Sociology of Management and Organizations

On the eve of World War I, scientific management became the first big management fad, a source of innumerable new truths about work and its organization, all of which were oriented to the efficiency of the individual human body. At the same time a revolution in manufacturing also occurred when Henry Ford introduced the assembly line, modeled on the Chicago slaughterhouses. In the abattoirs each job was separated into a series of simple repetitive actions as the bodies moved down the line to be progressively dismembered; in Ford the car was built on the same principles that the hog was butchered.
A broad definition of an organization could be said to be that of any purposeful arrangement of social activity that implies active control over human relations ordered for particular ends. In this sense, organizations involve patterns of relationships beyond primary group associations that are largely spontaneous, unplanned, and informal, and that are typified by kinship relations, peer groups, and localized community networks. There is, however, no generally accepted definition of an organization since its meaning may vary in terms of the different sociological approaches applied to the subject.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) are umbrella terms that refer to organizations not directly controlled by the state or governments, mostly concerned with human rights of various kinds (including civic and political, economic and social, and environmental rights), professional and occupational interests, and various other enthusiasms. They range from very large organizations […]

Bureaucratic Personality

In his seminal work on the dysfunctions of bureaucracy, Robert Merton suggested that the values and attitudes necessary for the bureaucratic official to make a useful contribution are embraced to such a degree that the needs of the organization become secondary to the workings of the bureaucracy itself. Attention switches from the goals of the […]

Routinization of Charisma

The routinization of charisma relates to Max Weber’s (1968: 212-54) typology of pure types of legitimate, social power (reinen Typen legitimer Herrschaft) (Weber 1956: 122-5; 1968: 212-7). Charisma stems from ”an exceptional (originally attributed to prophets, people with healing or legal knowledge, great hunters or war heroes: as magically instilled), valued quality” endowing a person […]

Ideal Type

Max Weber designed his use of the ideal type to solve the problem of comparison. All historical events are unique. Forcing these into some overall framework would do violence to the integrity of local detail. Capturing the general abstract qualities of a phenomenon in a mental model enables the construction of a refined and general […]

New Institutional Theory

Emerging from the sociology of education in the 1970s, new institutional theory (NIT) has become one of the foremost positions within the mainstream of US management studies. It seeks to explain the ways in which institutions are created, sustained, and diffused. Adherents of NIT are keen to draw a distinction between ”new” and ”old” institutionalism. […]

Labor Process

Critical labor process analysis began with Marx’s (1976) distinction, in Capital, volume I (The Production Process of Capital ) between ”the labour process in general” and ”the labor process combined with the process of creating value [Wertbildungsprozess]” – the ”valorization process [Verwertungsprozess]” (pp. 283-306). Marx emphasized the ontological significance of the labor process: humanity must […]

Leadership

Leadership is the process of inspiring, directing, coordinating, motivating, and mentoring individuals, groups, organizations, societies, and nations. Weber (1947) identified three typologies of leadership in bureaucracy: charismatic, traditional, and legal. Charismatic leaders were attributed powerful qualities by their followers; traditional leaders were powerful by virtue of hereditary wealth; legal leadership draws its power from professional […]

Management

On the eve of World War I, scientific management became the first big management fad, a source of innumerable new truths about work and its organization, all of which were oriented to the efficiency of the individual human body. At the same time a revolution in manufacturing also occurred when Henry Ford introduced the assembly […]

Theories of Management

Management is defined as a social process and a social figure. As a social process, it is defined by the ways in which an organization operates effectively and efficiently. Whereas effectiveness is related to the attainment of goals, efficiency is related to the optimization of resources in the pursuit of organizational goals. The resulting effectiveness-efficiency […]

Military Sociology

Military sociology employs sociological concepts, theories, and methods to analyze the internal organization, practices, and perceptions of the armed forces and the relationships between the military and other social institutions. Some of the topics of investigation include small group processes related to race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, leadership, policy, veterans, combat, historical cases, the USA […]

Organization Theory

The ability of societies to respond to social and economic problems depends upon the availability of diverse organizational forms. Organization theorists are interested in the range of organizational forms, their capabilities and consequences, in how new organizational forms arise and become established, and in who controls them for what purposes. Prior to the 1960s, and […]

Organizations

A broad definition of an organization could be said to be that of any purposeful arrangement of social activity that implies active control over human relations ordered for particular ends. In this sense, organizations involve patterns of relationships beyond primary group associations that are largely spontaneous, unplanned, and informal, and that are typified by kinship […]

Organizations as Social Structures

Organizations as social structures is a perspective that focuses on the hardware of human association, the durable factors that govern people’s ways of being together as they achieve common goals by coordinated means. As it has been understood in the literature, social structure is what permits the organization’s persistence over time; it describes relations among […]

Outsourcing

Outsourcing refers to the fundamental decision to contract out specific activities that previously were undertaken internally. In other words, outsourcing involves the decision to reject the internalization of an activity and can be viewed as vertical disintegration. As it means to obtain by contract from an outside supplier, it is also called contracting out or […]

Rational Legal Authority

According to Max Weber, rational legal authority represents a form of legitimate domination, with domination being the ”probability that certain commands (or all commands) from a given source will be obeyed by a given group of persons”. While this probability implies a certain interest on the part of those obeying in the effects of their […]

Social Institutions of Capitalism

The concept of capitalism refers to the idea that certain societies allow economic actors to rationally organize the social and financial capital at their disposal in pursuit of perpetually renewed private profits. The organizational forms actors have chosen to organize economic transactions vary, but an oft-used classification distinguishes between formal organizations, markets for the exchange […]

Cathedrals and Landscapes of Consumption

Although George Ritzer (2005) is the theorist most responsible for popularizing the phrase ”cathedrals of consumption, it has been used at least since Kowinski, who stated that ”malls are sometimes called cathedrals of consumption, meaning that they are the monuments of a new faith, the consumer religion, which has largely replaced the old (1985: 218). […]

Japanese-Style Management

The term ”Japanese-style management” (JSM) was coined in the 1970s to delineate a number of interrelated work practices in Japan: lifetime employment, seniority wages and enterprise unionism. These were seen as products of traditional values the Japanese placed on verticality in human relationships (e.g., seniority), being part of a group (e.g., long-term employment), and consensual […]

Labor Markets

In principle a labor market is the primary method of allocating people to paid work, of whatever nature, within capitalist economies/societies. Within capitalism, the separation of the producer of a good or service from the means of its production has rendered a situation where labor power (that is, the capacity of a person to work) […]

McDonaldization

McDonaldization is the process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more spheres of US society and the world. Coined by George Ritzer, the term invokes the famous fast-food chain as a metaphor for a widespread change in the delivery of goods and services toward more instrumentally efficient […]