The theme of this book is how organizations produce ideology, and how ideology and action can systematically conflict with one another to the benefit of organizational legitimacy and survival. The author has conducted a series of empirical studies over the last 10 years, and interviewed managers of numerous organizations in order to produce this work. It follows "The Irrational Organization", which was Brunsson's previous book.
Part 1 Organizations and inconsistent norms: institutional environments; inconsistent environments. Part 2 The political organization principle: the ideal type of action organization; the ideal type of political organization; organizations in the real world - politics and action; politics in organizational processes. Part 3 Politics in practice: attempts at action produce politics; politics again; inconsistencies in ideologies and roles; the dominance of politics. Part 4 Decisions as transition between politics and action: the case of Greaton; decision-makers as defensive scrutineers; opinion-making; implementation; decision-makers as bearers of responsibility. Part 5 Responsibility as an impediment to influence - the case of budgeting: budgeting; budgeting under stagnation; roles and actors in the budget process; the allocation of responsibility; control - supply and demand; budgeting as an instrument for external financing. Part 6 The responsible organization: society as hierarchy; implementation or legitimation; an illustration; Stanby - implementation or legitimation?; the role of politics. Part 7 Projects and organizations: two projects; strategies for meeting external demands - delegation, rationality and ideology. Part 8 Ideas, decisions and actions in organizations: ideas and actions; alternative interpretations of organizational decision-making; decision-making and the allocation of responsibility; decisions as legitimation; four roles of decisions. Part 9 The dynamics of hypocrisy: the paradoxes of presentation and result; public organizations and the publicness of organizations; implications for organizational stakeholders.