CHAPTER 6

Field Methods in the Study of Organizations1

 

W. RICHARD SCOTT

People who write about methodology often forget that it is a matter of strategy, not of morals. There are neither good nor bad methods but only methods that are more or less effective under particular circumstances in reaching objectives on the way to a distant goal—George C. Homans (1949, p. 330).

Most of what we know today about organizations and the behavior of their members is known on the basis of field studies. From the now classic investigation by Michels (1949) of oligarchical tendencies in socialist political parties and labor unions carried out in pre-World War I Germany to the recent study by Lipset, Trow, and Coleman (1956) of factors allowing the ...

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