No theory forbids me to say "Ah!" or "Ugh!", but it forbids me the bogus theorization of my "Ah!" and "Ugh!" - the value judgments. - Theodor Julius Geiger (1960)


Mikropolitik - Horst Bosetzky (2019), Wiesbaden: Springer VS

Mikropolitik (Micropolitics) is the study of power and politics in organizations at the microlevel. Micropolitics shape the behavior of individuals within bureaucracies, and it’s important to understand and manage these forces in order to effectively lead public organizations. In his book "Mikropolitik: Macht und Einfluß in Organisationen," Horst Bosetzky explores the various ways in which individuals navigate and influence organizational decision-making and culture. From analyzing classic novels about organizations to discussing the difficulties of teaching sociology to practitioners, Bosetzky offers a comprehensive and thought-provoking look at the micro-level dynamics of organizations. If you're interested in the ways in which power and politics play out within your own organization, this book is a must-read.

This book is a collection of the author's central articles on the topic of micropolitics in organizations. The articles have been revised for this publication and can be read independently and in any order.

Chapter 1 - Micropolitics, Machiavellianism and accumulation of power

Horst Bosetzky is a sociologist who has spent many years working as an apprentice and seasonal worker at Siemens and as a scientific researcher in the Bremen administration. He initially believed that large organizations functioned according to the ideal type of bureaucracy described in theory, with all employees behaving predictably and in accordance with their prescribed roles. However, he observed that in practice, power dynamics in these organizations were more complex and chaotic, with individuals of the same rank having varying levels of influence and some subordinates even holding sway over their superiors. Bosetzky's observations also included instances of people competing for status symbols and resources, as well as displays of powerlessness, passivity, and resignation. In an attempt to understand these phenomena, Bosetzky began to study micropolitics, the informal, often hidden power struggles within organizations. 

Bosetzky discusses how individuals in positions of power can accumulate and amplify their power within an organization. This can be achieved through a variety of means, including helping others and expecting something in return, convincing others to attribute a certain level of power to the individual, acting as an agent for another system with its own interests, forming their own group of loyal followers, and forming coalitions with other groups of power holders within the organization. These "power amplifiers" then seek to control and manipulate their followers in a Machiavellian manner, selecting them based on their perceived intelligence and usefulness, and manipulating their emotions and desires in order to maintain their loyalty. Power amplifiers also seek to control the flow of information and communication within their group, and to present themselves as having more power and influence than they may actually possess.

Chapter 2 - The deliberate creation of ambiguity as an organizational problem

The study of organizations has largely focused on creating and analyzing clarity, rather than recognizing and embracing the importance of uncertainty. Bosetzky describes how creating uncertainty within an organization is a strategic tool for individuals to assert their agency and shape the organization to better serve their own needs and goals. He posits that social systems are inherently unstable due to the inherent conflict between positive and negative power roles, and that the needs and goals of individuals may not always align with those of the organization. As a result, individuals may use various tactics, such as the deliberate creation of uncertainty, to resist the organization's attempts to instrumentalize them and to carve out their own space within the organization. However, the use of such tactics can also have negative consequences, including increasing conflict and destabilizing the organization. Thus, the balance between clarity and uncertainty is important for the health and success of an organization.

Those in positions of power can create and use uncertainty to maintain their control. This can be achieved through providing subordinates with incomplete or contradictory information related to task performance (in order to prove their own superiority or the inferiority of others), creating uncertainty about job security and promotions (in order to increase discipline and acceptance of power), and setting unclear norms and expectations. Additionally, those in power can create uncertainty by constantly changing their decisions and actions, or by using ambiguous language and communication. This can lead to increased discipline and acceptance of power among subordinates. So, those in power can use uncertainty to manipulate and deceive others, and this can lead to negative consequences such as increased stress and reduced productivity.

Subordinates can create uncertainty in order to avoid the risk of making mistakes or being identified as a mistake maker, by avoiding precise definitions, or by taking on too much work or claiming that it is of high quality and difficulty (to protect their own leisure time). They can also create uncertainty by providing incomplete or contradictory information about their own activities or the activities of others, in order to protect their own position or to gain leverage in power struggles.

