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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

Asch's experiment

Smartest guys in the room groupthink

Smartest Guys in the Room -- Groupthink

Asch s experiment

Bureaucracy --- Necessary Evil

Organizations collectives purposely constructed that are formal

Organizations (collectives purposely constructed) that are formal

Ronald “Mc…who”?

Formal organizations make up social structure

Formal Organizations Make up Social structure

  • Normative (service, charitable organizations)

  • Coercive (prisons)

  • Utilitarian (corporations)

Asch s experiment

  • Offices, Vertical official functions

  • Authoritarian Structure:

  • a hierarchy of unequal positions

  • Specialized division of labor

  • Everything in writing

  • Structure based on legal-rational authority

Asch s experiment

  • 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

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.

Asch s experiment

  • Alienating (powerless)

  • Trained incapacity – blind adherence

  • Red tape

  • Catch 22

  • Knowledge at the lower ranks

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

Asch s experiment

  • 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

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

Can lead to trained incapacity

Can lead to “trained incapacity”

Bureaucracy dysfunctions

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”

Asch s experiment

  • Parkinson’s Law:

  • work expands to fill time

Asch s experiment

  • 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

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

Asch s experiment

  • 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

Asch s experiment

  • 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

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

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

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

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

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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