Emeritus Professor Lex Donaldson
Emeritus Professor

Emeritus Professor Lex Donaldson

Business School
School of Management and Governance

Lex Donaldson is a Professor of Management in Organizational Design in the UNSW Business School. He holds a BSc in Behavioural Science(Sociology Specialism) from the University of Aston and a PhD in Organizational Sociology from the University of London. Formerly he worked for Philips Electrical Industries (U.K.) Ltd. He was a Senior Research Officer in the Organizational Behaviour Research Group of the London Graduate School of Business Studies.

He joined UNSW in 1977 as a member of the Australian Graduate School of Management in its first year of operations. He has won its Award for Excellence in Research and been made a Professorial Research Fellow. He has published eight books and many articles, some in leading journals such as the Academy of Management Review and Organization Science. His latest book The Meta-Analytic Organization: Introducing Statistico-Organizational Theory has been published in 2010 in the US by M.E. Sharpe, Inc (Armonk, New York:). 

Research Interests:

  • Organisational structure
  • Organisational design
  • Organisational theory
  • Corporate governance


+61 2 9385 9723
UNSW Business School
  • Books | 2010
    Donaldson DA, 2010, The Meta-Analytic Organization: Introducing Statistico-organizational Theory, first, M.E. Sharpe, Inc, Armonk, New York
    Books | 2001
    Donaldson DA, 2001, The contingency theory of organizations, Original, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California
    Books | 1999
    Donaldson DA, 1999, Performance Driven organizational Change, Original, Sage Publications, California
    Books | 1997
    Hilmer FG; Donaldson DA, 1997, Jenseits der Management Mythen: Kontinuitat Statt Trendhopping, Original, Verlag Moderne Industie, Germany
    Books | 1997
    Hilmer FG; Donaldson DA, 1997, Management, een herwaardering: Hoe modefrillen het bedrijfsleven ondermijnen,, Original, Uitgeverij Contact, Amsterdam, Holland
    Books | 1995
    1995, American Anti-Management Theories of Organization: A Critique of Paradigm Proliferation, 4, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/gateway/Gateway.cgi?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:A1996UX09200007&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=891bb5ab6ba270e68a
  • Book Chapters | 2016
    Qiu JX; Donaldson L, 2016, 'The MNC Matrix as Only a Partial Multiple Hierarchy: The Limited Advantage of the Matrix', in Qiu J; Luo B; Jackson C; Sanders K (ed.), Advancing organizational theory in a complex world, Routledge, pp. 74 - 95
    Book Chapters | 2012
    Donaldson DA, 2012, 'Evidence-Based Management (EBMgt) Using Organiszational Facts', in Rousseau DM (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Evidence-Based Management, edn. Original, Oxford Handbooks Online, pp. 249 - 261, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199763986.001.0001
    Book Chapters | 2012
    Donaldson DA, 2012, '“Statistico-Organizational Theory: A New Theoretical Approach to Organizational Design', in Bollingtoft A; Donaldson L; Huber GP; Hakonsson DD; Snow CC (ed.), Collaborative Communities of Firms: Purpose, Process and Design, edn. 2012, Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 129 - 146, http://www.springer.com/economics/industrial+organization/book/978-1-4614-1283-0
    Book Chapters | 2012
    Donaldson L, 2012, 'Evidence-Based Management (EBMgt) Using Organizational Facts', in The Oxford Handbook of Evidence-Based Management, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199763986.013.0014
    Book Chapters | 2009
    Donaldson DA; Klaas P, 2009, 'Underfits Versus Overfits in the Contingency Theory of Organizational Design: Asymmetric Effects of Misfits on Performance', in Bøllingtoft A; Håkonsson DD; Nielsen JF; Snow CC; Ulhøi J (ed.), New Approaches to Organization Design, edn. Original, Springer, pp. 147 - 168
    Book Chapters | 2009
    Donaldson DA, 2009, 'Design Structure to Fit Strategy', in Design Structure to Fit Strategy, edn. Original, pp. 407 - 424
    Book Chapters | 2009
    Donaldson L, 2009, 'Organization Theory as a Positive Science', in The Oxford Handbook of Organization Theory, pp. 1 - 672, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199275250.003.0002
    Book Chapters | 2008
    Donaldson DA, 2008, 'Resolving the Conflict Between Contingency and Institutional Theories of Organizational Design', in Burton RM; Eriksen BH; Hakonsson DD; Knudsen T; Snow CC (ed.), Designing Organizations: 21st Century Approaches, edn. 1, Springer, NY USA, pp. 21 - 40