Those seeking advancement can also create uncertainty by undermining the stability of other groups or by manipulating the decision-making processes through the use of agents. The creation of uncertainty can also be a tactic in the power struggles between groups, as it can be used to stall or prevent the implementation of decisions that do not align with one's own interests, and to create conflict that can be used to strengthen the cohesion of one's own group. Creating uncertainty can be a way for individuals or groups to gain power, advance their own interests, or find enjoyment in a monotonous work environment. It can involve undermining the power of others, manipulating information, causing disruptions, or subverting authority. However, creating too much uncertainty can also lead to negative consequences such as conflict and decreased efficiency.

Organizations inherently tend towards disorganization, as members create uncertainty in order to gain power and advancement, reduce feelings of alienation and powerlessness, and maintain flexibility and motivation. While creating uncertainty can have negative consequences and should be addressed when it goes beyond certain limits, it is also functional for organizations in that it allows for flexibility, innovation, and the maintenance of necessary power dynamics. Absolute clarity, on the other hand, leads to stagnation.

Chapter 3 - The Don Corleone principle in organizations

The concept of "Don Corleone power" is named after the character in the novel The Godfather. This refers to the accumulation of power beyond what one's official position or characteristics would suggest. Individuals in organizations often use tactics such as forming alliances, manipulating information, and using personal connections to accumulate this type of power. Don Corleone power has notable effects on organizational dynamics and decision-making. 

Within large organizations, there is often an accumulation of power among certain individuals that cannot be explained solely by their hierarchical position, intelligence, or charisma. This power is gained through the "Don Corleone principle"; The Godfather's Don Corleone helps those in need with the understanding that they will return the favor when he asks for it in the future. So, this principle operates through the exchange of favors, where individuals offer assistance in the expectation of receiving a favor in return at some point in the future. This principle is prevalent in organizations and contributes to the distribution of power within them.

In organizations, power is generally characterized by two qualities that are emphasized differently by sociological systems theorists and conflict and Marxist theorists. For systems theorists, power is the driving force behind all organizational activity and the necessary force for achieving system goals, while for conflict and Marxist theorists, power is a means of achieving individual and group-specific goals at the expense of others, leading to a dichotomy between those with power and those without, with the latter typically seeking to overcome the existing distribution of power and resources. In large organizations, the distribution of power seems to be based on hierarchy, but closer observation reveals that certain individuals accumulate power that cannot be explained by their position in the hierarchy. This power can be attributed to the Don Corleone principle, where individuals accumulate power through a combination of hierarchical, functional, and charismatic authority, power derived from other organizations, and power gained through the Don Corleone strategy of accumulating favors that can be called in later. The mechanism of self-fulfilling prophecies also plays a role in the accumulation of power, as those perceived to have power are more likely to actually attain it. The danger is that individuals with significant power, the Don Corleones, will use the organization and its members for their own purposes, seeking to maintain the status quo rather than enacting change. However, these Don Corleones can also be the last hope for those who are disadvantaged or deprived within the organization, as they are often the ones who can provide assistance or remedies when the system fails.

Chapter 4 - The Prince of Homburg Effect About Survival in Organizations

The Prince of Homburg Effect is the idea that people who stand out in an organization, either through their behavior or their performance, are more likely to advance in their careers. This is because they are more likely to be noticed and remembered by their superiors. In order to advance in an organization, it is therefore important for individuals to stand out in some way, either through their actions or through their achievements. This can be especially challenging in larger organizations where it is easy to become anonymous, but it is a key factor in career advancement. 

The "Prince of Homburg Effect" is named after a character in a play by Heinrich von Kleist. In the play, the Prince of Homburg is an excellent member of an organization, but he lacks the necessary sense of duty and follows his own desires instead of orders. This leads to conflict with his superiors and ultimately, his downfall. The concept of the Prince of Homburg Effect is used to illustrate the importance of following rules and orders in organizations and the consequences of not doing so. It also highlights the role of emotion and personal ambition in decision making within organizations. 

