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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Formal organizations make up social structure
Formal Organizations Make up formal Social structure

  • Normative (service, charitable organizations)

  • Coercive (prisons)

  • Utilitarian (corporations)

Asch s experiment

  • Offices, Vertical official functions formal

  • 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 formal

  • 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) “iron cage”

  • 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 “ “iron cage”Organization Man” – or bureaucratic personality

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

Bureaucracy dysfunctions
Bureaucracy dysfunctions…. “iron cage”

  • 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

Asch s experiment

  • Peter Principle: “iron cage”

  • 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

  • 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 in exchange for money.

  • 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 in exchange for money.

  • 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 in exchange for money. 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 in exchange for money.

  • 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 in exchange for money.

  • 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