Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis


This book by Gibson Burrell and Gareth Morgan is now regarded as a classic text on organization theory.

Building on Thomas Kuhn’s concept of paradigm, it explores the hidden assumptions of social and organizational theory, offering a map-like representation of dozens of different schools of thought. The fundamental thesis is that different theories reflect very different implicit assumptions on the nature of social reality.

The Burrell and Morgan map contrasts the assumptions of “Functionalist,” Interpretive”,” Radical Humanist” and “Radical Structuralist” paradigms,   showinghow these assumptions influence our perceptions and the ways we look at organizations.

Ever since its publication in 1979 it has been used by numerous scholars – in a wide variety of disciplines – to challenge the fundamentaltheories and assumptions shaping their work.