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Define Sociology

the systematic and scientific study of human social life.

Who is considered the "father of sociology?" What prompted his study of society? What procedure did he follow to understand society? What philosophical theory did he originate?

Auguste Comte (1798-1857).

His studies were prompted by the French and Industrials Revolutions.

His procedure was the Scientific Method

Positivism:the application of the scientific method to the analysis of society.

In the United States, where was sociology first taught as an academic discipline?

University of Kansas (1890), University of Chicago (1892), Atlanta University (1897).

What are the two major types of sociology?

Qualitative and Quantitative

Describe Qualitative sociology. What University, led by Albion Small (1854-1926) practiced this type of sociology?

Qualitative sociology is concerned mainly with trying to obtain an accurate picture of a group and how it operates in the world. It emphasizes understanding an individuals experiences.

The University of Chicago.

Describe Quantitative sociology. What University pioneered this type of sociology?

Quantitative sociology relies on statistical analysis to understand experiences and trends.

Harvard University

Sociology is a multidisciplinary field. What other social sciences does it draw from? What is a social science?

Social sciences concern people's relationships and interactions with one another.

Social science includes: anthropology, political science, psychology, and economics.

What is the difference between sociology and social work?

Social work is an applied science. Social works takes the principles found in sociology and applies them to a particular issue.

Where does the word "society" come from?

What is a society?

From the latin root socius, meaning "companion" or "being with others."

A society is a group of people with common territory, interaction, and culture.

A society

What does a sociologist study?

A sociologist studies the way people learn about their own society's cultures and how they discover their place within those cultures. They also examine the ways in which people from differing cultures interact and sometimes clash- and how mutual understanding and respect might be reached.

What is a social group?

A social group consits of two or more people who interact and identify with one another.

What is culture?

Culture refers to the languages, values, beliefs, behavior, and material objects that constitute a people's way of life.

Why do sociologists consider the United States a pluralistic society?

Because it is built of many groups from all over the world.

What is assimilation?

When a group gives up certain characteristic in order to fit into another group.

In sociology, What is a melting pot? What term do some sociologists prefer?

A melting pot is a society in which people from different societies blend together into a single mass.

Multiculturalism. Melting pot seems to imply that a group loses it distinctive cultural heritage when it assimilates into an larger group.This is not always the case.

What are some types of societies?

Hunting and Gathering






What are five basic characteristics of hunting and gathering socieites?

1. The primary institution is the family, which decides how food is to be shared and how children are to be socialized, and which provides for the protection of its members.

2.They tend to be small, with fewer than fifty members.

3.They tend to be nomadic, moving to new areas when the current food supply in a given area has been exhausted.

4.Members display a high level of interdependence.

5.Labor division is based on sex: men hunt, and women gather.

What was the first social revolution and what were its results

the first social revolution was the domestication of plants and animals. It led to the birth of horticultural ('hortus' is the Latin for garden) and pastoral societies, which then led to job specialization

What is a pastoral society?

A pastora society relies on the domestication and breeding of animals for food.

What was the second social revolution and what were its results?

the invention of the plow. led to the establishment of agricultural societies.

What was the third social revolution and what as its effects?

the invention of the steam engine. it took humans from agricultural to industrial society.

What is an industrial society?

An industrial society uses advanced sources of energy, rather than humans and animals, to run large machinery.

When did industrialization begin?

Industrialization began in the mid-1700s, when the steam engine was first used in Great Britain as a means of running other machines.

What does it mean for a society to become urbanized?

means the majority of the population lived within commuting distance of a major city.

Sociologist Ferdinand Tonnies divided societies into what two large categories? Describe each category.

Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft

Gemeinschaft societies consist primarily of villages in which everyone knows everyone else. Relationships are lifelong and based on kinship.

A Gesellschaft society is modernized. People have little in common with one another, and relationships are short term and based on self-interest, with little concern for the well-being of others.

What is a postindustrial society? What are its three main characteristics?

the type of society that has developed over the past few decades, features an economy based on services and technology, not production

1.Focus on ideas: Tangible goods no longer drive the economy.

2.Need for higher education: Factory work does not require advanced training, and the new focus on information and technology means that people must pursue greater education.

3.Shift in workplace from cities to homes: New communications technology allows work to be performed from a variety of locations.

What are the characteristics of a mass society?

individual achievement is valued over kinship ties, and people often feel isolated from one another. Personal incomes are generally high, and there is great diversity among people.

