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Video Clip — Jay Lorsch on Organization and Environment
I don't know if you've talked to Paul. But I remember when we were starting on this research in contingency theory that eventually lead to the book Organization and Environment, the first thing we did was write cases. And we were writing cases for what was to be a new first year course called Organizational Problems, about how you dealt with the problems of a large organization. And so I wrote this case with him. And then we had this question of, "Okay, so this is what it looks like. How do you organize the data? How do you help the students think about what's going on here, and what to do about it?"
And that immediately forced us to kind of look for some concepts and ideas, and then raised some questions, you know? We could see some organizations which were managed in a very top-down way, which were very effective. And we could see some other organizations, because of the cases we wrote. We wrote cases about other organizations where, you know, there was much more of a commitment to sort of a participating leadership style, involving people, letting people made more decisions themselves, that sort of thing, which also worked effectively.
And so we began to ask ourselves, "How the hell can that be? What kind of research do we have to" -- then we developed some hypotheses, and out of those hypotheses came Organization and Environment.