In recent years, evolutionary psychology and behavioral genetics have emerged as prominent theoretical perspectives within the social sciences. Yet despite broad levels of commonality between the disciplines—including an emphasis on adaptation, evolved mechanisms that guide behavior, and consequences of mismatch between these mechanisms and novel environments—studies that apply these perspectives on social behavior to organizations remain relatively rare.
The Biological Foundations of Organizational Behavior brings together contributors who shed light on the potential that behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology offer for studies of organizational behavior. In addition to examining the extant literature integrating these disciplines and organizational behavior, the book reconsiders a wide range of topics through the lens of biology within organizational behavior, including decision making, leadership and hierarchy, goals and collective action, and individual difference. Contributions also explore new areas of potential application and provide a critical assessment of the challenges that lie ahead. With accessible insights for scholars and practitioners, The Biological Foundations of Organizational Behavior marks a promising step forward in what is increasingly perceived to be an underdeveloped area of organizational behavior.
H. L. Goodall’s ground-breaking study of what people do with symbols and what symbols do to people explores the lives led by people in organizations. His narratives take on the form of six detective mysteries in which the narrator figures into the plot of the intrigue and then works out its essential patterns.
In the first mystery, "Notes on a Cultural Evolution: The Remaking of a Software Company," Goodall looks at the transition of a Huntsville regional office of a Boston-based computer software company where the lives and social dramas of the participants reflect the current state of high technology.
The second essay and perhaps the most insightful, "The Way the World Ends: Inside Star Wars," penetrates the various defenses of the Star Wars command office in Huntsville to discover its secrets and surprises. Goodall shows how media, technology, fear of relationships, and symbolic images of the future unite into the day-to-day operations of people who believe they are responsible for the outer limits of our nation’s defense.
"Lost in Space: The Layers of Illusion Called Adult Space Camp" illustrates how a supposedly innocent theme park invites participation in rituals and ceremonies designed to influence a future generation of taxpayers.
In "Articles of Faith," Goodall enters a super mall in Huntsville, noting how shopping centers provide consumers with far more than places to purchase goods and services.
"How I Spent My Summer Vacation" finds Goodall back in an academic environment, at a conference of communication scholars, where he demonstrates the difficult task of translating cultural understandings from one context to another.
"The Consultant as Organizational Detective" offers the sobering message that real-life mysteries may surprise even the most accomplished sleuth. A concluding chapter, "Notes on Method," and a new autobiographical afterword round out Goodall’s penetrating look at our symbol-making culture.
When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986, millions of Americans became bound together in a single, historic moment. Many still vividly remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the tragedy. In The Challenger Launch Decision, Diane Vaughan recreates the steps leading up to that fateful decision, contradicting conventional interpretations to prove that what occurred at NASA was not skulduggery or misconduct but a disastrous mistake.
Journalists and investigators have historically cited production problems and managerial wrong-doing as the reasons behind the disaster. The Presidential Commission uncovered a flawed decision-making process at the space agency as well, citing a well-documented history of problems with the O-ring and a dramatic last-minute protest by engineers over the Solid Rocket Boosters as evidence of managerial neglect.
Why did NASA managers, who not only had all the information prior to the launch but also were warned against it, decide to proceed? In retelling how the decision unfolded through the eyes of the managers and the engineers, Vaughan uncovers an incremental descent into poor judgment, supported by a culture of high-risk technology. She reveals how and why NASA insiders, when repeatedly faced with evidence that something was wrong, normalized the deviance so that it became acceptable to them.
No safety rules were broken. No single individual was at fault. Instead, the cause of the disaster is a story not of evil but of the banality of organizational life. This powerful work explains why the Challenger tragedy must be reexamined and offers an unexpected warning about the hidden hazards of living in this technological age.
When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986, millions of Americans became bound together in a single, historic moment. Many still vividly remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the tragedy. Diane Vaughan recreates the steps leading up to that fateful decision, contradicting conventional interpretations to prove that what occurred at NASA was not skullduggery or misconduct but a disastrous mistake.
