CHAPTER 3 
ORGANIZING STORIES

David Boje & Robert Dennehy's
Managing in the Postmodern World
1st Edition 1993; 2nd Edition 1994;
3rd Edition September 1999.
For Free to you on the WWW.
You may copy for free and use in any teaching or training setting at no charge. You have our permission to copy. It was written as an undergraduate Intro to Management Text, but has been used at all levels, including in Management Training at Trader Joe's.

Consult Managing in the Postmodern World home page for more chapters as I get them done. There are also plenty of cases, syllabus copies, and additional  learning materials to go with this book - D. Boje 
(press here). 

:
Table 3.1  INDEX - Press to go to each section 

ORGANIZING DEFINITIONS

PRE-MODERN ORGANIZING

Organizing is crews.

C Crews. Organizations are fraternal societies of apprentices and journeymen, organized into work crews, with rank determined by a caste system of skilled workers. 

R Rough. Managers are rough, tough, macho-types with an adversarial stance toward workers.

E Entrepreneurial. Strong sense of innovation and personal self-reliance. 

W Well knit Community. Organizing around the community of crafts and artisans.

S Social People worked with their wives, brothers, and uncles in the same trades.

MODERNIST ORGANIZING

Organizing is Discipline.

D Discipline. Discipline time and motion.

I Inspection. Do not let people inspect their own work. Keep them engaged in brain-dead tasks.

S Surveillance. The gaze is everywhere.

C Centralization. Centralize decisions, policies, and objectives.

I Impersonal. Bureaucratic offices, rules, and departments. No connection between people and customers

P Penal Mechanisms. Little judge and jury management meetings to grade and evaluate everyone.

L Layers. Organized into pyramid layers.

I Individual Cells. Division of labor into military units.

N Neural. Control physical bodies of people.

E Elites. Elites have status trappings.

POSTMODERN ORGANIZING

Organizing is flat.

F Flat. Flat and flexible with few layers of management. Forever serving customers.

L Latticed. A Circle network of relationships between autonomous teams without going through a center pyramid. Circle includes suppliers and customers. Many centers or no centers at all.

A Autonomous. Postmodern man is the self-disciplined entrepreneur who balances leisure with temporary commitment to formal organizations. Diverse individuals make-up the teams.

T Team-based. Teams of equals are skilled to do their own planning, organizing, and controlling. Teams sub-contract work across organizational and global boundaries. Team focus in on KAIZEN - continuous improvement involving everyone.


What is Organizing?

Grouping and assigning people, processes, and resources to accomplish plans people can not do alone while delegating requisite authority and setting the rules by which they interact.

PRE. Crews. Organizing is by skill and senority in a self-reliant and entrepreneurial brotherhood society of apprentices and skilled journeymen.

MOD. Discipline. Organizing is centralized and impersonal surveillance and penal mechanisms of disciplines time and motion.

POST. Flat. Organizing is de-centered with flat, flexible and few layers to distribute autonomous teams focusing on KAIZEN and customers.

Pre-modern, modern, and postmodern will be presented as historical epochs in organization theory, but please do not be fooled. As you can see in the Blue Team's presentation of Carl's JR's organizational discourse, the three perspectives are very much a part of every contemporary organization.

PRE-MODERN ORGANIZING return to index
 

Introduction. From the late 1700s to the early 1900s, pre-industrial workers were herded about in large 30 to 100 person work gangs or crews. People were organized into their trades and served seven to ten year apprenticeships to become journeymen in a given trade. Once you mastered a trade, such a printing, carpentry, stained glass, or silver smithing, you could become the entrepreneur, open your own shop, and train your own apprentices. Management in the big firms of the early 1900s such as railroads, water and power, mining, and automobile manufacturing maintained and preferred an antagonistic and adversarial attitude towards trade unions and workers. In short, there was competitive struggle in the small and the large business.

After the Civil War, the ideas of Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species also took root in the American attitudes. "The total social good is enhanced by an unregulated process of struggle which will ensure the "survival of the fittest."  #1
"In every store and factory there is a constant weeding-out process going on. No matter how good times are, this sorting continues ... out, and forever out, the incompetent and unworthy go. It is the survival of the fittest".#2


 
Should Chrysler be Saved Next Time? The pre-modern philosophy was: if organizations and individuals fail the natural struggle, they should fail to survive. The weak are not supposed to survive. Those who are rich are destined to be so; those who are poor are undeserving. Intervening in the social Darwin process is considered by many to be socialism or communism. Because of the heritage of Social Darwinism attitudes, there are those to this modern day who believe the government should in no way intervene to save a Chrysler Motor Car company or help a group of US computer chip manufacturers compete more effectively with the Japanese partnerships of industry and government.  Nevertheless, it is easy to see that this self-fulfilling theory provides a solid base for viewing workers and employees as simply parts in a machine with no particular merit or rights - except the right to join in the struggle for survival... Riches, incidentally, were often considered a measure of virtue and heavenly reward. Thus, the fittest were also the most virtuous. #3
If the rich got richer, it was because God meant them to be rich, If the poor were exploited, it was their destiny on earth to be so. In the pre-modern craft-based organization, there were tough bosses, a caste system of apprenticeship, rites of passage into the organization and into one's rank. 

The following stories were collected from a utility company, we shall call "Edison." #4 As you read the stories, please deconstruct them using the guidelines in the Appendix on story deconstruction.

Pre-Modern Stories of Clumsums and Shovelers
Tim "I don't know who was telling me. There was a foreman out in San Bernadino who used to physically beat up his people. Just a brute of a person. I don't know who was telling me that. And intimidator and so on. And if you didn't do what he said: "I'll knock your block off type stuff." And he always wanted em to do everything and knew exactly how to do stuff. Well he was on an emergency assignment to a different crew and in a different area of the town and he climbed the pole. Or he told people to climb the pole and the pole switched. And they said: "Don't do that, because that's going to take out a whole section of a town unnecessarily. That's the wrong thing to do." "Don't bother me. I'll beat your butt into the ground if you don't get up there and clear that pole. And they said: "we told you not to do it." And he went up there and he pulled the switch and out went part of the (pause). And they fired him because they now had something to get rid of him. And his people said: "Hey, we're just doing what he told us to do."

Doug "There's the old term where they see they'll be a group referred to or former linemen, they're now former linemen who are now foremen as "clumsums."

Boj "Clumsums?

Doug "Yes, because the old story is that when you were going to hire a lineman and you're the boss. Well you say: "have you clum?" "Well, yeah, I've clumsum, haven't you?" He's a clumsum.

Mike "I never heard it referred to as a noun. I've heard it as a [interrupted]

Doug "He's an old clumsum. You've never heard that in customer service? ...

Sue "No, are they going to beat me up?

Doug "when you go back out just for --- and I'd be interested in what happens. Ask somebody if they know who some of the clumsums are around here. And, I'd be delighted to hear what the response is.

Sue "Am I coming back in with two black eyes?

Doug "No, no, no. What it means is --- and then the word "boomer" you see. And they'll refer to old boomer.

Don "What's a boomer?

Doug "Well a boomer, of course was a lineman that went and traveled with the weather almost. In the midwest, when the poles got freezing and they'd have ice on the pole. It was awfully difficult to climb up. So you came to California because of the weather. Then you moved around. You boomed. You were a boomer. And you had to be very careful.. I know when I was an employment interviewer, we had to be very careful that we didn't hire boomers, because not only did they not last, but many times they were not really journeymen, quote, linemen. So we had an old superintendent in the distribution area that was a manager. And as the final passing grade after we got through interviewing them and we made telephone checks to find out that they hadn't been in the slammer for too long. You know, cause that's pretty hard living, hard drinking group. And if all things look pretty good, we'd send the lineman, so-called lineman. He'd say he was a journeyman --- down to have this superintendent interview him and he would say: "how much cluming have you done?" (pause) And then he would determine whether they were a boomer or not.


CREW
Sue "... I have a story regarding when I had to do some training with the linemen splicers... I went out and road with the crews for two days. So first they cleaned up their language and whatever. And when I did the training program several of them who didn't know that I had ridden with the crews... said "how do you know so much about us?" And the passage of you're OK is if you get invited to their bar after work. If you're invited to the Copper Door, you are in. If you don't get any invitations, you know they can be polite to you in the program, but if you really want to know if you are in, its if they tell you, you can come into their bar.

Boj "It, interesting, its sort of a rite of acceptance....
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ROUGH
Mike "...I can tell you a story about my two year career in the steel business [laughs of recognition for this story from the group]. I was hired to work in a steel mill in Cleveland. I was a teenager, young adult, and times were tough. It was in the late 50's. It bore the first of the modern recessions and I got caught up in. And I reported for work and I was hired as a laborer and my job was to shovel out the coal cups because there were seven or eight of these things and one of them were always cold because that was the one they were repairing and they would run the other six blast furnaces. And I got assigned to a crew, a brick laying crew is was called, because these things are lined with fire brick. And the guy said: "OK, follow me. What we are going to do." And he says: "follow me." We walked over to a wooden box and put three sticks of dynamite in his hip pocked [laughter from group]. Follow him? Well OK, and he starts going up the outside of this thing on a ladder, a steel ladder. You know? And that bugger's a 100 feet tall. Follow him --- bugger. And after about 40 feet, I'm getting scared. "Wait a minute, what's going on here?" Not a word, just: "follow me." OK. So he goes up to the top and throws his leg over that blast furnace and takes some of this dynamite and lights it and boom. [more group laughter]. [pause] It goes all the way down the stack. And so OK, now we go back down and then of course, our job is to shovel this out. And there's a space. Now why they couldn't build it six feet tall instead of four feet all. But the space underneath is four feet tall. So you have to shovel this stuff bent over into a little cart and then push it up an incline and then someone else takes it away. And that was my job. I lasted two hours.

Sue "They fired you?

Mike "I walked off. I didn't even collect my money. [more laughs]
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Boj "A chance for a real "quality of work" line? [lots of laughs and cross talk] ...
ENTREPRENEURIAL
Pre-Mod workers organized for entrepreneurship.  Before managers took over, and before crews for Taylorized by so-called "scientific management principles" the pre-mod worker managed and organized their own work.  The craftsperson knew how to diivide up a task, set up a lathe, figure out how many pieces to run of a given type to optimize the work output.  The doing of the work and the managing of the work process were one. In the pre-mod guilds and in the pre-mod workshops, the worker was an entrepreneur, coming up with more efficient and easier, sometimes faster ways to get the work done, and with high quality too. Think about it, who does a better job, the guy running the machine in some factory, or the man/woman doing their craft  in some entrepreneurial workshop?  Do you want factory jewelry or hand-crafted pieces?  It is a myth to think that Modern Times (Chaplain Movie) borught about entrepreneurship.  The modernist machine of organizing killed the entrepreneur by splitting work from managmeent.  Now in the postmodern organiztion, entrepreneurship is returned to the work, as the manager gets down-sized, out sourced, and let go. Keep the worker, fire the manager!
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WELL KNIT
Don "Oh, I know of a crew they assigned to go out and dig a hole out in Pullman. Do you know where Pullman is? [No, says the group] Its down by Riverside. The ground is hard. Real hard. In between rock and granite, somewhere like that, and they sent these two guys down there to dig this hole. You know and they really pumped em up for it. And they got out there and they started digging. And they got down about that far (motions six inches). And they put the boom and the auger on and it wouldn't go anywhere so they probably got down about this far (displays about nine inches) an they probably figured well, we'll fill it full of water. It's Friday and we'll come back Monday and finish. They came back Monday and the water had gone down about half an inch. And they just kept razzing these guys and hassling them about [it]. "Get those holes dug. We gotta put.. We gotta do some work." And they'll use that hole digging as punishment or discipline or starting a new crew guy out. "You grab a shovel and dig me a hole for a pole."

