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Difference Between Micro And Macro Sociology Pdf

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Both, Micro Sociology and Macro Sociology, are major study points in sociology , but what is the difference between micro and macro sociology?

This article categorizes existing schools of thought by level of analysis. It distinguishes specifically between micro and macro levels of analysis. The organization theory schools of thought at the micro level capture the way that single organizations modify their structures to take account of contingencies originating in their individual task environments.

1.4B: Levels of Analysis- Micro and Macro

This article categorizes existing schools of thought by level of analysis. It distinguishes specifically between micro and macro levels of analysis. The organization theory schools of thought at the micro level capture the way that single organizations modify their structures to take account of contingencies originating in their individual task environments.

Schools of thought at the macro level focus on the evolution of aggregates of organizations and the characteristics of organizational collectivities such as fields.

The former group of schools contains such perspectives as Donaldson's neo-contingency theory, as well as resource dependence theory and transaction costs theory.

The latter group — the macro group — includes population ecology theory and neo-institutional theory. The classification of these five schools into micro and macro levels of analysis may be viewed as a tentative heuristic that helps make sense of organization theory's current complexity.

Keywords: schools of thought , level of analysis , micro level , macro level , Donaldson's neo-contingency theory , transaction costs theory. Almost forty years have passed since the initial development of the structuralist perspective in organization theory Hickson, Pugh, and Pheysey ; Pugh, Hickson, Hinings, Macdonald, Turner, and Lupton ; Pugh, Hickson, Hinings, and Turner During this period, a complex array of new approaches and schools of thought has arisen in organization theory, and these schools have largely supplanted the discipline's original focus on the structural dimensions of organizations.

Several commentators have discussed the emergence and development of these newer schools, which include neo-contingency theory, resource dependence theory, transaction costs theory, the population ecology approach, agency theory, and neo-institutional theory see e. In addition, scholars such as McKinley, Mone, p. Despite these attempts to make sense of the array of organization theory schools of thought, the broad sweep of sometimes inconsistent perspectives remains confusing.

One way to inject some order into the current structure of the discipline is to categorize existing schools of thought by level of analysis. Performing such a categorization is the first goal of this chapter, and we distinguish specifically between micro and macro levels of analysis. We follow Astley and Van de Ven and Davis and Powell in defining the micro level as single organizations adapting to their individual task environments.

The macro level, on the other hand, refers to populations of organizations and to multi-organizational fields or sectors DiMaggio and Powell ; Hannan and Freeman ; Scott and Meyer Thus organization theory schools of thought at the micro level capture the way that single organizations modify their structures to take account of contingencies originating in their individual task environments.

The former group of schools contains such perspectives as Donaldson's , neo-contingency theory, as well as resource dependence theory and transaction costs theory. The latter group—the macro group—includes population ecology theory and neo-institutional theory Davis and Powell We focus on the five schools of thought enumerated above because they are among the most prominent schools in contemporary organization theory, and because they are responsible for much of the empirical research on organizations being conducted today.

We review each of these schools, specifying in more detail why each is categorized as a micro or macro perspective, and what the underlying logic and theoretical propositions of the school are. We also offer a critique of each school, pointing out weaknesses and issues that require resolution in future empirical research. In particular, we argue that all these schools are founded on ambiguous theoretical constructs. While ambiguous constructs foster creativity in empirical research McKinley, Mone, and Moon , they also preclude conclusive empirical testing of the schools that are organized around them Astley and Zammuto and make the schools incommensurable with one another.

The role of ambiguous constructs in producing incommensurability is elaborated below. Such incommensurability makes it difficult for contemporary organization p. Neo-contingency theory has been developed most completely by Donaldson , , though important contributions have also been made by Alexander and Randolph , Drazin and Van de Ven , Gresov , and others. Neo-contingency theory is the latest in a long line of reinterpretations of structural contingency theory that have occurred over the last few decades in organization theory see e.

