SOSA 2141 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Training And Development, Breastfeeding, Elton Mayo

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Week 2 – Rattling the Iron Cage
Forms and functions of organizations
Organizations
Organization: a type of collectivity created to achieve some objective or objectives
A collectivity with a relatively identifiable boundary, a normative order (rules), ranks of
authority (hierarchy), communications systems, and membership coordinating systems
(procedures); this collectivity exists on a relatively continuous basis, exists in an environment,
and engages in activities that are usually related to a set of goals; the activities have outcomes
for organizational members, for the organization itself, and for society
Formed for a purpose
Have a goal
Generally have formal structure
Defined boundaries
Roles and responsibilities
Wide variation – ex. School, shopping mall, families
Bureaucracy
Emphasis on formal and ordered division of labour, roles, responsibilities, trained management,
full-time workers and increasing level of authority, and…
Formalization: a reliance on written rules and regulations
Rationalization: the drive to find the optimum means to achieve a given end through rules,
regulations and social structures
Streamlining, defined communication flows, decision-making and production (of goods and
services)
More efficient
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Govern every aspect of our lives and ensure key decisions are made on purely objective
considerations
A form of power relation that is impossible to destroy; instrument of power
Less anxiety, but more frustration?
Bureaucracy becomes an ‘iron cage’ which no individual can escape
The Iron Cage
Highly rationalized/bureaucratic systems become nearly impossible for any one individual to
escape
Fears that it will make people and life constricted
In no relationships between workers
Kafka’s ‘The Castle’
“The problem which besets us now is not: how can this evolution [toward a rationalized
society] be changed?--for that is impossible, but: what will come of it. […]
No one knows who will live in this cage in the future, or whether at the end of this tremendous
development entirely new prophets will arise, or there will be a great rebirth of old ideas and
ideals or, if neither, mechanized petrification embellished with a sort of convulsive self-
importance. For of the last stage of this cultural development, it might well be truly said:
'Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has obtained a
level of civilization never before achieved" (Weber, 1904/1930: 181
Foucault
Rationalization
Technology, technique and techne
Power is everywhere vs. control and domination “from above”; power is not a zero-sum game
People participate in their own domination through ‘self-control’, ‘self-improvement’ etc.
(technologies of the self)
In organizations: skills training, productivity
Organizational goals are not forced from above; they are internalized
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