Doug "That's a grunt. A groundman is called a grunt. Now surely you've heard the term grunt? (Sue nods acknowledgement). And those grunts are the ones that used to dig the holes. Of course now they have more sophisticated equipment. But the grunt used to literally "grunt" when he was digging the hole.

Sue "Another thing there's a caste system Like with our line crews, you start out with the groundman and then you have the apprentice lineman and linemen splicers. There's before work. They all have a table and you do not go over to the other table. There's a groundman table. there's a lineman splicer table and you don't go over unless you're invited. Otherwise, you are really hazed. At least, that was the custom of this one district. I don't know --- has anyone seen that for other districts. ...

Don "Well I spent a day with a transmission crew and they had a backhoe working. And the foreman was very explicit about that. When I have a new guy around, well I'll have him dig a hole. But today we've been really working hard and everything else, so I'll have the guy on the backhoe dig the hole. And, he'd just swish, swish, swish, and there's this hole. And it's all dug and everything else. But, he won't use him, if he's got something he wants to teach somebody, right in there and shovel that hole.
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SOCIAL
Doug "... we had a Christmas party and Christmas dance at the Ontario American Legion club. And now it was on Friday night and bear in mind that all of the crews have worked all that day climbing poles. And they came in the evening with their wives. Came at it and hit the bar and went at it with both hands and then as dinner was announced they ordered more drinks and took the drinks. ... and then the band came and they were dancing and so all the women took their shoes off and the men. And they were out there and they played this stomping music. And so then the band was through about 12 and they anted up [passed] around the hat to pay more to the band and so they danced till 2. Now mind you, they've clum poles all day they dance till at least 2 or 2:30 and now they decided now we're all going to go bowling [lots of group laughter]. And they all went bowling and they all had breakfast about 7 o'clock in the morning. And you tell me where the average dude can handle that? And that's the life. They still do it today.

Don "Those are very strong, very strong norms.

Boj "I think those stories are very important. At least I'm able to learn very quickly some of the norms and which ones not to violate.

. . .

Mike "I would like to share with you once sentence that I heard that made such an impact upon me that I remember it verbatim. A middle manager with 22 years experience with the company was commenting on the things that I think we are talking about. And he said and I quote: "The ABC's of getting ahead in this and he mentioned the department. The ABC's of getting ahead here are that you have to be Authoritarian, Belligerent, and Cruel." And that was a spontaneous kind of thing. Now he was not advocating that. he had 22 years with the company and he was making a sad observation. 
 
 
 
Table 3-2:

PRE-MODERN STORY DISCOURSE 

SUMMARY BOX
 
ASPECTS OF THE PRE-MODERN WORKPLACE  
Tough Bosses:

Beat up his people

Brut of a person

An intimidator

Knock your block off type

"I'll beat your butt into the ground

Rites of Passage:

Getting accepted is getting invited to their bar

* Hole digging 

- to haze the new grunt

- is discipline

- to teach them something.

Clumsums:

* Climbs power poles.

* Have you clum sum?

* He's a clum sum.

Boomers:

* Old boomer

* Moved around - You boomed

* Came to California for the weather.

* Don't hire boomers.

Caste System:

* Grunts - Grunt when the dig. Groundsmen.

* Grunts are apprentices.

* Groundsman's table

* Lineman Splicer's table

* Journeymen haze new grunts.

DECONSTRUCTION POINTS.
1. In many ways the pre-modern organization, with its crews, apprentices, and hazing rituals, does resemble the organization of a fraternity or sorority. There are parallels in the language and practices between the greek system and the pre-modern crews.

2. The organization is culturally anchored in its past. A past that is communicated and sustains through storytelling. Stories are passed from journeymen to apprentice and from these executives to their managers and trainers. The pre-modern organization is a rank and caste system.

3. Pre-modern patterns of organization are present to this day in an organization, like Edison Utility Company that is quite modern. In any organization you can look for strands of pre-modern (crews, castes, rituals), modern (ranks, divisions, watches), and postmodern (flexibility, participation, diversity). In short, it is not the age of the organization or the time period being studied, it is the historical origins of each facet of the organization. The norms are established and rooted historically, but each of the three facets of the organization is changing at its own pace, some more pre-modern, many modern facets, and others more postmodern. 

4. The organization is a mechanism of discipline; disciplining people to move from rank of apprentice to journeyman; disciplining the scheduling of the day; journeymen haze apprentices; disciplining the movements of people during the day; disciplining the norms of behavior at any given moment by every single person. In the pre-modern facet, the discipline comes from the peer pressure of the crew system.

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MODERNIST ORGANIZING

INTRODUCTION. Groups of people are mechanically and hierarchically constructed and coordinated to seek common and many specialized goals in a strict division of labor. Modernist organizations resemble one huge machine with specialized human and machine parts. U.S. education fabricates human cogs for this machine.

DISCIPLINE in MOD MACHINE

The Story of the Ingenious Modern Educational Machine
In stagnant societies,the past crept forward into the present and repeated itself in the future... The key to the system, however, was its absolute devotion to yesterday. The curriculum of the present was the past.

The mechanical age smashed all this, for industrialism required a new kind of man. It demanded skills which neither family nor church could, by themselves, provide... Above all, it required that man develop a new sense of time.

Mass education was the ingenious machine constructed by industrialism to produce the kind of adult it needed. The problem was inordinately complex. How to pre-adapt children for a new kind of world - a world of repetitive indoor toil, smoke, noise, machines, crowded living conditions, collective discipline, a world in which time was to be regulated not by the cycle of sun and moon, but by the factory whistle and the clock.

The solution was an educational system which, in its very structure simulated this new world... Yet the whole idea of assembling masses of students (raw materials) to be processed by teachers (workers) in a centrally located school (factory) was a stroke of industrial genius. The whole administrative hierarchy of education, as it grew, followed the model of industrial bureaucracy. The very organization of knowledge into permanent disciplines was grounded on industrial assumptions... regimentation, lack of individualization, the rigid systems of seating, grouping, grading and marking, the authoritarian role of the teacher... (Alvin Toffler). #5
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Deconstruction Points
1. Mass education served the interests of a mass production and mass consumption society by pre-adapting children to the machine-paced discipline of mass production.

2. As modern organization deskilled jobs, specialized workers into individual tasks, made jobs very boring, the worker did not require or benefit from intellectual education, basic skills were adequate.

3. Since industry did not demand high education standards, workers with illiterate skills satisfied industry, providing the workers were used to being paced by a regulated and disciplined education machine.

4. To this day the mechanisms of student regulation (time and motion movement) receive more attention than the content of their education.

5. There are parallels between the industrial organization and the education organization:

a. Both are regimented.

b. Both have many discipline mechanisms.

c. Both resist reform.

6. The schools instilled a new time-bias, away from the past and onto the present. What is needed now is a future-oriented education system that helps students deal with change and instability. NEURAL - BODY CONTROL OVER THE NERVES AND LIMBS - THE HUMAN BODY MADE INTO MOD MACHINE In the modernist epoch, Taylor's scientific management and Henry Ford's assembly line combined to produce an organizational machine to temper the human body to the machine. The problem, however, was how to prepare workers from childhood to maturity who were disciplined early in life to work in the organizational machine. The American education system became the instrument of calibrating youth to be machineable cogs that with minor lubrication fit precisely into the modern industrial machine.

The U.S. Department of Labor has released a recent report that calls for a revolutionary reformation of the educational system because it is out of touch with the need of industry in the year 2000. While we are reassured because the report points out the differences between the modern and postmodern forms of organization, what is depressing to us is that the report does not address the role of education. Is the only role of education to produce students who will fit into a less modern, and a more postmodern industrial machine? 
 
 

Table 3.3:

CHARACTERISTICS OF MODERNIST AND POSTMODERNIST WORKPLACE
 
MOD MODEL   POSTMOD MODEL
* mass production

* long production runs

* centralized control

STRATEGY
 
 

 


 
 

* flexible production

* customized 

production

* decentralized

control

* fixed automation

* end-of-line quality

control

* fragmentation of

tasks

* authority vested in

supervisor 

PRODUCTION
 
 
 
 

 


 
 

* flexible automation

* on-line quality 

control

* work teams, multi-

skilled workers

* authority delegated

to workers


 
 

* labor-management

confrontation

* minimal qualifi-

cations accepted

* workers as a cost

HUMAN

RESOURCES
 
 

 


 
 
 
 

* labor-management

cooperation

* screening for basic

skills abilities

* workforce as an

investment


 
 

* internal labor market

* advancement by

seniority

JOB

LADDERS

 


 
 
 
 

* limited internal

labor market

* advancement by

certified skills

* minimal for

production workers

* specialized for 

craft workers

TRAINING

 


 
 

* training sessions

for everyone

* broader skills

sought

SOURCE: Adapted from Scans Report, 1991. #6

America 2000. In order to engage in World Class Competition, American Education will need to train for the Postmodern workplace. The ethics of America 2000 are "commitment to excellence, product quality, and customer satisfaction." America 2000 workers will have to manage themselves because there will be fewer supervisors to plan and organize their work. The will need these competencies:
 
 

Table 3.4:
 
NEW WORKER COMPETENCIES
RESOURCES Workers schedule time, budget money, materials, space, and assign staff;

INTERPERSONAL working on teams, teaching others, serving customers,

SKILLS leading negotiating, and working well with people from culturally diverse backgrounds to solve problems; they responsibly challenge existing procedures and policies;

INFORMATION Workers are expected to identify, assimilate, and integrate information from diverse sources; they prepare, maintain and interpret quantitative and qualitative records; they convert information from one form to another and are comfortable conveying information, orally and in writing, as the need arises;

SYSTEMS Workers should understand their own work in the context of the work of those around them; they understand how parts of systems are connected, anticipate consequences, and monitor and correct their own performance; they can identify trends and anomalies in system performance, integrate multiple displays of data, and link symbols (e.g., displays on a computer screen) with real phenomena (e.g., machine performance).

TECHNOLOGY High levels of competence in selecting and using appropriate technology, visualizing operations, using technology to monitor tasks, and maintaining and trouble-shooting complex equipment; ensuring the cogs and gears of the entire firm operate as a harmonious system.

