Chapter 6 Organizations, Societies, and the Global Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Organizations • Organizations are collectives purposely constructed to achieve particular ends. • Examples include a college or university, corporations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Greenpeace. Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Bureaucracies • Ideal type---a methodological tool to study the world in which the degree of rationality is greatly exaggerated. • One of Max Weber’s most famous ideal types was the bureaucracy. Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Bureaucracies • Bureaucracies have the following characteristics: • They have a continuous series of offices or positions. • Each office has a specified competence. • The offices exist in a vertical hierarchy. • The positions have technical requirements. • Those who hold the positions are provided with tools to do the job. • Offices remain part of the organization after people leave. • Everything of importance is in writing. Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Authority Structures and Bureaucracies • Domination---the probability that commands will be obeyed • Authority---legalistic domination • Rational-Legal • Traditional • Charismatic Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Rationality and Irrationality • Researchers found Weber’s ideal type of bureaucracy to be unrealistic. • Bounded rationality is the idea that, at best, organizations exhibit a limited form of rationality. • Rationality is constrained by limitations on humans’ ability to think and act in a rational manner. Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Rationality and Irrationality • Many sociological researchers found that bureaucracies can exhibit the “irrationalities of rationality.” • Examples include red tape and the bureaucratic personality. Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. The Informal Organization • How the organization actually works as opposed to how it ideally works • Those at lower levels often have more knowledge than those at higher levels. • Many of the most important things that happen in an organization are never put in writing. • The Iron Law of Oligarchy says that a small group of people at the top illegitimately obtain and exercise more power than they are supposed to. Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Deviant Organizations • The ideal type bureaucracy makes no provisions for deviant organizations or deviance within organizations. • The most heinous example of a deviant organization is the Nazi bureaucracy. • Example of deviance within an organization include embezzlement and sexual harassment. Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Changes in Bureaucracy • In the last several decades bureaucracies have undergone important changes. • Many large organizations have been forced to downsize. • Contemporary organizations have become more flexible and agile. • There has been an increasing trend toward outsourcing. Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Globalization and Bureaucracy • Most organizations of any significant size have become increasingly global. • This is a challenge to any bureaucracy as it has to adapt to global realities. • Examples include the McDonald’s Corporation (with restaurants in 120 countries) and Wal-Mart (3600 stores in 15 countries). Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. McDonaldization and Bureaucracy • In the late 20th century, the McDonald’s Corporation was the best example of Weber’s notion of rationalization. • Its core principles include efficiency, predictability, calculability, and control. • This process (now referred to as McDonaldization) is applicable to large and small organizations, as well as consumption- and product-oriented organizations. Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Network Organizations • The network organization came about in the wake of the revolution in informational technology in the United States in the 1970s. • It is marked by the infusion of television into American life and the introduction of home computers, PDAs, and the Internet. Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Characteristics of the Network Organization • Horizontal structure • Fuzzy boundaries • Dispersed decision making • Flexible production Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Informationalism • Informationalism occurs when the forces of production and consumption are linked through knowledge and information. • Characteristics: • • • • • Technologies act on information. Technologies have a pervasive effect. Organizations are defined by a “networking logic.” Technologies are flexible. Technologies are integrated. Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Network Organizations, Bureaucracies, and McDonaldized Systems • The network organization differs from bureaucratized (rationalized) and McDonaldized organizations in key ways. • It is not organized vertically. • Offices do not exist in a hierarchy. • The key is what flows through offices: information. • The power of the system is not the position or office but the information contributed. • Little is put into formal writing (e.g., memos and letters). Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Societies • Gemeinschaft societies • Characterized by face-to-face, intimate social interactions. • Gesellschaft societies • Characterized by impersonal, distant, and limited social interactions. Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Societies: The Global • Nation • A group of people linked through common descent, culture, language, or territory. • State • A political organizational structure. • Nation-state • Encompasses both the populations that define themselves as a nation and the organizational structure of the state. Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Global Flows • Spaces of Flows • The idea of places flowing around the world • An example is the global spread of nearly identical fast food restaurants. • Landscapes • Global flows and globalization contribute to greater global cultural diversity. • Examples include ethnoscapes, technoscapes, financescapes, mediascapes, and ideoscapes. Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc. Global Barriers • Global barriers to global flows • The most important and obvious are constructed by nation-states and include • • • • • Borders and gates Guards and passport controls Customs agents Health inspectors Trade regulations Copyright 2012, SAGE Publications, Inc.