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Introduction to Sociology

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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
VU
Lesson 8
ORGANIZATIONS
Formal organizations are large, secondary groups that are organized to achieve their goals efficiently. They
are the product of rationalization of society, which means the acceptance of rules, efficiency, and practical
results as the right way to approach human affairs. Past is the best guide for the present i.e. traditional
orientation tends to be abandoned. Rationality was a totally different way of thinking that came to
permeate society. This new orientation transformed the way in which society is organized. As a result,
formal organizations, secondary groups designed to achieve explicit objectives, have become a central
feature of contemporary society. Examples can be business corporations, government departments, colleges
and universities, hospitals, prisons, and military organizations.
Such organizations are deliberately created `social machines with human parts'.  In these organizations
social relations are impersonal, formal, and planned. These organizations have major influence on the
everyday lives of members of modern societies.
[They] permeate virtually every aspect of modern life. ... We are usually born and die in organizations, are educated by them,
and we work, play, and pray in them. We pay taxes to and obey the laws of a supra-organization, the state. Indeed the latter
"certifies" our birth, our death, and much that happens in between. (Etzioni and Lehman, 1978)
Formal organizations operate in a deliberate way, not to meet personal needs, but to accomplish complex
jobs. Offices/statuses remain intact but the members come and go.
Types of Formal Organizations
Three types of organizations have been distinguished on the basis of why people participate i.e. Utilitarian,
Normative, and Coercive.
Utilitarian Organizations
Just about everyone who works for income is member of utilitarian organization, which pays its members to
perform the jobs for which they were hired. Large business enterprises, for example, generate profits for
their owners and salaries and wages for their employees. Most people must join an organization for making
a living.
Normative Organizations
People join normative organizations not for income but to pursue goals they consider morally worthwhile.
They are also called voluntary organizations. The interests of such organizations can be community services,
social action, and environmental protection. They are concerned with specific social issues. Examples can
be Edhi Trust, Red Crescent, The Lions Club.
Voluntary organizations strive for participatory democracy, in which all members have an equal opportunity to
discuss and decide important questions affecting the organization.
Coercive Organizations
These organizations have involuntary membership. These are total institutions that feature very strict
control of members by top-ranked officials. Members are physically and socially separated from `outsiders'
or `civil society'. The examples can be prisons, psychiatric hospitals, and military units. Total institutions
transform a human being's overall sense of self.
From differing vantage points, many organizations may fall into all these categories. A psychiatric hospital,
for example, serves as a coercive organization for a patient, a utilitarian organization for a health
professional, and a normative organization to a hospital volunteer.
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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
VU
BUREAUCRACY
Bureaucracy is an organizational model rationally designed to perform complex tasks efficiently. In a
bureaucratic business or government agency, officials deliberately enact and revise policy to make the
organization as efficient as possible.
Characteristics of Ideal-Typical Bureaucracy
Specialization. There is division of labor in the bureaucracy and each member has a specific task
1.
to fulfill. All the tasks are coordinated to accomplish the purpose of the organization.
2.
Hierarchy of offices. Bureaucracies arrange the personnel in a vertical ranking. Each person is
supervised by `higher ups' and in turn supervising others in lower positions. Usually with fewer
people in higher positions, the structure takes the form of a bureaucratic `pyramid'. In this
hierarchy assignments flow downward and accountability flowing upward.
Each level assigns
responsibilities to the level beneath it, while each lower level is responsible to the level above for
fulfilling these assignments.
Written rules and regulations. Rationally enacted rules and regulations control not only the
3.
organization's own functioning but also its larger environment. In general, the longer a
bureaucracy exists and the larger it grows, the more written rules it has.
Technical competence. A bureaucratic organization expects its officials and staff to have the
4.
technical competence to carry out their duties, and regularly monitors worker performance.
Evaluation is based on performance and not on favoritism.
Impersonality. Rules take precedence over personal whims. Members of a bureaucracy owe
5.
allegiance to the office, not to a particular person. The impersonality ensures that the clients as
well as workers are all treated uniformly. Each worker in bureaucracy becomes a small cog in a
large machine. Each worker is a replaceable unit, for many others are available to fulfill each
particular function. From this detached approach stems the notion of the "faceless bureaucrat".
6.
Formal, written communication. Heart of bureaucracy is not people but paperwork.
Rather than casual, verbal communication, bureaucracy relies on formal, written memos
and reports. Over time, this correspondence accumulates into vast files.
Problems of Bureaucracy
Bureaucracy can dehumanize and manipulate individuals, and it poses a threat to personal privacy and
political democracy.
Bureaucratic Alienation
Efficiency vs. potential to dehumanize the people it is supposed to serve. The very same impersonality that
fosters efficiency keeps officials and clients from responding to each other's unique, personal needs. Follow
bureaucratic procedure. Bureaucratic environment gives rise to alienation where a human being is reduced
to a part (cog) of big bureaucratic machinery.
