CHAPTER 6 CONTROLLING STORIES
Boje & Robert Dennehy'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
Please see Theatrics of Control (November 28, 2000) for updates to this chapter.
What is Controlling?
By this chapter it should be obvious to you at this point of the book that pre-modern, modern, and postmodern themes co-mingle and compete in the corporation. Sectors of one company can be pre-modern crew and craft cultures practicing the A, B, C's of management: Abusive, Belligerent, and Cruel; another can be a bureaucratic machine with gentle people in cozy little cells doing electronic surveillance; and a third can be a flexible and spontaneous sub-contracting network of value-added customer-oriented relationships in small businesses and autonomous skunkworks. Any organization can have enclaves of the three control-rationalities. Instead of mono-control, Organization 2000 is poly-control.
We want the stories in this chapter to shock you, make you mad, and get you into a postmodern mind set about control.
L Levels. Each class has privileges, status, and rights a lower class does not possess. In "Sultanism," absolute control is maximized. In each case, an elite controlled a staff of slaves, conscripts, and kin. Knights and nobles were part of a more decentralized patrimonial control system. These social groups were more privileged and could control some of their own lands, tools, and local governance structures. The more privileged your group, the more independent control you attained in the feudal system.
A Arbitrariness. People controlled according to their personal likes and dislikes. Promotion was the arbitrary choice of the patriarch, monarch, or master. With total control, the arbitrary use of force was deemed proper.
E Elders. Control by age. In "gerontocracy," the "elders" controlled the younger generations. In "Patriarchal" control people could be inherited by other people. It is partly economic and partly kinship-control. Older people had more dignity in the community.
A, B, C Management: Abusive, Belligerent, and Cruel. Control of one man over another has deep historical roots that are often oppressive, bloody, and catastrophic. The control stories that follow are graphic in their brutality because that is how it was and in some cases that is how it still is. Here are a few stories we did not learn in my high school Western Civilization class.
Serf Control. With 90% of the medieval population engaged in agriculture, serfdom was a ubiquitous feature of feudal medieval organization. Serfs and slaves were peripheral to the social order of kings, nobles, masters, and free men. Yet, believe it or not, free men would often chose to become serfs. In exchange for volunteering so many hours of labor, the Masters, Nobles and Lords would provide lodging and some protection against famine. Serfs were very controlled by ownership and had to seek permission to marry, to move, to grow this crop or that. The feudal manors maintained loose ties with any central king or church control. 1
Caution. This next story contains graphic acts of control not suitable for reading by people with sensitive stomachs. If you dare, read the story to see how A, B, C control works in practice.
The Story of Damien's Torture
On 2 March 1757 Damien... was condemned.. before the main door of the Church of Paris, where he was to be 'taken and conveyed in a cart, wearing nothing but a shirt... to the Place de Greve, where, on a scaffold that will be erected there, the flesh will be torn from his breasts, arms, thighs and calves with red-hot pincers, his right hand, holding the knife with which he committed the said parricide, burnt with sulphur, and, on those place where the flesh will be torn away, poured molten lead, boiling oil, burning resin, wax and sulfur melted together and then his body drawn and quartered by four horses and his limbs and body consumed by fire, reduced to ashes and his ashes thrown to the winds...
"It is said that, though he was always a great swearer, no blasphemy escaped his lips; but the excessive pain made him utter horrible cries, and he often repeated: "My God, have pity on me! Jesus, help me!"... Though a strong, sturdy fellow, the executioner found it so difficult to tear away the pieces of flesh that he set about the same spot two or three times, twisting the pincers as he did so, and what he took away formed at each part a wound about the size of a six-pound crown piece... the same executioner dipped an iron spoon in the pot containing the boiling potion, when he poured liberally over each wound. The ropes that were to be harnessed to the horses were attached with cords to the patient's body; the horses were then harnessed and placed alongside the arms and legs, one at each limb... Several confessors went up to him and spoke to him at length; he willingly kissed the crucifix that was held out to him; he opened his lips and repeated: "Pardon, Lord."
Finally, he was quartered... "the horses tugged hard, each pulling straight on a limb, each horse held by an executioner.... Two more horses had to be added to those harnessed to the thighs, which made six horses in all. Without success... but the horses gave up and one of those harnessed to the thighs fell to the ground. The confessors returned... He said to them... "Kiss me, gentlemen."... so Monsieur de Marsilly slipped under the rope holding the left arm and kissed him on the forehead. The executioners gathered round and Damien told them not to swear, to carry out their task and that he did not think ill of them... After two or three attempts, the executioner Samson, and he who had used the pincers, each drew out a knife from his pocket and cut the body at the thighs instead of severing the legs at the joints; the four horses gave a tug and carried off two thighs after them, namely, that of the right side first, the other following; then the same was done to the arms, the shoulders, the arm-pits and the four limbs; the flesh had to be cut almost to the bone, the horses pulling hard carried off the right arm first and the other afterwards.
....when they had lifted the trunk to throw it on the stake, he was till alive. The four limbs were untied from the ropes and thrown on the stake set up in the enclosure in line with the scaffold, then the trunk and the rest were covered with logs and faggots, and fire was put to the straw mixed with this wood... The pieces of flesh and the trunk had taken about four hours to burn... 2
Pre-Modern Control. In feudal times, control was a public spectacle. People did inflict this torture on other people because they owned them, because the master had total control over the body of the slave, because the sovereign ruler had total control over the body of the accused, because the patriarch had total control over the bodies of his family, but mostly because torture as we shall reveal was part of the economic order of business. Torture kept the slave, the serf, and cheap free man labor productive.
Not Just Europeans. There were equally disgusting scenes in early American history. In the old west, for example, hangings were scheduled early, so people could bring a lunch, enjoy the scene, and be home by dark. Torture was public entertainment.
A good draw and quarter could last eight to ten hours. The violence of public punishment was contrived by the sovereigns to discourage defiance against authority. Gallows, pillory, scaffold, flogging, branding, and burning at the stake were a part of early American history.
Control has its rules. There were rules, for example, about the number of lashes of the whip and the types of mutilation to be used. During the torture ceremony the accused was expected to admit and repent his/her crime publicly. The spectacle played out the story of man, God and the hereafter. As the man struggles in his pain, he is living out on earth, the struggle he will face in hell. If an executioner screwed up, it could be a sign from God that the accused was innocent, after all.
Damien's Story Continues...
"...Damien's executioner who, being unable to quarter his patient according to the rules, had to cut him with a knife; as a result, Damien's hair, which had been promised to him, was confiscated and the money obtained from the sale given to the poor... And, behind this punishment of the unskillful executioner, stands a tradition, which is still close to us, according to which the condemned man would be pardoned if the execution happened to fail... In his confrontation with the condemned man, the executioner was a little like the king's champion... the king's sword... (p. 52).
While torture and public punishment grew out of favor, the dominating control of humans by other human has been a central part of business and commerce for thousands of years. Torture was a major part of the control of labor in the pre-modern period. As long as torture made workers more productive and efficient, its use continued.
Torturing The First Americans.
"How can Columbus discover people who were already there?" is a common Indian question each Columbus Day. When Columbus arrived in the "new" world, there were 10 million American and Canadian Indians, 15 million Mexican Indians, millions of West Indies Indians, and millions of South American Indians already there. 12,000 years ago, Asians had crossed a glacial land bridge between Siberia and Alaska. By the time the 500th anniversary of Columbus's Discovery comes and goes, Columbus will be remembered as the man who brought the institution of mass torture, diseases that wiped out 50 million Indians, along with the whole institution of slavery to the Indies, South & Central America, Mexico, and finally to the colonies of the United States. Columbus is no Hero to the Indians.
Land of the Free. As with other cultures, the American Indian had to be portrayed as beastly and sub-human to rationalize his/her control and to strip away his/her lands. This was not easy since the Indians were quite socially advanced. For example, centuries before the U.S. constitution and the Continental Congress, the Iroquois League had its own congress, used veto power, and advocated freedom of speech, and a classless society. While women were denied leadership in many tribes, women would be chiefs in others. In 1540, Hernando de Soto, for example, kidnapped the female chief, "Lady of Cofitachequi."
