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Dependency And Vulnerability: An Exchange Approach To The Control Of Organizations.

D. Jacobs
Published 1974 · Sociology

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*The author wishes to thank Eleanor Blumberg, Bruce Mayhew, Leo Rigsby, James Thompson, and Mayer Zald for their incisive comments on a previous draft. David Britt should be singled out for his astute criticisms. The author, however, bears full responsibility for any errors contained in this analysis. This article attempts to explain how organizations are controlled through exchange relationships with their environments.@ Most organizations are dependent on their environments at five points. Emerson's definitional treatment of power provides a method for weighting these five kinds of exchange relationships to determine which are more problematic for an organization. Organizational behavior can then be represented in part as a rank-weighted average of the forces emanating from these external dependencies. One partial exception to this analysis obtains when potential controllers are fractionated or dispersed. Where these conditions hold, close control will be difficult. Examining some of the conditions under which coercive influence attempts become probable completes the picture of the environmental controls over formal organizations.
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