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Organizations and the Pesky People Who Populate Them


“All formal organizations are molded by forces tangential to their rationally ordered structures and stated goals. Every formal organization…attempts to mobilize human and technical resources as a means for the achievement of its ends. However, the individuals within the system tend to resist being treated as means. They interact as wholes, bringing to bear their own special problems and purposes….It follows that there will develop an informal structure within the organization which will reflect the spontaneous efforts of individuals and subgroups to control the conditions of their existence….The informal structure will be at once indispensable to and consequential for the formal system of delegation and control itself.”

-Philip Selznick, “A Theory of Organizational Commitments” (1952)