FOUNDATION FOR COMPETENCIES

BASIC SKILLS reading, writing, arithmetic and mathematics, speaking, and listening;

THINKING thinking creatively, making decisions, solving problems,

SKILLS seeing things in the mind's eye, knowing how to learn, and reasoning;

PERSONAL individual responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, self-

QUALITY management, and integrity.

SOURCE: Adapted from SCANS report, 1991.

Education in Crisis. Schools are not able to graduate literate citizens, let alone educate them for the ideals of our changing work place. Instead of a world class workforce, business are dumb-ifying their work procedures, systems, and supervision approaches to deal with a work force that is not as well skilled as the Japanese and German workers. Postmodern workers need to come out of high school with creative thinking skills, technical skills in spreadsheet programs, statistical process control, and an ability to work in teams, with the entrepreneurial attitude to challenge systems to continuously improve. 

A well-developed mind, a passion to learn, and the ability to put knowledge to work are the new keys to the future of our young people, the success of our businesses, and the economic well-being of the nation (SCANS, p. 1).  return to index

MORE LAYERS OF HIERARCHY - still hierarchy but with electronics you need fewer layers
Postmodern organizations will differ from the Modernist, in the same way that Henry Ford's assembly line differed from hand made horse drawn carriages. The routinized, repetitive, hierarchically supervised workplace will give way to one that is a network with flexible, customized, non-routine, organization of goods and service production; an organization that is customer and quality driven. 
Like the dinosaur with its limited intelligence, doomed to extinction at the hands of smaller but craftier animals, the traditional model cannot survive the competition from high-performance organizations that depend on the intelligence and ingenuity of their managers and employees. High-performance organizations are relentlessly committed to excellence, to product quality, and to customer service (SCANS, p. 4).
In order to get beyond bureaucratic product and service organizations, we must confront the major obstacle that is holding back that transition: the subtle bureaucratic discipline machine. It is so entrenched that merely changing the practices, people, or even the education system will not loosen its grip on the American organization.

The Modern Discipline Machine

Disciplining the Modern Dinosaur. The goal of modernist organizing is to discipline people, keep them docile, and to keep them submissive, stupid, and correct. Modern organization is a network of disciplinary mechanisms that runs the length of the production and service delivery process. In this way the individual becomes part of organized behavior. But, if the individual is disciplined by the dinosaur, he can no longer be self-disciplined, self-managed, or self-directed the way he was in the pre-modernist epoch when self-reliance and individualism were king.
 
 

The Purdue Recruiting Machine Story
I have never been able to erase from my mind the memory of an ordinary day at Purdue's placement center. It is probably the largest and most effective placement operation in the country, yet, much as in a well-run group clinic, there seemed hardly any activity. In the main room some students were quietly studying company literature arranged on the tables for them; others were checking the interview timetables to find what recruiter they would see and to which cubicle he was assigned; at the central filing desk college employees were sorting the hundreds of names of men who had registered for placement. Except for a murmur from the row of cubicles there was little to indicate that scores of young men were, every hour on the half hour, making the decisions that would determine their whole future life (William H. Whyte, Jr.).  #7
The Human Machine. What was upsetting to William Whyte Jr. in 1956 and is still upsetting to us today is that the students were not repelled and are still not repelled by this social machinery. The Taylorists, Weberians, Fayols, and as we shall assert even the Human Relationalists have contributed their sciences to the bureaucratization, standardization, formalization, centralization, and mechanization of the organizational machine. Students sign up to become part of the status quo, to be part of collective group work, to be conservative. Despite the fact that over 50% of Americans are employed by small business and Alvin Toffler (1990) predicts an even higher percentage by the year 2000, the lines of entrepreneurship are very short in the placement office. #8  Students are not in revolt against the bureaucratic machines they are normalizing (trying to be average) themselves to fit into it.

The Executive Ladder Story
"You get into a certain position," one forty-year-old executive explains, "and you start getting scared that somebody else might want the job you have. You can't tell who he might be, so you take on the protective coloring so you won't look as if you are ambitious and have the others move in on you." The best defense against being surpassed, executives well know, is to surpass somebody else, but since every other executive knows this also and knows that the others know it too, no one can ever feel really secure. Check vacation records, and you will find that the higher up the man is, the more likely is the vacation to be broken up into a week here and a week there and, furthermore, to be rescheduled and postponed to suit the company rather than the family. " "I like to take my vacation in two or three stretches instead of three or four weeks," one executive confesses. "I don't do it for my health. If you go away for three weeks, when you come back you find that they have rearranged your entire job. Someone has to carry on while you are gone and they are in your files, and when you get back the people will ask you questions about your job on account of what others did while you were away. I don't blame them, mind you; I would do exactly the same thing." #9
INSPECTION in the MOD MACHINE

Panoptic Discipline. As the modernist period of industrial science progressed, the organization became a machine of discipline. Organizing combines scripts and discourse with architectures, scientific rationality, programs of disciplinary correction with production processes. Michel Foucault (1977) calls this the "Panoptic" machine. #10  It is a different view of organizations. By contrast, the organization in American textbooks is described as a hierarchy of objectives; each unit has its objective and objectives of one level in the hierarchy are means for the objective ends of higher levels. While this is one way to look at organizing, the "panoptic" interpretation is that each level practices surveillance or what Foucault calls the "gaze." With the gaze hierarchy, managers, staff, and workers become more docile performers than they would be as individuals. It takes a great deal of docility to behave correctly in the machine. #11

Discipline practices. The administrative management principles of Henri Fayol considered discipline one of the key principles of management. Workers must be disciplined to willfully obey the rules of the organization by exercising leadership, clearly communicated work policies, and fairly applied penalties. Discipline in the modern organization was also the cornerstone of the military organization. Yet, since the 1970's military training at West Point and other military institutions has sought a more postmodern path to discipline. Rather than demanding unquestioned obedience and discipline, the new military leader helps the troops establish self-reliance and self-discipline: to make sense of their situation, utilize their resources, and coordinate among themselves using teamwork to meet a challenge. In this way, the military discipline becomes less a vertical dictatorship and more a horizontal network of intelligent interaction. It is curious that modernist management textbooks have almost nothing to say about discipline, yet that what is central to all organizational structures.

What are people disciplined for? The organization enforces violations of time (lateness, absence, interruption); activity violations (negligence in attention, lack of zeal; behavior violations (impoliteness, disobedience, disrespect, insubordination); speech violations (idle chatter, insolence, racial slurs, phone use); body violations (incorrect attitudes, irregular gestures, lack of cleanliness; physical and sexual abuse); sexuality violations (impurity, indecency, abuse, dating). 

How are people disciplined and corrected in organizations? Light physical punishments (work reparations, repetitions of unacceptable procedures and processes); deprivations (removal from office, reduction in rank, failing an examination); petty humiliations (dressing down in front of others, relentless questions, standing before a panel, wearing badges of dishonor); coldness and indifference (stares, extinctions (ignoring something); non-responsiveness, stern replies, body language). return to index

SURVEILLANCE GAZE in the MOD MACHINE is EVERYWHERE
What are the multiple and pervasive organizational apparatus of discipline that comprise organization? 

1. Gaze Mechanisms. Organizations coerce discipline by observation. The eyes are everywhere in a continuous and encompassing network of surveillance that runs the length of the production technology. The gaze is a multiple, automatic, continuous, hierarchized, and anonymous power functioning in a network of relations from top to bottom, from bottom to tip, and laterally to hold the whole organization together, functioning like an ingenious piece of fine machinery (Foucault, 1977: 175-80). Spatially, offices, cubicles, and desks are arrayed along long corridors like a series of small cubicles with supervisory offices located at regular an strategic intervals. People leave their doors open to voluntarily subject themselves to the gaze. Because management can not see into all the cells of the organization simultaneously, the gaze is sub-divided and networked in hierarchical relations at key relay points and the monitoring is collated and tabulated at key levels.
 

The symbol of the gaze mechanism and its ideal case is the "panoptic" tower in the center of a circle of workshop cells and offices. The tower has one way mirrors so the boss can look in at what you do, but you can not tell if she is observing you at this instance or not. As a worker or supervisor your work cell is exposed to the gaze. The only entrances and windows are toward the tower, not towards the outside. The tower and the circle of stacked cells is the ideal image. More popular is the long corridor of work cells.

Through the gaze mechanism, the worker is conscious of the potential for visibility that surrounds her every movement. Since the worker never quite knows if the gaze is in effect, s/he internalizes the gaze. You do not need anyone standing behind the tower's one way windows, the workers behave as if they are being continuously gazed. The gaze is internalized. Foucault refers to this as Bertham's Principle: power should be visible and unverifiable. The worker has become the principle of his/her own subordination. 

NEW FORMS OF CENTRALIZATION - No longer the Stool Sitters

The panoptic machinery is no longer architectural. Bosses no longer sit atop tall stools on elevated platforms to micro-supervise by direct observation the people doing work at long tables arranged in neat rows and corridors. Although, there are some special collection sections of libraries that operate precisely such a gaze mechanism. 
The central inspection hall is the pivot of the system; without a central point of inspection, the gaze ceases to be guaranteed... the more accurate and easy the surveillance, the less need will there be to seek in the strength of the buildings guarantees against attempted escape and communication between the inmates (Foucault, p. 250).
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PUT WORKERS IN THEIR CELLS - The gaze has taken on more subtle forms: recording, examination, normalization, etc. With modern computers, the time and motion behaviors of each work can be gazed without a person at the gaze terminal. In telephone answering operations, such as at a customer service number, operators have their calls monitored for how long they are one the phone with each customer; and supervisors will even cut in to monitor the conversation of a call and rate that conversation on seven-point scales. There are delicate issues of privacy here. At some banks, the supervisor is required to beep the customer service operator to let them know that they are being gazed. Instead of putting workers in cells, they are put into star shaped cubicles with other operators. A supervisor walks the floor, roving between cubicles. A battery of clerks monitor the computer reports on hundreds of operators. The operator is controlled by the computerized gaze. Police departments are already confining people to their homes instead of in over-crowded jails by hooking them up to electronic monitors that dial the police station if an individual walks more than 100 feet away from his/her home. More and more people are carrying electronic beepers and others carry scanners to log and report their every movement. For those of us who are not electronically monitored, we just leave our doors open and type up and then submit endless forms and attend endless debriefing committee meetings.
Bob: I recall my supervisor, at a major computer company, spent an inordinate amount of time re-writing my reports under the guise of "word-smithing"
MBWA. Even Management By Wandering Around (Peters and Waterman) is a form of gaze. #12  Managers do not just wander the halls to empower workers, they exercise power over the workers by showing up at random times and at random spaces to gaze the workers performance efficiency. People begin to self-monitor, in case the boss shows up.

2. Recording Mechanisms. Staffs of clerks, foremen, supervisors, assistants, and secretaries are watchers of time, recorders of movements, allocators of space, and observers of waste and inefficiency. Organizations maintain vast files and computer records on each individual.

