Asch s experiment
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Asch's experiment. Smartest Guys in the Room -- Groupthink. Bureaucracy --- Necessary Evil. Organizations (collectives purposely constructed) that are formal . Ronald “Mc…who”?. Formal Organizations Make up Social structure. Normative (service, charitable organizations) Coercive (prisons)

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Asch's experiment

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Asch's experiment

Smartest Guys in the Room -- Groupthink

Bureaucracy --- Necessary Evil

Organizations (collectives purposely constructed) that are formal

Ronald “Mc…who”?

Formal Organizations Make up Social structure

  • Normative (service, charitable organizations)

  • Coercive (prisons)

  • Utilitarian (corporations)

  • Offices, Vertical official functions

  • Authoritarian Structure:

  • a hierarchy of unequal positions

  • Specialized division of labor

  • Everything in writing

  • Structure based on legal-rational authority

  • Functions like

  • McDonaldization the intent is to meet specific goals with the most efficiency, predictability, control through technology, quantity over qauality, calculation

  • Bureaucracies perpetuate differences in “Life Chances”


Weber worried about the over rationalization of society “iron cage”

  • But he missed some things…

  • the dysfunctions that come with “Bounded rationality”

  • Not all organization members are rational.

  • Alienating (powerless)

  • Trained incapacity – blind adherence

  • Red tape

  • Catch 22

  • Knowledge at the lower ranks

“Whoa... I think the boss doesn’t like you!”

  • Leads to Whyte’s “Organization Man” – or bureaucratic personality

    a person whose life is controlled by organization “cheerful robots”

Often they have an inability to think outside the box….

Can lead to “trained incapacity”

Bureaucracy dysfunctions….

  • Goal conflicts:

  • (units conflict with organizational goals or infighting occurs)

  • Goal Displacement:

  • (lose sight of original goals and sometimes those in power start to manipulate the organization “oligarchy”

  • Parkinson’s Law:

  • work expands to fill time

  • Peter Principle:

  • promoted beyond competence – some excel but many do less than their job description

  • Leave no trace – oral communication to keep secrets

“What do I need to do to have promotion written all over me”

Today’s Bureaucracies are more diverse that Weber considered but…..

  • Gendered Organizations persist….

  • Perpetuates inequalities

    “visible display” means more pressure, more stress but does not equal authority

  • “Glass Ceiling” exists where advancement can be seen but not accessible. Justified by “unique” positions –

  • Glass escalator – men in traditionally female occupations

  • Women represent more than half of professional positions in the United States

  • •Women hold 18 percent of all Fortune 500 board seats and 17 percent of Fortune 100 companies

  • • Make up less than 4 percent Fortune 500 CEOs at only 18

  • “Double Pane glass ceiling” for women executives – especially in relation to global companies

  • Outsourcing – transfer of activities from one organization in exchange for money.

  • Offshore outsourcing - India, Phillapines call centers

  • 1989 – U.S. spent between $9 – $12 Billion

  • 2008 – U.S. spent $55 billion

  • Much military spending was outsourced – Blackwater (Xe) and Halliburton (KBR)

Gender and Race

  • Schwartz argues

  • “Mommy Tracks” encourage lowered aspirations and satisfaction with less

  • Leads to decreased advancement

  • Because men have not been allowed to have “Daddy Tracks”

  • Today in place but hard for men to access

  • Feagin argues entry does not equal integration for minorities

  • Best explained by social networks, lack of mentors

Class differences

  • Dual Labor Market

  • Middle and Upper classes more likely to work in industries with higher wages, more job security

  • Poor and Working classes more likely to work in industries with lower wages, less job security, fewer opportunities to advance

Bureaucracies have an informal side

  • Day to day interactions

  • Work Cultures arise

  • Subcultures develop when people try to humanize an impersonal organization.

  • The informal culture can become exclusionary.

  • Hawthorne Effect

  • e.g. “Chislers”, “Squealers”, “Rate Busters”

Traditional views

  • Assume people are lazy

  • Informal networks should be controlled

  • e.g., locking doors at chicken plant, monitoring e-mails, videotaping stockrooms

Human relation views

  • If you assume traditional view, you’ll get resistance

  • Informal networks should be nurtured

  • Let workers determine organizational efficiency – this oils the wheels and provide intrinsic motivation

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