The Prince of Homburg Effect refers to the idea that in organizations, those who demonstrate both loyalty and high levels of performance are more likely to rise to leadership positions. This is based on the bureaucratic model of organizations proposed by Max Weber, which posits that bureaucracy is the most efficient and effective form of administration because it ensures both loyalty and optimal performance. Those who do not meet these criteria may be demoted or removed from the organization. In some cases, a lack of performance may be overlooked if the individual demonstrates sufficient loyalty, but the reverse is not true, as poor loyalty can never compensate for a lack of performance. 

Chapter 5 - The suppression of bureaucratic elements as an organizational necessity

Organizations have a need to suppress certain bureaucratic elements in order to function effectively. Organizations of a certain size, dependent on a changing environment, producing non-standardized output, and accountable to a higher authority, must have a balance of bureaucratic and team-oriented elements in their structure. However, circumstances often lead to a heavy bureaucracy and an excess of bureaucratic elements, which can hinder the organization's goals. In such cases, members of the organization may suppress certain bureaucratic elements in order to maintain the organization's function and protect their own personal identities.

Bosetzky cites a study of a press and information office of a government, where it was found that the organization had both bureaucratic and non-bureaucratic elements. The non-bureaucratic elements, referred to as team-like professional elements, are more effective in handling tasks that are non-routine, require a high level of social skill and adaptability, and involve members with professional ideals and a strong interest in the organization's goals. Members of the organization have various methods to suppress bureaucratic elements, including avoiding formal channels of communication and decision-making, creating informal networks, and using language and symbols to subvert the bureaucracy. However, there are potential negative consequences involved with suppressing bureaucratic elements, including loss of control and reduced efficiency.

Organizations that are dependent on a changing environment, produce non-standardized output, value social and political skill in their interactions with others, and are accountable to a higher authority, typically need to incorporate both bureaucratic and team-like professional elements into their organizational structure. However, certain circumstances can lead to a dominant bureaucratic structure and an excess of bureaucratic elements that hinder goal achievement. In such cases, members of the organization may suppress certain bureaucratic elements in order to maintain the organization's functionality and protect their own personal identities. Bosetzky describes seven methods by which members of the Press and Information Office, a government agency, were able to create non-bureaucratic spaces within their organization:

1. utilizing the discretion afforded by vague orders,

2. leveraging personal connections,

3. utilizing informal networks and communication channels,

4. avoiding bureaucratic channels and procedures,

5. undermining bureaucratic elements through the use of personal charisma,

6. creating a professional identity, and

7. establishing a "zone of indifference" towards bureaucratic elements.

Members of the Press Office can use their agency to act in ways that are more team-oriented and professional, rather than following a bureaucratic structure. This can be achieved through the creation of personal relationships, networking, and the use of discretion in decision-making. This type of behavior, however, is not stable and can be disrupted by changes in personnel or political circumstances. The Press Office can also experience tension between the bureaucratic structure and team-oriented behavior, and there is a risk of conflicts arising between members who prioritize different values. Bosetzky suggests that the Press Office should strive to balance the bureaucratic structure with team-oriented behavior in order to effectively fulfill its duties.

Chapter 6 - On the maxim "Trust is good, control is better"

Bosetzky discusses the idea that organizations aim to replace external control of individuals with internal control in order to get employees to do what is best for the organization without the need for constant supervision and precise instructions. This is reflected in various theories and concepts in organizational theory and sociology, such as the contrast between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, "rational-economic man" who is motivated by monetary incentives and "self-actualizing man" who seeks independence and autonomy at work. However, this idea is problematic because it ignores the complexity of human behavior and relies on the assumption that people can be trained to act in a certain way.