3. Penal Mechanisms. A penal mechanism is an adaptation of the judge and jury. It can be as minor as a search committee reviewing applicants, interviewing candidates, and then deciding its recommendation. The organization is a network of minor penal mechanisms to effect disciplinary power in subtle, discrete, and omnipresent ways. The espoused objectives of these penal mechanisms are to control stealing, cheating, abuse, inefficiency, or to give an unbiased, equitable and fair decision --- but at another level these mechanisms control and docilize people. Workers and managers are caught in an array of punishment and penalty mechanisms.

4. Examinations. Managers judge. With modernization, the examination of everyone in every way by every foreman, supervisor, superintendent, director, and executive has been increasing at an increasing rate. People are classified, categorized, segmented, and deselected through employment examinations. Accountants wanting to be CPA's are given examinations. People are examined for promotion, reassignment, and skill development. Each worker is classified, fixed, transcribed, averaged, and normed into a cumulative record keeping system, called: the case file. Some case files are physical, others are converted to computer disks. In this way the exam combines an observing and examining hierarchy with normalizing (make man into string of numbers) judgements. Exams can discipline, punish, classify, select, and exclude. In the question and answer process of the examination, each worker is diagnosed, the examiners deliberate and a judgement is rendered. Just as exams marked the end of course-work, the business exams mark the end of periods of training, apprenticeship, and rank. Exams hierarchized good and bad workers, managers, administrators, and staff in relation to one another. Exams distribute people by aptitude, conduct, skill. In sum, the exam is a constantly applied ritual of power; dominance and subordination, authenticating the distribution of people into ranks, levels, and cells, and marking their movement from one part of the organization to another.

5. Scientific Normalization Mechanisms. Social science divides man into categories, partitions people, and dimensionalizes human conduct. People are indexed and known by their scores. People too far above or too far below the norms are sanctioned. Norm scores are used to decide and distribute rank and privilege. Clerks maintain computer scores and documents with norm scores. Performance reviews are done at intervals to derive norm scores. Workers with low norms are penalized. Social science constructs the valid and reliable dimensions of performance reviews.

Social science has constructed GMAT norms used to admit or deny admission to MBA programs. The person's life to date is summarized and transformed into numerical scores. The gaze in the GMAT-based admission process works this way. You do not need to look upon the person or to interview them at all. The person never sees the faces of the admission committee who reviews the scores. In most MBA programs, a computer performs a calculation of grade point and GMAT norms and automatically admits students. Marginal cases are reviewed in committee. MBA programs advertise their norms; what GMAT and grade norms does the average student possess. Normalization and examination are both measurement without end and the gaze without end. 

6. Gratification-punishment mechanisms. The greater your rank in an organization, the more you are treated as an individual. Popular managers dispense more rewards than penalties. The manager enforces a micro-accountancy of privileges and impositions for each person. Those with greater positive balances get more rights and privileges in the organization.
 
 
 
 

Summary of Modernist Principles for Applying Discipline.

Principle One: Isolation. Isolate workers and managers from the external world and monitor their movements. Isolate workers and managers from one another and let them combine only in ritual and under hierarchical surveillance. Isolate people into homogeneous departmental groups and gaze the isolated work in a strict hierarchial framework. Discourage and punish non-isolated behavior patterns. Rank the person by their willing participation in the hierarchy of surveillance.

Principle Two: Regulation on the Treadmill. Do not let the worker or manager be idle. Let people do their work in strict time intervals and regulate away all possibilities for idle contact. Bend the person to rhythmic, repetitive time movements. Make man the slave of his machine. The longer and more repetitive the period of regulation endured, the more docile the worker becomes. The worker becomes hypnotized by the time machinery of the work discipline machine. Treadmill work does not contribute at all to "value-added" actions. Most treadmill time is not value-added, but it keeps people busy and docile. The movements of the cogs in the organizational machine are predictable.

Principle Three: Transform the Person over Time. Over time, the person becomes disciplined to the routines of the organization. Promotion tracks are made for those who subscribe to correct behaviors. Promotion tracks perform a transformative progression and socialization on those following the track. Promotion is a reward for corrective behavior and it is a disciplinary mechanisms for incorrect behavior. Pay raises and merit raises and bonus payments perform disciplinary functions. Management molds the human resource and reforms his character through disciplinary transformations. Rank is a trap. The higher the rank, the more freedom you have to be radical, but the more programmed you are not to be radical. The lower the rank of a manager, the more radical she can be, the more the hierarchy of surveillance will discipline attempts to deviate from organizationally-correct behavior.

Principle Four: Co-op the People through Cycles of Reform. Organizational renewal, transformation, development and reform programs reproduce exactly the same organization of panoptic discipline mechanisms. The labels differ, the players rotate, and the language changes, but the game is exactly the same as before. In each type of reform, many documents are generated, there are endless meetings, new slogans are put on the walls, but the system is the same system as before. If anything, during the process of reform, the hierarchy accomplishes more concentrated and pervasive surveillance of its people than during time intervals of non-reform. It is the same hierarchical surveillance mechanisms that dominated the system needing reform. Inertia is strong.

Results of the Modernist Panoptic Mechanisms. The organization practices a physiology and a psychology of discipline. The organization orders time and space rhythms on a grand scale. The instruments of discipline are the gaze, endless recording, and subtle penal mechanisms distributed in a network of discipline devices throughout the productive corridor of the organizational machine. Each penal mechanism is sanitized, gentile, rational, and civilized. the problem with the discipline machine is that it lacks the flexibility and innovative renewal potential required for competition in the global economy.

return to index

IMPERSONAL RULES ARE EVERYWHERE 
Foucault's Panopticon gives us a framework for assessing the results of the disciplinary organization. 
 

1. People are disciplined for norm and rule violations. Conformity is preferred; anomalies are not tolerated. Surveillance and penal mechanisms are networked to form a continuous and hierarchical gaze of correct behavior. The surveillances are polite and the coercions are gentle, the penalties are mild, but the total effect is severe conformity. Punish the slightest indiscipline, conduct the gaze regularly, and maintain a technology, some of it computerized for reporting, monitoring, ranking, and normalizing the individual. 

2. The Discipline machine recruits, fabricates and consumes its own delinquents. The modernist service and production bureaucracies recruit people made docile by the school system. People who can not conform are deselected, demoted, and expelled. The 90-10 rule applies. 90% of the disciplinary structure is designed to control the 10% who resist and rebel against conformity. The greater the discipline, the more the system fabricates people who are rebellious, resistant, covert aggressive --- in short delinquents. This means there is a tug of war between those made docile and those made delinquent. Delinquents, therefore, are a continuous birth and death object of the discipline machine. The system is insistent on surveillance and penal penalty, even though many resist such devices. 

3. The Discipline Machine makes the power to punish and penalize natural and legitimate. In feudal times, corporal punishment was the tool of choice in schools, homes, and even workshop apprenticeship. If an apprentice messed up and left his candle burning, the journeymen could either solace (fine) him or throw him across a wooden table give him "what for". Now the physical torture of the body has been transformed into the technical and quasi-scientific, and pseudo-scientific tortures of being rhythmically coupled to the machine and in more recent times to the computer. Organizations are continuing to lower the threshold of tolerance to penalty mechanisms. Management renders justice to the workers. Management is the judge, the prosecutor, and the jury. While most of management discipline is taken-for-granted and widely accepted, the power of the manager is still very sovereign and her disciplinary mechanisms are sanctioned by scientific rationality. The manager does not personally punish, the examination does in a more anonymous, detached, and distant way. Managers do not have to bully people in verbal and confrontative spectacles, their preferred use of power is to put a letter in your personnel file, a letter you are not privileged to see. 

4. The Discipline Machine coopts social science to normalize people and make powerful judge out of managers. Judges assess, diagnose, classify normal and abnormal, recommend correction, utilize experts, and decide human affairs. The manager is a judge with access to a system of inspection, a system of examination, a system of distribution, a system of surveillance, and in the end these things normalize the individual. MBA programs produce administrators who administer the technologies of this discipline. 

5. The body of the worker has been captured in the perpetual gaze, the knowledge accumulation system, and the panoptic cage. Organizations are obsessed and voracious consumers of methods to fix, decide, classify, record, examine and ultimately objectify behavior. Social science legitimated the examination for discipline and the use of scientific instrumentation to make man conform to organization. These is a prevalent and seemingly uncritical application of scientific analysis to effect man's domination. There is also pseudo science. Handwriting experts divine placement decisions based on handwriting samples subjects do not know they have provided. People are placed on the basis of personality inventory scores. GMAT's decide entrance into business school. The bureaucrats and technocrats and plain clerks accumulate an amazingly complete and encompassing dossier of information on all aspects of the body human. The human being has been caged, not by the Rube Goldberg machine of discipline devices, but by the hard drives of the computer, and stored politely as so many bubbles of binary memory.

6. The Discipline Machine meets any force to reform with great inertia. The organization can be defined as a relay network of discipline mechanisms and surveillance systems. Many of these systems are being computerized. In these ways the individual through measurement becomes a case, an object of power, an object of knowledge, an element of the hierarchical gaze, and a mere normalized judgement. The reduction of people to their norm scores is a disciplinary mechanism to classify and distribute people in the modern business machine. 

Under what conditions will the Discipline Machine loosen its grip on the human body?

1. When the utility of disciplinary surveillance operations ceases to be an effective way to docilize the workforce. With the ubiquitous computer and its efficiency as an information processor, a single executive with an extensive computer reporting network can review the time and motions of hundreds of people. This is one reason that once tall, multi-level organizations are becoming flatter. Middle managers are being laid off or put on temporary contract. The span of control (# of people reporting to a given manager) has been widening. The Tom Peters camp recommends that the span of control be widened even further. In one supermarket chain the store manager complained about their meddling regional manager. Top management responded by assigning additional stored to the regional manager. The widened span of control reduced the meddling. With wide spans of control, the computer becomes the most efficient discipline instrument. People can input their goals, motions, time expenditures, and the computer can analyze this data and call the executive's attention to any discrepancy, any people who are significantly above or below a set of a priori norms. 

In short, direct surveillance loosens its grip, when indirect surveillance mechanisms accomplish the same result at lower costs. The computer is replacing the panoptic tower as the ideal an perfect cage for human discipline. Like the panoptic tower, the human does not know what information is being gazed, who is seeing it, and when the computer monitor has been engaged. The gaze is asymmetric because the worker can not see the gazer.

2. The proliferation of experts lessens the need for direct and hierarchical surveillance. Expert disciplines in science, psychology, psychiatry, educational psychology, managerial psychology, engineering, organizational sociology, accounting, management information systems, and the like assume more of the supervisory and judging roles in the discipline machine. with more experts who administer the diagnosis, classification, and sentencing, the is less need for an extensive supervision hierarchy. If we train people to be expert inspectors, we do not need to employ inspectors as a separate discipline. If we teach workers to do the scheduling, recruiting, and performance review tasks of the foreman, then we do not need to hire foreman as an occupational category. As standardized tests proliferate and as these tests can be administered at a computer terminal which analyzes the results, there is less need for a testing person. 