Pueblos. Long before Columbus, millions of Americans: "Indians" were a diverse, peaceful, and prospering society. The Pueblo Indians have maintained a desert city for over 1000 years. The Pueblo city is twice as old as St. Augustine, Florida, the city white Americans celebrate as their nation's oldest community. In the 12th century, the ancient Cahokia had a city across from present-day St. Louis that had as many residents (20,000 to 30,000) as London at that time. Their trading network stretched form the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes.
Pueblos and Environmentalism. The Pueblos are a 2000 year old civilization who say themselves as a harmonious part of the earth. They wanted to blend their culture into the earth, while Europeans wanted to own and rape the earth. In May, 1539, the first white man scout, a black slave, encountered the Zuni tribe of New Mexico. A story of gold-lined streets and gold utensils reached the Spaniard Francisco Vazquez De Coronado. The story was false, but Spanish greed for gold had caused the massacre of several Zuni communities. As many as 200 Indian men, women, and children were publicly mounted on stakes at one time and burned alive. Towns were torched, women raped, and children dashed on the rocks as the cruel and greedy search for gold continued. With no gold to fuel the debauchery, the Spaniards left.
How did this Greed for Gold First Come to the Americas. Columbus began enslaving West Indies Indians and taking them back to Spain after he could not locate enough gold to make his venture profitable. These were the same Indians that showered Columbus with birds, cloth, fish, turkeys, corn, persimmon bread, and other gifts. Columbus and the Colonists interpreted Indian gift-giving as evidence that they were child-like. "If they gave gifts," they reasoned, "the Indians must be lazy." When Columbus could not obtain as much gold as he wanted, he told the Queen and King of Spain that the Indians were beastly sub-humans and that slavery could make them fit to be Christians. If he could not get the Indians to dig effectively for Gold he would turn Indians into Gold.
Gold Fever and Torture. Columbus's gold business needed the slave labor to mine gold. When he could not mine enough gold fast enough he proposed that slaves be taken back to Spain and sold for gold. At first the queen said no, but then relented.
One of the things I was not taught in school, was the fact that the colonizers, being immune to small pox and other plagues, had been carriers of these diseases to the New World. Since the West Indies people had not encountered these diseases, whole populations of Indians throughout North and South America and the Caribbean were wiped out. In Haiti, for example a population of 500,000 became 500. It was disease, not the sword that defeated the Mexicans. Their population went from 15 million to 1.5 million, making it the biggest massacre of all time. In the United States entire tribes would be wiped out. I can see why Columbus Day is not a holiday Indians relish.
THE BLACK LEGEND
As slaves were used to pan and dig for gold, and as they were sold and resold, the Catholic church got involved. At first, the church allowed for slavery if each colonist would agree to convert the slave to Christianity. Then, as stories of the mass torture, abuse, and murder of Indians began to circulate through Europe, a few members of the church began to ask "by what right does one man enslave and torture another man for economic gain?" Each man is God's child. As the story goes, the Church would only allow people to be enslaved if they ran away from a commitment to God. The colonists interpreted this to mean, any Indian, upon being read what came to be called: "The Regulation" that did not immediately swear allegiance to Christ was enslaved. Even if "The Regulation" was read to them in a foreign tongue or even if the concepts were not understood in their own tongue.
"The Black Legend" is from a book of stories by Father Bartolomeo de las Casas. Upon visiting the Spanish colonies he was so outraged by massacre of millions of Indians, that he wrote of book of stories. The gold business and subsequently the plantation business destroyed whole continents of Indians.
THE BLACK LEGEND
[Translating from the Old English text.]
"... An historical and true account of the cruel massacres and slaughters of over twenty millions of innocent people; committed by the Spaniards in the islands of Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, etc. As also, in the Continent of Mexico, Peru, and other places of the West Indies, to the total destruction of those countries....
"To these quiet Lambs, endured with such blessed qualities, came the Spaniards like most cruel Tigers, Wolves, and Lions, enraged with a sharp and tedious hunger... they have cruelly and inhumanely butchered, that of three millions of people which Haiti itself did contain, there are left remaining alive three hundred persons... The island of Jamaica lay desolate... Cuba and Haiti ...now totally unpeopled and destroyed... partly killed, and partly forced away to work in other places...
"Now to come to the Continent (Mexico)... souls, women and children being numbered in this lot... fifty millions were consumed in this massacre...
The Spaniards were not sent from heaven... neither was their cruelty piety - Women with child, whole bellies they would rip up, taking out the infant to hew it in pieces. They would often lay wagers who could with most dexterity either cleave or cut a man in the middle, or who could at one blow struck cut off his head. The children they would take by the feet and dash their innocent heads against the rocks and when they were fallen into the water, with a strange and cruel mouth they would call upon them to swim. ...
"They erected certain Gallows, that were broad but low, that the tormented creatures might touch the ground with their feet, upon every one of which they would hang thirteen persons, blasphemously affirming they did it in honor of our Redeemer and his Apostles and then putting fire under them, they burnt the poor wretches alive...
"I have been an eye-witness... they hunted them with their Hounds, whom they bred up and taught to pull down and tear the Indians like beasts... the Spaniards made a Law among themselves, that for one Spaniard slain, they would kill a hundred Indians...
"The men perished in the Gold Mines with hunger and labor, the women perished in the fields, being tired out with the same calamities: and thus was a vast number of the inhabitants of this island wholly exterminated... And as for blows which they gave them with whips, cudgels and their fists, wherewith they continually tormented them in their labor, I could be hardly able to find either the time or paper to make a narration large enough of those things...
Tyrant. ...in the Providence of New Spain, there came another cruel and furious Tyrant... who having perpetrated many heinous inequities, and sent great numbers of the Natives to be sold in the Countries of Spain... once it happened that they used eight hundred of the Indians instead of a team to draw their carriages, as if they had been mere beasts and irrational creatures. He was afterwards made President of the City of Mexico, and with him many other fellow tyrants advanced to the office of Auditors; which Offices they contaminated with so many impieties and abominations, that it is hardly to be imagined... he went further into the Country, that he might exercise his cruelties with more liberty, and caused fifteen or twenty thousand of the Indians to follow and carry the burdens of the Spaniards, of whom scarcely two hundred returned alive, the rest being all destroyed...
"the [Indian] king coming to meet him with all... honor, they put in prison because he was reported to be very rich: which that they might get from him, they thus tormented him; having put his feet in a kind of stock, and stretching out his body, they tied his hand to a stake, and then putting fire to his feet, while a boy was set to bath them with oil, that they might roast the better; there stood another also with dogs behind him, threatening to set them upon him... At length there came a Franciscan Friar who freed him from his torments, but not from death... With this kind of torture they put to death many other of the Princes and Noblemen of the Country...
"I Friar Bartholomew de las Casas, of the Order of St. Dominic, who went to these parts through the mercy of God, desiring the salvation of the Indians, that so many precious souls redeemed with the blood of Christ might not perish, wishing with my whole heart, that they might through knowledge of their Creator live eternally. 3
The colonization of America and Slavery were bed fellows. Dutch traders in 1619 were the first to introduce slaves on a grand scale to North America. As in Europe, slaves were owned and could be passed from father to eldest son as inheritance. By the revolution, there were 500,000 slaves in America (20% of the American population at that time). By 1720, 70% of South Carolinians were slaves, working the rice crops. Others worked tobacco. In Jamestown, the Indians were systematically exterminated, crops and villages torched --- so Colonists could control and confiscate their lands to grow more tobacco. 5
Slavery and Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson kept slaves at his Monticello estate.
Masters had concubines. Sally Hemings, a slave, was Jefferson's concubine (p. 293).
People could, in some cases, purchase their freedom, but for every slave freed, 300 more were born in slavery. 7 In 1831, The Nat Turner slave insurrection happened: 55 whites and over 100 blacks were slaughtered in Virginia. Abolitionists were treated as dangerous fanatics. There had been stories of slave revolts in the Indies in which whites were murdered. After slavery was no longer as profitable as other pre-industrial modes of production, slavery would persist because of white man's fear about blacks massing to take over white society. Slaves could no longer be marginalized and excluded, or could they?
