Compliance Theory

Topics: Organization, Organizational studies, Motivation Pages: 4 (1215 words) Published: October 5, 2014
Fred C. Lunenburg Sam Houston State University
________________________________________________________________________ ABSTRACT
According to compliance theory, organizations can be classified by the type of power they use to direct the behavior of their members and the type of involvement of the participants. In most organizations, types of power and involvement are related in three predictable combinations: coercive-alienative, utilitarian-calculative, and normative- moral. Of course, a few organizations combine two or even all three types. Nevertheless, school officials who attempt to use types of power that are not appropriate for the environment can reduce organizational effectiveness. Schools tend to be normative organizations. According to this logic, oppressive use of coercive and utilitarian power with teachers and students can be dysfunctional. ________________________________________________________________________ Etzioni (1975, 1997) developed an innovative approach to the structure of organizations that he calls compliance theory. He classifies organizations by the type of power they use to direct the behavior of their members and the type of involvement of the participants. Etzioni identifies three types of organizational power: coercive, utilitarian, and normative, and relates these to three types of involvement: alienative, calculative, and moral (see Figure 1). This figure, while grossly oversimplifying the relationships, helps to make clear the pattern among the components. It should be noted that life in organizations is much more complicated. Figure 1. Etzioni’s compliance types.

Coercive Utilitarian Normative
Alienative X
Calculative X
Moral X
Types of Power
Types of Involvement

Types of Power
Coercive Power
Coercive power uses...

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