The Center of the Discipline Machine is a Machine not a Boss or a dominant Coalition of People. At the center of the organization, was once a cigar smoking, cursing boss who dogmatically balanced the organizational disciplinary apparatus. Now, the organization has no one center. There are many centers. It is poly-centered. If anything, at the heart of the disciplinary machine, there is no dominant boss, no arrogant sovereign, no psychology expert, and no computer whiz kid. Rather at the center is a network of computers that monitors norms of organizational behavior and call in a given expert, strategists, or negotiator when abnormal behavior is measured. In this next section, we examine the forms of organizing that the modernist business is based upon.

STATUS ELITES - Modern organizations give all the status to the elite managerial corps.  While those close to the work, get hardly any training or money, the managerial elite head off to the golf resorts for their training meetings.  As the elite managers get their full time salaries, bonus, and profit sharing, the workers are put into part-time employment.  This way the elite can have fat-cat benefits packages while keeping their costs down. Scrooge. 

Upon what other forms of organization is a business organization based? If we take an historical approach to organizations, we find that business organizations have borrowed organizing practices from non-business forms of organization. The business firm has practices derived from: the family (a family of brother, sister, and elder workers in a team); the army (commanded by a head and divided into divisions and squads, with people assigned to ranks); a workshop (with supervisors, foremen who regulate work schedules and movements); the judicial form (justice is dispatch each day to discipline minor and major offenses); a monastic order (where the path to enlightenment is through discipline, cellular life, and hard work); sciences (technologies for measurement and normalizing personality, behavior, and skill); and the prisons ( a system of penal disciplinary systems, time regimentation, cellular occupations, and dormitory housing). Business has also exported practices to these varied non-business forms.
The Story of Modern Edison Organization being Adopted from the Navy Form of Organization.
Mike "...You know bureaucracies are set up to be, you know, the outlets to the military. We do have remnants of a military type of things here. You know, in the language. Like in power supply, for example, they go on a 24 hour clock basis. Ummm they don't have shifts, they have watches. And they have station chiefs and watch engineers.

Don "That's right!

Mike "And another bit of --- a little story that has developed there that I've heard. Uhhh ... the story goes that well I think that in power supply, its customary to start work at 7 o'clock in the morning and work till 4:45 like everyone else. I understand the way that got started was that these chief whatever they ares, there first thing --- what they wanted to find at 8 o'clock in the morning was find out what is wrong on the other two shifts.

Doug "Read the morning report?

Mike "Read the morning report at 8 o'clock... Yeah OK. So if you're sharp then that's got to be ready. So the people that get the information for the guy had to come in at seven in order to get ready for him. And that just kind of happened. So now its a norm.

Bill "That's the old concept of a half day is working from seven to seven.

Ted "Yeah, that's right --- power of the plant! [lots of group laughter].

Don "When we first started here in a sense. when I say we, I mean the three years ago or so when a kind of a major set of changes were going on here in the division. One of the questions which came up was our time scheduling at work. should you be here on time? What's our flexibility in going places and that kind of thing. [Note: the transition of Modern to Postmodern Planning and Organizing] And our boss at that time at department level was a former power supply guy and I remember him saying to me: "Hey, you know I've got no problem, we've got flex time. We've got flex time just like we had in power supply. There's core hours, that's six to six. You can come in before that anytime you want. You can go home after that anytime you want." [Lots of group laughter and cross talk] ... And it was straight and he was very comfortable with it and very proud of it. Twenty eight years before I got to this job. Twenty eight years and I never went anywhere without a beeper and I was on call seven days a week.

Boj "That's interesting.

Doug "Well, you see the watch engineer thing has some history to it. You see we started out with steam plants. And the only place you got people who know about steam plants was from the Navy. And our chairman of the board was the head of the steam division. In fact, he had been out in the field as a steam plant operator. And the one I told you about that was a Navy chief, well then, he was head of that organization in the operating department too. And so they went by the Navy time and the watch engineer bit. And there's pictures around. I think Peter has a picture cause that's where he came up. And all the guys from steam crew, they're all standing there with their arms around each other with their little white suits on cause that's what [they] used to wear.

Don "White suits, is that a fact?

Boj "Like the Navy?

Doug "Yeah and they all came from that type of environment. As much as we have nuclear engineers today. Now the guys that are starting to make it in the company now are --- the vice presidents have their Navy Academy. Naval Academy graduates with Nuclear Rickover background. And they seem to like --- topside seems to like the Rickover influence. So that's, that's a new --- I watched that one come down the steam now. And there'll be a new one next week and we just had a couple more just a little while back.

. . .

Mike "... I think we've given up the dream of someday being able to work with top management of this company and they would recognize all the great things we can do and the wisdom and everything and Yeah, they want us to consult with them. And I think our strategy whether we articulate it that way or not is to focus on those middle people that are influenceable but not as powerful, but are candidates four, five, or ten years who may be in those top chairs. then, its right off to conference. 

Don "... if a manager in one area of this company wanted to do something different, he'd start getting heat from other places. "Why are you doing this? You are breaking the unspoken agreement that we all stay the same!" 

Mike "...And there is a balance too. You know? I value the heritage. I value 57 miles of road in 90 days and Big Creek and you know a lot of these old cowboys. You [know] some of these people are my friends. 

Doug "... that's reality. They'll bitch, but then problem. When there's a panic or a crisis. There's a power supply. They pride themselves on the fact that when you flip that switch boy the lights go on. And they are going to do anything come hell or high water to make sure that those lights are reliable service that those lights are going to be on for you. 
 
 

NAVY DISCOURSE
Top Side (CEO's and VP's)

Navy Time (24 hour clock)

Watches and Watch engineers

Station Chiefs

Morning Reports

The Rickover influence

Navy Academy

Nuclear Rickover

Dressed in their Whites

On call

Military Discipline


 
 
 
STORY: Modern Organization was adopted from the Family Model.
Bill "One of the things that surprised me when I came to this company was the average in terms of number of years that employees stay with the company. Its not like three or four, its ten, fifteen. An awful lot of the people stay a very long time and families work, husband and wife, husband and wife and child. Third generation families.

Mike "There's nepotism here and its valued.

Bill "It blew me away when I first got here that husbands and wives and families worked together. In other organizations that I have worked with its absolutely forbidden and here its rewarded.

Tim "Yeah its valued and rewarded, but you do have some constraints. You can't report to the same boss and relatives can not report to each other. But, there are Edison families, 2nd and 3rd generation.

Don "Well, look at our own group. He's got Lois and her husband, is in power supply.

Tim "Elaine's got cousins and nieces working here.

Bill "Karen: her sister, her mom, her brother, your brother.

Ram "My ex-wife and step father, and brother in law.

Boj "This really is an Edison family, isn't it?

Bill "They pride themselves in the use of that term: family. You hear that from the day you walk in the door.

Sue "I got that in my interview in 73. That was made real clear... you are going to [be] working for a family, the Edison family. I got that from the interviewer and I got that from the boss ...

Doug "You'll hear some of the old timers lament that its not the old Edison family that it used to be. My answer is that "well no how the hell could it be with 16,000 people over 70 million miles or whatever it is."

Tim "Another thing too, there's been some informal research done about how people get their jobs here. And, its most people get their jobs by being referred by someone who already works here. ...

Ant this guy now I can hear him talk. "I can improve productivity. I know how to do this. Every time I make a suggestion they don't listen so, what's the use." So all this creativity is going down the tubes. This guy has got something because he's doing it on the outside and there are other people. Everybody has got something going and a lot of people have something going on the side and I'm still very curious. Is this Edison company specific? Is this typical in the industry because they are not as entrepreneurial as other places, or is Southern California the only [place]?
 
 
 
 
 
 

EDISON FAMILY DISCOURSE
Edison Family

Husband, wife, child, brother, sister, cousin

In-laws, step father

Second and Third Generations

Nepotism

"Should be grateful to be a part of the Edison family"

"They haven't forgiven the Edison Family for acquiring them" (in merger)

Edison Family Picnics


 

Deconstruction Points:
1. Innovation. In the mechanistic organization, the classic military model, and the administrative bureaucracy, change is not an asset. Innovation is upsetting to the status quo. The dilemma for the postmodern organization, is that with the minimalist attachment of Dustin Hoffman to the organization, he will not innovate any more than the modernist navy man or the pre-modernist John Wayne. John Wayne and Dustin Hoffman are more the individualists than the modern, organizational man. However, John Wayne's square dealing, hard working ethic is not the more leisurely ethic of Dustin Hoffman.

2. Harmony. An organization is a connector between people and technology; between people's technology and the environment of customers, vendors, and global competition. Pre-modern harmony was based on a paternalistic contract which said that the crews would work hard, but in return, be treated squarely by management. In the modern organization, the harmony contract states that if you are a good old boy, the family takes care of its own. In the postmodern organization, the harmony contract says: if I work for you, I expect to go home at 5 p.m., be off most weekends, and I won't kill myself to make an organization that successful, when I know I will work somewhere else in a few years. My postmodern contract is one of temporary employment. 

3. A Variety of Forms. The modernist organization is an overly of a variety of organizational forms: church, family, military, school, and prison.
 
 

Redefining the Modern Organization Principles. In the following table below, we present a reformulation of Henri Fayol's classic Administrative principles of organization. The column on the left present almost opposite, postmodern, viewpoints on the 14 modernist principles.
 
 

Table 3.5: Comparison of Postmodern and Modern Principles
 
POSTMODERN PRINCIPLES FAYOL'S 14 PRINCIPLES
1. Multiplication of Labor.

Increase the number of tasks performed by a worker to as many as possible. This improves efficiency and effectiveness because it allows for complex and flexible production systems.

1. Division of Labor

Classic division of labor to reduce the number of tasks performed by a worker to as few as possible. This improves efficiency and effectiveness because it allows for the simple but rapid repetition of effort.

2. Delegation and Empowerment.

Authority is delegated to the person closest to the action. People are empowered to take corrective action to systems and processes that need adjusting and changing.

2. Authority and Responsibility.

Authority is the right to give orders and the power to exact obedience. Responsibility accrues to those who have authority. If you have responsibility, you must also have commensurate authority.

3. Self-Discipline

There is self-discipline instead of hierarchical and punitive discipline. Sanctions which remove self-discipline are removed. People are selected and trained to be self-starters, self-motivators, and self-discipliners. 

3. Discipline.

There must be obedience and respect between a firm and its employees. Discipline is based on respect rather than fear. Poor discipline results from poor leadership. Good discipline results from good leadership. Management and labor must agree. Management must judiciously use sanctions to ensure discipline.

4. Variety of Command.

A person should have many managers who supply resources and expertise to remove barriers to performance.

4. Unity of Command.

A person should have only one manager and receive orders from only one manager.

5. Variety of Direction.

Plans unfold and get modified quickly to allow the organization to adjust to shifting environments. the individual is frequently reassigned from one team to another, as needed.

5. Unity of Direction.

The organization, or any subunit thereof that has a single objective or purpose, should be unified by one plan and one leader.

6. Subordination of general interest to individual interests.

The interests of the individual are temporary and end when the project ends. Individual is part of a continuously redesigning whole. Allegiances are more sideways than vertical. 