Why did NASA managers, who not only had all the information prior to the launch but also were warned against it, decide to proceed? In retelling how the decision unfolded through the eyes of the managers and the engineers, Vaughan uncovers an incremental descent into poor judgment, supported by a culture of high-risk technology. She reveals how and why NASA insiders, when repeatedly faced with evidence that something was wrong, normalized the deviance so that it became acceptable to them. In a new preface, Vaughan reveals the ramifications for this book and for her when a similar decision-making process brought down NASA's Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003.
At the birth of the Internet Age, computer technologists in small, aggressive software development companies became part of a unique networked occupational community. They were creative, team-oriented, and enthusiastic workers who built "boundaryless careers," hopping from one employer to another.
In his absorbing ethnography The Company We Keep, sociologist Daniel Marschall immerses himself in IntenSivity, one such technological workplace. Chronicling the employees' experiences, Marschall examines how these workers characterize their occupational culture, share values and work practices, and help one another within their community. He sheds light on the nature of this industry marked by highly skilled jobs and rapid technological change.
The experiences at IntenSivity are now mirrored by employees at Facebook and thousands of other cutting-edge, high-tech start-up firms. The Company We Keep helps us understand the emergence of virtual work communities and the character of the contemporary labor market at the level of a small enterprise.
Diane Vaughan reconstructs the Ohio Revco case, an example of Medicaid provider fraud in which a large drugstore chain initiated a computer-generated double billing scheme that cost the state and federal government half a million dollars in Medicaid funds, funds that the company believed were rightfully theirs. Her analysis of this incident—why the crime was committed, how it was detected, and how the case was built—provides a fascinating inside look at computer crime. Vaughan concludes that organizational misconduct could be decreased by less regulation and more sensitive bureaucratic response.
The creation of rules that govern processes or behavior is essential to anyorganization, but these rules are often maligned for creating inefficiencies. This book provides the first comprehensive portrait of rules in public organizations and seeks to find the balance between rules that create red tape and rules that help public organizations function effectively, what the author calls “green tape.”
Drawing on a decade of original research and interdisciplinary scholarship, Leisha DeHart-Davis builds a framework of three perspectives on rules: the organizational perspective, which sees rules as a tool for achieving managerial goals and organizational functions; the individual perspective, which examines how rule design and implementation affect employees; and the behavioral perspective, which explores human responses to the intersection of the first two perspectives. The book then considers the effectiveness of rules, applying these perspectives to a case study of employee grievance policies in North Carolina local government. Finally, the book concludes by outlining five attributes of effective rules—green tape—to guide future rule creation in public organizations. It applies green tape principles to the Five-Second Rule, a crowd control policy Missouri police implemented in the wake of protests following the Michael Brown shooting. Government managers and scholars of public administration will benefit from DeHart-Davis’s investigationand guidance.
Business consultants everywhere preach the benefits of innovation—and promise to help businesses reap them. A trendy industry, this type of consulting generates courses, workshops, books, and conferences that all claim to hold the secrets of success. But what promises does the notion of innovation entail? What is it about the ideology and practice of business innovation that has made these firms so successful at selling their services to everyone from small start-ups to Fortune 500 companies? And most important, what does business innovation actually mean for work and our economy today?
In Creativity on Demand, cultural anthropologist Eitan Wilf seeks to answer these questions by returning to the fundamental and pervasive expectation of continual innovation. Wilf focuses a keen eye on how our obsession with ceaseless innovation stems from the long-standing value of acceleration in capitalist society. Based on ethnographic work with innovation consultants in the United States, he reveals, among other surprises, how routine the culture of innovation actually is. Procedures and strategies are repeated in a formulaic way, and imagination is harnessed as a new professional ethos, not always to generate genuinely new thinking, but to produce predictable signs of continual change. A masterful look at the contradictions of our capitalist age, Creativity on Demand is a model for the anthropological study of our cultures of work.