    Book Chapters | 2008
    Donaldson DA, 2008, 'The Conflict Between Contingency and Institutional Theories of Organizational Design', in Burton RM; Eriksen BH; Hakonsson DD; Knudsen T; Snow CC (ed.), Designing Organizations: 21st Century Approaches, edn. 1, Springer, NY USA, pp. 4 - 20
    Book Chapters | 2008
    2008, 'Statistico-organizational Theory: Creating Organizational Management Theory from Methodological Principles', in Barry D; Hansen H (ed.), The SAGE Handbook of New Approaches in Management and Organization, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 135 - 145, http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781849200394.n21
    Book Chapters | 2006
    Donaldson DA, 2006, 'The contingency theory of organizational design: Challenges and opportunities', in Organization Design: The Evolving State of the Art, edn. Original, Springer Science, New York, NY, pp. 19 - 40
    Book Chapters | 2003
    Donaldson DA, 2003, 'Organization theory as a positive science', in Tsoukas H; Knudsen C (ed.), Organization Theory, edn. Original, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, pp. 39 - 62
    Book Chapters | 2003
    Donaldson DA, 2003, 'Position statement for positivism', in Westwood R; Clegg S (ed.), Debating Organization: Point-Counterpoint in Organization Studies, edn. Original, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Madden, MA, pp. 116 - 127
    Book Chapters | 2003
    2003, 'A critique of postmodernism in organizational studies', in Locke EA (ed.), Postmodernism and Management: Pros, Cons and the Alternative, Elsevier Ltd, Oxford, UK, pp. 169 - 202, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0733-558X(03)21006-5
    Book Chapters | 2000
    Donaldson DA, 2000, 'Design structure to fit strategy', in The Blackwell Handbook of Principles of Organizational Behavior, edn. Original, Blackwell Business, Oxford, U.K., pp. 291 - 303
    Book Chapters | 1997
    Donaldson DA, 1997, 'Derek Pugh: Scientific Revolutionary in Organisation Studies', in Advancement in Organisational Behaviour: Essays in Honour of Derek Pugh, edn. Original, Ashgate Publishing Co., Hants, England, pp. 23 - 43
    Book Chapters | 1996
    Donaldson DA, 1996, 'The normal science of structural contingency theory', in The handbook of organization studies, edn. Original, Sage Publications, London, pp. 57 - 76
    Book Chapters | 1995
    1995, 'Introduction', in Contingency Theory, volume 9, History of Management Thought Series, edn. 2 A, Dartmouth Publishing Company, Aldershot, England
  • Journal articles | 2014
    Donaldson L; Charlier SD; Qiu JX J, 2014, 'Corrigendum to 'Organizational Portfolio Analysis: Focusing on Risk Inside the Corporation' [LRP, 45, 4, (2012), 235-257], doi: 10.1016/j.lrp.2012.03.001', Long Range Planning, 47, pp. 390, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lrp.2012.07.002
    Journal articles | 2014
    Donaldson L; Luo BN, 2014, 'The Aston Programme Contribution to Organizational Research: A Literature Review', International Journal of Management Reviews, 16, pp. 84 - 104, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ijmr.12010
    Journal articles | 2013
    Luo N; Donaldson DA, 2013, 'Misfits in Organization Design: Information Processing as a Compensatory Mechanism', Journal of Organization Design, 2, pp. 2 - 10, http://dx.doi.org/10.7146/jod.7359.6689
    Journal articles | 2013
    Qiu J; Donaldson L; Luo BN, 2013, 'The Benefits of Persisting with Paradigms in Organizational Research', Academy of Management Perspectives, 26, pp. 93 - 104, http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/amp.2011.0125
    Journal articles | 2012
    Donaldson L; Charlier SD; Qiu JX J, 2012, 'Organizational Portfolio Analysis: Focusing on Risk Inside the Corporation', Long Range Planning, 45, pp. 235 - 257, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lrp.2012.03.001
    Journal articles | 2012
    Qiu JX J; Donaldson L, 2012, 'Stopford and Wells were Right! MNC Matrix Structures do fit a "High-High" Strategy', Management International Review, 52, pp. 671 - 689, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11575-011-0122-z
    Journal articles | 2012
    2012, 'For Rigour in Organizational Management Theory Research', Journal of Management Studies, 50, pp. 153 - 172, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6486.2012.01069.x
    Journal articles | 2010