6. Subordination of individual interest to the general interest

The interests of the organization as a whole should take priority over the interest of any individual or group of individuals within the organization.

7. Intrinsic Remunerations.

People are motivated by the work they get to do and the relationships they get to form. People will work in many organizations during their lifetime.

7. Remuneration of Personnel.

Workers should be motivated by proper remuneration. Remuneration levels are the function of many variables, including supply of labor, condition of the economy, and so on.

8. Decentralization.

Decentralization means the managers help people make decisions. If there is centralization, it is only temporary.

8. Centralization.

Centralization means that the manager makes the decisions. Decentralization means that the subordinates help make the decisions. The degree of centralization or decentralization depends on the organization's circumstances.

9. Cycles not Chains.

There are no sign offs and bottle necks. Each person is expected to take action to remedy a problem and keep the process quality high and the customer happy. Scalar chains slow down response time to adapt the organization to its environment. The silos slow down cycle time and cycle time is the key to competitive success.

9. Scalar Chain.

Managers in hierarchical organizations are part of a chain of superiors ranging from the highest authority to the lowest. Communication flows up and down the chain, but Fayol also allowed for a communication "bridge" between persons onto various dimensions of the scalar chain. The "bridge" would allow subordinates in different divisions to communicate with each other---although formally they were supposed to communicate through their bosses and through the chain of command.

10. Diversity.

Man-in-a-slot is outmoded bureaucratic tradition. The slots change too fast and reconfigure to often to become orderly. The variety of people do not classify into stable categories.

10. Order.

There is a place for everything, and everything must be in its place---people, materials, cleanliness. All factors of production must be in an appropriate structure.

11. System Integrity.

Quality results from continuously confronting a system to improve service and quality performance. Integrity is a system delivering what it says it will deliver when it says it will.

11. Equity.

Equity results from kindliness and justice and is a principle to guide employee relations.

12. Transient Personnel.

Organizations are increasingly temporary networks of associates who work on a few aspects of a project for several organizations.

12. Stability of tenure for Personnel.

Retaining personnel, orderly personnel planning, and timely recruitment and selection are critical to success.

13. Entrepreneur.

The real problem is entrepreneurship in the face of rapid change. 

13. Initiative.

Individuals should display zeal and energy in all their efforts. Management should encourage initiative.

14. Rebellion.

Harmony can be forced cooperation which suppresses conflict. Conflict is the other side of the harmony coin. 

14. Esprit de Corps.

builds harmony and unity within the firm. This harmony or high morale will be more productive than discord, which would weaken it. #13

This Table does the act of reversal, reversing Fayol's grand principles into their opposite.  The most important step in deconstruction is to "resistuate" to strike a new relationship in the oppositions in this table.  This resituation work we leave up to you. 
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POSTMODERN ORGANIZING

INTRODUCTION. Our metaphor of the postmodern organization is flat. 

FLAT - Flatter organizations produce more at lower costs by flat with fewer layers, latticed networking among teams, more autonomy for the individual, while being part of KAIZEN teams. Peter Drucker has suggested the flotilla, a small group of ships that can reconfigure in response to changing battle conditions as a better metaphor of organization than the modern metaphor of the battleship. If an organization is a battleship, it tries to do everything itself, and is not flexible like the flotilla. What about the metaphor of Terminator II. McKinsey's Smith in Fortune (May 18, 1992: 98) says the flat and flexible organization will be a powerful competitor.
Terminator II, the movie where Arnold Schwarzenegger faces a metal monster that liquefies, then hardens again in a new shape - now a man, now a machine, now a knife. Says Smith: "I call it the Terminator II company." How'd you like to have to compete with one of those?
Boj: You know I ride a Harley that looks a lot like the black, rolling thunder Harley-Davidson Schwarzenegger rides in Terminator II. They did a sketch with me in my Harley-boots taking apart some executives office who had been abusing his workers with modernist principles. 
Flat and flexible organizations lower costs. Part of the lower costs comes from having fewer inspectors, quality checkers, supervisors, and middle managers. Fewer salaried people save money. In fact, Fortune Magazine had a recent article titled: "The Search for the Organization of Tomorrow." #14  American organizations are restructuring for the 21st century. Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) with its flat, lean, Total Quality Management (TQM), empowered, cycle time focus is supposed to replace the tall hierarchical, modern organization. Workers with statistical quality control charts and information technology will speed up their work. Drucker says the battleship organization form will give way to the flotilla of lesser organizations that combine and recombine the way a fleet of battleships redeploys. The Pharaoh's pyramid is dead and giving way to "post-hierarchical, flat and horizontal organization design principles"
1. Create a High Employee Involvement Workplace. Self-managing teams of empowered employees participating in productivity, quality and more job satisfaction. A discovery of the Tavistock Insititute of Human Relations in London, some 43 years ago at a coal mine. Self-managed teams deliver more output. Teams at Toyota are 4 to 6 in size, teams in American companies are 10 or more. Teams with members that can do multiple tasks can be reduced in size. Some teams have members from up and down stream operations. In some plants workers can rotate through different work areas every six months so that workers understand up and down stream operations. People get incentive pay for each rotation, perfect attendance, productivity, and for completing training. Cross-functional self-directed teams cut new-product development time. A network of work teams linked together in a circle instead of a pyramid. Organizations are flexible networks of semi-autonomous teams, with poly-centers of coordination, diverse and educated social make up, designed to achieve a diverse goals through processes of continuous quality improvement involving everyone in the organization including cooperative networks with customers and vendors. The mode of discipline is self-discipline. People are vigilant to resist the gaze.

2. Organize around Processes instead of Functions. Dissolve functions into the flow. Instead of a box of employees break out a part of a process map. Companies were set up by product type or by job function are not being arranged by process. 

Basic Processes: new-product development, flow of materials, order-delivery billing cycle. Disperse functional expertise along the process where it is needed.

The vertical, functional pyramid organization is giving way to the serving customers and making products organization. Organizing around processes allows companies to dismiss unneeded supervisory hierarchies. 

a. Process uses external and system-wide objectives such as inventory turns or end-of-process tallies (customer satisfaction, on-time delivery) instead of unit costs.

b. Process groups/locates workers with different skills to accomplish a piece of work.

c. Info moves to where it is needed, instead of up and down the hierarchy. You deal with up and downstream problems instead of going to a boss. who talks to their boss.

d. Process is based on flow charting the entire process then organizing around that process.

3. Use Information Technology to Make Information Accessible to Everyone in the Organization. Knowledge, accountability and results info distributed rapidly anywhere in the flotilla. Fine fibers of communication, decision, and coordination traverse the flat, horizontal organization in a pattern of inter-team relationships that self-adapts to constantly changing environment (political, economic, governmental, community, mother earth, etc.).

4. JIT. JIT allows a sharp job in inventory. At GE appliances, a $5.4 billion-a-year business, the drop was $200 million in average inventory by implementing JIT. It is all about raising productivity while cutting costs in inventory and in personnel. Redesign is done to get improved performance and cost measures of performativity. 

return to index LATTICE - Lattice is a horizontal relationship.  New forms put their effort into setting up lateral relationships instead of vertical hierarchies. The so-called network organizations are supposed to accomplish this.

All of these principles are supposed to replace command and control with empowerment, self-management, and self-control. The command and control hierarchy topples in favor of the perpetual-learning machine. It is self-management when the workers run the plant, as with the Gaines pet food plant in Topeka, Kansas which Fortune reports has been self-managed for 20 years and has higher productivity than comparable command and control pet food plants. 

Exercise: Drawing the Circle Network. To get a picture of the postmodern organization, draw a series of small circles to represent autonomous work teams and connect these with a larger circle. #15  Kilinski and Wofford (1973) advocated non-pyramid form of organization, a network of teams where the basic element was the small work team of 12 to 20 persons. Each team was responsible for its own work functions and communication was to be face-to-face. The network organization was to have the bare minimum of layers and the leaders job's was to make the network function effectively. The more layers you have, the longer it takes for communication to go up then back down the layers, and the more distorted that communication process becomes. As people are conditioned to wait up their hierarchy for approval, they stop taking individual initiative for process improvement. With the circle network, teams can easily be re-configured to respond to changes in the environment. The idea is to minimize all the bureaucratic formality and emphasize the workings of the informal system. It is the job of each individual to plan, organize, innovate, influence, lead, and control. The divisions of labor into these functions are reconstituted back into the individual. The circle network is not without a rudder. The circle connecting the teams is the coordination mechanism. The steering of the organization is a shared responsibility. Cutting out organizational layers means getting rid of middle management, lots of bureaucratic staff positions, and foremen. Each team handles its own management. Instead of staff people doing the interviews, representatives from relevant teams are trained to do the interviewing themselves. If there are key decision to be made, belts to be tightened, opportunities to consider, then representatives form all the teams do the thinking. The ideas for change come from those closest to the work processes and those closest to the customers, instead of those farthest away. The circle network has an agenda: de-bureaucratize the firm. Cut the layers and recombine the functions, re-integrate the work place. 
The Circle Network. The circle network gets away from the chain of command, the artificial division of labor, traditional spans of management, status-oriented job titles and job-trappings, and centralized control. 
 
As Alvin Toffler says "Each age produces a form of organization appropriate to its own tempo" (1970: 143). The tempo of postmodernism is flexibility, co-equality instead of subordination, and temporary attachment, instead of long term security and confinement. Executives coordinate among diverse work teams composed of diverse, multi-skilled associates. The Executive is the servant to the functioning of this flexible and diverse and redesigning organization. 
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AUTONOMOUS - The new form is sadi to interduced more self-discipline and more team-based autonomy. Sometimes this is a trap to get workers to do mare self-management with the required tasks of scheduling, hiring, firing, etc. while getting no more money.  Other times it can be what James Barker calls "concertive control." Getting peer pressure to replace supervisory control. Peer pressure can make you work harder faster and make the situation tougher than the pre-mode CREWS. 

CompuAdd, a Postmodern Organization.#16  According to Browning et. al (1992), CompuAdd is a postmodern organization. It emphasizes leanness, speed, and power and it is nomadic. It is more flexible and powered than IBM or Texas Instruments. It has many diverse, heterogeneous elements that combine in different ways. Polyvocal code --varying situations and relationship in a fabric of supple segmentation. Work by temporary, cross-functional, diverse teams that are disassembled when the task is done. People are in flux networks where people are interchangeable, and defined only by their state at a given moment. "We teach everybody to go out and ask the customers "how are we doing? What are your requirements?" 

Human relations helps people get into effective group harmony and confrontation quickly, but is not a means of human control. People no longer have the time to form permanent and impactful group relations. People who work in network organizations are not climbing the corporate ladder because it is not there anymore. There is a professional staircase, but one not tied to a single organization, it is tied to becoming better at your individualistic career. The conditioning of rewards and punishments does not work well on postmodern man. He is the free lance entrepreneur, the rebel out to reform, the inventor who seeks novelty and adventure. He is self-disciplined, not organizationally-disciplined. Well, not yet, but we can hope for the best. 

