Chapter 6

Report
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.
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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.
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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.
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Authority Structures and
Bureaucracies
• Domination---the probability that commands
will be obeyed
• Authority---legalistic domination
• Rational-Legal
• Traditional
• Charismatic
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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.
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Rationality and Irrationality
• Many sociological researchers found that
bureaucracies can exhibit the
“irrationalities of rationality.”
• Examples include red tape and the
bureaucratic personality.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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Characteristics of the Network
Organization
• Horizontal structure
• Fuzzy boundaries
• Dispersed decision making
• Flexible production
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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.
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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).
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Societies
• Gemeinschaft societies
• Characterized by face-to-face, intimate social
interactions.
• Gesellschaft societies
• Characterized by impersonal, distant, and
limited social interactions.
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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.
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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.
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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
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