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Critical Comments on the Allen Approach

Management Learning , Volume 4 (1): 32 – Apr 1, 1973


Sage Publications
Copyright © 1973 by SAGE Publications
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Critical Comments on the Allen Approach


Critical Comments on the Allen Approach SAGE Publications, Inc.1973DOI: 10.1177/135050767300400105 A.Henderson PRELIMINARY REMARKS In his introduction to his collection of readings in modern organisational theory, published in 1959, Mason Haire drew attention to the parallel of each academic contribution with the fable of the blind man describing an elephant. "There is little doubt here", he wrote, "that it is a single elephant being discussed, but, by and large each of the observers begins his description from a different point, and often with a special end in view. Each of the authors is dealing with organizations and how they work; but, to some extent, they start from different bases and have different things in mind which need explaining." Later, in 1962, Herbert Simon expressed optimism at a seminar called by the structuralist Harold Koontz to examine the Management Theory jungle. To Koontz' pessimism Simon responded with the view that each school of thought (structuralist, behaviourist, decision theory, systems theory) was contributing to the complementary development of management theory, working towards a synthesis. Though practitioners (and the consultants who advise them) are able to draw on all the theorists, it would be surprising if they were able to understand or
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