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Service and Procedures in Bureaucracy

Service and Procedures in Bureaucracy: A Case Study

Copyright Date: 1956
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 212
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  • Book Info
    Service and Procedures in Bureaucracy
    Book Description:

    Large, complex systems of organization, such as government bureaus, giant corporations, and massive trade unions, play a decisive role in the daily lives of millions of people and exert an important influence upon national and even international affairs. This gives major sociological significance to the bureaucratic organizations of such groups. The research reported here was undertaken to test two widespread beliefs about modern, large-scale organizations, and the findings point to modifications in what has been regarded as the classic sociological concept of bureaucracy. Does the personnel in bureaucracies commonly substitute rule-following, preoccupation with procedure, for the intended service purpose of the organization? And are bureaucracies characterized by impersonality, that is, detachment of office from individual, so that relations are between offices rather than between individuals? These are the questions the authors sought to answer in their study of the Louisiana Division of Employment Security. They observed employees working at their jobs, conducted interviews, administered questionnaires, and studied the official documents and records of the organization. Here is a picture of bureaucracy in real life that will provide valuable insight to those actively concerned with administration and personnel problems, as well as to students in the social sciences._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3693-2
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Preface
    (pp. v-vi)
    Roy G. Francis and Robert C. Stone
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)

    • CHAPTER 1 Theoretical Background
      (pp. 3-13)

      One of the most pressing problems of contemporary sociology is the analysis of large, complex systems of organization. The government bureau, the massive trade union, and the giant corporation are examples of institutions that attain national and even international importance. Time and again we hear the statement that men must learn to live in and operate large, complex systems of organization.

      One of the major sociological concepts applied to such groups is that ofbureaucracy. There is both a popular and a technical usage of this word and these two usages must be differentiated. The popular view (sometimes extending into...

    • CHAPTER 2 Description of a Bureaucratic Organization
      (pp. 14-20)

      The Louisiana Division of Employment Security is not an old organization in American government. It is essentially a product of the depression era. Formed under an enabling act of the federal government, the system is both federal and state in its operation and in its finances. Under the laws of the states a tax is imposed upon certain groups of employers. The fund based upon this tax is placed in the United States Treasury, and the various states draw upon this fund to pay unemployment compensation to eligible persons. The second function of the agency, job placement, was first under...

    • CHAPTER 3 Methodology: Field Work Problems and Hypotheses
      (pp. 21-34)

      As every sociologist knows, a direct study of an institution, which involves contact with the personnel of the institution, requires both a “scientific approach” and a field work “strategy.” In discussions of social science and scientific procedure, this latter aspect — the field work strategy — is frequently relegated to a minor position, and analysis of field work difficulties is usually summed up in the statement that researchers must “establish rapport” with the members of the institution they are studying.

      In actuality, it is difficult to say which is the more important methodologically — the precise definition of the problem...


    • CHAPTER 4 Clients and Interviewers
      (pp. 37-50)

      In seeking to uncover patterns of procedural orientation, the first thing that is needed is some way of identifying these patterns. Though our formulation holds that procedural orientation arises where means are substituted for ends, we have no guides or rules whereby we can examine a particular concrete case and classify it.

      First and foremost, it must be recognized that nothing can be inferred from the mere presence of many rules and elaborate procedures. Figure 1 indicates that thereisan elaborate machinery of procedure in the office, and we have already stated that there are multitudinous forms, and shelves...

    • CHAPTER 5 Content Analysis of Official Literature
      (pp. 51-61)

      The most formal expression of this agency’s policy is to be found in its literature — administrative rulings, official correspondence, and manual of operations. The literature includes directives on how employees should act at all levels in the job hierarchy and in all phases of operation. It also includes discussions of aims, present programs, and future proposals.

      This collection of official literature offers an excellent opportunity to analyze procedure and service orientations. We have already utilized certain portions of the manual to indicate that it describes as a theory a model of organization consistent with Weber’s ideal-type statement of bureaucracy....

    • CHAPTER 6 Internalization of Values and Conflicting Policies
      (pp. 62-74)

      Values and value analysis have become a central interest of contemporary sociology and anthropology. An older term with much the same if not the identical meaning is “ideology.” The notion of value or ideology implies a collective framework or structure dictating the thinking and opinions of individuals. This basic framework is not manifested in any single area of thought or action, but rather tends to underlie particularly acts and beliefs. Evidence concerning values may be derived either from the actions of individuals or from their opinions and statements. We have already made some analysis of the actions of employees in...

    • CHAPTER 7 The Use of Records on the Job
      (pp. 75-92)

      It is quite possible that the employees’ beliefs about agency policy are not a reliable index to their actions on the job. In a recent study of newspaper offices, Warren Breed pointed out that the working force of the newspaper — the staffers — often disagree with the executives about policy in presenting the news.¹ Nevertheless, in the actual working situation the policies of the executives are followed, and consequently the attitudes of the staffers are an unreliable index to their actions. Could this same condition hold in the office we studied? It may be that employees profess one set...


    • CHAPTER 8 Organizational Bonds
      (pp. 95-104)

      Our second hypothesis states that bureaucracy implies a dominant or major pattern of impersonal relations between members. The theory on which this hypothesis is based seems quite clear, but the hypothesis itself is somewhat ambiguous unless we are unequivocal in the usage of the term “impersonal.” As with the hypothesis concerning procedural orientation, we want to know what patterns will be manifested in an organization which is characterized by impersonality.

      If bureaucracy means the treatment of members in standardized, categorical ways, then it seems reasonable to suppose that the members are related to one another in impersonal terms. This statement...

    • CHAPTER 9 The Interaction of Members
      (pp. 105-122)

      In the last chapter, our analysis of the bonds of organization led to the conclusion that the relation of the person to the system was largely impersonal. In this chapter, we wish to determine whether theinteractionof agency members stresses personal or impersonal obligations, and according to our hypothesis we should expect that stress will be placed on impersonality.

      It will also be necessary to raise anew the problem of deriving empirical indices for the terms personal and impersonal. In studying the interaction of employees, we cannot fall back on structural analysis in classifying obligations as personal or impersonal....


    • CHAPTER 10 Summary and Evaluation of Hypotheses
      (pp. 125-141)

      The problem of this study has been to investigate one office of a government agency in order to determine whether or not bureaucracy implies a dominant emphasis upon impersonality and procedure. The organization chosen for study was the Louisiana Division of Employment Security, and direct study was made of one local office comprising about a hundred people. The functions of this office include dispensing unemployment compensation and job placement. The funds used in carrying out these functions derive from both the state and national governments. Preliminary observations demonstrated that this office manifests all the major structural characteristics of bureaucracy, and...

    • CHAPTER 11 Reassessment of the Concept of Bureaucracy
      (pp. 142-168)

      The major patterns of conduct that were observed in this local office of employment security have little theoretical significance if they are unique to this organization, for our central interest has been testing hypotheses about bureaucratic organization. If the observations made in this one case are to be significant, similar patterns of conduct should be discernible in other bureaucratic organizations. If this is the case, the results of our study can then be used in assessing the classical theory of bureaucracy. Consequently, we want to report on several recent case studies that describe other bureaucratic organizations.

      In our original formulation...

    (pp. 169-192)
  9. Notes
    (pp. 195-198)
  10. Index
    (pp. 199-201)