Trust is used as a means of control in organizations, and power and politics shape organizational behavior. A lack of trust can lead to the need for bureaucratic measures and practices such as regulation, formalization, official authority, written communication, centralized information, rational discipline, and constant monitoring of task completion to reduce complexity. This can make team-oriented and professional forms of work more difficult and decrease an organization's flexibility, innovation, and efficiency. Additionally, if trust is lacking, control may be exercised in areas where it is unnecessary or even absurd due to the expertise and professional orientation of the staff, leading to resistance from the controlled members and hindering the granting of trust by superiors. Bosetzky discusses the instrumentation of trust and its inevitable counterpart, mistrust, which can increase the internal complexity of an organization.

Chapter 7 - Systemic limits of a planned administrative management

Planned administrative leadership in public organizations has its limits. This is because planned administrative leadership, which is based on concepts other than authority, command and mechanical obedience, is difficult or impossible to implement in bureaucracies due to their inherent structure and tendency to produce deviant behavior and anomalous states, as well as their inevitable tendency towards anarchy and the existence of multiple, competing interests. 

The lack of trust in organizations has significant consequences for their social and organizational reality. When trust is lacking as a necessary tool to reduce complexity, bureaucratic measures and means such as regulation, formalization, official authority, written communication, information monopolization at the top, rational discipline, absolutization of vertical communication, division of work, and constant monitoring of task completion must take its place. This makes team-oriented professional forms of work management extremely difficult, reduces the organization's ability to be flexible and innovative, and reduces efficiency. The lack of trust also leads to control being exercised where it is unnecessary and even absurd due to the technical and professional expertise of the employees. This leads to resistance from the controlled organizational members, which hinders the superiors from granting trust and leads to bureaucratic control. Trust is instrumental in organizations and the accompanying mistrust increases the internal complexity of the organization as much as it helps to reduce complexity from the environment. In addition, the public bureaucracy has inherent limitations on planned management due to the production of deviant behavior and anomalous states, the inevitable production of anarchic tendencies, the lack of clear goals and the resulting problem of goal displacement, and the impact of micropolitics on the implementation of plans.

Bosetzky describes four limitations of planned management in bureaucratic organizations:

1. The inherent tendency towards anarchy and deviation from expected behavior within bureaucratic organizations;

2. The idea that autonomy at the individual work level can lead to the suppression of the need for managerial leadership;

3. The fact that bureaucratic organizations can function effectively even without effective interactive leadership, as members are capable of taking responsibility and motivation for their actions;

4. The complexity of bureaucratic organizations, which makes it difficult to implement planned management concepts effectively.

Power is not necessarily exercised through leadership but through the manipulation of rules and resources.

The traditional concept of leadership has serious limitations. This also applies to the idea that bureaucratic organizations can be easily managed through a team-oriented, cooperative approach. This view ignores the resistance, defiance, and deviant behavior often exhibited by organization members, and attempts to increase rational, instrumental forms of leadership within bureaucratic organizations can often lead to more alienation, conflict, resistance, and noncompliance, rather than increased efficiency and effectiveness. It is both futile and dangerous to invest too many resources in the development and implementation of new conceptions of organizational leadership.

Chapter 8 - The instrumental function of promotion

This chapter discusses the role of promotions in organizations. Promotions are a motivating factor for employees, but can also lead to frustration and disappointment for those who do not receive them. The organization plays a parent-like role in its members' lives, directing, evaluating, and rewarding them. The promotion process is often subjective and can be influenced by personal relationships and power dynamics within the organization. There can be nepotism involved in promotions and this can have negative effects on organizational performance.

Promotions in organizations serve as both a means to motivate employees and a way to select the best candidates for higher positions. However, the social reality of an organization is also determined by who is promoted and who is not. Structurally-functional analyses of promotions often fail to capture this because they focus on the organization's stated or derivable goals and do not consider the personal goals and agendas of individual members. In reality, promotions serve multiple purposes and can be influenced by a variety of factors including personal relationships, networking, and politics. These factors can lead to situations where individuals are promoted for reasons other than their merit or qualifications, causing frustration and resentment among other employees. This can be harmful to the organization's overall functioning and success.