"Abolitionists hold that "all men are born free and equal, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness."
"They do not believe these rights are abrogated, or at all modified by the color of the skin, but that they extend alike to every individual of the human family.
"As the above-mentioned rights are in their nature inalienable, it is not possible that one man can convert another into a piece of property, thus at once annihilating all his personal rights, without the most flagrant injustice and usurpation... (Printed by Reverend Elijah Parish Lovejoy in the Alton, Illinois Observer, July 20, 1837). 8
An angry mob cornered Lovejoy in his newspaper office and dumped his press into the Mississippi River before setting fire to his building.
In 1846, Henry Thoreau, who did not approve of slavery or the Mexican War was jailed for refusing to pay his one-dollar poll tax. Ralph Waldo Emerson paid Thoreau's tax.
Uncle Tom's Cabin
The Power of Storytelling: In June 1851, a powerful 36-part serial story called "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was published by Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe. The character of Simon Legree, with his whips and bloodhounds and the martyred Uncle Tom, and Eva's dash for life across the ice as she was chased by bloodhounds made a lasting impression on the congress and a thousand theater stages. The story personified the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. To the North, this story was "real" life in the South.
Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. "Runaways could be seized and shackled wherever found, could not have a jury trial, could not testify or summon witnesses, and could be shipped sough to their master no matter how lang they had been free. In 1850 there fore 20,000 Negroes in the North who had escaped through the abolitionist network: the Underground Railroad. 9
Lincoln's June 17, 1858 "House Divided" Speech. "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free... I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.
When Lincoln's "Emancipation Proclamation" went into effect on January 1, 1863, 3,063,392 slaves were freed in ten seceded states, but 441,702 slaves in states that had not seceded were still slaves. The Czar of Russia, however, had freed the serfs in 1861. The Spanish Crown had long ago abandoned slavery as a mode of production. but American slavery persisted longer than most areas of the world. Only in comparison to South Africa could you call the U.S. enlightened. Even after the Civil War, there were Black Laws which required that "all freed Negroes to go to bed early, rise at dawn, speak respectfully to their employers, and perform no skilled labor without a license." 10
The Manitu Story
To give you a completely different story of control, we will look at control as practiced by the Algonkian Indian tribes.
One Indian tribe, the Fox Algonkians of the Great Lakes Region, in particular, had a very negative attitude towards vertical control. While Europeans subscribed to vertical, hierarchical control where the highest layer delegated authority to each successively lower pyramid-layer, the Fox Indians, subscribed to "Manitu." "Mana" is a power in the universe that is given to each individual as a condition of the high quality of their individual performance in a given activity. If you succeed, you possess Manitu, if you fail, you do not have it. There is no hierarchy. Any individual can possess Manitu by demonstrating success. If a Fox Indian wins in combat over another Indian, the winner does not get to control the loser. Since the loser has unlimited access to Manitu, he can win the next encounter.
The Manitu Story "At the onset of adolescence, each Fox male goes out in the forest where he fasts for four days and four nights. During the course of this fast he has a vision of a powerful Manitu - an animal, bird, Manitu-human, or natural object. The boy is told by the Manitu that henceforth he will be under his protection, and that he will control the particular power possessed by the Manitu. In the course of the visitation the Manitu instructs the boy in acceptable ethical and moral behavior... But the grant of Manitu power and supernatural guardianship is not outright; the Manitu needs the services of the boy as much as the boy needs his. In exchange for supernatural power, the boy agrees to present to the Manitu periodic gifts of tobacco, which the Manitu craves but can get only from humans and to adhere to his guardian's ethical precepts in order to please him. The boy-Manitu relationship is couched in terms of mutual obligations, not in terms of one-way power flow. If the boy neglects his obligations, the Manitu may withdraw his support; if the boy fails in some important undertaking, this evidence that the Manitu has not done his part entitles the boy to seek a new protector...
"In 1667, Father Allouez, on a mission to the Fox, told them that Jesus Christ, as represented by the cross, was a powerful Manitu. He was amazed by the alacrity with which the Fox "accepted Christ," not realizing that the Fox... always ready to accommodate any deity, of whatever origin, who can demonstrate the possession of power. In 1671 warriors, undertaking a war expedition against the Sioux, painted the cross on their bodies and shields, put themselves under the protection of the cross-Manitu, and gained a decisive victory over their enemies. They returned, proclaiming the white man's Manitu. The following year, however, another expedition against the Sioux, under similar Manitu protection, was disastrously defeated. In a rage, the warriors repudiated the white man's Manitu, tore down the cross Allouez had erected, and refused to let the priest re-enter the village. 11
Craftsmen, merchants, and artisans began to migrate to medieval cities, to the protection of the city walls. It is here that the more enlightened pre-industrial pre-modern business organization began to flourish. Guilds, represent the earliest division of labor through craft specialization. Guilds became an exclusive association of producers. Each guild was run by master craftsmen. Control was by a system of rules about conduct. While long apprenticeship periods insured journeymen knew how to do quality work, apprenticeship also was a way for masters to control access to their craft (p. 27). To control entry, increase the standards, rigor, and length of the training. The practice is still found today. For example, The American Medical Association controls the availability of Doctors in order to keep doctoring profitable as a profession and maintain high quality standards. In England, guilds and the crown controlled printing by specifying how many print shops could operate in a given city. Restricting the number of producers, allowed prices to be set by the guilds.
Guild Social Control. Initiation, apprenticeship, and solace (fine system) have already been discussed as powerful control mechanisms in the craft system. Deviations from performance and group norms lead to sanctions, including fines and whipping.
The step from slave and serf to craftsman is a small one. The craftsman was controlled by the guild. To be a freeman the craftsman had to stop practicing the trade and get rid of all his tools (p. 29). A serf could be free, if he stayed away from the manor for a year and a day (p. 31). Slaves, on the other hand, had to purchase their freedom or be set free. Freemen could become more skilled and therefore more useful in the pre-industrial economies.
Coming to America: White Indenture. To get to America, people sold their labor for a pre-specified time period (2- 3 years, depending on skill level) in exchange for ship passage. This was an indenture contract. Contracts were sold to planters and merchants at the American port of call. Masters had to provide room and board. 50% of white immigrants to the Northern Colonies came as indentured servants (p. 56).
Pre-modern Feudal Japan
Japan exercises strong culture control over its employee. There are strict values about respect for authority and putting the work group and the company and the nation ahead of self-interest. Hard work, long hours, and group consensus are strong Japanese values. 12 In Japanese firms, there is a combination of pre-modern and modern controls. The modern control is the bureaucracy of departments, chain of command, formal offices, and vertical layers of authority. In the formal bureaucracy, men tell other men what they want to hear. They conform.
The more pre-modern control is the "dokikai system." In dokikai, men go out to a sing-a-long bar and after a few drinks tell each other exactly what they think. The "dokikai system" is like a fraternity. When you are hired you are an "entering class" or "cohort." As with the entering pledge class, the cohorts are socialized and initiated together, bonded together, and build social ties that last throughout their career. After the "entering class" has done its apprenticeship, cohorts are distributed throughout the bureaucracies formal departments, locations, and specialized units. But, the "dokikai system" forms an overlaying, informal network of business relationships, where the real work, decisions, up-front communication gets done. "It is in the dokikai that men, lubricated with alcohol, speak to one another with honto---expressing their true feelings---rather than with tatemai---saying what is expected" (Toffler, 1990). 13
In the pre-modern organization, the spirit of individualism was a dim light in the darkness of feudal tortures. The individual ethic, as with Columbus, was an exploitative, colonizing, flesh-peddling horror. Individualism was over-shadowed by a strong community of fraternal or slave-society control so that the individual would act out the wishes prescribed by the social order.
In the pre-modern period, control was physical and with the exception of some Indian tribes, control over others was hierarchical. Control flowed from the top down. The top had property-control rights over the subordinated. Slavery flourished because modes of production were pre-industrial and depended upon large pools of cheap labor. Abolition, contrary to popular belief did not come from Lincoln or some other politician. Abolition was the result of changes in the economy that favored other modes of production in which slave skills were not as crucial. In the next section, modernization does not skill labor much beyond sweat shop conditions. In America, large pools of immigrant labor from Italy, Ireland, Poland and other countries was all that was needed. More recently, immigration from Mexico continues to feed low technology enterprises in agriculture, domestic work, and manufacturing.
