First Advisor

John E. O'Brien

Term of Graduation

Summer 1989

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Organizational sociology, Organizational behavior, Interorganizational relations



Physical Description

1 online resource (3, vi, 109 pages)


A major question in the study of complex organizations is whether it is possible to develop a useful taxonomy which identifies the crucial aspects of organizations and classifies them in a significant manner. One group of typologies of complex organizations focuses on the relationship between the organization and its environment. The purpose of this thesis is to test the validity of three existing typologies of complex organizations, each of which focuses on one aspect of the relationship between organizations and their environment. The major innovation in this research is the use of block modeling, a form of network methodology, to analyze the multiplex relationships and to establish categories of organizations in six towns in Minnesota. This categorical scheme is based on groupings of organizations that share 2 similar patterns of relationships in a community network. The first part of this thesis is an attempt to discover if the three typologies being tested, which were originally developed from data on internal organizational characteristics, are relevant categorical "tools" for distinguishing among "classes" of organizations that were grouped based on the relational data from network analysis of the six Minnesota towns. Three hypotheses are presented, each associated with a different typology to be tested: Hypothesis I - based on inputs (Resource Dependence), Hypothesis II - based on throughputs (Katz and Kahn), and Hypothesis III - based on outputs (Parsonian). Each of these hypotheses predict specific inter-organizational relationships that should be present in the empirical data. A typology is considered relevant for use in this study, if the inter-organizational relationship, predicted by the corresponding hypothesis, is found to be present in the empirical data. All three typologies examined are found to be relevant categorical tools for the network data employed in this study.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.

Persistent Identifier