A Novel Approach to Organizational Control

By William G. Ouchi
1973| Working Paper No. 159

This paper argues that organizations may adopt one of two forms of control: behavior control or output control. Behavior control rests on the specification of rules and procedures and on the use of hierarchical surveillance to insure that those rules and procedures are followed. This is essentially the Weberian model, and has influenced most organizational research over the past few years. Output control rests on the evaluation of outputs produced by individuals, without regard to the behaviors which they exhibit in producing those outputs. Data are reported from a study of 78 retail department stores, which support the conclusion that the form of control used is an adaptation to the problems of the organization which are brought on largely by size.