The point here is that as the mode of production shifts, the mode of control must also shift. Control is more an instrumental thing, than a movement toward freedom.
Modernist control starts with division of labor and central control of financial and technical resources. The very purpose of the labor process model is to arrest control from labor and put it into the system of managerialist control.
Capitalism. Capitalism is defined in Webster as "the economic system in which all or most of the means of production and distribution, land, factories, railroads, etc., are privately owned and operated for profit, originally under fully competitive conditions. It has generally been characterized by a tendency toward concentration of wealth, and in its later phase, by the growth of great corporations, increased governmental control." 14
Modern Capitalism was supposed to do away with the cruel forms of torture as well as the greed of the pre-modernist period. And for a brief historical moment, craftsmen flourished. However, as modernization progressed, capital got monopolistic control and workers were again de-skilled and dis-enfranchised to fit the mode of production that were generate the best cash flow. They were less skilled than in the craft-guild system. De-skilling allowed very routine jobs to be performed efficiently and economically by children in large factories. Long after Indian and African slaves were emancipated, children were a preferred mode of cheap labor.
Child Labor "In 1900 the industrial edifice of the United States was supported in part by the labor of 1,752,187 children less than 16 years old. In Southern cotton mills... one fourth of the "hands" were children, and 20,000 of them were under 12. Girls of six and seven worked 13 hours a day. 15
Labor Control. Recently, in North Carolina, a chicken-processing plant produced a fire that killed numerous employees. An investigation found that the doors of the plant were locked. The company believed the employees would steal the chickens form the plant if the doors were not kept locked. The security of employer was obviously more important than the security of them employees.
If production efficiency maximized and the human condition is minimalized, business control yields some real horror. As with the story of De Las Casas about Indian torture and the story of Uncle Tom's Cabin, the following story was a stimulus to reforming labor control.
Packing Town Jungle Story
"There were men in the pickle-rooms, for instance... scarce a one of these that had not some spot of horror on his person. Let a man so much as scrape his finger pushing a truck in the pickle-rooms, and ... all the joints in his fingers might be eaten by the acid, one by one. Of the butchers and floorsmen, the beef-boners and trimmers, and all those who used knives, you could scarcely find a person who had the use of his thumb; time and time again the base of it had been slashed, till it was a mere lump of flesh against which the man pressed the knife to hold it...
"There were those who worked in the chilling-rooms, and whose special disease was rheumatism; the time-limit that a man could work in the chilling-rooms was said to be five years. There were the wool-pluckers, whose hands went to pieces even sooner than the hands of the pickle-men; for the pelts of the sheep had to be painted with acid... and as for the other men, who worked in tank-rooms full of steam... their peculiar trouble was that they fell into the vats; and when they were fished out, there was never enough of them left to be worth exhibiting, --- sometimes they would be overlooked for days, till all but the bones of them had gone out to the world as Durham's Pure Leaf Lard" (From Upton Sinclair's 1906 novel: The Jungle, In Butterfield, 1976: 330).
Venality - Tales of Bribery. From the outset of the industrial revolution labor conditions were deplorable, but bribes, corruption, and greed kept the law makers at bay. People read The Jungle and screamed for reform in the meat supply industry after reading that "government inspectors in the packing plants were bribed to pass tubercular cattle and hogs dying of cholera; how poisoned rats were shoveled into the meat-grinding machines; and filth scraped from the floor was turned into "potted ham." (p. 331).
External Control. By 1919, Americans began to stand up to captains of big business and demand fair wages and safe working conditions. U.S. Steel workers, for example, went on strike to stop the 12-hour work day and the 68 hour work week. Big Steel, which had made a ton of money on World War I, broke the strike with the aid of military force. In coal strikes, the police were called in by big money wielders. "In West Virginia police paid by the Weirton Steel Company force 118 strikers to kneel and kiss the American flag" (p. 375). Big money from big factories filled with big machines controlled labor.
Monopoly Control. When Teddy Roosevelt took the presidency, the industrial revolution was transforming all that was pre-modern into the modern industrial empire. Teddy needed a "big stick" to beat off the evil robber barons, the grafters, and the enemies of the Union. "When he swung it at big business he often missed, and he often failed to follow through with specific action. But his bold example inspired a host of reformers..." 16
A Conversation between Morgan andBryan
"America is Good enough for me," said J.P. Morgan, and the response which was made by William Jennings Bryan made even the titans of Wall Street smile. "Whenever he doesn't like it," said Bryan, "he can give it back to us." 18
The modernist strategy with regard to competition was to eliminate it wherever possible. J.P. Morgan, the story goes bought a mining company from John D. Rockefeller and the entire steel business of Andrew Carnegie, then the world's largest steel producer. Morgan offered Carnegie $157,950,000 in 1899. Carnegie held out for $447 million---and got it.
In February 1902, Roosevelt dusted off the Sherman Anti-trust Law and proclaimed that J.P. Morgan's Northern Securities was a monopoly. Morgan's company was about to consolidate control over most of the nation's railroads.
Henry Ford and Fordism
Fordism. In 1914, Henry Ford pioneered the five-dollar, eight-hour day, and the automotive factory-system where a worker stayed stationary as the parts flowed to his station. Henry had to control the immigrant workers to make them comply with his new assembly-line system. Beyond this, his grand vision was to make workers prosperous enough in income and leisure time to be mass consumers of the mass produced cars.
The Story of Ford's Sociological Department Henry wanted to be sure that workers would use their five dollar a day wages toward righteous ends. From 1914 to 1920, Henry set up his Sociological Department. Department head, John R. Lee and a staff of thirty, and eventually 150 set out to investigate, inspect, counsel, and correct 32,702 employees.
"Each investigator, equipped with a car, a driver, and an interpreter was assigned a district in Detroit... each worker was expected to furnish information on his marital status, the number and ages of his dependents, and his nationality, religion, and (if alien) prospects of citizenship.... Did he own his home? If so, how large was the mortgage? If he rented a domicile, what did he pay? Was he in debt, and to whom? How much money had he save, and where did he keep it? ... His social outlook and mode of living also came under scrutiny. His health? His doctor? His recreations? The investigator meanwhile looked about sharply, if unobtrusively, so that he could report on "habits," "home conditions," and "neighborhood." Before he left a given family, he knew whether its diet was adequate; whether it took in boarders - an evil practice which he was to discourage; and whether money was being sent abroad. All this information and more was placed on blue and white forms...
"...Ford employees were classified into four groups: those fully qualified; those excluded under the basic rules upon age, length of service, and so on; those disqualified by bad personal habits; and those debarred by unsatisfactory home conditions allied with improper habits. Though a moderate resort to liquor was not forbidden, "excessive use" came under the ban. So did gambling. So did "any malicious practice derogatory to good physical manhood or moral character." A household dirty, frowzy, and comfortless; an unwholesome diet; a destruction of family privacy by boarders; an excessive expenditure on foreign relatives - these were among the reasons for condemnation. 20
War and Fordism. As the World Wars all but demanded mass production systems, worker resistance to highly fractionated, repetitive, de-skilled, and boring work did not matter much until the Japanese flexible production system came out of the closet in the 1970's to yield a better control-structure for making automobiles.
In the 80's and 90's U.S. auto makers are grudgingly surrendering control over job design, work group norms, and work-pace and work-scheduling over to the workers. In Europe, labor unions resisted Fordism and retained more of the craft tradition, particularly in West Germany. For example, at Porsche, their is a strong tradition of apprenticeship and craftsmanship that dates back to pre-modern rationality. Porsche remains a highly skilled, craft company.