What is a norm?

a guideline or an expectation for behavior that is set by society and that changes constantly.

List and describe the four categories of norms

Folkway: A folkway is a norm for everyday behavior that people follow for the sake of convenience or tradition. People practice folkways simply because they have done things that way for a long time. Violating a folkway does not usually have serious consequences.

Example: Holding the door open for a person right behind you is a folkway.

Mores: A more (pronounced MORE-ay) is a norm based on morality, or definitions of right and wrong. Since mores have moral significance, people feel strongly about them, and violating a more usually results in disapproval.

Example: Parents who believe in the more that only married people should live together will disapprove of their son living with his girlfriend. They may consider their son's action a violation of the moral guidelines for behavior.

Laws: A law is a norm that is written down and enforced by an official agency. Violating a law results in a specific punishment.

Taboos: A taboo is a norm that society holds so strongly that violating it results in extreme disgust. The violator is often considered unfit to live in that society.

What is deviance?

the violation of a norm

What is social control? What is the most common method of maintaining social control?

methods that societies devise to encourage people to observe norms.

Sanctions: socially constructed expressions of approval or disapproval. Can be positive or negative.

Describe positive and negative sanctions

A positive sanction rewards someone for following a norm and serves to encourage the continuance of a certain type of behavior.

A negative sanction is a way of communicating that a society, or some group in that society, does not approve of a particular behavior. The optimal effect of a negative sanction is to discourage the continuation of a certain type of behavior.

Define status

status describes the position a person occupies in a particular setting.

Define role

the set of norms, values, behaviors, and personality characteristics attached to a status

explain role conflict

results from the competing demands of two or more roles that vie for our time and energy.

What is culture?

everything made, learned, or shared by the members of a society, including values, belief, behaviors, and material objects.

What is material culture?

consists of the concrete , visible parts of a culture, such as food, clothing, cars, weapons, and buildings.

What is nonmaterial culture?

consists of the intangible aspects of a culture, such as values and beliefs. It consists of concepts and ideas that shape who we are and make us different from members of other societies.

What is value?

A culturally approved concept about what is right or wrong, desirable or undesirable.

What are beliefs?

specific ideas that people feel to be true. Values support beliefs.

what is a dominant culture?

is the group in a society whose members are in the majority or who wield more power than other groups.

What is a subculture?

a group that lives differenly from, but not opossed to, the dominant culture. It is a culture within a culture.

African American subculture theorist who was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University

W.E.B. Du Bois

Define Counterculture

a subculture that opposes the dominant culture.

Define ethnocentrism

the tendency to judge another culture by the standards of one's own culture. It usually entails the notion that one's own culture is superior to everyone else's

What is cultural relativism?

the examination of a cultural trait within the context of that culture. Cultural relativists try to understand unfamiliar values and norms without judging them and without applying the standards of their own culture.

define culture shock

Culture shock is the surprise, disorientation, and fear people can experience when they encounter a new culture.

Name the sociologist who in 1922 coined the term culture lag

william ogburn

what is culture lag?

the tendency for changes in material and nonmaterial culture to occur at different rates. Ogburn proposed that, in general, changes in nonmaterial culture tend to lag behind changes in material culture, including technological advances.

Technology progresses at a rapid rate, but our feelings and beliefs about it, part of our nonmaterial culture, lag behind our knowledge of how to enact technological change.

define cultural diffusion

the process whereby an aspect of culture spreads throughout a culture or from one culture to another.

When does socialization end?


What is socialization?

the process whereby we learn to become competent members of a group.

Primary socialization?

the learning we experience from the people who raise us.

Name 5 theories that deal with the developmental stages that children experience.

Freud's Theory of Personality Development,

Mead's Theory of Social Behaviorism,

Cooley's Theory of the Looking-Glass Self,

Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development,

Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development.

According to Austrian physician and founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, what two factors shaped personality?

biological instincts and societal factors.

According to Freud, what three parts of the mind have to interact properly if a person is to function well in society? Describe all three parts.

the id,
the superego,
the ego

Id: According to Freud, the id develops first. A newborn's mind consists only of the id, which is responsible for the satisfaction of physical desires. The id represents a human being's most primitive desires, and a person ruled only by the id would do everything strictly for his or her own pleasure, breaking societal norms in the process and risking punishment.
Superego: As children move from infancy into childhood, their minds develop a superego, or conscience, which encourages conformity to societal norms and values. Someone with a hyperactive superego would be confined within a too-rigid system of rules, which would inhibit his or her ability to live normally.
Ego: A healthy mind also consists of the ego, or the part of the mind that resolves the conflicts between the id and the superego. Normally, the ego balances the desires of the id and superego, but when it fails, a person may have difficulty making decisions, which can lead to behavioral problems.