Why do members of Congress resort to name-calling? In this provocative book, Eric M. Uslaner proposes that Congress is mirroring the increased incivility of American society. He points to five core values—American exceptionalism, enlightened individualism, egalitarianism, science as social engineering, and religion—that have been eroded since the 1960s. The author argues that a lack of trust permeates members of Congress to the point that they would rather seek control than compromise. This, Uslaner contends, is the real cause of gridlock in Washington. The Decline in Comity in Congress demonstrates why institutional reform will not correct this problem and why Americans need to change before their government can.
This book focuses on the theory and practice of understanding and transforming organizations with the goal to discover common ground between groups and individuals. Diamond presents a framework of reflective practice for organizational researchers, scholar-practitioner consultants, executives, managers, and workers in order to promote a more satisfying and humane work-life.
Have you ever wondered why some work teams greatly out-perform others within the same organizational settings? Have you questioned whether work teams from very different sectors of the economy and society achieved a high performance level by using similar means? Have you considered what you or others might do to help eams increase their chances of becoming truly high performing? Increasing the Odds for High-Performance Teams is written for the business leader who is inquisitive but busy—who seeks new lessons about high team performance but wants them to be succinct and efficient.
The book is intended to assist professionals in private, public, and not-for-profit organizations who want to use teams to enhance job performance. Also, it is intended to be helpful to the team members, team leaders, mentors, coaches, and administrators across these sectors who want to diagnose their team and organizational conditions, in order to make improvements.
The most common social phenomenon of Western societies is the organization, yet those
involved in real-world managing are not always willing to reveal the intricacies of their
everyday muddles. Barbara Czarniawska argues that in order to understand these uncharted
territories, we need to gather local and concrete stories about organizational life and subject
them to abstract and metaphorical interpretation.
Using a narrative approach unique to organizational studies, Czarniawska employs literary
devices to uncover the hidden workings of organizations. She applies cultural metaphors to
public administration in Sweden to demonstrate, for example, how the dynamics of a
screenplay can illuminate the budget disputes of an organization. She shows how the
interpretive description of organizational worlds works as a distinct genre of social analysis,
and her investigations ultimately disclose the paradoxical nature of organizational life: we follow
routines in order to change, and decentralize in order to control. By confronting such
paradoxes, we bring crisis to existing institutions and enable them to change.
"Renewal" is a holistic health center run by baby boomers whose political ideals were shaped by the counterculture movements of the 1960s. Through interviews and observation, Sherryl Kleinman takes us inside Renewal and shows us how its members struggled to maintain a view of themselves as progressive and alternative even as they sought conventional legitimacy.
In Opposing Ambitions we meet the members of Renewal as individuals; learn about the differences in power, prestige, and respect they are accorded; why they talked endlessly about money; and how they related to each other. Kleinman shows how members' attempts to see themselves as unconventional, but also as serious operators of a legitimate health care organization, led them to act in ways that undermined their egalitarian goals. She draws out the lessons Renewal offers for understanding the problems women face in organizations, the failure of social movements to live up to their ideals, and how it is possible for progressives to avoid reproducing the inequalities they claim to oppose.
Michael T. HANNAN Harvard University Press, 1989 Library of Congress HD58.8.H363 1989 | Dewey Decimal 302.35
Michael T. Hannan and John Freeman examine the ecology of organizations by exploring the competition for resources and by trying to account for rates of entry and exit and for the diversity of organizational forms. They show that the destinies of organizations are determined more by impersonal forces than by the intervention of individuals.
