Bureaucratic Opposition. Challenging Abuses at the Workplace by Deena Weinstein

By Deena Weinstein

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Habit, of course, does not explain much, but merely describes the overwhelming tendency of people to a c t in accordance with the expectations of others and not to violate the social, moral, or legal norms. Disobedience, which is often called deviance by the defenders of authority, is the exception rather than the rule. Obedience to organizations, then, is just an instance of a more general habit which must be broken before opposition to authority can arise. (4) Human habits are learned; they are not, sociobiology notwithstanding, genetically controlled.

The myth of bureaucracy - t h a t it is purely an administrative entity devoid of politics - does not allow for the identification of any of t h e abuses discussed in this chapter. That such abuses exist and t h a t people have struggled to eliminate them is evidence against t h e validity of managerial ideology. Political activity is ubiquitous and is not confined to the s t a t e , despite t h e protestations of some social scientists. Political processes have similarities across disparate c o n t e x t s , thus the work of those who have examined oppositions in t h e s t a t e is useful for t h e analysis of similar phenomena within organizations.

The oppositionists, who saw the patients on a dayto-day basis and were members of t h e various "helping" professions, sought policies which would increase the quality of c a r e . Prevailing policies were judged to be ineffective because t h e dissenters were c o m m i t t e d to t h e facility's object orientation. (43) In nonprofit organizations, financial interests form part of the project orientation. Businesses, however, present a special problem because t h e r e is disagreement about whether profits or the production of quality goods is the organization's primary object.

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