Post-War Fordism. The American economy is a story of the love affair with the automobile. Auto workers, in particular, were privileged players in this love triangle between low-skilled (but high paid) workers, centrally controlled capital, and mass consumption. Post-war unions were controlled by attacking them as communist (e.g. the Hartley Act of 1952, during the McCarthy period). 21
Unions played the Taylorist production game by bargaining wage gains in exchange for giving up worker control over the work process. People did not control the pace of their own work. Management had to habitualize workers to de-skilled work systems. Bureaucratic corporate rationality was as entrenched as slavery in the American way of life. Women and minority groups had limited access to the higher-wage mass production jobs. When they did get access it was at lower wages and in marginal job categories. The auto union work force was predominantly white and male. In the Civil Rights and feminists movements of the 1960's and 70's, the auto work force became a little more balanced. Fordism dominated until the 1973 recession, the end of the post-war boom.
Control and "The Depression"
The Stock Market Crashed Thursday, October 24, 1929. Herbert Hoover was President. A feeble Federal Reserve Board had not been able to control Wall Street. By Tuesday, the 29th the bottom had fallen out and the depression had begun. In July of 1932, 10,000 unemployed veterans demonstrated on the White House Steps. Hoover, after a few weeks, sent in the Army with tear gas, bayonets, sabers, and torches to reclaim the capitol. By 1933, 15 million Americans were unemployed. The Hoover administration did not pay unemployment or Veteran benefits. People who were out of work were on the dole, living in cardboard shacks, standing in soup lines, and waiting for something to happen.
The Forgotten Man
Wilson supporters labeled Roosevelt's ideas "socialistic."
Remember the Social Darwinism notions of pre-modern times (survival of the fittest, God's destiny for rich and poor) required strict non-interference. Roosevelt, on the other hand, felt he was driving the money changers from the temple and putting people back to work.
After World War II. Control permeates the whole organization. Control systems inform management about what, when, where, and how long employees are engaged in work. People are monitored by electronic surveillance, by human surveillance, and by self-monitoring procedures.
Henri Fayol focused on control of people, actions, and think to verify everything occurred in conformity to h is plans, his instructions, and the principles laid down. 22
The justification for control is that it leads to greater efficiency and effectiveness; without control bankruptcy will take place. Accounting, finance, MIS, and operations management are control functions. The question is when is control used for short-term or long-term performance gains? When accounting for example does not take account of the life cycle of resources, then they ignore the costs of reclaiming the land, the costs of pollution, the costs of not recycling, the costs of wasteful energy, etc. A short-term mentality kills mother earth by eradicating its resources faster than they can be replenished.
Does productivity benefit some groups while oppressing others? Should workers want managers to help them be more productive? To use a metaphor from an earlier story, John Wayne bought into the "should" ideology more than the Dustin Hoffman. Since colonization, the productivity of workers is a powerful "common sense" assumption: "all the more powerful because it is invisible." 23 The pursuit of rational goals like productivity, efficiency, quality at the expense of environment, quality of life, and equality are not questioned in bureaucratic discourse. The legitimacy of short run efficiency over long term quality and environmental gains as a privileged bureaucratic goal is just beginning to be questioned. For decades quality has been marginalized by short run, quarterly profit objectives. The interests of "customers" have been marginalized until the last decade when the ideology of excellence began to take a more dominant role in bureaucratic discourse. In sum, there is an important relationship between power, ideology, and language that comes through in the modernist stories.
When your Story is Profit comes from Cost, then Other Storylines do not get heard. William Deming, for example, preached to Americans in the 1940's, a message to which only the Japanese decided to listen. Deming taught that if you aim for absolute quality, costs of production will decrease over time, prices will be lowered, and customers will give you their business and their loyalty. This is what Japanese auto producers did in the 1970's and 1980's. In the 1990's, even though J.D. Powers surveys of quality in cars say the U.S. car made by Ford or GM is every bit as high quality, fuel efficient, and low cast as the Japanese car, American consumers do not believe the survey results. Americans do not believe the US makes quality cars. President Bush went to Japan January of 1992 with the big three auto executives to break open the Japanese markets. American Presidents and CEO's needed to do this three years ago. A man on the street report on Japanese News coverage elicited: "Hey, why should we in Japan but American cars that Americans do not want to buy?" Instead of talking to the Japanese heads of state and captains of Japanese industry, they should talk to the Japanese customers. Ask them what kind of car they want to have in Japan. But modernists are not big on asking customers for anything but their money.
Gender Impression Management in Modernist Bureaucracy.
Control is manifested through stereotype categories. The categories are contained in the stories people tell.
HE WORKS, SHE WORKS BUT WHAT DIFFERENT IMPRESSIONS THEY MAKE.
A Sexist's Story about Forklift Girls
Before computer type set, heavy metal page forms of lead type had to be moved about. It was men's work and men shouted obscenities while they worked. It was a male work culture. Then came affirmative hiring legislation.
I headed up their printing division. We had five unions in there and they had bindery men and bindery women and I didn't know anything about it. The government came in on us one day and lowered the boom. We had no journeywomen anywhere because the unions didn't allow it. Men had all the key jobs. One of the things they came in with was in my materials handling group. We had these stand up trucks. You stand up and turn the wheel to drive them. They said I couldn't have all men and I must put women in there. So we did. An a little girl, she must have been 5 feet tall applied for the job. The government says there is no difference between men an women. Well after about a week on the job the girl came in and applied for a transfer because her breasts had all turned black and blue from turning the wheel. She was kind of big busted. I wanted to get that guy back in and say: "let me show you the difference between men and women" [Boje, 1983, LAC p. 10].
A Story of Sexist Reversal
Like the way we called 'em bindery men and bindery women? It was a bindery woman's job. And we had a lot of Smiths (women) sewing and we tried to put men in there and they refused. The women called them cutoff girls and they were men and they didn't like it anyway. It fact, the government came in and they made many specific rules and regulations that I must comply with (Boje, 1983: 27).
Feminist Critique of Modernism
In these two stories, white males are using questions of efficiency and effectiveness to conceal their need to control the division of labor between males and females. The machines could be remade. In the movie Aliens, Sigourney Weaver operated a mighty big fork lift to defeat the Alien. The big myth is that women want and need to do the repetitive jobs and the relationship jobs, leaving men to control the power-jobs. Women are often made the scapegoat as capitalists try to cut labor costs by putting women into traditionally-male job categories at lower rates of pay. Is this the fault of women or is this the fault of capitalist's greed?
Impersonal Control - Bureaucracy is rule-based and impersonal. Does this chain of command and hiding behind rule books facilitate or hamper efficiency and effectiveness. It is against the rules to be relational or democratic. But, who makes these rules? Do they make sense? Impersonal examples: wholesale firing are rifs ("reduction in force"), people are called "human resources," displacement of poor people by government highway projects is "urban renewal." 25
Sexual Harassment. The statistics are alarming. Statistics vary, but by all reports every working woman has been sexually harassed verbally. By most accounts over half have been harassed sexually. Males accused of doing the harassment are seldom punished and oftentimes it is the female that is blamed and dismissed. Does sexual harassment have anything to do with control? You bet it does. Does sexual harassment have anything to do with modernism? You bet it does. Most control positions are held by men, and most subordinate positions are held by women. People in lower positions in the pyramid are afraid not to be submissive, even sexually submissive. And if the positions of power are predominantly male, who does an harassed female plead her case to?
In bureaucracy, the female is a marginalized group. Females take more of the fringe jobs, more of the temporary work, and attain fewer central positions. Bureaucracy has routinized and normalized women into a more passive, more powerless, more submissive, and more co-dependent role. Women are co-dependent when they take on the responsibility of taking care of a dominating male.
Voices. In bureaucracy men have a voice that women do not have. And that voice is paternalistic. In bureaucratic-speak, you talk from your position in the pyramid to some other position in the pyramid. It is one-directional, from the top down, and back talk is insubordinate. The pyramid is an authoritarian regime. Bureaucracy is more about domination than it is about meeting customer or public needs. It is more about conformity than about innovation. It is about selling the official story, while suppression the informal story.