Women and racial-ethnic minorities have had long histories of mobilizing for equality in U.S. society, but recent decades have witnessed an unprecedented expansion in the number and visibility of voluntary and activist organizations committed to challenging gender and racial-ethnic discrimination. What conditions have encouraged this growth? Going beyond more familiar accounts of social movement development, Debra Minkoff uses multivariate techniques to demonstrate that there is an ecology of organizational evolution that has shaped the formation and survival of national women's, African-American, Asian American, and Latino social and political organizations. Changes in the environment for action during the 1960s promoted the creation of a niche for women's and minority organizational activity, and this sector continued to expand even as the climate for social action became increasingly conservative during the 1970s and 1980s. Drawing on recent advances in both social movement and organizational theory and research, Minkoff offers an organizational analysis of the evolution of the women's and racial-ethnic social change sector since the mid-1950s. She provides an original synthesis of social movement and organizational theory, and unique analysis of the development of these women's and minority organizations from the civil rights era to the present.
Para-Sites, the penultimate volume in the Late Editions series, explores how social actors located within centers of power and privilege develop and express a critical consciousness of their own situations. Departing from the usual focus of ethnography and cultural analysis on the socially marginalized, these pieces probe subjects who are undeniably complicit with powerful institutional engines of contemporary change. In each case, the possibility of alternative thinking or practices is in complex relation to the subject's source of empowerment.
These cases challenge the condition of cynicism that has been the favored mode of characterizing the mind-set of intellectuals and professionals, comfortable in their lives of middle-class consumption and work. In their effort to establish para-sites of critical awareness parallel to the levels of political and economic power at which they function, these subjects suggest that those who lead ordinary lives of modest power and privilege might not be parasites in relation to the systems they serve, but may be creating unique and independent critical perspectives.
Given their tendency to splinter over tactics and goals, social movements are rarely unified. Following the modern Western animal rights movement over thirty years, Corey Lee Wrennapplies the sociological theory of Bourdieu, Goffman, Weber, and contemporary social movement researchers to examine structural conditions in the animal rights movement, facilitating factionalism in today’s era of professionalized advocacy.
Modern social movements are dominated by bureaucratically oriented nonprofits, a special arrangement that creates tension between activists and movement elites who compete for success in a corporate political arena. Piecemeal Protest examines the impact of nonprofitization on factionalism and a movement’s ability to mobilize, resonate, and succeed. Wrenn’sexhaustive analysis of archival movement literature and exclusive interviews with movement leaders illustrate how entities with greater symbolic capital are positioned to monopolize claims-making, disempower competitors, and replicate hegemonic power, eroding democratic access to dialogue and decision-making essential for movement health.
Piecemeal Protest examines social movement behavior shaped by capitalist ideologies and state interests. As power concentrates to the disadvantage of marginalized factions in the modern social movement arena, Piecemeal Protest shines light on processes of factionalism and considers how, in the age of nonprofits, intra-movement inequality could stifle social progress.
Politics and the Architecture of Choice draws on work in political science, economics, cognitive science, and psychology to offer an innovative theory of how people and organizations adapt to change and why these adaptations don't always work. Our decision-making capabilities, Jones argues, are both rational and adaptive. But because our rationality is bounded and our adaptability limited, our actions are not based simply on objective information from our environments. Instead, we overemphasize some factors and neglect others, and our inherited limitations—such as short-term memory capacity—all act to affect our judgment.
Jones shows how we compensate for and replicate these limitations in groups by linking the behavioral foundations of human nature to the operation of large-scale organizations in modern society. Situating his argument within the current debate over the rational choice model of human behavior, Jones argues that we should begin with rationality as a standard and then study the uniquely human ways in which we deviate from it.
In Technological Turf Wars, Jessica Johnston analyzes the tensions and political dilemmas that coexist in the interrelationship among science, technology and society. Illustrating how computer security is as concerned with social relationships as it is with technology, Johnston provides an illuminating ethnography that considers corporate culture and the workplace environment of the antivirus industry.
Using a qualitative, interdisciplinary approach, which combines organizational and security studies with critical and social analysis of science and technology, Johnston questions the motivations, contradictions and negotiations of antivirus professionals. She examines the tensions between the service ethics and profit motives—does the industry release viruses to generate demand for antivirus software?—and considers the dynamics within companies by looking at facets such as gender bias and power politics. Technological Turf Wars is an informed, enlightened and entertaining view of how the production of computer security technology is fraught with social issues.
