Humans and Organisation
Bosetzky, H., Heinrich, P. (1994), Mensch und Organisation – Aspekte bürokratischer Sozialisation – Eine praxisorientierte Einführung in die Soziologie und die Sozialpsychologie der Verwaltung, 5. Überarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage, Deutscher Gemeindeverlag, Verlag W. Kohlhammer.
Chapter 1 - Socialization and career choice
The process of socialization plays a crucial role in an individual's career development. Research suggests that the social structure of society affects socialization, limiting the variation of a person's career development. Children still tend to base their educational and career choices on the education and career status of their parents. The ultimate goal of socialization is to prepare individuals for adult roles and responsibilities, including professional roles.
As the focus of education shifts from the ideas of reform and creating a critical consciousness in society to addressing more immediate issues like violence, drugs, and vandalism in schools, students and teachers face various challenges, such as costs for tutoring, information disparities, and social biases. However, the goal of scientific and educational efforts should be to determine the conditions and situational characteristics of depictions of violence that lead to inhibiting or promoting effects of aggression.
Moreover, there can be trends of changing values and job attitudes, which influence the assumption of professional roles in large organizations such as state agencies. The shift towards post-material values, such as self-fulfillment, well-being, and personal realization, leads to a new attitude towards work and career among young people, emphasizing communicative virtues such as teamwork and personal involvement. This trend may help solve the military, ecological, economic, and social-cultural crisis facing humanity.
Despite negative views, there is still a significant number of young people applying for jobs in the public sector, of which only a couple of percent get a chance to start a career in the public sector. The reasons why people apply to the public sector, despite its negative image, are not clear, but it is widely recognized that the public sector offers a number of privileges.
The development of a healthy and well-socialized individual has several goals, covering various aspects of personal development such as ethics, intelligence, social skills, vitality, and emotional maturity. Therefore, it is crucial for modern administrators of a higher rank to have the ability to move and operate in the field of public administration, with social skills such as social awareness, diagnostic abilities, communication and cooperation skills, flexibility in social behavior and decision-making, and willingness to learn and motivate others, as well as knowledge in fields such as public law, economics, sociology, and information technology, and practical skills in information gathering, processing and decision-making.
Chapter 2 - The structure of organizations
In a stable relationship, both parties adapt to each other's expectations and actions. This concept can also be applied to organizations, which are made up of many stable relationships. However, some criticize Parsons' approach for neglecting what people actually do and prioritizing the needs of the system over the individual. Despite this criticism, Parsons' approach is useful for understanding the forces that integrate social systems.
The reduction of environmental complexity is the aim of social systems, but whose interests do they serve? The reduction of complexity can lead to an increase in internal complexity, resulting in bureaucracy and other complications. Luhmann's theory of social systems has gained renewed attention with the concept of autopoiesis and self-structuring. Autopoietic systems are self-sustaining and self-generating through the interaction of their elements, independently from the environment.
Studies on organizational structure often fail to accurately reflect the reality of the organization and neglect important categories such as power, conformity, and alienation. The contingency theory of organizations can help us understand the relationships between organizations.
Max Weber argued that bureaucracy is a necessary form of organization that arises from the need for efficient and rational administration. While bureaucracy can lead to a more impersonal and specialized system of administration, it also undermines traditional forms of authority and reduces personal involvement. The size of an organization can also impact its structure, with increasing size leading to programmatic formalization and specialization, but also to a focus on written communication and impersonality.
Bureaucratic organizations have advantages such as clear role definitions and reduced uncertainty, but they can limit personal freedom and creativity and lead to a lack of motivation. Overcomplication, over-control, and over-stabilization are all potential phenomena that can arise in bureaucratic organizations.
When we orient ourselves towards a model of cooperative self-organization and humanizing society, we aim to eliminate alienation and commodification of humans and empower underprivileged people. The ideal type of associative organization is more comprehensive than a team-oriented professional organization. Although citizen initiatives may push public bureaucracy towards this type of organization, the focus must currently be on loosening bureaucratic structures within the limitations of the current system.
Large organizations cannot function optimally if all rules are strictly followed, and pragmatic decision-making and disregarding rules is necessary for better functioning. Subordinates may have technical superiority over their superiors, leading to a difference between assigned command competency and actual influence on decisions. The office world is characterized by positive sanctions and the removal of negative sanctions.
Chapter 3 - The psychological basis of human behavior and the motivations behind human actions
Human behavior is driven by libidinous desires according to Freud's psychoanalytic theory. Maslow's theory of motivation states that basic needs must be met before higher-level needs can be pursued. In bureaucratic organizations, self-realization is hindered by work tasks, accountability structure, and limited promotion opportunities. Be that as it may, employees in public administration fare better than those in industry.
Perception is influenced by the object being perceived and the personality doing the perceiving. Sympathy and ability both play a role in perception of personnel, with ability having a greater impact on perception than sympathy. "I only partially recognize the ability to perform in whom I dislike; I try my best to find likeable those who are capable". There is resistance to using objective methods like observation and standardized personnel assessments due to fear of losing personal power.