Promotions are a significant event for members of large organizations and can lead to numerous conversations and speculation within and outside of the organization. However, promotions can lead to a decrease in motivation for the larger employee population, as for every promoted employee, there are at least a handful of non-promoted employees who may feel frustrated. Structures, processes, functions, and outputs of a system can be used by members to achieve personal goals within and outside of the system. Bosetzky identifies ten ways in which instrumentalization of promotion can occur:

1. Using membership in an organization to gain access to and advantages in another organization.

2. Presenting group achievements as personal achievements in order to gain personal rewards.

3. Using work and knowledge gained within the system for personal gain outside of the system.

4. Manipulating evaluations and performance assessments to achieve promotion.

5. Using relationships and networks to gain promotion.

6. Participating in organizational politics to gain promotion.

7. Using the threat of leaving the organization to gain promotion.

8. Using one's position to gain personal rewards, such as privileges or perks.

9. Using the system to gain personal fulfillment, such as through a sense of achievement or personal growth.

10. Using promotion as a means to an end, such as to gain a higher salary or more prestige.

Bosetzky introduces the idea of a coalition model, where an individual can influence their own position in the organization through strategic and political behavior, by seeking the support of other members for their own goals and interests. One-sided promotions involve one person promoting another without expecting anything in return, and mutual promotions involve one person promoting another in exchange for support in promoting the first person's goals. Promotions can also involve the formation of cliques, known as promotion alliances, where group members work together to maximize the ranks of all members. Promotions can be motivated by both instrumental and emotional factors, but instrumental motivations may be more prevalent.

One function of promotions is the revenge function, in which an individual seeks to get revenge on an adversary by promoting their own protege to a higher position. This demonstrates the individual's influence and allows them to "get back" at their opponent for previous victories. Promotions can also fail due to the protege being integrated into their new group, developing strong antipathy or aggression towards their promoter, becoming an agent for the opposing group, being isolated or performing poorly in their new role, or becoming saturated and no longer interested in advancing. These risks highlight the importance of promotions in the micro-politics of organizations and the role of self-interest, emotion, and moral obligations in maintaining promotion relationships.

There are risks associated with promotions alliances in organizations. These risks include the protege (the person being promoted) potentially being integrated into their new work group, developing antipathy or aggression towards their promoter, acting as a double agent, being isolated by their new colleagues, or being unable to fulfill their duties on their new post. The promoter also risks being seen as using their influence for personal gain, and being ostracized by their colleagues.  

Chapter 9 - Dark factors in promotion

Promotions can be a "black box", where the decision-making process is not fully understood, including the assumption that promotions are based on merit and objective criteria. There are "dark factors" at play in promotions, including personal relationships, lobbying, and the influence of cliques. These factors can create a lack of transparency and fairness in the promotion process. The dark factors include promotions relationships between employees and the instrumentation of employees by external organizations. Societal values can influence the selection of individuals for promotion, as can the idea of meritocracy.

According to systems theorists, the question of who is promoted in organizations can be answered with two basic assumptions:

1. the functionalist assumption, which states that the system, which is focused on achieving goals and surviving, uses appropriate means and mechanisms to ensure that the most important positions are filled with the most capable people;

2. the cybernetic assumption, which states that when the control range (the staff) is disrupted by a lack of labor, the programmed controller (such as the personnel manager) automatically ensures the continued functioning of the control loop by changing the control variable (such as promoting an employee to an open position).

However, these assumptions turn promotions automatically from social processes into mechanical processes, turning people into completely programmed components, parts of systems. Promotions are also political acts and depend on the trends and power potential in the social context, and promotions are also social processes in which those who provide the necessary information and those who ultimately make the decisions pursue interests directed at maintaining and expanding their own position of power.

Bosetzky identifies two factors that are difficult to scientifically demonstrate, especially through the use of interviews, and that are often repressed by organizational members for the sake of their self-image and reputation:

1. promotion relationships among employees;

2. the instrumentalization of employees by external organizations.

