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Understanding Organizations

Understanding Organizations
Theories and Images

  • Udo Staber - University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
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March 2013 | 280 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Understanding Organizations: Theories and Images introduces students to the key principles of understanding, designing, and managing organizations in an accessible and practical way. The book provides a conceptual toolkit containing the essential models, theories and concepts needed for working in, managing and evaluating organizations.

 Key Features:

  • Insightful anecdotes discuss how for- and not-for profit organizations fit within our current society from a social and economic perspective.
  • Theoretical framework and multi-perspective approach focuses on economics, institutionalism and evolution theory highlighting the relationship between organizations, employees and the broader society.
  • Research-focused approach analyses organizational phenomena in light of recent studies.

This textbook is ideal for undergraduates and postgraduates studying general management, organizational theory, organizational design, and organizational sociology.

Introduction: Organizations Matter
Theorizing Organizations
Contexts and Environments
Space and Spatiality
Time and Temporality
Structure and Structuring
Knowledge and Understanding
Conclusion: Private Problems and Public Issues


Given that my students are on an IT course, the fact that they have to take a module related to organizations and team leadership is often times a chore for them. I like the anecdotes and research briefs included in the chapters as they help my students relate the theories to practical work environments.

Ms Janet Allen
Vocational Education , Collinstown Park Community College
September 17, 2015

"Understanding Organizations" is a classical coursebook but in my opinion has lots of stories and anecdotes that might add a lot to the theoretical concepts of management and organizations.
It has also a fanyastic advantage over numerous books on organizations - great Companion Website with very professional materials. Great resource for students and teachers...

Mrs Malgorzata Piasecka
Rector's Office, University of Social Sciences and Humanities
February 18, 2015

Excellent review of the origins and nature of theories and frameworks in Organizational Behavior; used the book in my Summer 2014 and will use the book next time I teach the course

Lawrence Keller
Urban Studies Program, Cleveland State University
January 7, 2015

Good book for introduory courses in organizational psychology of organizational behaviour

Dr Jose Navarro
Department of Social Psychology, Univ. of Barcelona
July 14, 2014

Very good supplemental text to add theory to teaching Fundamentals of Management

Dr Kirstin Hallmann
Institute of Sport Economics and Sport Management, DSH - German Sport University
June 17, 2014

A thoroughly informative book that enables the reader to deeply consider contemporary organisations regardless of their the degree that are reading for.

Mr Matt Kirby
Performance, University College Falmouth
April 10, 2014

I found the book in many ways excellent. I think the contemporary focus and approach of the book - taking an economic, institutional and ecological perspective to various topics - functions well and reflects the recent state of research in organization theory. So content-wise the book is really excellent. However, I found that the book is not best suited for my students who are first year bachelor students, because the style of writing in the book is perhaps too 'scientific'. Staber describes the content using 'dense' language, meaning that single sentences carry lots of meaning and references to scholarly work. I want to have a book that describes the theories covered through accessible narratives. Luckily I found such a book from Sage.

Dr Riku Ruotsalainen
Department of management and organization studies, VU University Amsterdam
April 4, 2014

This text provides an excellent introduction to key concepts and theories of organisations and provides an interesting perspective on organisations.

Professor José Manuel Benzinho
Management and Finance, ISCAC Coimbra Business School
March 24, 2014

It is an excellent book that offers student-friendly text. The contents within the book address the core issues with regard to how the organizations are structured and work. In my course I will use part of this book to address relevant issues in-line with the course content.

Shahrokh Nikou
Åbo Akademi University

Dr Shahrokh Nikou
Department of Information Technologies, Abo Akademi University
March 4, 2014

This text provides an unusual yet interesting perspective on organisations. The focus is not as predictable as other texts on the subject are; as a result this is a useful addition for those students that are keen to develop their knowledge form socio-economic perspectives. However, it may be more useful to those who already have some insight and understanding into the subject.

Mr Andrew Southgate
Adult Nursing Department, Canterbury Christ Church University
December 2, 2013

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 2

For instructors

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