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Colección:
La Educación
Número: (117) I
Año: 1994

Theoretical Framework

Meyer and Scott have argued that:
...in modern societies an important category of the rules and belief systems that arise are sets of (rational myths). The beliefs are rational in the sense that they identify specific social purposes and then specify in a rule-like manner what activities are to be carried out (or what types of actors must be employed) to achieve them. However, these beliefs are myths in the sense that they depend for their efficacy, for their reality, on the fact that they are widely shared, or are promulgated by individuals or groups that have been granted the right to determine such matters...the elaboration of these rules provides a normative climate within which formal organizations are expected to flourish. (1983, 14)
In organizational theory, therefore, the concept, myth, does not refer to anything fictitious. The term is used for the reason that the concept embodies powerful beliefs about the way institutions should work, what they should do, and what they ought to value, both internally and externally. How the twelve major participating institutions (Table 2) reacted regarding engagement of the Project Management Team, how they interacted to further the objective of draw down of the loan, and how their behavior in these matters affected project establishment are directly related to the concept of rational myth.

The question of what institutions ought to do, how they perform, and what they value leads to consideration of another key concept in organizational theory. This is the concept of institutional goals upon which several observers have commented. Metz, for example, explains that:
Formal organizations exist for the accomplishment of formally stated goals. People enter an organization with an obligation to contribute to those goals; those who fail to do so may be disciplined. Outside groups which support an organization may punish it as an entity for failure to meet its announced goals. (1978, 16)
Two types of goals are often identified in organizational theory: formal and instrumental. Formal goals provide the raison d’être of the organization, but if the organization is to remain an instrument capable of doing justice to its formal goals, then the organization has to adopt what is referred to as institutional goals (Metz 1978). Organizational theorists argue that in terms of functional efficiency of the organization, both types of goals, formal and informal, are equally important. Both types “attract little notice when they are satisfactorily met, but when their attainment becomes difficult they can absorb more energy than the original purpose of the organization. Arrangements for meeting them can change or subvert the formal goals which the organization actually pursues” (Metz 1978, 17).

Related to the concept of organizational goal is the concept of organizational technology. In this context technology is defined as the process by which an organization accomplishes its goals. There exists, therefore, a functional relationship between organizational goals and organizational technology, and this relationship may be expressed in this way:
The goals of an organization can be perceived as end states of a raw material which the organization exists [expects] to transform. This raw material need not be inanimate matter changed in physical or chemical ways: it may be a person or even a symbol. Technology is the process which transforms it. Technology in this sense need not include physical hardware. Salesmanship and non-directive psychotherapy are technologies. (Metz 1978, 18)
So are the methods and approaches used by the twelve institutions (Table 2) to achieve the conditions mandated for loan effectiveness in the given project.

Hickson et al. (1980) have argued that there are at least three components to the concept of organizational technology. Only one of these, operations technology, however, appears to have direct applicability in the present research. Operations technology may be defined as “those sets of man-machine activities which together produce a desired good or service” (Hickson et al. 1980, 209). The concept may also be defined as the equipping and sequencing of activities by the organization in accomplishment of organizational tasks.

Organizational theory attaches importance not only to technology as a phenomenon, but also to the clarity of that technology (Metz 1978). If the technological process is well understood and/or routine, the organization may function effectively, and institutional goals may be efficiently attained. On the other hand, when the technology is not well understood, problems in goal attainment are more likely to occur. This is the point at which organizational theorists come to believe that users of a given technology need to be accorded the right to make important decisions independently, and to use their own intuition, judgment, tact and common sense in the effective achievement of organizational goals (Boocock 1973). In other words, organization personnel need to be given some leverage to adjust technological methods in response to the exigences of institutional circumstances.