Lawrence and Lorsch ; Schoonhoven ; Thompson ; Woodward , We concentrate here on Donaldson's version of neo-contingency theory because it is a recent perspective and because Donaldson has made a strong claim that it should constitute the foundation of a new, integrated organization theory paradigm. A contingency could be a particular environmental state, a manufacturing technology, or a given level of organizational size.

Such reinvestment leads to increases in the contingency variable in question; for example, if the contingency variable were organization size, investment of slack resources would result in the expansion of the workforce. When fit is attained p.

Thus Donaldson's , model posits a self-correcting loop Masuch in which fit and resulting high performance create the seeds of their own disruption and eventual renewal. Donaldson's neo-contingency model is appealing because it helps explain why organizations often fluctuate through repeated cycles of performance growth and decline. However, there are a number of criticisms that can be leveled at the model.

Given this lack of falsifiability Bacharach , the propositions would appear not to meet basic standards for adequate theory building. We doubt that theorists such as Donaldson seek construct ambiguity intentionally, but nevertheless we believe there is a disincentive for them to eliminate it, because as Astley and Zammuto suggested, it allows them to explain away findings that do not support their theoretical positions.

While construct ambiguity and attendant lack of falsifiability may be convenient for the individual theorist, McKinley and Mone have argued that construct ambiguity represents a problem for the discipline of organization theory, because as highlighted in the next section it promotes incommensurability and makes it difficult to adjudicate between conflicting theoretical positions.

This suggests a degree of managerial rationality that is hard to accept in view of acknowledged limits on the ability of humans to sift through options and predict the outcomes of those options Simon Finally, Donaldson's neo-contingency model deals only with increases in contingency variables like organizational size, technological complexity, or environmental uncertainty.

Donaldson is silent about what happens when those contingency variables decrease , as is true for example in the popular management strategies of downsizing Freeman and Cameron ; McKinley, Zhao, and Rust or downscoping the level of diversification Hoskisson and Hitt Based on Donaldson's diagram showing cycles of incremental growth and adaptive structural change, one would infer that if a contingency variable decreased, the change in structure would be the exact reverse of what would follow an equivalent increase in the same contingency variable.

In other words, a condition of causal symmetry would apply Lieberson Donaldson's neo-contingency theory would benefit from a more complete articulation of what can be expected when contingency variables decrease as well as increase, because continual increase in these variables is not always the pattern that applies in the real world.

Like Donaldson's neo-contingency theory, resource dependence theory operates at the micro level of analysis. That is, resource dependence theory focuses on the adaptations of single organizations to the contexts that confront them. In contrast to neo-contingency theory, however, the adaptations highlighted by resource dependence theory are not confined to changes in the focal organization's internal structure.

Instead, the adaptations can include initiatives that bridge the boundaries of the organization, managing interdependence with other organizations in the task environment Pfeffer and Salancik In pursuit of that goal, organizations often p. In describing the management of interdependence with other organizations, the resource dependence perspective envisions a more proactive role for the focal organization than the neo-contingency perspective does.

One of the most important foundations of resource dependence theory was established with the publication of Hickson, Hinings, Lee, Schneck, and Pennings's strategic contingencies theory of intra-organizational power see also Hinings, Hickson, Pennings, and Schneck Hickson et al.

In other words, the power of unit X over unit Y is determined by X's ability to cope with uncertainty that impinges on Y. Strategic contingencies can include such factors as a lack of resources, missing information, or any other condition that makes it difficult for Y to perform its function reliably.

Creation of subunit power through coping with strategic contingencies for others is often an explicit concern of organizational subunits, as illustrated by the activities of maintenance workers in Crozier's well-known study of French tobacco factories.

In addition, Hickson et al pointed out that dependence by others on X's coping activity, and therefore the magnitude of X's power, is enhanced if X is a non-substitutable source of that coping activity. This emphasis on non-substitutability is interesting because it links the strategic contingencies theory of power to the concept of monopoly in economic theory.