Panoptic Control. Lower levels of the pyramid receive more surveillance and gaze than do the higher levels. Women do a lot of clerk-work in open, windowless areas of desks and files. 26 How many of you have looked at old pictures of women seated at accounting tables arranged in row and column while males gaze down at them over horned-rimmed glasses? Secretarial offices are often without much privacy. Phone operators, mostly female, and customer-service operators, mostly female -- are tied to electronic surveillance mechanisms that monitor their calls, silences, breaks, and attitude. Calls are sampled by supervisors, usually males, or by a cadre of clerks, usually female, to insure that customer courtesy is being sustained. Dialogue control does not have to be observable in a large room of desks or listened to by electronic monitors to be panoptic. People are recruited to become docile. People are trained to speak and act in controlled ways. The panoptic gaze gets internalized in the routinization and regulation of the work itself.
Rigid controls are deficient in or devoid of flexibility (e.g. rigid work controls). Many managers appear stiff and unyielding and seem to save face as the all-knowing and all-directing God. Micro-managers are everywhere. They stifle performance in the name of control. To the micro managers inflexibility in opinion, keeping to a rigid routine, and being the strict disciplinarian are a way of life. It is also a way to put a rigid framework of control in play that will insure that little gets done. No one can act or react without prior approval and without a paint by my numbers control mechanism in place.
Disciplinary Control Mechanisms. The female job categories are more subject to performance evaluations, promotion reviews, and disciplinary procedures. In nursing, for example, a "bad" letter can be put into your file that affects your promotion and salary and assignment options and you are never told it is there. You act in a controlled way because you never know what higher ups and Godly doctors are going to put in your file. In the U.S. nursing reforms over control are being put on the back burner while big medicine recruits and imports third world nurses who will put up with the A, B, C's of management that American nurses are loath to tolerate.
The Weak are the Second Sex. Anyone, male or female, of any color, who is in constant contact with dominant oppressors uses "femininity" skills (P. 92). For Blacks it is the "Uncle Tom" role. For females it is the submissive and victim role. For white managers, it is the subordinate role to a workaholic, domineering, ego-centered, screaming boss like the Q.T. Wiles story form the last chapter.
Male Feminization. All people (both genders) in subordinate status act more domestically, more pleasing, and more female. They manage their impressions to seek approval of the dominant boss. They are expected to display loyalty, to be a good little subordinate, and to never show resistance. They are more gentle and polite, more sympathetic and patient, and more forgiving. "Bureaucrats use their "feminine" skills to imitate their superiors, while women use similar skills to please men, but not to imitate them" (p. 95).
Women try to act more male, be "one of the boys" to cope with their secondary status. "Women are not powerless because they are feminine; rather, they are feminine because they are powerless, because it is a way of dealing with the requirements of subordination" (p. 95).
Co-dependents. Co-dependents learn to anticipate demands, moods, preferences of their superiors. They even take responsibility for the Boss, for his bad day, for his temper. Co-dependents clean up after the boss, by hiding their mistakes, covering for their excesses, smoothing the way after an angry episode. "Let's keep it down, the boss has had a tough day."
Self-Disclosure. Women are expected to do more self-sharing and to expose more of their bodies, than are men. Women are expected to "linguistically-stroke" males.
Diversity Control. The modernist story is one of white male paternalistic domination. As women, internationals, and minorities make the bureaucracy more diverse, the white male paternalistic pyramid is going to change. Diversity means that more voices will be raised against the single and dominant voice. Sexism and racism will break down. Many voices will enter the bureaucratic conversation. Giving more voice to women and minorities is a political act. The status quo bureaucracy resists the inclusion of other voices. Other voices are systematically marginalized.
As attitudes towards diversity in the work place have run the gambit from tolerance to celebration to diversity as an asset, the bureaucratic discourse has been opening itself up to tolerate, encourage, and now cultivate many voices. Rather than making everyone adopt the white male voice, the female voice, the Asian voice, the Black voice, and the Indian voices are expected to hold their own in the discourse, the team meetings, the agenda setting episodes. To reach an increasingly diverse environment of customers in narrower and narrower niches requires a diverse network of ethnic, racial, and gender communities. Communities are brought together in a network of relationships.
With the coming of the network, white males fear a loss of control over the definition of truth. How can we enable people of diversity to work through and sort out differences in ways that are productive?
Androgynous Control. A balanced persona is part male and part female. In the traditional family and the traditional firm, discourse was sexist and paternalistic. Central control is a manifestation of the traditional family hierarchy. Flat, de-centralized control, with many voices is a more feminine ideal. Being responsive to mother earth is a feminine ideal. the postmodern attitude is diversity is strength. The differences make us stronger. Traditional control and surveillance and panopticism is directed at limiting participation in the bureaucratic discourse in order to perpetuate white male control. Postmodernism seeks to breakdown central control to enable a network of high self-control and high diversity to take its place. The new role of the leader is to establish space for the dialogue among the strong diverse elements of the organization. Control switches from containment to liberation of the oppressed voices. This is not a re-assertion of paternalism where the male helps the females to voice their views. Rather, it is creating space for meaningful discourse.
In short, there are ample bureaucratic controls in place to make females in lower positions more susceptible to power manipulations, including sexual harassment.
Summary Critique of Modernist Control.
TRANSITIONINGFROM MODERN TO POSTMODERN CONTROL
How do individuals survive in mechanistic and bureaucratic modernist organization? Instead of feminizing subordinancy, one strategy is to rebel and go underground. As modernism gives way to postmodernism, the next decades will see out right co-habitation of the two control rationalities in the same firm. People will have to simultaneously play the modernist and the postmodernist control game.
Rebelling Against Formal Control. To run a flexible network of information contacts throughout the firm, to create new ideas that will add-value to customers, to be an intrapreneur, to introduce ideas that keep up with customer demands, many righteous Americans side-step the formal bureaucratic chain of command. They rebel outwardly, and more often, they just go underground. They use the informal control network to go around, under, and through formal control.
Behind the formality of bureaucratic control is an intelligent network of relationships that adapts to customer demands, that goes around relationships that is controlled by turf-protectors, and modern feudal tyrants. Often it is a battle between the informal and the formal. The formal network controls the channels, the approvals, the chain of command. Their game is to put people are put into specialized units within functional departments, partition them away from other people, and monopolize their access to information.
Break up bureaucratic Control Monopolies. Alvin Toffler (1990: 173) refers to this as the breakup of the rigid little information monopolies: those overspecialized departments (cubbyholes) that store specialized knowledge, control access, and monopolize the individual in a hierarchy of tight supervision. If you want your computer repaired, you have to get a sign off from several vertical layers. Managers speak horizontally to other managers in computer services, and in a few weeks a repair person comes to your office.
Modern Control is Just Not Very Efficient. In a flexible network, you have a need, you go direct to the person who can solve your problem. Instead of going up three levels of bureaucracy and over two horizontal jumps through managers, then down three levels to some isolated service unit, you go direct. If bureaucracy is not efficient, then why do we continue to teach and practice modern management?
Control is its Own Reward. Once a manager, has lost control over the information channels, she has lost control. Once people interpret their own rules, the manager has lost control. Once people are skilled enough in network navigation to get what they need when they need it, the manager is irrelevant. That's right, layers of meaningless bureaucratic machinery are maintained so that managers can control information and thereby control their own jobs.
Since most Americans work inside of production or service bureaucracies they can not change and since most Americans want to do work that builds a more viable company, they rebel by breaking the control rules and working around the system.
How to Rebel against Bureaucratic Control and Survive long enough to Create Post-Bureaucratic Firms.
Instead of playing the Neo-Modern Game, the Final Option is to Move on to Postmodernism. Modernism is so deeply entrenched in American business practice, it is not likely to die a slow and painless death. For example, Rosabeth Moss Kanter found that bureaucratic culture-control mechanisms operated in the firm she called INDESCO. As people served in middle management jobs, they were quickly socialized into the value and behavior patterns of top management. To gain admittance to the top, you had to conform to the values and actions of the top group (inner circle). 28 The more you conform, the more you become a co-conspirator in your own inspection, in your own self-censorship, and in your own loss of self.
The major issue of postmodern control is choice.
Postmodern Control is Choice.
Choices - The postmodern society will be an increasingly diverse and heterogeneous, fragmented, virtual, and global. Organization control must come to grips with and celebrate diversity in the work place, environmentalism, and individualism. This means that there will be many more voices, than the predominantly white and male voice of bureaucratic discourse. Postmodern thought is focused on individual freedom. How can the individual be an equal participant in the work enterprise?