What are the components of the circle network? The elements are teams, innovation, and self-discipline.
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Teams
1. The team is the basic unit of PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act developed in previous chapter). The team plans its own work, is trained to do the work, is trained to check and inspect its own work, and is trained to take actions that re-define, re-shape, re-configure, and continuously improve the work processes. 

2. Within each team there is mutual influence and mutual discipline.

3. The team is responsible for hiring and firing its own people. The team can ask for new types of expertise. The team takes responsibility for getting the job done in the best possible, most self-improving, continuously improving manner.

4. One member of the team serves on a coordinating team that links together other teams in the work place. This overlapping team membership insures team coordination.

5. The role of leadership is to make sure teams get the training they need to PDCA. The leader, as we shall explore in the leadership chapter, is a servant to the teams. Cypress Semiconductor has a management system which tracks corporate, departmental, and individual performance so regularly and in such detail that no manager can possibly claim to be in the dark about critical problems. T.J.Rodgers, CEO, recognizes that people are going to have goals they don't achieve on time. When managers do have a problem, Rodgers usually intervenes with a short note: "Your delinquency rate is running 35%, what can I do to help?"#17

6. The organization has no layers. Everyone is equal. everyone uses the same bathrooms, eats in the same dining facilities. There are no reserved parking places for anyone. As much as possible all status trapping that de-mark and separate and subordinate one person to another are eliminated. That means freedom in dress styles. It means not hiding rank in a special badge or jacket or button.

Innovation Versus Kaizen.

KAIZEN: Continuous improvement involving everyone. As Masaaki Imai in the book Kaizen defines it: it means continuing improvement in personal life, home life, social life, and working life... - managers and workers alike" (p. xx). American's prefer result-oriented thinking to process-oriented thinking. Americans expect to leap frog the Japanese by engaging in big innovations, big changes in the organization, big changes in the production mechanisms. They hire, fire, dismantle, layoff, re-hire, re-fire, and reconfigure, but the bureaucratic machine is still the same. In Japan, the improvements are continuous, a series of small steps that everyone takes in order to keep the organization constantly changing and improving every day. Table 3.6: Comparison of Kaizen and Innovation.
KAIZEN INNOVATION
1. Effect Long-term and long lasting but undramatic Short-term but dramatic
2. Pace Small steps Big Steps
3. Time-frame Continuous and incremental Intermittent and non-incremental
4. Change gradual and constant Abrupt and volatile
5. Involvement Everybody Select few "champions"
6. Approach Collectivism, group efforts, systems approach Rugged individualism, individual ideas and efforts
7. Mode Maintenance and improvement Scrap and rebuild
8. Spark Conventional know-how and state of the art Technological break-throughs, new inventions, new theories
9. Practical requirements Requires little investment but great effort to maintain it Requires large investment but little effort to maintain it
10. Effort orientation People Technology
11. Evaluation criteria Process and efforts for better results Results for profits
12. Advantage Works well in slow-growth economy Better suited to fast-growth economy #18
American industry is scrambling to try to get up to speed on continuous improvement organizing based on small step Kaizen rather than expert-driven, big step technology leaps that wipe out employment. If you haven't noticed, America does not have a booming, fast-growth economy. The technologies and work processes are deteriorating. America, unless willing to make radical changes in organizational form, is on the decline. One-shot, quick fix, high-tech rhetoric solutions are not cutting it. The Air Force, this past decade, has mandated continuous improvement and total quality management programs for all its military-industrial-complex sub-contractors. By all storied accounts, the Aerospace and other high-tech contractors can not wean themselves away from big bureaucratic machine organization. They call it matrix management and personal empowerment, and team-building, but it is just bureaucracy with new language. People are not giving up their small step Kaizen suggestions, and the brass at the top is still "Big John Wayne" calling all the shots.

Suggestion Systems. At Toyota Motor Company workers submit 1.5 million suggestions a year and 95% of them are implemented in a practical way. Did you know that the U.S. Air Force along with an outfit called TWI (Training Within Industries) exported suggestion systems to Japan in the postwar years of Deming and Juran, but at home American management stayed on the modernist path and refused and scoffed at suggestion systems. Oh yes, there was a brief flirtation by Americans in the 1970's and early 80's with quality circle teams and incentive-based suggestion programs with prizes and trips and other price-is-right hoopla, but in the main American workers saw that management was not implementing any of their ideas and they continued to do what they always did: put their gum and cigarette wrappers into the suggestion boxes. Did you know that 30 years ago, the Japanese had this very same problem with suggestion systems.

It was the U.S. Air Force and TWI (Training Within Industries) brought suggestion systems to Japan. The American system gave economic rewards for suggestions, but did not implement any of them. Workers in America typically put gum wrappers and used kleenex in company suggestion boxes. In Japan, they actually implemented suggestions that improved one's own work, saved energy, improved the work environment, removed drudgery from work, improved processes, improved quality, and improved customer service. The Matsushita Company of Japan has over 6 million suggestions. One individual submitted 16,821 suggestions in one year. Companies in Japan pride themselves on who can collect and implement the most employee suggestions. In the 1950's Japan and United States each only had a handful of suggestions per year. The U.S. still has a handful, Japan has hundreds and thousands of ideas a year from each worker. What is the difference? How did Japan pull this off? The answer is (1) Japan implements the ideas, (2) Japan treats individual ideas as an opportunity for the person to stretch, grow, and improve. #19  With this program, the Aisin-Warner company that manufactures transmissions had 127 suggestions per worker in 1982. That is a company-wide total of 223,986 suggestions and they implemented 99%. At Canon Corporation, employees submitted 390,000 suggestions worth $84 million dollars in 1983. $1.08 million was paid out in rewards ranging between $200 and $2. Team suggestions get substantially larger rewards. And, it is management's responsibility to help get all the ideas reviewed, discussed, and implemented. Aisin-Warner and Canon, like most other big Japanese firms use computer systems to process this volume of suggestions. Suggestions are reviewed and given award payments.#20
 
 

The Story of Enemies at Nippon Steel
Thirty years ago, Karoru Ishikawa encountered this problem head-on while employed as a consultant to Nippon Steel. In one instance, Ishikawa was investigating some surface scratches found on certain steel sheets. When he suggested to the engineer in charge of that particular process that his team review the problems together with the engineers in the following process, the engineer replied, "Do you mean to tell us that we should go examine the problems with our enemies?" To this Ishikawa replied, "You must not think of them as your enemies. You must think of the next process as your customer. You should visit your customer every day to make sure he is satisfied with the product." However, the engineer insisted, "How could I do such a thing? If I show up in their workshop, they'll think I've come to spy on them!"#21
Deconstruction
1. Ishikawa is given credit for defining the term "internal customer." The person or group that is in the next process from where you are is your internal customer. 

2. Open communication. In order for the internal customer concept to take hold, workers and managers had to be willing to be frank about their problems and mistakes. They had to quit blaming the system and begin to work together to change and improve the system. The system is you.

3. Suggestions. The reason suggestion systems, 30 years ago, were as bad then as American suggestion systems are now, is that managers thought suggestions was none of the worker's business. The worker was the enemy and the manager had all the suggestions. "Park your brains at the door, do the job, even if it is wrong, and keep your trap shut!"

4. Engineers Myopia. In Japan as in America, the engineers stayed away from the shop floor. The engineer designed the work systems. After all, Frederick Taylor's scientific management principles and Fayol's Administrative management principles prescribed a separation between functions, a strict division of labor, and the inferiority of the worker. "Why bother listening to an inferior, less educated being?"

5. Customer Voice. The moral of the story is that to increase the quality and service to the external customer, the voice of the customer must be heard in the deeds of the internal customers.

Table 3.7:
JAPANESE SUGGESTION SYSTEMS

1. Improvements in one's own work

2. Savings in energy, material, and other resources.

3. Improvements in the working environment.

4. Improvements in machines and processes.

5. Improvements in jigs and tools.

6. Improvements in office work.

7. improvements in product quality.

8. Ideas for new products.

9. Customer services and customer relations.

Results

In the 1950's the average number of suggestions per year per employee was five.

By the 1980's:

Matsushita Company generated 6 million suggestions in 1985. 

One individual gave out 16,821 suggestions.

Hitachi Company generated 4.6 million suggestions in 1985.

Companies like Aisin-Warner generate 223,986 suggestions and implement 99% of them.

Cannon, in 1983, generate 390,000 suggestions worth $84 million and paid out $1.08 million in payback. #22


 

How it works. The job of management is to read all these suggestions, rate them, get the practical ones implemented, celebrate the ideas and their implementations with ceremonies, awards and money. That is a whole lot of very disciplined work that most American managers are not willing to invest in their organizations. In addition, people need to be given time away from task to think up their ideas, write up their ideas, and implement their ideas. 
The suggestion system is an absolutely critical element of Kaizen. It has to be well organized, careful administered, and the ideas have to be strategically implemented. Management has to respond to the ideas and manage the feedback and reward system. The more successful systems are based more on the idea of each individual being a real part of the organization, contributing to its success, which contributes to their own growth and employment --- rather than just a meaningless game of incentives and hoop jumping.
Autonomy and Self-Discipline

Postmodern man is self-disciplined. Even his allegiances to his profession and expertise, which while over-shadowing his organizational loyalties, are not too confining because the boundaries between specialized disciplines are coming down. Problems are multi-faceted and not contained by professional boundaries. The specialist knows a given field well for only a short while. Self-discipline means continuous education, continuous improvement of the quality of one's knowledge. Discipline is the ability to perform well in a temporary, ad hoc network.

How do you effect discipline without inducing docility? The result of over-discipline is rebellion, retaliation, and complacency. With modern discipline the education system fabricates people who respond favorably to routine, repetition, and regimentation. The problem is these secure, stable, unchanging dinosaurs are rapidly becoming extinct. Once the America 2000 project to transform the curriculum and educational experience of schools has been implemented, we will fabricate a very different type of adult for organizational consumption.

Self-discipline will replace machine discipline. The results of a positive discipline environment is people work in a system of performance that is customer-focused and quality-driven. The needs of our industrial global economy are for increasingly flexible organizations able to adapt quickly and efficiently to a wider variation of market niches. To work in a network organization, a network of customers, workers, and vendors --- requires each actor in the system to be more educated, trained, and accountable to make their individual behavior make total system behavior work better. The needs of each individual are necessarily subordinate to the total system. 

Business Educates Because Schools are Failing. With the decline in the ability of the American education system to produce literate citizens, larger corporations are investing in on-site remedial schools to train workers to read and calculate. Motorola has one the most extensive program at its Motorola University. #23  The postmodern form of organization is heavily dependent upon an educated workforce to function. Educated people are necessary because they need to deal with computers and assume responsibility for their own supervision. There are fewer bosses and foremen around to tell people what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. Organizing the work will, as in the pre-modern era, become more the prerogative of the workers.
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Postmodern organization through storytelling. People are buried in a mind numbing avalanche of information. People are more culturally diverse than ever before and therefore, except for television and pop culture, do not share a common and shared cultural experience. Our mass media culture makes information bits, rather than integrated knowledge found in stories. Stories are the conduit of experience. The news media, textbooks, newspapers, annual reports overloads us with information, but we are not learning the stories, at least not any noteworthy stories. In management textbooks, we get a lot of encyclopedic information, a veritable dictionary of terms and dimensions, but the textbooks do not tell the stories undergirding their jargon. In this way the information age isolates the individual in a sea of seemingly-scientific information, alienates the individual from the story roots, and rationalizes management as a social science instead of historically anchored performance art.