    2010, 'The cubic contingency model: Towards a more comprehensive international strategy-structure model', Journal of General Management, 36, pp. 81 - 100, http://www.braybrooke.co.uk/dynamic/viewarticle.php?articleid=207
    Journal articles | 2009
    Adams SM; Agarwala T; Akbar H; Andrews M; Ang S; Arnold S; Ascigil S; Bachrach D; Bacon N; Balkin D; Bartol K; Bauer T; Beauregard A; Bell BS; Berrin E; Bilimoria D; Blader SL; Blak-Beard S; Blancero DM; Bligh M; Bozionelos N; Bridgstock R; Brislin R; Broadbent F; Buchanan B; Budhwar P; Burke R; Cabrera E; Capps C; Carmeli A; Carraher S; Caruso D; Cerdin JL; Chi NW; Chiaburu D; Clarke S; Cocchiara F; Cohen A; Collins D; Combs G; Conway N; Cook A; Cox SS; D'Amato A; Dasborough M; Datta D; De Jong B; Delery J; Diamond R; Donaldson L; Drach-Zahavy A; Eisenberg J; Erhardt NL; Ezzedeen S; Fenton-O'Creevy M; Ferrin D; Fisher S; Flood P; Forret M; Fox S; Frode H; Fry J; Fuller T; Gabriel Y; Game A; Garmon M; Gavin M; Gibson D; Gilson L; Gourlay S; Haigh MM; Hanges P; Harden E; Hareli S; Harquail C; He HW; Heldal F; Higgins MC; Holden N; Humphrey R; Insch G; Jansen J; Jerrram C; Karaevli A; Karatas-Ozkan M; Kark R; Kazeroony HH; King Z; Klimoski R; Kseoõlu MA; Kraimer M; Lambooij M; Lance C; Lant T; Lauver K; Lavelle J; Leggio K; Lettice F; Leung K; Lindsay V, 2009, 'Thank you reviewers!', Group and Organization Management, 34, pp. 140 - 145, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1059601108329743
    Journal articles | 2009
    2009, 'Where is the jury?: The failures in the scientific evaluation processes in organizational science', Journal of Management Inquiry, 18, pp. 97 - 100, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1056492608327748
    Journal articles | 2009
    2009, '“In Search of the Matrix Advantage: A Re-examination of the Fit of Matrix Structures to Transnational Strategy in MNCs”', Advances in International Management, 22, pp. 3 - 26, http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/S1571-5027(2009)0000022005
    Journal articles | 2008
    2008, 'Ethics problems and problems with ethics: Toward a pro-management theory', Journal of Business Ethics, 78, pp. 299 - 311, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-006-9336-6
    Journal articles | 2007
    2007, 'We see dead people? The State of Organization Science', Journal of Management Inquiry, 16, pp. 300 - 317, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1056492607310927
    Journal articles | 2006
    Donaldson DA, 2006, 'Christopher Grey: A very short, fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about studying organizations', Organization Studies, 27, pp. 753 - 756
    Journal articles | 2005
    Donaldson DA, 2005, 'Following the scientific method: How I became a committed functionalist and positivist', Organization Studies, 26, pp. 1071 - 1088
    Journal articles | 2005
    Donaldson DA, 2005, 'Questioning Mintzberg`s educational philosophy; Critical comments on managers not MBAs', Organization Studies, 26, pp. 1098 - 1104
    Journal articles | 2005
    Donaldson DA, 2005, 'Reply to Pfeffer', Organization Studies, 26, pp. 1106 - 1109
    Journal articles | 2005
    2005, 'For positive management theories while retaining science: Reply to Ghoshal', Academy of Management Learning and Education, 4, pp. 109 - 113, http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/AMLE.2005.16132594
    Journal articles | 2005
    2005, 'Vita contemplativa: Following the scientific method: How I became a committed functionalist and positivist', Organization Studies, 26, pp. 1071 - 1088, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0170840605053542
    Journal articles | 2004
    Donaldson DA; Shughart LA, 2004, 'Redesigning the commercial organization of CSX: An organizational portfolio analysis', Journal of the Transportation Research Forum, 43, pp. 69 - 84
    Journal articles | 2003
    Donaldson DA, 2003, 'Neither limitations nor process theories refute the contradictions between theories and management education: Reply to Watson and Chiles', Academy of Management Learning and Education, 2, pp. 292 - 295
    Journal articles | 2002
    Donaldson DA, 2002, 'Damned by our own theories: Contradictions between theories and management learning and education', Academy of Management Learning and Education, 1, pp. 96 - 106
    Journal articles | 2001
    2001, 'Reflections on knowledge and knowledge-intensive firms', Human Relations, 54, pp. 955 - 963, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0018726701547008
    Journal articles | 2000
