1. Carlson, Elizabeth A.

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Several books have come across my desk lately that may be of interest to you. I will talk about three of them in this column and more in future columns.


Health Organization: Theory, Behavior, and Development edited by James A. Johnson and published by Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Sudbury, MA, in 2009.


Although intended for use as a textbook, there is much useful information about healthcare organizations and the manner in which they operate, and why they operate in the manner they do, that would be useful to anyone interested in how the organization they work for functions. The impetus for this book was that organizational theories used in healthcare are "extrapolations of the concepts developed to explain how businesses organize" (p. xiii). The editor saw a need for a book that integrates organizational theory, organizational behavior, and organizational development. It is "one of the first books on the integration of these three critical interconnected domains" (p. xiv).


Not surprisingly, the book is composed of three sections: Organization Theory, Organization Behavior and Dynamics, and Organization Change and Development. Chapters within each section focus on aspects of the overall concepts. Each chapter begins with Learning Objectives, which serve as a very easy way to determine exactly what content will be presented in each chapter. That this book is intended to serve as a textbook is reinforced by the majority of the chapters ending with two sections designed for classroom use: Review/Discussion Questions and Learning Activities.


Part One: Organization Theory and Foundations consists of five chapters. After an introductory chapter, the second chapter, "Anatomy and Physiology of Theory," offers very good information especially for persons not currently in school. Chapter 2 discusses the role theory plays in the study of organization behavior. The author also tells us why we should study organizations from a theory-based approach.


Understanding the theoretical properties of complex issues is important to (leaders) ... (Leaders) are continually placed in positions where it is necessary to have a greater understanding of complex models that relate to organizational life cycles, bureaucracy, institutional dynamics, employee satisfaction, economic demands, and organizational efficiency, effectiveness, and value ... Without an understanding of theory and the roots therein, ...leaders are forced to make decisions based on opinions and individual heuristics rather than science and literature. (p. 10)


Chapters 3, 4, and 5 present various theories from the classical to modern to complexity and postmodern theories.


Part Two: Organization Behavior and Dynamics consists of 10 chapters. Topics include individual behavior and motivation, group dynamics, power and politics, conflict and interpersonal relations, leadership theory and influence, leadership and transformation, decision making and communication, culture values and ethics, stakeholder dynamics, and organizational dysfunction and pathology. (Doesn't everyone turn to that last topic first!!)


Part Three: Organization Development and Change has seven chapters. Topics include transformational change and development, team building and development, physician leadership and development, governance and board development, organization development for terrorism and natural disasters, and organization development and the future.


The material is presented in a reader-friendly manner. The authors do not assume that the reader understands the terms used and thus define the term as part of the text giving context to its meaning. The content is also presented in a very evenhanded manner without bias or subtle opinion in the writing. The figures and tables add to the information, making the material discussed clearer. The Review/Discussion Questions found at the end of each chapter give the reader something to think about in relation to their organization. The Learning Activities in many chapters are case studies that ask the reader to use the content presented in a brief exercise reinforcing what has been learned.


Each chapter's content can "stand alone," so if you are interested in a particular content area you do not need to read the entire section to glean the information you seek.


I highly recommend this book if you are interested in learning about the theory, behavior, and development of healthcare organizations. This book would be an excellent resource that could meet the informational needs of many, especially people interested in understanding how and why the organization they work for functions.


Organizational Theory, Design, and Change (5th edition) by Gareth R. Jones published in 2007 by Pearson Prentice Hall, Inc, Upper Saddle River, NJ.


This book is also a textbook. The Preface indicates that the book brings a "discussion of organizational change and renewal to the center stage of organizational theory and design ..." (p. xix). The major difference between this book and the first one reviewed is that this book is not focused on healthcare organizations. The examples used and companies cited produce or provide a wide and diverse variety of products or services. This approach may be of more interest to you than a focus strictly on healthcare. The companies cited are well-known and, in this time of turbulence in the market, it may be of interest to you to see the "inner workings" of companies in the news.


