Discrimination

  • Discrimination – Individual vs. Institutional
  • Discrimination is differential treatment and harmful actions against minorities. Can be based on different factors including race, age, religion, etc. Can occur at individual or organizational/institutional level.
    • Individual discrimination – a science professor who doesn’t let women into his class.
    • Institutional discrimination – governments, banks, etc.
      • Example: Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954. In this court case, overturned separate schools for whites and African-Americans. Brown said these schools aren’t equal, and Africans were being mistreated.
  • Unintentional discrimination – how policies can discriminate unintentionally
    • Side-effect discrimination – talks about how one institution/sector can influence another negatively.
      • a small town where African American always get unfair verdict of guilty. Then while applying to a job later, don’t get the job because of record. Criminal justice reached unfair verdict, and potential employers are swayed too.
    • Past-In-Present discrimination – how things done in the past, even if no longer allowed they can have consequences for people in the present.
      • After Brown vs. Board verdict, but girl in integrated school still doesn’t feel welcome in her classroom.
  • Prejudice vs. Discrimination
  • Prejudice = attitudes that prejudge a group, usually negative and not based on facts. Make same assumptions about everyone in a group without considering their differences. (cognition)
    • CEO doesn’t think women are capable of running a team.
  • Discrimination = differential treatment and harmful actions against minorities. (action)
    • say there’s a woman who’s very good at the job, but doesn’t promote her just because she’s a women.
  • Organizations and Bureaucratization
  • Organizations and bureaucracies play a large role on our lives.
  • Organizations are institutions designed for a specific purpose, and try to achieve maximum efficiency.
    • Postal Service, McDonalds, etc.
  • Utilitarian Organizations – members are paid/rewarded for their efforts, ex. Businesses and government jobs, and universities.
  • Normative Organizations – members come together through shared goals, ex. religion groups or MADD. Positive sense of unity and purpose.
  • Coercive Organization – members don’t have choice about membership, ex. people in a prison, or the military.

 

  • Organizations achieve maximum efficiency through bureaucracy – the rules, structures, and rankings that guide organizations.
    • Bureaucratization – process by which organizations become increasingly governed by laws and policy.
      • customer service, move through 12 menu options before reaching someone to help you.
    • Iron rule of oligarchy – even most democratic of organizations become more bureaucratic over time until they’re governed by select few.
      • Why? Once person gains leadership role they might be hesitant to give it up. Also have skills that make them valuable.
    • McDonaldization – fast food organizations have come to dominate other organizations in society. Principles of efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control – have dominated everything, from medicine to sporting events to entertainment
      • Movie theatres all look and work similarly, with same brands and movies.
  • Characteristics of an Ideal Bureaucracy
  • Max Weber (sociologist) studied structure of organizations,
  • 5 main characteristics of an ideal bureaucracy, regardless of goal of organization:
    • Division of labour – people are trained to do specific tasks.
      • Pro – people are better at tasks, and increased efficiency.
      • Con – increase alienation in workers, separating them from other works, and they don’t see work from beginning to end. Also trained incapacity, where workers are so specialized lose touch with overall picture.
    • Hierarchy of organization – each position is under supervision of higher authority.
      • Pro – clarify who’s in command
      • Con – deprive people of voice in decision making, and shirk responsibility, especially in unethical tasks. Also allows them to hide mistakes.
    • Written rules and regulations
      • Pro – clear expectations, uniform performance, equal treatment of all employees, and sense of unity/continuity to organization.
      • Con – stiffens creativity, and if too much structure discourages employees from taking initiative. Goal displacement (rules become more important than goals)
    • Impersonality – how individuals and officials conduct activities in unbiased manner
      • Pro – equal treatment
      • Con – alienation, discourage loyalty to the group
    • Employment based on technical qualifications –hiring in bureaucracy is based on qualifications on person has and not favouritism
      • Pro – decrease discrimination
      • Con – decrease ambition (only secure job and do nothing more). Peter Principle, where every employee in hierarchy keeps getting promoted until they reach level of incompetence.
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