According to George Herbert Mead, how do people develop self-images?

through interactions with other people.

What was Mead's idea of self and what was it a product of? How does it develop?

self is the part of a person's personality consisting of self-awareness and self-image. It is a product of social experience.

The self develops solely through social experience. Mead rejected Freud's notion that personality is determined partly by biological drives.
Social experience consists of the exchange of symbols. Mead emphasized the particularly human use of language and other symbols to convey meaning.
Knowing others' intentions requires imagining the situation from their perspectives. Mead believed that social experience depends on our seeing ourselves as others do, or, as he coined it, "taking the role of the other."
Understanding the role of the other results in self-awareness. Mead posited that there is an active "I" self and an objective "me" self. The "I" self is active and initiates action. The "me" self continues, interrupts, or changes action depending on how others respond.

Like Mead, sociologist Charles Horton Cooley believed that we form our self-images through interaction with other people. He was particularly interested in how significant others shape us as individuals. What is a significant other?

someone whose opinions matter to us and who is in a position to influence our thinking, especially about ourselves.

According to Cooley of socialization, what it the notion of the looking glass self?

The looking-glass self refers to a self-image that is based on how we think others see us

What was Cooley's three step process in developing the looking glass self?

Step 1

We imagine that a significant other perceives us in a certain way.
Step 2

We imagine that he or she makes a judgment about us based on that perception.
Step 3

We form a self-image based on how we think our significant other sees us.

what were Piagets four periods of development

sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, formal operational

List and describe Piagets four period of development

Stage 1: Sensorimotor Period

(birth to roughly age two): During this stage, children learn by using their senses and moving around. The main achievement of this stage is object permanence, which is the ability to recognize that an object can exist even when it's no longer perceived or in one's sight.

Stage 2: Preoperational Period

(age two to seven): During this period, children keep getting better at symbolic thought, but they can't yet reason. According to Piaget, children aren't capable of conservation during this stage. Conservation is the ability to recognize that measurable physical features of objects, such as length, area, and volume, can be the same even when objects appear different.

Stage 3: Concrete Operational Period

(age seven to eleven): During this period, children start to become capable of performing mental operations or working problems and ideas through in their minds. However, they can perform operations only on tangible objects and real events.

Stage 4: Formal Operational Period

(age eleven through adulthood): During this period, children become capable of applying mental operations to abstract concepts. They can imagine and reason about hypothetical situations. From this point on, they start to think in abstract, systematic, and logical ways.

List and describe Kohlberg's three levels of moral development

The preconventional level: Children ascribe great importance to the authority of adults.
The conventional level: Children want to follow rules in order to get approval.
The postconventional level: People are more flexible and think in terms of what's personally important to them. Only a small proportion of people reach this last stage of moral reasoning.

What are agents of socialization?

People, groups, and experiences that influence our behavior and self-image are agents of socialization.


the learning of new norms and values that occurs when they join a new group or when life circumstances change dramatically.

What is a total institution?

an organization or setting that has the following characteristics:
Residents are not free to leave.
All actions are determined and monitored by authority figures.
Contact with outsiders is carefully controlled.
The environment is highly standardized.
Rules dictate when, where, and how members do things.
Individuality is discouraged.

Describe Erving Goffman's concept of dramaturgy

the idea that life is like a never-ending play in which people are actors.Goffman believed that when we are born, we are thrust onto a stage called everyday life, and that our socialization consists of learning how to play our assigned roles from other people. We enact our roles in the company of others, who are in turn enacting their roles in interaction with us. He believed that whatever we do, we are playing out a role on the stage of life.

Anticipatory socialization

occurs when we start learning new norms and values in anticipation of a role we'll occupy in the future.

Gender socialization

the tendency for boys and girls to be socialized differently

Gender role

a set of behaviors, attitudes, and personality characteristics expected and encouraged of a person based on his or her sex.


To sociologists, however, an institution isn't a building; an institution is what goes on inside the building. An institution is a set of norms surrounding the carrying out of a function necessary for the survival of a society.


the institution that provides for the production and distribution of goods and services,

list and describe the two approaches sociologists use to study society.

