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Exploring the Paradigm Wars in Organisation Theory

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Organisations
Wordcount: 2515 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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The concept of strategy is highly based upon the causality or view that events hold both causes as well as effects. According to Kane (2002), strategies are formulated precisely by the firms as they are considered as being an important factor for their survival and performance. Moreover, the chronicles encompass a range of chance occurrences that are an outstanding subsidising aspect towards company outcome. Also, the public segment offers resourceful information linked with corporate fall, arising from unpreventable elements competition, demographic changes, interest rate changes, globalisation and lastly, government policies (Powell, 2002). There is no doubt in the fact that all three factors i.e. choice, determinism and chance are significant and business outcome shows a trait of each. According to Burgelman (2002) irrespective of the way in which corporate actors feel during the formation of strategic decisions, as well as also related to the degree to which their independence has been diluted or overlooked, it’s coherent of upholding that they in practicality devise free choices (Burgelman, 2002). Further, taking the above discussion into consideration this particular paper attempts to critically analyse the contribution that strategic choice and determinist theories (Resource Dependency Theory; Institutional Theory; Population Ecology) make to our understanding of organisational action. 

Contribution of Strategic Choice and Determinist Theories:

The choices are openly put across by corporate actors as they believe that the overall progress of events can be impacted by them. Moreover, the choice must be considered of being liberally developed in principle. Companies are quite aware of their dependence towards factors of which there exist almost no or low control (Powell, 2003). It has been observed that strategies appear like a result of interfaces among diverse impacts of choices devised by way of several, in some cases unrelated actors. In contradiction to action’s dichotomous conduct in which causal backdrop as well as choice is basically focused in turn and there is no presence of chance, their interrelationship is chiefly grounded upon four different aspects. These aspects are further assessed again as elucidations from the viewpoints. Further, the below figure 1 clearly conceptualizes the link through which three factors i.e. chance, choice and causal backdrop come together when developing any strategy.

The figure above throws light upon four different aspects. Firstly, strategic choice is highly dependent upon causality that strategies encompass impacts and causes. Apart from this, the significance associated with causal backdrop ascertains that it remains in the middle of the framework (Aspect 1). Moreover, it is considered as being a vital position not just for strategic choice but for effectively utilizing chance coincidence also (Aspect 4). Additionally, it is highly believed that choice alone is not sufficient for ensuring effective strategy development (Aspect 3). Going ahead, it has been observed that chance and choice leave some traces on causal backdrop as this backdrop mirrors preceding chance along with choices concurrences. Further, strategic choice and chance exist with respect to competence considering which chance coincidence could put across new likelihoods for impending choices (Aspect 2).

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Apart from all this, one can take into consideration strategic unavoidability in case when causal background is sufficient for forming decisions linked with some particular upshot. Moreover, there are basically few claims revolving around strategy allowance. First of all, with respect to social settings and suitable sources, strategic choice could just be indeterminate (Burgelman, 2002). The same is applicable in case of chance coincidence. While, such kind of causal backdrop throw light upon the raw resources required for making choice, one also requires commitment and deliberation (Kane, 2002). Additionally, it has been observed that there is good amount of explanation revolving around the actuality that organizational actors hold slightest independence with regard to choice. During such conditions the theoretical stance proves to be quite supportive in putting forward a reasonably appropriate theory of choice, which greatly ascertains the authentication of the experiences of choice. According to Powell (2003), there is evidence that different corporate layers incorporate framework but not for being deterministic. Furthermore, it is the only coherent basis for few disciplines focussed so flexibly towards choice. According to Kane (2002), the above detailed concept of strategic choice could greatly assist in managing the troubled link between three factors i.e. chance, determinism and choice in case of multilevel research.

Beamish et al. (2006) adds to it by stating that hypothesizing via different analysis stages certainly requires accuracy in precisely describing the levels as well as explicating how they are connected to each other. For instance, the possibility of choice being there at distinct analysis levels during a multistage research; the independence level of choice when shifting from macro to micro levels (including company or industry to some project team or individual) of assessment and lastly, the point where the causal backdrop task concludes and that of strategic choice begins (Foucault, 2002). The explanation to the above mentioned statements is quite evident not due to fact that they lead to ammunition for effectively managing such argumentative subjects including output-associated pay and leader’s moral liabilities. In addition, causal link between homogeneity, heterogeneity as well as independence are considered as being relative wherein each of them highlights a connection. Further, this applies for all three i.e. chance, choice and determinism. According to Powell (2002), it has been observed that superior outcomes arise from strategic choice and chance makes it necessary for the individual to provide a comprehensive overview of causal background so that such outcomes could be recognized.

Taking a step ahead, it is highly believed that individual choices influence distinct levels. A strategic judgment of two or more firms to come together could have an impact upon the market, business divisions, product portfolio and stakeholders of the corporation. Realistically, representatives of micro-level, taking in small groups and corporate departments, mutually form strategic decisions. While the Parliament or Congress makes the decision at higher macro levels. Additionally, strategic decisions greatly impact distinct concepts revolving around macro-level sectors involving industries, markets or surroundings, despite the fact that they are ineffectual in putting across their choices. Instead, these immaterial conceptions are considered as being a fraction of causal backdrop i.e. the social aspect for decisions (Beamish et al., 2006).

In addition, one could locate several distinct levels, each having its own eventualities and this leads to highly complex as well as rich framework of interactions. Moreover, in case if one wishes to formulate an effective approach of strategic choice, deliberation related to different levels is substantial. Relatedly, with respect to procedure investigation, the concept of strategic choice and its connection with causal backdrop as well as chance seems quite valid.