Control in de-centered networks of small businesses or in de-centralized big businesses has to focus control on value-added issues. How can the individual add value to the customer?
Heterogeneity. Diversity is an asset. Control is de-differentiated and de-centered so there is not as much gap between leaders and workers. In diversity individuals are suspended in a web of interpersonal control. With, for example, a heterogeneous classroom, for example, you don't get away with stereotypes that go unchallenged in an all white, all male, all American one. There are firms such as Xerox that belief strongly that a diverse technical staff, sales force, and administration is needed to match the diversity of the market places in which they operate. So if the community they do business in is 40% Hispanic, why shouldn't their sales force, engineers, customer serve people, and managers be the same? It is sound business sense.
Oppositional. With multiple voices, multiple logics, and multiple perspectives the postmodern organization sets about control quite differently from the modern one. In a network, you are controlled by the links around you, by the relationships around you. Postmodern critiques assume that because we do not subscribe to a "universal code" written in stone across the sky, that we can not act ethically or responsibly. The whole point of being postmodern is to exercise an ethical impulse. This is why Zygmunt Bauman wrote about Postmodern Ethics in 1993. With the oppositional, you can not just "say anything" or "do anything." It is the social community that keeps you in check and it is your responsibility to participate and keep it all under control.
Individualism. Doctrine of individual freedom in economic enterprise can be misleading. That is, if we assume that there is some "invisible hand" (Adam Smith) then there is no need for individual accountability and control. The modernist market knows all, sees all theory of control is opposed by the postmodern approach. In the postmodern approach, markets are nifty but they are not created equal. Monopoly and mega multinational corporate control is rampant. This is why citizens the world over are protesting the WTO and World Bank. There is a need for local participation and control in corporate governance. The new corporate charter movement is a good example. The idea is to do what our forefathers did in founding the United States constitution, put the control over the mega East India Tea Company and other conglomerates into the hands of the people. If a company can not behave with environmental ethics and human dignity than pull their charter. Individualism like anything else has its limits. And corporate individualism is all well and good, until you start adding up the costs to ecology and humanity.
Co-Responsibility. People are co-responsible for networking toward value-added and convergent purposes. Mary parker Follett as we read earlier, has a great theory of co-power. You do not delegate power, you can not share it or give it away. Each grows their own. In a co-responsibility situation, both manager and worker, owner and community, ecology and enterprise are co-responsible for control.
Finally, there is room in postmodernism for an expanded definition of efficiency and effectiveness that takes the role of the environment into account. Consumers are beginning to demand that supermarkets recycle, that producers package goods in environmentally sensitive ways, and that consumption that rapes the environment is not "really" very efficient or effective over the long run.
Postmodern Environmentalism. Post-modern control encompasses choices within heterogeneity and individualism, as well as opposition and co-responsibility. The notion of co-responsibility leads us to consider the type of environment in which post-modernism will flourish. How do we re-define efficiency and effectiveness? The environmental audit is one step.
Environmental Audit. Swiss Air spent one million dollars this year on an environmental audit to learn how it could do business in ways that preserves and does not needlessly damage the environment. Ben and Jerry's ice cream do environmental audits each year as part of their accounting. In both cases, they seek to define a broader notion of efficiency and effectiveness.
Recycling. How much of the material that is being put out for trash, can be recycled? Companies are beginning to set up recycle containers for paper, plastics, wood, green waste, metal, rags, toner cartridges, pallets, and much more. Recycling depends upon employee involvement in determining the waste items that could be recycled and they are the ones who must make a recycling program work. Systems for measuring recycle accumulations and savings.
Customers. Customers are demanding that retailers cut down on wasteful packaging, provide recycled bags, and alternatives to paper and plastic bags such as reusable canvas bags.
Many environmentally-sound alternatives make short-term cost-saving sense. But even if it costs a bit more now, saving mother earth, for many customers, is worth a few pennies more. Non-toxic cleaning supplies, chemical-free cotton, , using natural jute twine instead of plastic, etc. are all small steps to a better ecology.
The postmodern customer is a business partner in finding ways to promote environmental awareness and more environmentally-effective practices.
Automotive Industry. If continuous quality improvement has been the industrial battle cry of the Japanese for the past forty years, what will it be for the next forty years? I think the answer is environmentalism. Look at the 1992 Tokyo Motor Show. There is exhibit after of exhibit of more environmentally-sensitive automobiles. Japan is building its technical arsenal by massive R & D in solar-powered cars, electric cars, and hydrogen combustion engines. This move is fueled by tougher emission control laws in Japan and especially in the U.S. in States like California. Not only is fuel efficiency being legislated by the U.S. Congress, but in California by the year 2003, 10% of all car sales must be "zero emission" vehicles.
The question is, will the U.S. be a leader in environmental R & D, or will we follow in the footsteps of the Japanese automakers? The U.S. has produced hydrogen-, methanol-, solar, and battery powered prototypes, but does the U.S. have the same sense of urgency as Japan about safe-guarding the Japanese environment and protecting its world wide markets?
As Japan produces larger cars, with bigger engines, the smog-producing oxides of nitrogen have increased air pollution in Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka. But, the momentum is there. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), is in the process of issuing tough auto manufacturing guidelines. MITI wants 200,000 electric vehicles in service by the year 2000. And, they are investing $100 million to develop a new high-performance battery, beginning this year.
While the U.S. it trying to catch up to the Japanese quality lead, the Japanese are investing in the long term to take there next leap forward in the automotive industry: the leap toward environmentally-sensitive automobiles. What is the U.S. going to do this decade? Chrysler is spending $1 billion on a 3.3 million-square foot new-car development center that in two years will house 7,000 employees. They want to reduce the time it takes to get a new car design to market, set up a wind tunnel, design labs, and a small test track (p. 39). Design teams will be located on a single floor, with corridors converging on large meeting spaces. Their project is designed around "simultaneous engineering" - a system of organization to solve manufacturing problems at the same time as the design process is under way (p. 39). It all sounds very postmodern; we will wait and see if they produce more cars like the Viper or if they take up the challenge to get into the "zero emissions" car race.
Control and Third Wave.
There are at least two schools of thought on control in the post-cold war, post-hierarchical, and postmodern period. One is Alvin Toffler's Third Wave and the other is the Postmodern. We will state some of the affirmative positions, then move to the skeptical.
Third Wave and Postmodern Both Share These Elements: In both the post-industrial and the postmodern perspectives, the freedom and autonomy of the individual is incompatible with inflexible, rigid, bureaucratic, pyramids. In both views, flatter organizations mean less opportunity for vertical promotion, but more lateral movement. Both views stress the declining loyalty of the individual to any one firm. Both reflect a nostalgic appreciation and yearning for a high-skilled, craft-based, more fraternal economy. Peer pressure and control replaces top-down control. Both favor equalizing, democratizing, diversifying, and pluralizing power relationships. Both forecast a post-hierarchical, post-bureaucratic, and post-authoritarian control system. Both openly advocate that people resist central control, protect their autonomy and freedom.
Intelligent Networks. What if we replaced stupid bureaucratic tables of organizations with vertical controls over-specialized cubbyhole departments with an intelligent network among diverse social units? Most managers would be out of work. The few managers that were left would work on network management: combining, recombining channels of information and resource flow, expanding and contracting sectors of the network among many organizations to sustain value added interactions that meet changing customer requirements. The network would be able to reshuffle and reconstitute itself in response to new patterns of customer preference. The boundary between organization, supplier, and customer would fall. An intelligent network is a value-added network, where every participant adds-value to each network transaction. An intelligent network is a quick response deployment of suppliers and producers. An intelligent network is lean and mean. It is intelligent, because the network adapts the configuration of the network to suit the particulars of customer needs. Instead of being fed products and services, the customer pulls the products and services, controlling the configurations of materials, transformations, suppliers, and people to bring them what they want, when they want it, where they want it.