Learning reactions through experiences with stimuli is important for survival and adaptation. Our reactions are tied to past experiences with these stimuli, such as hearing a melody evoking pleasant feelings because of happy associations. Ivan Pavlov developed the first systematic understanding of this process of learning. Punishments can be ineffective though, when the behavior is controlled by a strong desire, when punishments are perceived as inappropriate, not unpleasant, or cause helplessness. They tend to suppress behavior rather than extinguishing it and can strain the relationship between the punisher and punished.
Identification is the process in which an individual models themselves after someone else to adjust their behavior accordingly. It involves putting oneself in another's situation through emotional attachment.
Norms are standards for human behavior, and they can be treated as means to realize values. They are binding demands for specific behavior, especially when they appear as laws. There is a trend in society to regulate social behavior more through laws, which Bosetzky and Heinrich attribute to the growth of state bureaucracy.
Chapter 4 - The fears and conflicts faced by new workers in their profession
New workers often lack information about their job, which makes it hard for them to feel confident and establish their identity in the workplace. The fear of losing their old self and adopting a new identity is called mortification and is more intense in professions that are not highly regarded. The four main causes of fear and insecurity for new workers are:
1. transitioning into a new performance-based world,
2. lack of knowledge about expectations,
3. role ambiguity, and
4. lack of information provided by superiors.
Many employees in Germany are dissatisfied due to unclear job definitions and expectations. The state and bureaucracy are viewed as tools of class domination and maintain the status quo. Bureaucracy aims for political power, personal privileges, and career advancement, and this self-orientation is characterized by inefficiency, formality, and nepotism.
When new workers join an organization, they face challenges and frustrations due to the complexity of the job. However, as they become more familiar, their confidence and willingness to embrace change increase. Group performance is optimal when there is a balance between preserving individual identity and coordinating common action. There is also a differentiation within groups regarding specialist roles, and whoever holds the leadership role has the greatest chance of influencing the group situation.
An internal ranking system is a necessary tool for large organizations to maintain their effectiveness, group cohesion, and control the conformity of its members to its norms. The success of an internal ranking system depends on several conditions, such as a majority of members being ambitious, realistic opportunities for advancement, consensus among members that the most important activities are the best-rewarded, and that competition is necessary to attain the highest positions. Modern values such as individualism, hedonism, and the increasing value placed on free time may pose challenges to this model. Traditional work values such as loyalty and diligence differ from modern values such as creativity and taking initiative, and people approach their work in different ways. Camaraderie and other social aspects of organizational culture may appear positive, but it can be a form of manipulation and repression of individuality. Anxiety in social structures can lead to stagnation and defensive behavior. Mikropolitik refers to the use of material and human resources to achieve one's own goals and improve one's own status in the system, and it can affect an organization's structure and power dynamics. The Game metaphor suggests that all organized work must contain elements of play, and nothing can be coordinated in advance. Power in organizations creates more power and can quickly overwhelm individuals. Individuals strive to reduce the power difference between themselves and those with more power.
Chapter 5 - Endangered integration in bureaucracy
When individuals feel that their freedom is threatened, they may react in different ways, such as through direct or indirect actions or accepting the change. Employees may resist changes such as reorganization or transfers due to fear of losing their benefits, job security, and difficulty adapting to new changes. Conflicts can have positive functions and consequences, such as resolving conflicts through open communication and improving work performance. Conflicts can also lead to decreased cooperation and arise from differing values, goals, and communication issues.
Consequences of increased energy consumption on individuals and organizations are e.g. sick leave, loss of image, and conflicts. Social welfare workers often face difficulties in dealing with clients, particularly with regards to aspects of integration and lack of knowledge about procedures. Conflicts and tensions can also exist between social welfare administrators and workers due to structural issues in the organization.
Bureaucratic regulation of positions and transitions can impact the transition of power, making it difficult for new leaders to succeed in their roles. Mobbing or spreading rumors and lies to tarnish someone's reputation is an example of psychological terror at work. Bullying is a human heritage that can be reduced through societal and organizational structures, and conflicts can be managed effectively by recognizing their usefulness and finding ways to address them.
Deviant behavior in organizations refers to actions that are beyond the norms and values of society. The reasons behind deviant behavior can be caused by socialization deficits, unequal distribution of power, dissatisfaction with working conditions, role conflicts, and more. It is important to understand the reasons behind deviant behavior in organizations to address and resolve the issues. Deviant behavior can have both integrative and disintegrative effects, and negative sanctions can be used to enforce compliance.
Chapter 6 - Bureaucratic socialization
Bureaucratic socialization has an impact on a person who works in an organization for a long time. A person spends more than 10,000 days of his life working in an organization. There is a complex interplay between integration and disintegration, support, and hindrance.
Goal displacement in bureaucracy refers to the substitution of a primary goal with secondary goals that become the end in themselves. This occurs in bureaucracy when formal procedures, such as filling out forms correctly, become more important than the actual decision-making process.
Active resistance aims to change bureaucratic organizations to be more team-oriented, professional, and client-centered. This is driven by the belief that change in society requires change in large organizations. Individuals in large organizations can gain their identity by critically engaging with the organization and rising against it. Active resistance is more likely when the organization is weak, sanctions are mild, an informal group or coalition is willing to fight, and high rewards are offered for success. This resistance is more likely in organizations that have a certain conflict tradition, are in a severe crisis, and have widespread support.