251 Applying Organization Theory to Organized Crime SAGE Publications, Inc.1993DOI: 10.1177/104398629300900306 Mittie D. Southerland Ph.D. Gary W. Potter Ph.D. By and Introduction This discussion explores the applicability of organization structure theory for examining organized crime enterprises. It focuses strictly on the structural dimensions and their determinants without attending to theory of organizational behavior. We assert that the structure of organized crime enterprises is influenced by the same contingency determinants that shape the enterprises of legitimate businesses. Making this assertion, we accept an open-system (contingency) perspective of organizations (Thompson, 1967). The open-system views organizations as being affected by environmental change and having probabilistic organizational outcomes. We also accept the rational, closed-systems view as apt but limited in providing explanations of organizations. All organizations, illicit or legal, seek to maximize profit-making opportunities within theirenvironment according to the rational perspective (Ullrich and Wieland, 1980; Perrow. 1972; Thompson, 1967; Gouldner, 1959). Organized crime enterprises are a special case. These organizations exist for the explicit purpose of making a profit from market activity involving the distribution of illegal goods and services (Void and Bernard, 1986; Block and Chambliss, 1981; Smith, 1978 & 1975: Albini,1971 ). Only their respective places on what Dwight Smith,
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