While this renders the construct difficult to falsify Bacharach , it also means that the strategic contingencies theory of power has been a stimulus for extensive theorizing and research. One outcome of this work is Pfeffer and Salancik's ; Salancik and Pfeffer departmental version of resource dependence theory. Salancik and Pfeffer noted that an important strategic contingency faced by all organizational units is acquisition of resources. Thus the strategic contingencies theory of power implies that units that acquire resources valuable to other units will also obtain power over them.

If subunit X can gain resources that are critical for the operation of other subunits, X buffers them from uncertainty, makes them dependent, and gains power over them. If the other subunits also have access to resources that are critical for X, the dependency is reciprocal, and there is a balancing of the power relationship between X and the other units.

The net ability of X to influence Y will thus depend on the relative magnitude and criticality of the resources X provides for Y versus those Y provides for X.

Salancik and Pfeffer ; Pfeffer and Salancik tested their departmental version of resource dependence theory in a study of academic departments in a major research university. They found that academic departments that provided resources critical to the university acquired power as a result. Furthermore, Salancik and Pfeffer emphasized that the relationship between resource acquisition and power was self-reinforcing Masuch Departments that acquired critical resources gained power, and that power then influenced internal resource allocation such that a disproportionate share of the internal budget was allocated back to the most powerful departments.

First, these perspectives can be used to understand changes in power distributions within organizations over time.

Since the strategic contingencies that generate uncertainty for an organization or the resources that are critical for it are likely to shift as time passes, power will flow to those internal subunits or individuals who can provide the coping capacity demanded by the strategic contingency or the resource need of the moment. Power structures are therefore malleable, mutual dependencies get reconfigured, and specialists rise to dominance only to lose it later as conditions change. Second, if one combines the resource dependence school of thought with the enactment perspective e.

Smircich and Stubbart ; Weick , , it becomes evident that individuals or subunits may compete to define what the strategic contingencies are, rather than just accepting them as given by the environment. If one can persuade one's bosses that a particular contingency is really the critical one, or that a particular resource is what's needed by the organization, one's expertise in dealing with that contingency or providing that resource can be converted into a source of power.

This argument is based on the assumption that organizational reality is not objectively fixed, but emerges from the mutual constructions of organizational participants e. Berger and Luckmann Thus there may be a contest between political players to construct organizational reality in a manner consistent with their own political interests.

Finally, the theories of Hickson et al. Individuals or subunits that have attained non-substitutability in coping or resource provision can be expected to resist changes that would erode that non-substitutability, and this may help p. Threats to non-substitutability can come from many sources, including routinization and standardization of business processes Hickson et al.

One would thus anticipate attempts to block routinization and standardization initiatives in many organizations, as illustrated for example by the resistance of physicians to standardization of medical care procedures by health maintenance organizations. Pfeffer and Salancik have extended the basic principles of resource dependence theory to the relationships between focal organizations and other organizations in their task environments.

According to Pfeffer and Salancik , a dominant goal of most organizations is to preserve autonomy by buffering themselves from dependence on other organizations.

Symbiotic interdependence can be reduced by vertical integration, which buffers the focal organization from dependence on an independently owned supplier or distributor. Commensalistic interdependence, on the other hand, is reduced by horizontal merger, and the implication of the theory is that mergers are motivated largely by the desire to eliminate competitors and moderate competitive uncertainty. These arguments echo Thompson's assertion that organizations under norms of rationality seek to place their boundaries around those activities that if left to the task environment would be crucial contingencies.

Thus there is a theoretical link from Pfeffer and Salancik's inter-organizational dependence theory back to Thompson's earlier theoretical framework, demonstrating a continuing interest among organizational scholars in the problem of dependence and its resolution. Donaldson has offered a number of criticisms of resource dependence theory, the most fundamental of which is its departure from explanations based on managerial rationality.

Donaldson believes that resource dependence theory puts too much emphasis on politics and too little emphasis on the attainment of instrumental objectives by organizations that are dedicated to performing specific tasks. According to Donaldson , organizations are not contexts for the acquisition of power and the avoidance of dependence so much as instruments for accomplishing tasks efficiently.

