Department of Organization

Seminar with Professor Hunter Heyck

The Cluster on Markets and Valuation Group invites you to a lunch seminar with Professor Hunter Heyck, University of Oklahoma: ‘Organization’ and the age of system

Friday, September 21, 2018 - 12:00 to 13:45


“It is easier, and probably more useful, to give examples of formal organizations than to define the term”, March and Simon (1958) argued. But the term ‘organization’ — as it is common today — is an invention of the first part of the 20th century. The in many ways abstract term ‘organization’ took considerable conceptual work to establish, and systems theory took part in this. Examples of organizations are helpful, but also tend to remove from attention the work of defining and making ‘the same’ what otherwise may be considered distinct and different in kind. The invention of the concept ‘organization’ brought together schools, hospitals, production plants, carpenter workshops, farms, law firms and more as examples of the common denominator ‘organization’. Systems theory contributed significantly to establishing ‘organization’ as a general term with which to understand various forms of collective action and thereby make them examples of a broader class as well as possible objects of inquiry and intervention by ‘organization theorists’, ‘managers’ and others.
In this seminar Hunter Heyck will give a short presentation based on his work on ’Age of System’ followed by a collective discussion. Starting from an outline of the shared history of ‘system’ and ‘organization’ concepts we will in the seminar discuss ‘organization’ as object of knowledge.
Hunter Heyck is Professor and Chair, Department of the History of Science, University of Oklahoma and author of amongst others “Age of System: Understanding the Development of Modern Social Science” (2015) and “Herbert A. Simon: The Bounds of Reason in Modern America” (2005).
Required reading for the seminar (will be distributed when you sign up): Heyck, H. (2015). Administrative science. In M. Bevir (Ed.), Modernism and the Social Sciences. Anglo-American Exchanges, c. 1918-1980 (Vol. 4, pp. 155–181). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
The page was last edited by: Department of Organization // 02/04/2019