Bureaucratic Inefficiency and Ritualism
Red tape: The tedious preoccupation with organizational routine and procedures. Rule is a rule.
Bureaucratic ritualism (Merton): Preoccupation with rules and regulations to the point of thwarting an
organization's goals.
Ritualism stifles individual's creativity and strangles organizational performance.
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Introduction to Sociology ­ SOC101
VU
Modest salary ­ no stake to perform efficiently ­ no incentive ­ all ritualism ­ and the resultant corruption.
Bureaucratic Inertia
Bureaucratic inertia refers to the tendency of the bureaucratic organizations to perpetuate them.
If bureaucrats have little motivation to be efficient, they certainly have every reason to protect their jobs.
Thus the officials typically strive to perpetuate their organization even when its purpose has been fulfilled.
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Table of Contents:
  1. THE ORIGINS OF SOCIOLOGY:Auguste Comte, The Fields of Sociology
  2. THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE:Society affects what we do
  3. THEORETICAL PARADIGMS:Salient Paradigms, Critical Evaluation
  4. SOCIOLOGY AS SCIENCE:Empirical, Verifiable, Cumulative, Self-Correcting
  5. STEPS IN SOCIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION:Exploration/Consultation
  6. SOCIAL INTERACTION:Social Status, ROLE, The Social Construction of Reality
  7. SOCIAL GROUPS:Primary and Secondary Groups, Reference Group, Networks
  8. ORGANIZATIONS:Utilitarian Organizations, Coercive Organizations
  9. CULTURE:Universality, Components of Culture, Symbols, Language
  10. CULTURE (continued):Beliefs, Norms, Cultural Diversity
  11. CULTURE (continued):Culture by social class, Multiculturalism, Cultural Lag
  12. SOCIALIZATION: HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, NATURE, Social Isolation
  13. UNDERSTANDING THE SOCIALIZATION PROCESS
  14. AGENTS OF SOCIALIZATION:The Family, The School, Peer Groups, The Mass Media
  15. SOCIALIZATION AND THE LIFE COURSE:CHILDHOOD, ADOLESCENCE
  16. SOCIAL CONTROL AND DEVIANCE:Crime, Deviants, Stigma, Labeling
  17. THE SOCIAL FOUNDATIONS OF DEVIANCE:Cultural relativity of deviance
  18. EXPLANATIONS OF CRIME:Sociological explanations
  19. EXPLANATIONS OF CRIME -- CONTINUED:White-Collar Crime, Conflict Theory
  20. SOCIAL DISTRIBUTION OF CRIME: EXPLANATIONS, Gender and Crime
  21. SOCIAL STRATIFICATION: INTRODUCTION AND SIGNIFICANCE
  22. THEORIES OF CLASS AND STRATIFICATION I:Critical evaluation
  23. THEORIES OF SOCIAL CLASS AND STRATIFICATION II
  24. THEORIES OF CLASS AND SOCIAL STRATIFICATION III
  25. SOCIAL CLASS AS SUBCULTURE
  26. SOCIAL MOBILITY:Structural factors, Individual factors, Costs
  27. THE FAMILY: GLOBAL VARIETY, Marriage Patterns, Patterns of Descent
  28. FUNCTIONS OF FAMILY:Reproduction, Social placement
  29. FAMILY AND MARRIAGE IN TRANSITION:Family is losing functions
  30. GENDER: A SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION, Gender socialization
  31. GENDER SOCIALIZATION:Role of family, Gender Stratification
  32. EXPLANATIONS OF GENDER INEQUALITY:Conflict Explanations, Feminism
  33. FUNCTIONS OF SCHOOLING:Cultural Innovation, School Tracking
  34. ISSUES IN EDUCATION:Low Enrollment, High Dropout, Gender Disparity
  35. POPULATION STUDY AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE:Crude Birth Rate
  36. THEORY OF POPULATION GROWTH:Theory of Demographic Transition
  37. POPULATION PROFILE OF PAKISTAN:World Population Growth
  38. POPULATION PROFILE OF PAKISTAN (Continued):Age Distribution, Sex Composition
  39. IMPLICAIONS OF POPULATION GOWTH:Additional GDP needed per year
  40. POPULATION POLICY:Goals of Population Policy, Objectives, Strategies
  41. ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY:Global Dimension, Historical Dimension
  42. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES:Preserving Clean Water, Clearing the Air
  43. SOCIAL CHANGE:Social change is controversial.
  44. CAUSES OF SOCIAL CHANGE:Culture and Change, Conflict and Change, Modernization
  45. MODERNITY AND POST MODERNITY:Cultural Patterns, Post-modernity