Amitai Etzioni’s Model of OCS

Amitai Etzioni’s Model of OCS

Amitai Etzioni has developed a theoretical model of Organizational Control Structure (OCS) which he defines as the methods used by an organization to: (1) produce desired performance; and (2) monitor performance relative to specified criteria regarding quality and quantity of performance. To-date Etzioni’s theory has not been comprehensively tested. In other words, what is needed is ongoing research into the validity of Etzioni’s OCS model.

This critique may be considered part of the needed research effort into the model’s validity. Specifically, in order to investigate the validity of the OCS model, the author of this paper selected a highly familiar and well-known setting–a local high school where the author works as a teacher–and analyzed the extent to which power/control behaviors of school administrators were congruent with Etzioni’s theoretical postulates and principles regarding OCS, especially those postulates and principles related to leadership behavior.

Although the school was well known to the author, efforts were made to collect systematic observances. Specifically, an eight hour period (4 hours for two days) was selected to observed and record all control/power behaviors of administrators toward teachers, staff, and students. In this way, the general thoughts of the author toward control/power that were based on past observances of administrators at the school could be checked to see if they accorded with those behaviors observed during the eight hour period.

OCS Principle 1 – Control methods of an organization tend to be of three basic types: (1) Coercive (use of threat or force); (2) utilitarian (use of material rewards or symbols of material rewards such as checks); and (3) Symbolic (use of actions and activities to engender identification with and commitment to the organization). Symbolic power tends to be mostly used with those of highest rank while utilitarian power tends to be most often used…

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