Summary The Sociology of Organizations

ISBN-10 0761987665 ISBN-13 9780761987666
297 Flashcards & Notes
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This is the summary of the book "The Sociology of Organizations". The author(s) of the book is/are Michael J Handel. The ISBN of the book is 9780761987666 or 0761987665. This summary is written by students who study efficient with the Study Tool of Study Smart With Chris.

Summary - The Sociology of Organizations

  • 1 Organizations as rational systems I

  • Who was Weber
    A rational systems theorist who believed that bureaucracy was the most efficient form of organization and a pillar of modern society.
  • Weber compared modern bureaucratic authority what other kinds of authority?
    Charismatic and traditional
  • Authority in traditional political systems is based on long-standing and seldom questioned principles. It has great stability
  • What kind of authority is bureaucracy according to Weber?
  • In traditional systems hierarchical postion was not based on competence.
  • Weber believed modernity meant rationality and the spread of a scientific approach to living, and he saw bureaucracy as the embodiment of these principles. By dividing tasks into logical pieces and parceling them out to full time specialists, bureaucracies were ideally suited to accomplishing, complex jobs of all sorts on a larger scale.
  • Weber predicted that socialist economies would be even more bureaucratic, why?
    A planned economy requires collection of more technical knowledge than market economies and tries to exercise more conscious and directive control over the economy through government planning.
  • Weber placed such a great emphasis on rationality precision and calculation in bureaucratic administration and modern life that the contemporary reader mght find his assertions puzzingly obvious.
  • One of the flaws of Webers work:
    Sometimes, Weber suggests that bureaucratic authority is based on position in the hierarchy of command but other times he suggests it is based on expert knowledge
  • What is line management?
    A clear hierarchy of authority from the chief executive to division, department or plant managers and first-line supervisors, and is responsible for the organization's core activities such as production.
  • What is staff (management) ?
    It provides advice, support and control in areas such as research and development, personnel and accounting.
  • Weber does not distinguish line and staff management as forms of authority which is seen as a flaw in his theories
  • Weber believed bureaucracy and democracy were complementary because democracy requires equality before the law and bureaucratic principles include the uniform application of rules and the use of meritocratic qualifications rather than status to recruit office holders. Weber saw bureaucracy as efficient, modern and compatible with democracy.
  • What was Henry Fayol?
    A rational systems theorist like Weber
  • How did Fayol describe the bureaucratic organization?
    A division of labor and specialization of function allows administrators to develop specialized knowledge and proficiency in their tasks. A chain of authority ensures coördination, discipline and constancy of purpose.
  • Fayol believed that management should encourage social harmony in the organization by being fair to workers concerned for their welfare and competent enoug hto elicit their loyalty and obedience.
  • Fayol generally saw things from a managerial perspective
  • Fayol recommended that no subordinate receive orders from more than one superior as this will lead to confusion disorder and ill will when the directives of different supervisors conflict.
  • What is Taylor known for?
    Scientific management
  • What is restriction of output?
    Small work groups use peer pressure to enforce a moderate work pace on all their members to make sure there would be no speed up without pay (rate cutting)
  • Principal agency problem
  • Many came to view Taylorism as a management ideology and a tool to control labor, output levels and work pace.
  • Harry Braverman is the sharpest critic of Taylor's influence on work and organizations. Braverman views Taylorism as a management device to wrest power from workers rather than merely as a neutral techniquw for enhancing efficiency.
  • The purpose of scientific management in Braverman's view is to lower labor costs, increase worker effort, limit workers' autonomy and enhance management controle. Braverman argues that the division of labor as currently practiced is not a technical requirement, as Gulick, Taylor and managers would argue but really an artificial means of denying workers a wider knowledge of the narrow jobs that they have conciously created by dividing unified craft work into small unskilled pieces.
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5 attributes that support change in street-level bureaucracies:
1. Public programs of entitlement and control provide at least the potential for mobilizing clients and sympathetic publics toward greater accountability in implementation and administration.
2. Professional norms of behavior toward clients provide a measure of resistance to bureaucratization.
3. Street-level bureaucrats by definition interact constantly with clients.
4. lower-level workers maintain a degree of control over their work environment. 
5. There is a distinct but neglected precedent for organized public employees championing the needs of clients.
Government policy is not likely to respond fully to the needs of citizens for what 2 reasons?
1. There is no agreement as to what those needs are.
2. There is a powerful imperative to maintain private responsibility for social needs and make dependency punishable by welfare, public hospitals and inner-city schools.
Two respects in which the structure of relationships between workers and clients appears to be derived from the particular character of American society:
1. Street-level bureaucracies are affected by the prevailing orientations towards the poor in the US.
2. The politics of the larger society affect street-level bureaucracies and their clients in the dynamic relationship between the requirements of providing services and their perceived costs.
The possibility that decisions can be appealed also enhances the legitimacy of the bureaucracy to the client. For this to work two conditions must be met. What are they?
1. It must look like channels for appeal are open.
2. These channels must be costly to use, rarely successful and if successful not well publicized.
Aspects of practice that commonly contribute to routine control of clients:
1. Street-level bureaucrats interact with clients in settings that symbolize, reinforce and limit their relationship.
2. Clients are isolated from one another.
3.The services and procedures of street-level bureaucrats are presented as benign.
Why do we see differentiation among clients?
Some clients simply evoke workers' sympathy or hostility.
Street-level bureaucrats respond to general orientations towards clients' worthiness or unworthiness that permeate the society and to whose proliferation they regularly contribute.
The decisions of street-level bureaucrats tend to be ...
Redistributive as well as allocative.
What are street-level bureaucracies?
Public service agencies that employ a significant number of street-level bureaucrats in proportion to their work force.
What are street-level bureaucrats?
Public service workers who interact directly with citizens in the course of their jobs and who have substantial discretion in the execution of their work.
Thir principle of scientific management (braverman)
The use of the monopoly over knowledge to control each step of the labor process and its mode of execution