The effective functioning of a democratic society—including social, business, and political interactions—largely depends on trust. Yet trust remains a fragile and elusive resource in many of the organizations that make up society's building blocks. In their timely volume, Trust and Distrust in Organizations, editors Roderick M. Kramer and Karen S. Cook have compiled the most important research on trust in organizations, illuminating the complex nature of how trust develops, functions, and often is thwarted in organizational settings. With contributions from social psychologists, sociologists, political scientists, economists, and organizational theorists, the volume examines trust and distrust within a variety of settings—from employer-employee and doctor-patient relationships, to geographically dispersed work teams and virtual teams on the internet. Trust and Distrust in Organizations opens with an in-depth examination of hierarchical relationships to determine how trust is established and maintained between people with unequal power. Kurt Dirks and Daniel Skarlicki find that trust between leaders and their followers is established when people perceive a shared background or identity and interact well with their leader. After trust is established, people are willing to assume greater risks and to work harder. In part II, the contributors focus on trust between people in teams and networks. Roxanne Zolin and Pamela Hinds discover that trust is more easily established in geographically dispersed teams when they are able to meet face-to-face initially. Trust and Distrust in Organizations moves on to an examination of how people create and foster trust and of the effects of power and betrayal on trust. Kimberly Elsbach reports that managers achieve trust by demonstrating concern, maintaining open communication, and behaving consistently. The final chapter by Roderick Kramer and Dana Gavrieli includes recently declassified data from secret conversations between President Lyndon Johnson and his advisors that provide a rich window into a leader's struggles with problems of trust and distrust in his administration. Broad in scope, Trust and Distrust in Organizations provides a captivating and insightful look at trust, power, and betrayal, and is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the underpinnings of trust within a relationship or an organization. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Series on Trust
In this first-ever collection of labor anthropology from around the world, the contributors to Uncertain Times assert that traditional labor unions have been co-opted by neoliberal policies of corporate capital and have become service organizations rather than drivers of social movements. The current structure of labor unions facilitates corporations’ need for a stable labor force while reducing their power to prevent outsourcing, subcontracting, and other methods of undercutting worker security and union power. Through case studies from Switzerland, Israel, Argentina, Mexico, the United States, Greece, Sweden,Turkey, Brazil and Spain, the authors demonstrate that this process of neutering unions has been uneven across time and space. They also show that the potential exists for renewed union power based on more vociferous and creative collective action. These firsthand accounts—from activist anthropologists in the trenches as union members and staff, as well as academics analyzing policy, law, worker organizing, and community impact—illustrate the many approaches that workers around the world are taking to reclaim their rights in this ever-shifting labor landscape.
Uncertain Times is the first book to use this crucial comparative, ethnographic approach for understanding the new rules of the global labor struggle and the power workers have to change those rules. The volume will be of great interest to students and scholars of anthropology, sociology of work, and labor studies; labor union leadership; and others interested in developing innovative methods for organizing working people, fomenting class consciousness, and expanding social movements.
Contributors: Alpkan Birelma, Emma Braden, Maria Eugenia de la O, Christopher Kelley, Staffan Löfving, Gadi Nissim, Darcy Pan, Steven Payne, Alicia Reigada, Julia Soul, Manos Spyridakis, Christian Zlolniski
Iris Bohnet Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress HD6060.B64 2016 | Dewey Decimal 331.4133
Gender equality is a moral and a business imperative. But unconscious bias holds us back and de-biasing minds has proven to be difficult and expensive. Behavioral design offers a new solution. Iris Bohnet shows that by de-biasing organizations instead of individuals, we can make smart changes that have big impacts—often at low cost and high speed.
Society needs whistleblowers, yet to speak up and expose wrongdoing often results in professional and personal ruin. Drawing on the stories of men and women who reported unethical and illegal conduct in corporations, Kate Kenny explains why this is so, and what must be done to protect those who have the courage to expose the truth.