The educational approach taken is different from the Johnson's book. Jones uses one company, Amazon. com, throughout the book to "illustrate organizational design and change issues, particularly those that related to the theme of new information technology" (p. xix). Thus, the reader finds an example from to illustrate the primary content of the chapter. For example, in Chapter 1,'s mission and goals, 1995-2005, are displayed in a table (Table 1.2, p. 19) and serve to illustrate organizational goals and measuring effectiveness. The author includes numerous examples from other organizations as well as in each chapter that illustrates the points being made, but having the consistency of throughout all the chapters serves as an excellent mechanism for continuity. Each chapter begins with Learning Objectives and ends with a Summary, Discussion Questions, Organizational Theory in Action, and a Case Study. This book is also organized into three sections: The Organization and Its Environment, Organizational Design, and Organizational Change.


Part One: The Organization and Its Environment consists of three chapters. Topics include organizations and organizational effectiveness, stakeholders, managers and ethics, and managing in a global environment. Part two: Organizational Design has six chapters. The first three chapters address basic challenges of organizational design and the relationships between design, authority and control, and specialization and coordination. The remaining chapters address organizational design relative to strategy in a changing global environment and technology and competences. Part Three is very interesting in that the chapters discuss a range of topics related to Organizational Change. It begins with types and forms of organizational change and then moves into organizational transformations: birth, growth, decline, and death. Organizational decision making, learning, knowledge management, and information technology are discussed in Chapter 12. Innovation, intrapreneurship, and creativity are presented. The book's last chapter is on managing conflict, power, and politics.


At the end of the book, there are 15 case studies intended for use in conjunction with the book chapters. These case studies are intended for class discussion but I found them very interesting because each of the cases addresses a particular organizational event that changes the organization in some way. For example, the case study of the merger of Pharmacia and Upjohn, two pharmaceutical giants, presents the history of why Upjohn's management sought a merger that would change the company's future forever. Another case study looks at innovation at 3M and how it is managed.


I recommend this book because it has excellent information. However, this book's format is such that it would not be mistaken for anything other than a textbook. It would be an excellent reference for a unit library or for someone with an interest in organizational issues.


Organizational Behavior, Theory, and Design in Health Care by Nancy Borkowski.


It is a 2009 Jones and Bartlett publication as is the first book reviewed. The author indicates that this textbook is designed to look at "both organizational behavior and organizational theory simultaneously since organizations affect individual's behaviors and individual's behaviors affect organizations!!" (p. xviii). This book uses a mesoperspective to look at the organization. In other words, instead of viewing an organization from either a macro- or microperspective, a middle approach that integrates these two perspectives is used.


Because it is a textbook, chapters begin with Learning Outcomes and conclude with End-of-chapter Discussion Questions and Exercises. Each chapter also has an excellent Reference and Other Suggested Readings lists. The book has two sections: Micro Level-"The Individual" and Macro Level-"The Organization."


Section One has six parts, further subdivided into chapters. Part One is an introduction, an overview, and a history of organizational behavior that looks at diversity in healthcare, attitudes and perceptions, and workplace communication. Part Two reviews content and process theories of motivation and attribution theory and motivation. Part Three is about leadership, power and influence, and theories of leadership (trait and behavioral, contingency, and contemporary). Part Four discusses intrapersonal and interpersonal issues such as stress in the workplace, stress and conflict management, decision making, and negotiation skills. Part Five looks at groups and teams. Part Six is managing organizational change through organizational development, change management, and resistance to change.


Section Two, which looks at the macro level, has four chapters. These chapters discuss the theories and concepts related to the structure and design of organizations to achieve effectiveness and efficiency.


I highly recommend this book because it looks at organizations from a different perspective than other books on organizational design and behavior.


All three books reviewed offer comprehensive content in the field of organization theory, behavior, and design. Each book offers the reader a different way in which the content is grouped and relationships and influences are described. All books would be excellent resources and offer the reader useful content. I recommend them all to you, so it will depend on your focus in this area as to the approach you find most useful.