Self-Aware Networks. Alvin Toffler (1990: 108-109)) points out that these intelligent networks are self-aware. They monitor their own value-added performance. The network adapts by constantly redefining its pattern, improving the choice of channels, and redistributing traffic to under-utilized sections of the network in order to sustain quick response and quality performance. An example of a self-aware network is the Toyota flexible manufacturing system. Customers use computer terminals to select custom car features. The information goes directly to the scheduling computers that order-up their particular car. The results of many customer choices are fed to vendors so they can anticipate demand cycles and be ready to feed the right combination of parts Just In Time for producing the customer's car. Information access has been de-controlled. In the bureaucracy, you just did not share that kind of data between producers, dealers, customers, and suppliers.
Getting Skeptical About Postindustrial versions of Postmodern
Skeptical of Post Industrial Control. Alvin Toffler and the post-industrials have it wrong. Here's why. The vision of the post industrial school was that a grand service economy, teaming with high-tech, high-skill jobs would overtake the smokestack industries of steel, textiles, and other manufacturing in the rust belt of America. It is only recently, that people have begun to ask: Hey, just what jobs are we to have in the post-industrial economy? Donald Regan, Ronald Reagan's Chief of Staff, put the question to Alvin Toffler: "So you all think we're going to go around cutting each other's hair and flipping hamburgers!" 30 Toffler and members of the Heritage Foundation were the experts arguing that America was best served by letting the rust belt, smokestack industries die on the vine. After all, we had made the first wave jump from agricultural to the second wave: industrial economy. Now we were jumping from the second wave of industrialization to the third wave of information/service economy.
For some odd reason, which had something to do with the needs of the cold war, America bought into the utopian dream of the high-tech service economy which requires very high skilled people, while at the same time de-investing and trashing the American school system. Teachers are the most underpaid people in American and they are supposed to train the high-teckies for the information age. Well if we are in the information age, how come Johnnie can't read, why is Jill on drugs, and how come the high-tech companies, the computer companies, the electronic industry in general are on the run? If we are moving away from muscle work, then how are illiterate high school graduates going to do all this fine mental work? The soothsayers of the information age blame mass consumption, mass production, mass education economy, that demonic and satanic evil-machine for fabricating people who are unsuited for high-tech employment.
Postmodern Skepticism of Post-Industrial Control. In the post-industrial, third wave society people are knowledge workers. With the information revolution, firms can operate in wide-global regions, lots of small firms can sub-contract with larger firms, individuals have freedom in flexible information networks, managers will not control channels, and info-control is power. Post-modernist critique the post-industrial thesis:
Skeptic's Summary. The Third Wave explanation suppresses alternative interpretations. What if people come more dominated under the Third Wave, than they were in the first and second? People are still controlled, only now the medium is not physical or muscle-control, it is information control. Jones (1991) critiques three areas of post-industrialism. 34
GETTING SKEPTICAL OF POST-FORDISM
The (supposed) end of Fordism in America was co-incidental with the Arab Oil embargo in 1973. This was not the only factor. The Euro- and Asian- markets were beginning to boom, and worker productivity in the U.S. had been falling rapidly since the mid-1960's. After 1973, America was ready to try new ways of organizing people, management, regulation, and capital.
Critique of Flexible Production System. Flexible production system involves flexible work processes, but also is part of flexible labor markets, flexible consumption, and flexible financing. In short, control is made flexible and de-centered. With flexibility, cycle times get faster and individual control decreases. The cycle time to work a product, the cycle time to change to a new auto-model, the cycle time to move capital, the cycle time to get a service to the customer --- all get faster. Kaizen (continuous improvement involving everyone) is part of flexibility and faster cycle times. Flexibility means that work is more temporary, more sub-contracted, more a networking of geographically-dispersed teams. We are not convinced that people are going to have higher standards of living or better quality working lives by being temporary workers.
With de-centering, skills are supposed to accumulate back to the individual. Modernism, however, persists with labor sub-contracting - management avoids medical plans, pension plans, high-wages, and union control. 38 Female, minority, and third world labor pools become more attractive capital investments. The Maquiladora program in the U.S. allows the flexible capital control and ownership to stay in the U.S., north of the Mexico border, while factories employing cheaper labor locate below the border (p. 153). In this way modernist control structures flourish and are able to continue Tayloristic control practices by exploiting third world, cheap labor markets. Increasingly, the modernist form of organization is becoming a global player, using its computers, faxes, and satellite communication to split up its production and capitalization across many countries.
With this flexible accumulation, you get a core of privileged workers who have all the benefits, no more middle management, and an extensive networking to a periphery with few benefits, but lots of autonomy. Corporations, universities, and government bureaus are increasingly sub-contracting any function they can get away with to the peripheral network of smaller teams of people. The core exercises flexibility by outsourcing: changing contracts, stopping contracts, and creating sub-contracts to respond to customer demands. To retain a part of the privileged core and not be cast into the ranks of the temporary workforce, people are willing to be more controlled. One of the biggest growth industries in America is temporary employment services. Recent articles in Time and Newsweek suggest that middle managers are becoming more temporary, contract workers. They are brought in to do some re-structuring, get a project started, and then are terminated.
Small Business. One of the fastest growing majors in business schools is entrepreneurship. Small business accounts for 50% of U.S. employment. With flexible accumulation, we predict even more people will work for small businesses that are part of a sub-contracting network servicing each other and larger businesses. This means a return to family-style business and entrepreneurship. It also means that migrant workers in Los Angeles and other metropolitan cities will work in sweat shops without safety, without environmental controls, and with lots of exploitation.
Why is Small that Beautiful?
Los Angeles is home for 104 different language groups, from Vietnamese, to Korean; more Samoans live here than in Samoa. These immigrant communities are spawning thousands of small business ventures every year in Los Angeles and other immigrant centers. Unions are stumped. You can only unionize work forces that are massed together in big government and big business.
What are the control characteristics of small businesses? Small businesses are often family-based, paternalistic, under-financed, and cut-throat competitors. Small businesses pay less wages and benefits than big business. Small business are quicker to exploit female labor and immigrant, because they can pay them less.
Getting Skeptical about Japanese Management. Sub-contracting by a large business to a diverse peripheral network of small business is a long-established way of doing business in Japan. A lot of people think all Japanese workers are guaranteed life-time employment. On the contrary, life time employment goes to core-workers and these are mostly males. Women workers at manufacturing plants, such as Toyota are prohibited by law from working shift work. The women are excluded in this and other subtle ways from so called "life time employment." In the U.S., Americans working for Japanese firms have been duped into thinking they were going to get life-time employment, only to find out that when profits and sales dipped, they were back on the street.
Glass Ceilings In Japanese Firms. A typical story is a white, male, American manager goes to work for a Japanese firm only to find that upward career mobility is blocked by a "glass ceiling." He starts his climb to the top, but finds that he does not know about important resources, can not get access to important decisions, and in general is left out of the informal information loop. Remember, the Japanese form of organization is very fraternal. Japanese new hires bond with other new hires like a fraternity pledge class. In the Japanese firm, the Japanese go out for drinks with their pledge brothers and do business. When they need mentoring and counseling, they go to their pledge brothers. The white male is as much an outsider as if he had gone to a fraternity-sorority exchange and found no one to talk to. With the flexible networking of the Japanese, the white male work (and other nationalities and gender) do not get past the glass ceiling to the core of privileged, life time employees, at the top of the Japanese pyramid. The stories circulate that non-Japanese managers in Japanese companies are told what to do, do not get to implement ideas, and experience the Japanese firm as quite bureaucratic. "I gave them ideas, but I was told that the higher-ups in Japan were not interested." The individual is always the gaijin - foreigner.
In today's organizations, control is not pre-modern, modern, or post-modern. Competing control themes abound.
In some organizations we see the carry-over of the brutality inflicted on Damien, the slaves in America, and the Native Americans. We also observe the contrasting pre-modern control of the Manitu and guilds.
Modernist control has its heritage in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, child labor, and the Captains of Industry, especially Henry Ford. We also took a close look at the female perspective in the modern bureaucracy.
Recognizing the resistance to post-modern control, we suggested a number of alternatives to make the transition from modern to post-modern control.
Post-modern control is characterized by choice. This phenomenon exists in the paradoxical situation of heterogeneity/individualism and opposition/co-responsibility. This central theme flourishes within an environment of re-defined effectiveness and efficiency.
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