In macrosociology, sociologists analyze large-scale social forces, such as institutions. They identify and analyze the structure of societies.

The second approach sociologists use is microsociology, the study of social interaction. These sociologists focus on face-to-face interaction, how people act around others. This method is focused more on individuals than groups.

What are the two dominant economic systems in the world

capitalism and socialism.

Most societies have varying blends of the two systems. Common hybrids of capitalism and socialism are welfare capitalism and state capitalism.


a system under which resources and means of production are privately owned, citizens are encouraged to seek profit for themselves, and success or failure of an enterprise is determined by free-market competition.


system under which resources and means of production are owned by the society as a whole, rights to private property are limited, the good of the whole society is stressed more than individual profit, and the government maintains control of the economy.

Welfare capitalism

is a system that features a market-based economy coupled with an extensive social welfare system that includes free health care and education for all citizens.

state capitalism

a system under which resources and means of production are privately owned but closely monitored and regulated by the government.

Describe Marx's economic theory

Philosopher and historian Karl Marx believed that the economy was the basic institution of society and that all other institutions, such as family and education, served to fuel the economy. As societies became more industrialized, he theorized, they also became more capitalistic. Marx disliked the fact that capitalism created a two-tiered system consisting of factory owners and factory workers, in which the groups were constantly in conflict with each other. Factory owners wanted to pay their workers as little as possible to maximize profits. Factory workers, on the other hand, wanted to make as much money as possible. The advantage was always with the owners, who could choose to fire workers who wanted too much and hire workers who would work for less.

Conflict theory

in any capitalist society there will always be conflict between the owners of the means of production and the workers. The only way to resolve the conflict is for workers to unite, mount a revolution, and overthrow their oppressors.


all the means of production would be owned by everyone and all profits would be shared equally by everyone.

Current Economic Trends

Globalization: The expansion of economic activity across many borders characterizes the global economy. Poorer, developing nations now produce the raw materials for the world's multinational corporations. These multinational companies control most of the world's economy.

Demand for educated professionals: The postindustrial economy is driven by trained professionals such as lawyers, communications professionals, doctors, and teachers.

Self-employment: New, affordable communications technology has allowed more people to go into business for themselves.

Diversity in the workplace: Once the bastion of white males, professional offices are heavily populated by women and minorities in today's society.


n institution entrusted with making and enforcing the rules of a society as well as with regulating relations with other societies. In order to be considered a government, a ruling body must be recognized as such by the people it purports to govern. A person or group that considers itself the leading body of a society has no power if the members of the society do not recognize the person or group as such.

What are the four major categories of government?

monarchy, democracy, authoritarianism, or totalitarianism.


a political system in which a representative from one family controls the government and power is passed on through that family from generation to generation.

Constitutional monarchy

the reigning member of the royal family is the symbolic head of state but elected officials actually do the governing


a political system in which citizens periodically choose officials to run their government.


a political system that does not allow citizens to participate in government.


a political system under which the government maintains tight control over nearly all aspects of citizens' lives.

Welfare State

a type of government in which the state provides for and promotes the social and economic well-being of its citizens. The government provides some sort of social insurance, or benefits, for families or individuals in dire need. The welfare state also includes provisions for government funding of education, health services, and housing.

what kind of party political system does America have?

two party

democratic party

government should play an active role in promoting the general welfare of the country and takes a liberal stand on social issues.

republican party

government should take a limited role in providing social services and takes a conservative stand on social issues.

Max Weber's idea of power

the ability to achieve ends even in the face of resistance—as the foundation of government.

Weber's three kind of authority

traditional authority, which rests on well-established cultural patterns; rational-legal authority, which rests on rules and laws; and charismatic authority, which depends on the personal magnetism of one person.

Three forms of government in conflict

Revolution: A violent overthrow of the government by its citizens. Often, a group of charismatic philosophers and intellectuals sparks the movement.
War: Armed conflict between nations or societies. Societies have always waged war over rights to land and resources or because of conflicting moral, political, or religious objectives. In the twentieth century, the nature of war changed dramatically with the development of nuclear weapons. Massive stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction has made the threat of global annihilation a strong deterrent to war among industrialized nations.
Terrorism: A politically motivated violent attack on civilians by an individual or group. Since few nations have the military strength to attack the United States directly, terrorism by extremist groups within and outside the country has become an increasingly potent threat.