These factors may often occur together, reinforcing and complementing each other, or neutralizing each other, with non-political promotion relationships more likely to occur at lower ranks and political instrumentalization more likely to occur at higher ranks. Instrumentalization of employees by other organizations is a particularly serious issue in the public sector, as it undermines the principle of objectivity in promotions and can lead to corruption. 

Chapter 10 - "Praising away" as a special form of vertical mobility

This chapter discusses a phenomenon known as "getting promoted away," which refers to the practice of removing underperforming employees from an organization by promoting them to a different position or department, rather than firing them outright. This is done to protect the reputation of the organization and the image of the supervisor, as well as to maintain morale among the remaining employees. The promoted employee is often given a positive performance review and told that the move is a promotion, even though it may not be seen as such by the employee or other colleagues. This practice can be seen as a way of sweeping problems under the rug rather than addressing them directly.

There are several benefits to the process of ‘promoting someone away’ for the organization, including the ability to replace the underperforming member with a better performer and the ability to maintain a positive image by avoiding public criticism or punishment. However, the process requires that the member being removed meets certain conditions, such as not having their flaws fully known to the organization accepting them, and having a good reputation and the support of influential groups. The process can be risky, as the member being removed may not be accepted by the new organization or may perform poorly in their new position, leading to negative consequences for both organizations.

Chapter 11 - Order is half of life - and the other half...?

This chapter is about the downsides of maintaining order in an organization. While order is generally seen as positive and necessary in society, it can also have negative consequences such as suppressing creativity and individuality, creating tension and conflict, and leading to resistance and rebellion. Strategies that individuals may use to disrupt order within an organization include sabotage, boycotting, and "going along to get along". While it is important for an organization to maintain order, it is also important to allow for some flexibility and to consider the needs and desires of individual members. 

Motivations for people in organizations to intentionally disrupt order and undermine the work of others may include a desire to advance one's own career, to gain more power and resources, or to protect one's own identity. These actions may involve withholding information, manipulating others to make mistakes, spreading rumors or creating uncertainty, and causing delays or disruptions. The consequences of such actions include the negative effects on the organization, the strain it can put on personal relationships, and the risks of getting caught and facing disciplinary action.

While order is important and necessary for the functioning of large organizations and social systems, too much order can lead to the stagnation and decline of these systems. Various motivations can lead individuals within organizations to disrupt the established order and undermine the work of others. These motivations can include the pursuit of personal gain, such as increased power or resources, or the desire to protect one's own identity or status. Chaos and disorder in organizations can serve important functions such as promoting creativity and innovation, so they should not be entirely suppressed. Instead, a balance between order and disorder is necessary for optimal functioning. 

Chapter 12 - The different functions of company outings and celebrations

In this chapter, Bosetzky discusses the various functions of workplace celebrations and outings. These events can serve as a way to build social connections and strengthen relationships within a team or organization. They can also serve as a way to reward and motivate employees, as well as to celebrate accomplishments or milestones. In addition, these events can serve as a way for management to exert control and influence over employees, as well as to gather information about employees' personal lives and relationships. However, there are also potential downsides of such events, including the potential for excess consumption of alcohol and the potential for conflicts or power imbalances to be exacerbated.

Corporate events and celebrations can serve as opportunities for employees to engage in micropolitical behavior and advance their own interests. These events provide a social environment where employees can speak more freely to their superiors and "initiate and prepare certain plans and processes." However, these events can serve as a means of emotional release for subordinates and can be used by those in power to maintain control. Honesty and open communication can be promoted through corporate events.

Chapter 13 - The "comrade bureaucracy" and the limits of scientific inquiry

Scientific research on organizations is limited when it comes to studying "comrade bureaucracy," which refers to a group of managers, employees, and officials who exhibit a special solidarity and self-manipulation of their perceptions. These groups often attempt to eliminate dissonance between their desire for self-realization and the demands of submission and obedience required by the organization by ignoring or downplaying indications of domination and conflict. These groups often have their own internal power structures and decision-making processes that are not visible to outsiders.