    Donaldson DA, 2000, 'Organizational structures for competence-based management', Advances in Applied Business Strategy, pp. 31 - 56
    Journal articles | 2000
    2000, 'Organizational portfolio theory: performance-driven organizational change', Contemporary Economic Policy, 18, pp. 386 - 396, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-7287.2000.tb00035.x
    Journal articles | 1999
    Heslin PA; Donaldson DA, 1999, 'Organizational portfolio theory of board composition', Corporate Governance - An International Review, 7, pp. 81 - 88
    Journal articles | 1999
    1999, 'An organizational portfolio theory of board composition', Corporate Governance, 7, pp. 81 - 88, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8683.00131
    Journal articles | 1998
    1998, 'Management redeemed: The case against fads that harm management', Organizational Dynamics, 26, pp. 7 - 20, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0090-2616(98)90002-X
    Journal articles | 1998
    1998, 'Stewardship theory and board structure: A contingency approach', Corporate Governance - An International Review, 6, pp. 5 - 28, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8683.00076
    Journal articles | 1998
    1998, 'The myth of oaradigm in commensurability in canagement studies: Comments by an integrationist', Organization, 5, pp. 267 - 272, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/135050849852007
    Journal articles | 1997
    Davis JT; Schoorman DF; Donaldson DA, 1997, 'The Distinctiveness of Agency Theory and Stewardship Theory', Academy of Management Review, pp. 611 - 613
    Journal articles | 1997
    Donaldson L, 1997, 'Letter to the Editor', Organization Studies, 18, pp. 1040 - 1043, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/017084069701800615
    Journal articles | 1997
    1997, 'A Positivist Alternative to the Structure-Action Approach', Organization Studies, 18, pp. 77 - 92, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/017084069701800105
    Journal articles | 1997
    1997, 'Toward a Stewardship Theory of Management', Academy of Management Review, 22, pp. 20 - 47, http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/AMR.1997.9707180258
    Journal articles | 1994
    Donaldson L; Davis JH, 1994, 'Boards and Company Performance ‐ Research Challenges the Conventional Wisdom', Corporate Governance: An International Review, 2, pp. 151 - 160, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8683.1994.tb00071.x
    Journal articles | 1984
    Donaldson L, 1984, 'Explaining structural change in organisations: Contingency determinism or contingency fit', Australian Journal of Management, 9, pp. 15 - 24, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/031289628400900202
    Journal articles | 1976
    Donaldson L, 1976, 'The Conflict Resolution Process: The Two-factor Theory and an Industrial Case', Personnel Review, 5, pp. 21 - 28, http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/eb055306
    Journal articles | 1976
    1976, 'WOODWARD, TECHNOLOGY, ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE AND PERFORMANCE — A CRITIQUE OF THE UNIVERSAL GENERALIZATION', Journal of Management Studies, 13, pp. 255 - 273, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6486.1976.tb00902.x
    Journal articles | 1975
    Donaldson L, 1975, 'Job Enlargement: A Multidimensional Process', Human Relations, 28, pp. 593 - 610, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/001872677502800701
    Journal articles | 1974
    Donaldson L; Warner M, 1974, 'Bureaucratic and electoral control in occupational interest associations', Sociology, 8, pp. 47 - 57, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/003803857400800103
    Journal articles | 1974
    Donaldson L; Warner M, 1974, 'Structure of Organizations in Occupational Interest Associations', Human Relations, 27, pp. 721 - 738, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/001872677402700801
  • Conference Papers | 2006
    Donaldson DA, 2006, 'THE CONTINGENCY THEORY OF ORGANIZATIONAL DESIGN: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES', in Organization Design: The Evolving State of the Art, Springer Science, New York, NY
    Conference Papers | 1998
    Donaldson DA, 1998, 'Resource-based theory of the firm and organizational structure', in Heene A; Sanchez R (ed.), 4th international conference on competence-based management, 4th international conference on competence-based management, Norway, pp. 1, presented at 4th international conference on competence-based management, Norway, 18 June 1998 - 20 June 1998