The three important functions of family

To provide for the rearing of children
To provide a sense of identity or belonging among its members
To transmit culture between generations

nuclear family

family as consisting of a mother, father, and children living under one roof:

extended family

includes several generations and branches living nearby.

Variations of marriage

Endogamy: Marriage between members of the same category, class, or group

Exogamy: Marriage between members of different categories, classes, or groups

Monogamy: Marriage between one man and one woman

Polygamy: Marriage between one man and more than one woman

Polyandry: Marriage between one woman and more than one man


after marriage, a couple lives in the wife's family's household


When couples live in the husband's family's household,


If a couple go out and get their own place to live after marriage,

Factors contributing to increase in divorce rate

Women have become less economically dependent on men

Legal standards have also relaxed,

Blended families

those composed of children and parents from both present and past marriages.

current status of the family in the US

the number of children in the households of industrialized countries has been dwindling for generations. Economic pressures have led the average U.S. family to have only one or two children. Because both parents must often work outside the home to support the family, parents and children spend less and less time together.

List alternative family types

Single-parent household
Cohabitating, unmarried couples
Gay and lesbian couples
Single adults


a social institution that answers questions and explains the seemingly inexplicable. Religion provides explanations for why things happen and demystifies the ideas of birth and death.


A church is a religious group integrated with society.


A sect is a religious group that sets itself apart from society as a whole.


A cult is a religious group that is outside standard cultural norms, typically centered around a charismatic leader.

religion in america

In the United States, the degree to which people are religious is related to their social class, race, and ethnicity. The most affluent people in the United States tend to be Protestant, although Jews also enjoy a higher-than-average standard of living. Northern Europe, which is mostly Protestant, was the area of origin for most of the early settlers in America, so people of Northern European descent tend to come from the most established families and encounter the least amount of prejudice. People who emigrated from predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Southern and Eastern Europe and, later, Latin America encountered more prejudice and tend to be less affluent than the Protestants. However, there is wide variation among the groups.


In the United States, the degree to which people are religious is related to their social class, race, and ethnicity. The most affluent people in the United States tend to be Protestant, although Jews also enjoy a higher-than-average standard of living. Northern Europe, which is mostly Protestant, was the area of origin for most of the early settlers in America, so people of Northern European descent tend to come from the most established families and encounter the least amount of prejudice. People who emigrated from predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Southern and Eastern Europe and, later, Latin America encountered more prejudice and tend to be less affluent than the Protestants. However, there is wide variation among the groups.


an important agent of socialization and encourages social integration


responsible for defining and treating physical and mental illnesses among members of a society.

The goal of a society's medical establishment

to promote health, the total well-being of its people

holistic medicine

a medical approach that involves learning about a patient's physical environment and mental status,


onsists of two or more people who are distinct in the following three ways:

Interact over time.
Have a sense of identity or belonging.
Have norms that nonmembers don't have.

e.g. a class


an internal cluster or faction within a group.


a collection of people who happen to be at the same place at the same time but who have no other connection to one another.

e.g.: people at a restaurant


collection of people who share a particular characteristic. They do not necessarily interact with one another and have nothing else in common.

e.g. people with green eyes

primary group

offers a great deal of intimacy. Members of a primary group meet the following criteria:

Meet frequently on a face-to-face basis.
Have a sense of identity or belonging that lasts a long time.
Share little task orientation.
Have emotional intimacy.

e.g.: family

secondary group

more formal and less personal. Members of a secondary group meet the following criteria:

Do not meet frequently, or they meet only for short periods of time.
Share a sense of identity or belonging only until the group ends.
Are task-oriented.
Feel little emotional intimacy.

e.g.: job at a fast food joint.


a group to which we belong and to which we feel loyalty.


a group to which we do not belong and to which we feel no loyalty.

reference group

group to which we compare ourselves for purposes of self-evaluation

social interaction

the degree to which an individual feels connected to the other people in his or her group or community.

where did the term social interaction first come into use?

in emile durkheims work on suicide.


emile durkheims term for lack of social integration

According to Durkheim, what three factors increased the risk of suicide

Gender (male) In most societies, men have more freedom and are more independent than women. While this might sound like a good thing, it can lead some men to feel that they have few significant relationships with other people and that it would be an admission of weakness to seek advice or comfort from others. This can lead to feelings of being cut off from a group or community.

