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Organizational Structure in the Middle East: a Comparative Analysis

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Despite the very large number of comparative organizational studies evidenced in the literature, few have been undertaken in the Middle East and only two involve a direct comparison of organizations in the Middle East with organizations in the West. In their comparison of organizations in pre-revolutionary Iran and the United States, Miller and Mahmoudi found strong support for the culture-free hypothesis and concluded that Iran could now be added to the growing list of countries showing a similar pattern of relationships among the major components of organizational structure. However, Miller and Sharda found support for the culture specific hypothesis in their comparison of organizations in Jordan and the United States. The purpose of this research is to show that Miller and Mahmoudi's conclusion may have been premature. Data were obtained from a matched sample of organizations in Jordan, and the causal model proposed by Miller and Mahmoudi is reanalyzed for all three countries employing a more rigorous methodology. The results suggest that a model constraining all parameters to be equal, fits the data in both Iran and Jordan, but not in the United States. This finding is not consistent with the culture-free hypothesis and suggests instead that organizational structure is conditioned in important ways by the unique culture and institutions of the nation-state.


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