When a group of managers, employees, and bureaucrats are united by a special solidarity and self-manipulation of their perception, this group often forms in organizations in an attempt to transform the purposeful and bureaucratic work group into a "life space" or a "convivium," a place where social interactions can take place and alleviate the monotony and loss of freedom and leisure that often come with work. However, this transformation can lead to the downplaying of conflicts and power struggles within the organization, and can create a false sense of harmony and consensus. This can make it difficult for researchers to fully understand the reality of the organization using traditional methods such as document analysis and interviews, as they may not be able to accurately observe and analyze the underlying power dynamics and conflicts within the "comrade bureaucracy."

Individuals in organizations use various defense mechanisms to cope with the inherent power dynamics and subservience required by their roles. These mechanisms include personalizing and individualizing power relations, focusing on shared values and goals, and manipulating perceptions of reality. Subordinates and superiors alike use different mechanisms to reduce the hierarchical elements of the organization and manipulate the reality of their experiences in order to fit their own needs. Bosetzky also discusses the concept of mutual assured destruction, in which members of an organization have dirt on one another and therefore must maintain a fragile equilibrium in order to prevent damaging each other's reputations and careers.

Chapter 14 - Organizational reality based on novels

Bosetzky, himself a novelist, argues that many sociological works on organizations are not accessible or useful to practitioners because they are too abstract and intellectual. He suggests using novels to portray the reality of organizational life in a more entertaining and relatable way. Three novels successfully depict the micropolitics of organizations and can be used to understand and analyze organizational life. The novels offer insight into the power dynamics, relationships, and decision-making processes within organizations, and can be used as a way to understand and analyze the micropolitics of an organization. 

The first example is the novel "08/15 in der Kaserne" by Hans Hellmut Kirst. In the novel, the character Gefreite Asch is a master of micropolitics and evasion, meaning he not only knows what he is allowed and required to do, but also knows how to temporarily escape certain normative situations. Asch demonstrates role distance and the creation of counter-power, and his main opponent is the narrow-minded bureaucrat Hauptwachtmeister Schulz, who compensates for his own insecurities and lack of sovereignty through harshness and strictness. The novel also includes examples of the informal and formal power structures within the organization, the manipulation of communication and information, and the role of conflicts and coalitions.

In "Die Caine war ihr Schicksal," the protagonist, Willie Keith, experiences the frustrations of military socialization and witnesses the dramatic removal of an incompetent superior by his subordinates.

The novel "Büroroman" by W.E. Richartz is described as providing a portrayal of life in an office, with its various "typical" employees and their interactions. The concept of alienation is also discussed, with the idea that office workers are often disconnected from the work they do and the impact it has. The importance of communication within organizations is also highlighted, with the idea that misunderstandings and a lack of communication can lead to problems and conflict. Finally, the role of power dynamics within an organization is explored, with the idea that power is often used to manipulate and control others.

Chapter 15 - Why it is so difficult practitioners teaching organizational sociology

Teaching organizational sociology to practitioners is difficult. One reason is the use of technical language and high level of abstraction in the field. Additionally, practitioners may be more interested in practical and immediately applicable knowledge, while organizational sociology often deals with abstract and theoretical concepts. Practitioners may also resist the idea that their personal experiences and interpretations of organizational events are subjective and influenced by their own biases. To make organizational sociology more accessible and relevant to practitioners, it should be presented in a more practical and applied manner, with a focus on concrete examples and case studies. It should also consider the specific context and experiences of the practitioners and aim to help them better understand and analyze their own organizational experiences. 

There is a lack of attention paid to organizational reality and a lack of phenomenological elements in research, which often relies on employee surveys to understand organizational dynamics. Practitioners expect organizational sociology to provide them with practical help in their work and with handling conflicts within organizations, but this is often not the focus of the discipline. There is a lack of focus on practical applications and a tendency towards purely theoretical discussions in organizational sociology, which can be off-putting to practitioners.

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