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North Castle Books

The Meta-Analytic Organization: Introducing Statistico-Organizational Theory
Authored by: Lex Donaldson

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Cloth ISBN: 978-0-7656-2067-5 Paper ISBN: 978-0-7656-2068-2
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Information: 296pp. Tables, figures, appendix, references, name index, subject index.
Publication Date: July 2010.  


Description: This groundbreaking book develops a new organizational theory derived from ideas in statistics and psychometrics.

The author's core premise is that errors known to occur in social science research must also occur when managers look at their data and seek to make inferences about cause and effect. Statistico-organizational theory uses methodological principles to predict when errors occur and how great they will be.

Expanding on this concept, The Meta-Analytic Organization offers new theoretical propositions about organizational strategy and structure with wide application to human resource management, international business, and more.

Selected Contents:

List of Tables and Figures
Foreword, Frank Schmidt

Part I. The Vision for a New Organizational Theory

1. Creating Organizational Theory from Methodological Principles
Methodological Principles as Foundations for Organizational Theory
The Theoretical Structure of Statistico-Organizational Theory
Managerial Errors
Overview of Statistico-Organizational Theory

2. The Deep Structure of Data
Cognitive Positivism
The Methodological Philosophy Underlying Meta-analysis
Hierarchy in Inquiry
Continuities of New Theory with Prior Organizational Theory Research

Part II. The Sources of Error

3. Managerial Errors from Small Numbers
The Law of Small Numbers
Inference and the Nature of What Is Counted
Small Organizational Size Leads to Errors
Weak Inference and Organizational Mortality
International Comparative Advantage in Inference
Relationships with Some Previous Organizational Theories

4. Data Disaggregation and Managerial Errors
The Fallacy of Disaggregation
Cycles of Dysfunctional Control
Inference and the Management of Human Resources
Problem of Aggregating Previous Inferences
The Fallacy of Immediacy
Organizational Structure for Inference

5. Measurement Error of Profit
The Problem of Measurement Error
Measurement Error in Profit
Measurement Error of Profitability Ratios
Time Rates Lead to Measurement Error
Control Variables Lead to Measurement Error
Comparison with Standard Leads to Measurement Error
Measurement Error in Contingency Misfit Analyses
Low Reliability Not Readily Increased

6. Quantifying the Measurement Error of Profit
Formal Analysis of Measurement Error of Profit
Sensitivity of Profit Reliability
Causal Model of the Determinants of Profit Reliability
Measurement Error of Growth of Sales

7. Measurement and Sampling Errors in the M-Form and Strategic Niches
Errors in M-Form Divisional Profitability
Errors in Niche Strategy Analysis

8. Errors from Range Restriction and Extension
Errors from Range Restriction in Organizational Management
Errors from Range Restriction in Organizational Misfit and Fit
Errors from Range Extension

9. Confounding by the Performance Variable
Weak Spurious Correlations Can Produce Severe Confounding
Confounding by Definitional Connections
Confounding by Reciprocal Causality: Performance-Driven Organizational Change
Confounds and Other Sources of Error

10. Controlling for Confounding by Using Organizational Experiments
Confounding as a Source of Error
Experiments with Control Groups
Experiments in Organizations
Bias in Organizational Experiments

11. Controlling for Confounding by Data Aggregation
Controlling Confounds by Averaging
Confounding by Multiple Causes
Confounding in Multiple Causes of Organizational Performance
Confounds Readily Eliminated
Controlling Confounds through Averaging in Organizational Management

Part III. Integration

12. Errors Are Not Self-Correcting
Repeated Operation of Errors
Overall Error from Multiple Error Sources

13. Equations of Statistico-Organizational Theory
True Correlation
Measurement Error
Range Restriction and Range Extension
Combination of Measurement Error and Range Restriction or Extension
Overall Error without Sampling Error
Sampling Error
Overall Error with Sampling Error

14. How Managers Can Reduce Errors
Reducing Sampling Error
Reducing Measurement Error
Reducing Errors from Range Artifacts
Reducing Errors from Confounding

15. Conclusions
Situations that Lead to Errors
Reflections and Limitations

Name Index
Subject Index
About the Author

Comment(s): "In this book, Donaldson offers a new organization theory positioned at the organizational level of analysis, a welcome supplement to the population and field-level theories that are currently the rage. Donaldson draws on the principles of meta-analysis and statistical inference to conceptualize the formal organization as an information aggregator. Organizations gain competitive advantage from this aggregation capability, but their managers are subject to the same errors of inference that social scientists wrestle with in making sense of quantitative data. This book sensitizes the reader to the information processing capacities (and weaknesses) of formal organizations, adding important insights that continue the long tradition of organization theory represented by Thompson, Lawrence and Lorsch, the Aston Group, and Galbraith." -- William McKinley, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

"Lex Donaldson does more than catalog a compelling set of statistical foibles to which managers fall prey. He uses them to build theory and inform managerial practice." -- Gary Johns, Concordia University

"Donaldson lucidly presents statistico-organizational theory--beginning with biased data and applying statistical principles to develop improved new organization theory. He shows serious scholars how to improve their 'game;' his new book is a tour de force." -- Richard Burton, Duke University

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