Human Organizations and Social Theory
About the BookIn the 1930s, George Herbert Mead and other leading social scientists established the modern empirical analysis of social interaction and communication, enabling theories of cognitive development, language acquisition, interaction, government, law and legal processes, and the social construction of the self. However, they could not provide a comparably empirical analysis of human organization, one that could show how interactive communication actually came about. They could say how people communicate to establish mutual relationships but not what they communicate.
The theory in this book fills in the missing analysis of organizations and specifies the pragmatic analysis of communication with an adaptation of information theory to ordinary unmediated communications. In the process it brings together four major streams of modern empirical social analysis: the developmental-social psychology associated with Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky; the cultural-ecological analyses associated with Esther Boserup; the language and culture tradition identified with Benjamin Whorf, Edward Sapir, and Paul Friedrich; and the more empirical streams of economic theory identified with Frank Knight, Paul Samuelson, and Theodore Schultz.
Human Organizations and Social Theory also provides the theoretical basis for understanding the success of pragmatically grounded public policies, from the New Deal through the postwar reconstruction of Europe and Japan to the ongoing development of the European Union, in contrast to the persistent failure of positivistic and Marxist policies and programs. Expanding on previous work in social constructivism, this consistent and comprehensive constructionist analysis of human organization powerfully integrates the most successful traditions of modern social, psychological, and legal theory.