Religion (Protestant) Durkheim felt that Protestants were more likely to commit suicide than Catholics or Jews because the religious practices of the latter two religions emphasize the development of closer ties among their members. People who do not develop close ties with others are more likely to commit suicide.

Marital Status (Single) people who were not married had fewer connections to other people and were less likely to feel part of the larger community.

group dynamics

implies that our thoughts and behaviors are influenced by the groups to which we belong and that, in turn, we influence how the group as a whole thinks and behaves.

one of the first sociologists to look at how the size of a group affects interactions among its members.

Georg Simmel

dyad and Simmels understanding of it

a group of two people,

interactions are intense and very personal. He also believed that a dyad was the least stable category of groups. e.g. marriage

triad and Simmel's understanding of it

a group of three people,

much more stable because conflicts between two of its members could be mediated by the third person. In general, Simmel believed that larger groups were more stable than smaller groups, but that in smaller groups the interactions between members were more intense and more intimate.

groupthink: who coined this term and what does it mean

Irving Janis; the tendency of people in positions of power to follow the opinions of the group to the point that there is a narrow view of the issue at hand. When groupthink operates, the emerging viewpoint is that there is only one correct course of action and anyone who disagrees is labeled as disloyal.

power elite: who cointed this term and what does it refer to?

C. Wright Mills

the tendency of people in positions of power to follow the opinions of the group to the point that there is a narrow view of the issue at hand. When groupthink operates, the emerging viewpoint is that there is only one correct course of action and anyone who disagrees is labeled as disloyal.


a group that people choose to join, in which members are united by the pursuit of a common goal.

formal organization

secondary group organized to achieve specific goals. Formal organizations tend to be larger and more impersonal than voluntary associations.

Max Weber's concept of bureaucracy

a type of formal organization in which a rational approach is used to handle large tasks. Weber believed that as societies modernize, they become more rational, resulting in the creation of bureaucracies. As they industrialize, they grow larger, which means that the tasks to be accomplished become more numerous and complex.

e.g. : phone company

rationalization of society.

Max Webers process by which bureaucracies would gain increasing power over modern life. Before long, almost every aspect of society would be governed by bureaucratic rules and regulations

characteristics of a bureaucracy

A bureaucracy is characterized by a division of labor. In a bureaucracy, people specialize in the performance of one type of work. Using the phone company as an example, there are people who handle customers' bills, others who provide directory information, and others who climb the poles and repair the wires. The people who repair the wires do not handle customers' bills and vice versa.
In a bureaucracy, there are written rules for how jobs are to be performed. All jobs in a certain category must be performed exactly the same way, regardless of who is doing the work. All of the people who perform a specific job receive similar training, and the same standards for job performance are applied equally to everyone.
Jobs are arranged in a hierarchy. If the workplace were a pyramid, the top levels would represent upper management and the bottom levels would represent the rank-and-file workers. The top spot is usually occupied by a single person, while the bottom levels are occupied by an increasing number of jobs. Each level assigns tasks to the level below it, and each level reports to the level above it.
Official communication is written down to minimize confusion and to facilitate the organization and maintenance of records. Keeping written or electronic records documents the performance of individuals, departments, and the corporation as a whole. Communication is also written because it is more reliable and not susceptible to an individual's memory lapses or inaccurate interpretation of information.
Employees have an impersonal relationship with the organization. The most important factors of a bureaucracy are the office and the job, not the individual doing the job. Each employee's loyalty should be to the organization, and not to the individual to whom they report.

ideal type

a description of how an organization should ideally be run and is often very different from how it operates in reality

One of the most common goals of all bureaucracies—usually unstated—is simply...


Goal displacement

occurs when an organization displaces one goal with another in order to continue to exist.


a series of social ties that can be important sources of information, contacts, and assistance for its members.

problems with bureaucracies

primary relationships can undermine the goals of the organization


eelings that they are being treated as objects rather than people.

rules and regulations in a bureaucracy grow rigid to the point of inefficiency.

ral and figurative distance exists between the highest and the lowest ranks that the bureaucracy is rendered ineffective.

Iron Law of Oligarchy: who coined this term and what does it refer to

Robert Michels

bureaucracies tend to be run by a small group of people at the top, who he believed acted primarily out of self-interest, and who carefully controlled outsiders' access to power and resources. He called this the Iron Law of Oligarchy.

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