19 Aligning_control_mechanisms___The_Sandhogs

19 Aligning_control_mechanisms___The_Sandhogs - Aligning...

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Aligning techniques of control: The Sandhogs Professor Samuel B. Bacharach, Professor William Sonnenstuhl
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Who are the Sandhogs? Formally they are a local union of the Laborers Hard rock miners who trace their roots to the Brooklyn Bridge Built all of subway tunnels, water tunnels, and river tunnels in NYC Highly skilled craftsmen who are well paid for their labor
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A Simple Model of Alignment Organizations strive to align mechanisms of control in order to maximize their control over members. Structure – Organic vs. Mechanical (Burns and Stalker) Culture – Communal vs. individual Goals – Maintenance vs. innovation Tasks – Loosely prescribed vs. tightly prescribed by management
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Sandhog Structure: Organic Relatively few written rules Low division of labor Little standardization Short hierarchy of authority Low level of complexity Note: Lots of uncertainty in work environment
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Sandhog Culture: Ideology: World is a dangerous place and survival requires sticking together. Basic norm: Protect one another at all times Cultural forms Symbols: Hog house, clothes, tools Storytelling: Heroes and accidents Teasing newcomers to test Celebrations: Mass and holing through Union meetings
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Sandhog goals: Conservative occupational communities resist change Maintenance Keep outsiders out Keep building tunnels in NY metropolitan area Ensure enough young people to keep union and occupation alive
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Sandhog work processes/tasks: Gang is basic work unit Management has little say over day-to- day gang activities Gang leader controls Hiring at shape up Firing for endangering others Assignments on gang When gang’s job is over, whole gang is out of work and has to shape
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Alcohol is Cultural Form Alcohol is not simply a beverage. Alcohol is a symbol laden with meaning. God’s Good Gift Demon Rum Inebriate/Alcoholic as American folk-devil. Symbol embedded in rituals: Standardized patterns of behavior that signal how one ought to behave (e.g., Communion).
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Ritual Effects Elements of ritual include: Group interacting Common focus of attention Common emotional mood Sacred object or symbol of the group Effects
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