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Modernism and Symbolic-Interpretivism Theory & Organizational Effectiveness

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The basic definition of an organization is an assembly of people working together to achieve common objectives through a division of labor. According to Mote (2012), an organization provides a means of using individual strengths within a group to achieve more than can be accomplished by the aggregate efforts of group members working individually.

This proposal will look at modernism and symbolic interpretivism (SI) theories and how they apply to organizational structure. The organization of study is a global healthcare organization dealing in genetic testing, drug testing, and clinical trials.

A perspective or view involves certain assumptions about behavior whether in individuals or organizations. These perspectives affect the way organizations function and behave and there may be several different theories within an approach, but they may share some common believes. Our perspectives and believes form theories according to Hatch (2006), theory is used every day by everyone. Hatch continue to elaborate that different ways of looking at the world produce different knowledge and thus different perspectives come to be associated with their own concepts and theories. Hatch discusses three theories that are modernism, symbolic-interpretivism and postmodernism. This proposal is looking to explore two of these perspectives; modernism and symbolic-interpretivism as they relate to Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) and its structure. Background Information

LabCorp, an S&P 500 company, is a pioneer in commercializing new diagnostic technologies and the first in its industry to embrace genomic testing. With annual revenues of $4.7 billion in 2009, more than 28,000 employees worldwide, and more than 220,000 clients, LabCorp offers clinical assays ranging from routine blood analyses to HIV and genomic testing. LabCorp combines its expertise in innovative clinical testing technology with its specialty laboratories (labcorpcareers.com). Methodological differences between the two approaches

Hatch (2006) explains that the modernism perspective favors rational structures, rules, standardized procedures and routine practices where as SI describes how people give meaning and order to their experience within specific contexts, through interpretive and symbolic acts, forms and processes. Modernism supports the notion of scientific progress as a series of linear, cumulative steps toward the ideals of complete knowledge and human perfection (Hatch, 2006). The author asserts that to take a modernist perspective, one must commit to limiting what is known as knowledge to what one can know though the five senses. On the other hand, SI extends the definition of empirical reality to include forms of experience that lie outside the reach of the five senses, as do emotions and intuition and as a result of this subjectivity, their findings cannot be easily replicated by others (Hatch, 2006). Variables that contribute to organizational effectiveness

Some of the variables that contribute to organizational effectiveness are technology, economic, political/legal, social/culture and physical (Hatch, 2006). The advances in information and communication technologies, the artifact technology, and the knowledge society have highlighted the importance of knowledge and the need for knowledge management. However, it is important to explore the mediating role of knowledge management in the relationship between technology and organizational effectiveness (Tung-Sheng Kuo & Dorjgotov, 2011). Organizations embracing the philosophy of continuous improvement require the use of every available avenue to perform consistently at higher levels (Baker, Chow, Woodford & Maes, 2012). Like culture, the concept of organizational effectiveness has also old history and abstract nature as well. Over a century, it has been pivot to the literature of organizational theory (Hassan et al, 2011). Conclusion

At the completion of the main paper, modernism theory and symbolic-interpretivism theory will be evaluated to determine how they apply to LabCorp’s effectiveness.


Baker III, F. W., Chow, A., Woodford, K., & Maes, J. D. (2012). Applying Continuous Improvement Techniques to Instructional Design Technology (IDT) for Greater Organizational Effectiveness. Organization Development Journal, 30(1), 53-62. Hassan, F., Shah, B., Ikramullaha, M., Zaman, T., & Khan, H. (2011). The Role of Organization Culture in Predicting Organizational Effectiveness: A Case from Developing Countries. International Business & Management, 3(2), 99-111. doi:10.3968/j.ibm.1923842820110302.100 Hatch, M. J. (with Cunliffe, A. L.). (2006). Organization theory: Modern, symbolic and postmodern perspectives (2nd ed.). NY: Oxford University Press. LabCorp (2013). Company History. Retrieved from www.labcorpcareers.com Tung-Sheng Kuo, Chi, H., & Dorjgotov, B. (2011). Mediation effect of knowledge management in the relationship between technology and organizational effectiveness – an empirical study of mongolian academy of sciences. The Journal of Human Resource and Adult Learning, 7(1), 1-10. Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Global.

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