As was true in the case of neo-contingency theory, our concern with resource dependence theory revolves around the ambiguity of its key constructs and the role of that ambiguity in promoting incommensurability. To see the part played by ambiguity in fostering incommensurability, imagine attempting a critical empirical test to determine whether avoidance of inter-organizational dependence or enhancement of contingency-structure fit is the more important determinant of the adoption of vertical integration by organizations.

The former argument p. Without such a resolution, one could report empirical results, but they would almost certainly be subject to reinterpretation by those theorists whose theoretical position was not supported by the findings Astley and Zammuto In other words, there is no widely accepted definitional standard by which the relative empirical validity of resource dependence theory and neo-contingency theory can be assessed, so the two schools of thought are incommensurabie. McKinky and Mone proposed the creation of a standard, democratically built construct dictionary to deal with this problem, but at this stage of the development of our discipline, there appears to be little enthusiasm for such a project.

The third micro-level perspective that we discuss here is transaction costs theory Williamson , ; Williamson and Ouchi

Macrosociology-Microsociology

Sociological study may be conducted at both macro large-scale social processes and micro small group, face-to-face interactions levels. Sociological approaches are differentiated by the level of analysis. Macrosociology involves the study of widespread social processes. Microsociology involves the study of people at a more interpersonal level, as in face-to-face interactions. Macro and Micro Perspectives in Sociology : Just as scientists may study the natural world using different levels of analysis e. Durkheim, for example, studied the large-scale shift from homogenous traditional societies to industrialized societies, where each individual played a highly specialized role. The tendency toward macrosociology is evident in the kinds of questions that early sociologists asked: What holds societies together?

For details on it including licensing , click here. This book is licensed under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa 3. See the license for more details, but that basically means you can share this book as long as you credit the author but see below , don't make money from it, and do make it available to everyone else under the same terms. This content was accessible as of December 29, , and it was downloaded then by Andy Schmitz in an effort to preserve the availability of this book. Normally, the author and publisher would be credited here.

Macrosociology vs microsociology

Contemporary sociology does not have a single overarching foundation—it has varying methods, both qualitative and quantitative. Far from replacing the other sciences, contemporary sociology has taken its place as a particular perspective for investigating human social life. The traditional focuses of sociology have included social stratification, social class, culture, social mobility, religion, secularization, law, and deviance.

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Though they are often framed as opposing approaches, macro- and microsociology are actually complementary approaches to studying society, and necessarily so. Macrosociology refers to sociological approaches and methods that examine large-scale patterns and trends within the overall social structure, system, and population. Often macrosociology is theoretical in nature, too. On the other hand, microsociology focuses on smaller groups, patterns, and trends, typically at the community level and in the context of the everyday lives and experiences of people. These are complementary approaches because at its core, sociology is about understanding the way large-scale patterns and trends shape the lives and experiences of groups and individuals, and vice versa.

Difference and similarities between micro and macro sociology There are many differences between macro and micro-level theories. Micro-level focuses on individuals and their interactions.

Micro and Macro Perspectives in Organization Theory: A Tale of Incommensurability

If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website. To log in and use all the features of Khan Academy, please enable JavaScript in your browser. Donate Login Sign up Search for courses, skills, and videos. Practice: Understanding social structures questions. Macrosociology vs microsociology.

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Difference Between Micro and Macro Sociology

Sociology at Three Different Levels

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Macro- and Microsociology

3 Comments

Abstadonik 18.03.2021 at 02:15

and m a c r o s o c i o l o g y — a r e s e m b l a n c e s o m i s l e a d i n g t h a t i t c a l l s f o r differences between micro- and macroapplication are profound.

Prudenciano L. 23.03.2021 at 11:36

One of the most detailed and careful discussions of the way in which the relationship between miciosociology and macrosociology has been dealt with by​.

Ecesesun 24.03.2021 at 16:38

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