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User:Ryguasu/Sociology, etc.

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The commons

"tragedy" applied to often:

  • Ostrom
  • Godwin and Shepard (1979) -- see Ostrom p. 24

Organizational theory base topics/etc:

What is an organization? (What is organizational theory about? How do organizations differ from other social structures? Are organizations a new thing?)

  1. ask Weber
  2. goal-directed organizations
  3. organizations vs institutions

What are organizations good/bad at:

  1. routine processes
  2. processes with economies of scale

Why do organizations arise? (Implication: organizations are somehow weird.)

  1. technological change
  2. desire to centralize power
  3. desire to promote your interests
  4. goal-directed behavior ("efficient" or "rational")
  5. when one person is not enough

Does an organization's past have much influence on how it is now?

How do organizational decisions get made:

  1. Are formal hierchies ruled by the few? Does the president/CEO make the choices? The stock holders?
  2. To what extent do informal hierchies matter?
  3. Are choices chiefly conditioned by the environment?
  4. Do choices arise from a chaotic muck (say, "garbage can theory")?
  5. Do these answers depend if the organization is private or public, for-profit or non-profit, etc.?

Under what circumstances does an organization effectively pursue its formally stated goals? (Are formally stated goals usually concrete enough to tell?)


  1. Is there a power differential in organizations? If so, along what lines is it organized? Is it merit? Is it race or class? Is it random? Is any of this fair? Does it matter?
  2. How do people gain power within organizations? How do organizations gain power over other organizations? How do organizations gain power over people?
  3. The power of organizations seems to be increase with respect to the power of individuals

How can organizations be run better:

  1. Taylorism
  2. Human relations school
  3. Thousands of consultants everywhere

Common organizational criticisms:

  1. People like to complain about "the bureaucracy", "red tape", etc.. To what extent are common complaints about organizations accurate?
  2. Are there better ways than bureaucracies to organize large groups of people?

Related articles:

Sociology topics/pages/whatever:

  • institutions
  • Ascribed characteristics
  • structural explanations
  • "exploitation sociology": race, class, gender, etc.
  • organizational theory
  • economic sociology: how corporate boards are structured, how groups view money, alternatives to market economies, how markets fail, what groups they fail for, etc.
  • sociology of knowledge: how social dynamics, values, etc. shape attempts to construct "objective" knowledge
  • economists are stupid (this almost is a theme for certain sociologists!)
  • sociology of politics
  • family structure, and how it has changed over time
  • social construction (see Jepperson p. 153)

"Goffman's 'total' institutions": see Jepperson p. 151)

(The Sociology page is quite vague about what actual sociologists might study.)

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