Through stories, people learn the epic side of management practice, the wisdom of experience is imparted in the stories. The stories told to children at bedtime by their mothers have shaped more ethics, than all the ethics textbooks combined. If storytelling is ignored, then the community-processing of experience decreases. 

The storytelling organization. The postmodern organization is an information network: a set of exchanges among internal and external stakeholders. Stakeholders are customers, vendors, communities, schools and they are employees, managers, clerks, and janitors. Each has a stake in the activities of the organization. As an information processing network, stories serve the collective memory, the processing of past experiences into information about policy, decision, and precedent. A mass of detail buries meaningful experience. Increasing the effectiveness of storytelling increases meaningful communication and increases organizational memory effectiveness. The role of the manager is the role of all people in the organization, hear many sides to each story, processes the stories of past and future organizational experience, and make the best choices. Stories make experience meaningful; stories connect us to one another; stories make the characters come alive; stories provides an opportunity for a renewed sense of organizational community. 

If we normalize, dimensionalize, and do the discourse of scientific management --- the result is a manipulative language with manipulated meanings that befuddle interpersonal relations. Without story, information is oversimplified in the name of science. Watch the news and you see the infantilization of the American culture; the manipulation of information bits to produce the broadest mass appeal, the highest of common denominators, the minimal transmission of experience from newscasters to the mass audience. Mass information destroys collective experience. Storytelling builds collective understanding, collective appreciation, collective imagination, and collective memory.

Storytellers apprehend experiences and communicate those experiences to story listeners. The story listener does not just receive the teller's story, the listener is a co-processor, a co-producer, a listener mingles their own experience with the experiences of the teller. As such, story listening is not a passive event. Story listeners leaven the experiences they have received. People see the characters dance in their imagination, capture the interacting characters in their mind's eye, and fill in the blanks the storyteller leaves in the story. 

Skeptical Assessment of Postmodern Organizing.
1. TEAM Concept The postmodern building blocks of the "new" organization is the team. Parker and Slaughter (1988) have challenged the team concept as being as alluring as Mom and apple pie. In fact, so alluring that we are not asking some basic questions. If we organize teams so that every person is multi-skilled and can do everyone else's job, then have we lost the advantages of specialization in the football or basketball team. Can the outfielders pitch, catch, and play shortstop? Is this approach to teams realistic? Can one person be gifted in all these areas? Isn't the whole thing about a team to have the specialized crafts come together with some synergy? 
In fact, the main place in our language where "team" implies interchangeable members is where it refers to a team of horses-beasts of burden of equal capabilities, yoked together to pull for a common end (determined by the person holding the whip) (Parker & Slaughter, 1988: 4).
2. Same walk, different talk. A postmodern discourse can replace a modernist discourse, by substituting a few well-sounding words and catch phrases for the old modernist principles. But, even though the wards vary, the reality of people's work experience is exactly the same.
MOD DISCOURSE: "the foreman holds a meeting of his group and announces the week's productivity and scrap figures or discusses the latest safety memo. The foreman's "go-fer" takes care of vacation schedules and work gloves" (p. 4).

POSTMOD DISCOURSE: "Hourly workers are organized into teams which meet with their advisor to discuss quality and work procedures. A team leader takes care of vacation scheduling and supplies" (p. 4).

What does changing the rhetoric do? We are lulled into a state of docility, as we suspend our critical judgement. 

3. Nordstrom's Approach to Job Enlargement. The affirmative rationale is that in order to serve the customers, the service representative should not pass the customer form one person to another. The skeptical observation is that the salesperson is now the delivery person, who must deliver packages on their lunch hour and be so highly motivated that they do not dare to ask for compensation.

4. Suggestions Systems. Getting knowledge of the worker's work processes and the worker's knowledge of the work being done and turning it into management control data. Parker and Slaughter (1988) point out how giving away knowledge is often done without implementation, recognition, or compensation. "But once the suggestion is made the knowledge becomes part of management's power to control every work on the line" (p. 19).

5. KAIZEN. Under Kaizen, there is continuous improvement involving everyone. This is supposed to empower the workers to get more and more control over their work process. Coupled with statistical process control training, the workers are able to become their own time and motion self-observers. The workers are doing what Michel Foucault calls "internalizing the gaze." The workers gaze their own time and motions, then suggest Kaizen ways of improving their fit into the production process. Workers may well be loosing flexibility, autonomy, and control by increasing their coupling to the machine, volunteering surveillance information, and even displacing the time and motion monitors by doing self-surveillance.
 
 
Conclusions
 
 

With all the positive press about lean production, flatter hierarchies, and getting America to pull itself up by the bootstraps of Kaizen and cycle time, we have not listened to the voices of workers and unions. Are workers losing discretion, being asked to do more work for the same pay, being asked to take on the functions of inspector and supervisor, doing the multi-tasking while a co-worker is laid off, etc. only to find out that management is getting all the empowerment and the corporate owners are saving all the bucks? If this is true, then is not the postmodern organization just another solution to scientific management? 

Computer innovations have made the application of quantitative decision and problem solving and the scientific measurement of each person's performance more a reality now than in the early 1900's. 

Scientific management has been too easily dismissed by management texts as essentially irrelevant once the management theorists envisioned an organization responding to an environment and once more organic, and less mechanistic theories of organization had been concocted. But, concocting an organic theory of organization, does not mean that organizations have become less mechanistic, less modernist. Most of us work in a system of mechanized surveillance. 

The fundamental aspect of all organizations is discipline. Discipline the people to discipline the delivery of goods and service. The pre-modern discipline was quite physical. Modern discipline is machine oriented. Postmodern discipline is the computerization of man.

Organizations are combinations of the strands of pre-modern crew-based apprentice societies, modernist military machines, and postmodern flexible networks with temporary attachments. John Wayne still climbs poles and drinks with both hands. The Navy brass still prefer half days that are 12 hours long. Dustin Hoffman still prefers to leave work at five and head for the RV. While all three strands of organization are there to this day in every large corporation, the Dustin Hoffmans are beginning to take over.

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ORGANIZING STUDY GUIDE

1. What are the differences between pre-modern, modern, and postmodern organizations?
 
 

2. What is a small step?
 
 

3. Give reasons why Japan is more innovative that the U.S.?
 
 

4. Define a circle network organization?
 
 

5. Why are postmodern organizations getting flatter and flatter?
 
 

6. What are the new skills for the Education System in America 2000 and how do they relate to postmodernism?
 
 

7. How does modernism squash innovation? 
 
 

8. Why does Japan have so many more suggestions than American organizations?
 
 

9. How does the postmodern manager encourage failure?
 
 

10. How does bureaucracy get in the way of innovation?
 
 

11. Why is the leader's chief tool storytelling? (TOC p. 321-2)
 
 

12. What is the role of storytelling in postmodernism?
 
 

13. How do you organize teams?
 
 

14. What is a flat organization?
 
 

15. What is a PDCA Wheel?
 
 

16. What is the Nippon Steel story and so what?
 
 

17. What is social darwinism and so what?
 
 

18. What is a clumsum?
 
 

19. Talk about pre-modern discourse. What is it? So what?
 
 

20. What is the role of mass education in a modernist society?
 
 

21. Why are American schools in crisis? What are they doing about it?
 
 

22. What is Panoptic Discipline?
 
 

23. Give examples of Gaze Mechanisms?
 
 

24. What are the more subtle forms of gaze?
 
 

25. How is the gaze internalized?
 
 

26. What are the modernist principles of applying discipline?
 
 

27. What was pre-modern discipline based on?
 
 

28. Why would a discipline machine loosen its grip on the body-human?
 
 

29. What is the discourse of the family and the Navy at Edison? So what?

30. What are the key differences between Kaizen and Innovation?
 
 

 31. Name some essential differences between Fayol's 14 principles and the postmodern project?
 
 

32. What is Bertham's Principle of Power?
 
 

33. What are the pre-modernist ABC's of Management?
 
 

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NOTES 
 
 

1. Ibid. Albanese, p. 226.
2. Quotation from Elbert Hubbard, A Message to Garcia, ed. R.W.G. Vail (New York: New York Public Library, 1930), p. 14 in Reinhard Bendix, Work and Authority in Industry (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1956), p. 265.
3. Ibid. Albanese, p. 227.
4. All the Edison, John Wayne stories come from: Boje, David M. "Edison Story Sharing Session" October, 1983; Boje, David M. "Organizational Mythologies in Conflict in a Utility Company: John Wayne Versus Dustin Hoffman." UCLA-GSM Working Paper 83-77. (November, 1983).
5. Alvin Toffler. 1970, Future Shock, New York: Random House p. 399-400.
6. "Competing in the New International Economy." Washington: Office of Technology Assessment, 1990. Also in "What Work Requires of Schools: A SCANS report for America 2000", Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills, U.S. Department of Labor, (June, 1991): 3.
7. Whyte, William H. The Organization Man Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1956: 70.
8. Toffler, Alvin. Powershift: Knowledge, wealth, and violence at the edge of the 21st Century. New York: Bantam Books. 
9. Ibid. From In Blandings' Way by Eric Hodgins, quoted in William Whyte Jr. p. 177-8.
10. Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The birth of the prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan, New York: Pantheon Books.
11. This section on Panopicism comes from: Boje, David M. "The University is a Panoptic Cage: The Disciplining of the Student and Faculty Bodies." (December) 1991. LMU Working paper.
12. In Search of Excellence, ibid
13. Adapted from Daniel A. Wren, The Evolution of Management Thought (New York: Wiley, 1979): 218-221 summary of Henri Fayol principles; Alvin Toffler's "Organizations: The Coming Ad-hocracy" in Future Shock, 1970 (New York: Random House): 124-151.
14. Fortune, May 18, 1992: 92-98.
15. Credit for the circle network goes to Kilinski, Kenneth K. and Jerry C. Wofford Organization and Leadership in the Local Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1973: 142-151.
16. Browning, Larry David, James J. Ziaja and Debra R. France. "A postmodern organization goes for a modern prize: A brief ethnography of CompuAdd's application for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award." Journal of Organizational Change Management, 5 (1): 69-78.
17. Rodgers, T.J. "No Excuses Management"; Harvard Business Review July/August 1990 pp. 84-98.
18. Ibid From Imai, p. 24.
19. Imai, Masaaki Kaizen: The Key to Japan's Competitive Success. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1986: 112-113.
20. Ibid. Imai p. 115-120.
21. Ibid. Imai, p. 51.
22. Ibid. Adapted from Imai, p. 111-124.
23. Wiggenhorn, William. 1990. "Motorola U.: When Training Becomes an Education." Harvard Business Review, July-August, pp 71
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