernist: Postmodernism, knowledge cannot be an accurate account of Truth because meanings cannot be fixed; there is no independent reality; there are no facts, only interpretations; knowledge is a power play.

Theory of postmodernist: Deconstructing organizational texts; destabilizing managerial ideologies and modernist modes of organizing and theorizing; revealing marginalized and oppressed viewpoints; encouraging reflexive and inclusive forms of theorizing and organizing.

Method of postmodernist: The goal is to uncover multiple interpretations of reality.

Organizational culture

Organizational culture is the collection of Values and Norms that people and groups in a company share, and that control the way in which they interact with each other and with external stakeholders. The Values are beliefs and ideas about organizational goals that employees should pursue and achieve them with appropriate types and standards of behavior. The Values can develop the Norms, guidelines, or expectations that prescribe appropriate behavior by employees and control the behavior of organizational members toward another. For instance, the norms of behavior for software programmer at Microsoft spanning from Bill Gates, one of the top executives, are long working hours and casual wearing.

An organizational culture usually spans from the top to down lines and acts as a control mechanism to shape the behavior of the company employees of different levels then organizational behavior is established and resulted to promote employee effectiveness through understanding of individuals, groups and organizational processes; to stress relationships among employees, managers, and the work they perform for the organization with an ultimate goal that assumes employees want to work and can control themselves.

Modernist studies of culture provide knowledge that is readily translatable into prescriptions for management, they are limited by their objectivity to studying dimensions of organizational culture that are predefined by the researcher. Modernist studies are therefore unlikely to present the surprises that occur when a researcher confronts his or her own cultural assumptions via the subjective experience of living in and adapting to another culture. This is where symbolic-interpretive researchers believe they have an advantage over modernist researchers. They can personally enter cultural territory and speak from their subjective knowledge, while modernists keep more distant from the phenomena they study by the measurement tools they use.

Symbolic-interpretive perspective assume subjective ontology and interpretive epistemology and focus on how organizational members make meaning and the role that meaning-making plays in the workplace. Symoblic-interpretivists argue that meaning is dependent on the context in which artifacts and symbols are encountered and this context is what they refer to as culture. The art of moving cultural symbols out of one made by the press or other politicians. The act of moving cultural symbols out of one context and into another changes their meaning. Thus, when symbolic-interpretivists talk about contextualizing they advocate studying artifacts and symbols in the situations and locations in which they naturally occur, allowing organizational members to use and speak about them as they ordinarily do. The goal of symbolic-interpretive culture researchers is to experience the contextualizing effects of organizational culture on them-selves and to witness these effects on others in order to understand culture from the inside, as its members do.

Postmodern cultural studies often go beyond the fragmentation assumption to assert that reality is an illusion. An arena of competing truth claims and stories that aim to suppress and marginalize those who do not accept and support the dominant view the illusion hides. In spite of this difference with post-modernists, we believe that organizational culture is just one more way from those in power to mask their manipulation and control of others. It is the desire to unmask the power relations hidden behind the illusions of culture that drove many postmodernist organizational culture researchers to deconstruction.


In Conclusion, multiple perspective is import to each organization, basically, we need morn than one model for the organization, but these models may have many fundamental principles that are similar. The difference comes in the interface between the context of the organization and the context of the individual. Each are complex adaptive systems requiring context in which to be enhanced, welcomes, and rewarded. Both individuals and organizations can be supported in their development and adaptability. We cannot solely rely on 1 perspective since each approach has strength and weakness and there is no right or wrong to pick which model. The best approaches are those that you have found or invented to match the organization.


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