Strategic Choice vs. Determinism:

Determinism basically refers to a belief in causation inevitability. Everything, which takes place is the only likely thing which can occur. The networks and chains of causes are highly inexorable and powerful that individual result is unavoidable (Foucault, 2002). The individuals are locked into everything else, which would occur during the whole future of the world. In case if one knows all the causal ideologies and had sufficient information related to the present, he/she could forecast the future with complete accurateness (Powell, 2003). The universe looks like a giant machine, crushing unaccompanied exactly as it needs to unavoidably persist to do, tagging along inelastic policies. This is determinism. For a determinist, there are basically no counterfactuals. Additionally, nothing which did not occur could perhaps have occurred. Everything which did occur was the only likely thing, which could have occurred during that time as well as space, provided the causes.

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As a result, determinism along with free would strike the majority of individuals as incompatible principles (although during latest decades a rising team of philosophers have incorporated few forms of ‘compatibilism’, which conserves a watered-down concept of free will whereas also taking on determinism) (Foucault, 2002). The core of free will is the fact that the individuals really could have over one possible reaction towards a particular condition. For a determinist, this is incorrect. Causes, taking in unconscious causes, are functioning for bringing the individual unavoidably towards what he/she would ultimately perform (Beamish et al., 2006). The presence of several options is basically a deception, for a determinist. Moving ahead, for a determinist, choice is basically illusive. The actual meaning of choice is that there exist several choices, and the individual chooses one among them. Therefore, choice calls for several likely upshots, that is a no-no for determism (Foucault, 2002). Additionally, for the determinist, the causality march would make one upshot foreseeable, and thus it’s incorrect to consider that anything else was possible (Beamish et al., 2006). Further, the chooser doesn’t still know exactly which option he/she would select, therefore the subjective experience of choice. As a result, the subjective choice is basically a matter of an individual’s own unawareness – unawareness that those other upshots aren’t actually possibilities at all.

However, for psychological science a belief towards choice appears more reasonable as well as useful as compared to determinism. Choice is considered as being highly important in human life. Daily individuals come across choices, described through several possibilities. For claiming that all that is mistake and illusion is forcing psychological phenomena into an impractical strait jacket (Beamish et al., 2006). Additionally, psychological causality is debatably never deterministic. The research studies display a modification in the odds of one reaction over other. Nevertheless, modifications in the odds involve that over one reaction was possible. The whole statistical enterprise is developed upon the notion of several possibilities. Determinism refutes the actuality of this. Statistics are only means of handling the unawareness, to a determinist – statistics don’t mirror the way how reality really functions.

For believing in determinism therefore involves going far beyond the known and observed facts. This could be true however it calls for a high amount of faith, along with an effort for denying that what is constantly observed and experienced is reality (Powell, 2002). Rather, psychological science is highly suitable for a belief in indeterminacy. There exists no evidence of any deterministic causality anyplace (Beamish et al., 2006). This implies that there exists no evidence that any outcome is 100 percent inevitable, although in practice few things appear as being highly consistent. Furthermore, indeterminacy lie in the subatomic level, and this could be evident at macro level (Powell, 2002). Certainly, in human behavior, things aren’t virtually so predictable or reliable. Thus, accepting the choice reality among genuinely multiple likelihoods appears a more useful and prudent grounds for psychological hypothesizing as compared to deterministic predictability (Aktouf et. al., 2005).


It is quite obvious in the above sections that companies put in high efforts for developing effective strategies as they are thought to make considerable contribution towards their sustainability and long-term existence. Contemporarily, the four aspects encompass diverse illustrations of chance as a noteworthy contributor towards firm’s outcome. According to Burgelman (2002), resourceful information associated with corporate let-downs could be obtained from public domain. The corporate failures are basically outcomes of globalisation, government guidelines, cut-throat competition, demographic conditions and interest rate. Certainly, choice, chance and determinism are important elements for any business. Further, inflexibility along with resistance greatly prevent firms from undergo changes for effectively adjusting themselves to the prevailing conditions (Donaldson, 2005). Additionally, internal capabilities have been observed to inspire specific courses, which could be considered by the organization. In contrary, such notions assert that corporations hold the means for effectively determining their atmosphere for having access to the necessary contributions required for success.



  • Aktouf, O., Chenoufi, M., and Holford, W. D., 2005. The false expectations of Michael Porter’s strategic management framework. Problems and Perspectives in Management, 4: 181–200.
  • Beamish, P., Hitt, M., Jackson, S., and Mathieu, J., 2006. Call for papers: Special research forum—building bridges across levels. Academy of Management Journal, 48: 364–366.
  • Burgelman, R.A. 2002. Strategy as vector and the inertia of co-evolutionary lock-in. Administrative Science Quarterly, 47: 325–357
  • Donaldson, L. 2005. Following the scientific method: how I became a committed functionalist and positivist. Organization Studies, 26(7): 1071–1088.
  • Foucault, M. 2002. Power: Essential works of Foucault. Penguin: London.
  • Kane, R.H. 2002. Introduction: the contours of contemporary free will debates. In The Oxford Handbook of Free Will. Kane RH (ed), Oxford University Press
  • Powell, T.C. 2002. The philosophy of strategy. Strategic Management Journal, 23(9): 873–880.
  • Powell, T.C. 2003. Strategy without ontology. Strategic Management Journal, 24(3): 285–291


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