Levels of Analysis


Scott defines three levels of analysis in organizational research:

Social Psychological Level -- organizational characteristics are context or environment, and investigator explores their impact on attitudes or behavior of individuals.
ex. Katz and Kahn 1978, Porter, Lawler, & Hackman (1975)

Structural Level -- try to explain structural features and social processes that characterize organizations and subdivisions (subunits, work groups, rank groups) or analytical components (specialization, communication networks, hierarchy).
ex. Udy 1959, Blau and Schoenherr 1971

Ecological Level - examine relation of single or multiple organizations to their environment (Selznick 1949) or relations that develop between organizations (Pfeffer and Salancick 1978)\

Parsons distinguishes three major levels of organizational structure: At the bottom is the technical system, where the actual product is manufactured (workers, teachers in classrooms, scientists in labs, etc.). Above this is the managerial system, who mediate between the organization and the task environment and administer the internal affairs. At the top is the institutional system, whose function is to relate the organization to the larger society.