This document briefly reviews and critiques the ideas of Weber and Goffman in applying them to the Standard Prison Experiment.
Weber identified the significance of bureaucracy within organizations. Within the bureaucratic organization there is a stratification of hierarchy where the legal legitimate authority is invested in individuals who exercise command on the basis of rules and not on the basis of personal authority (Morrison, 2006). Legitimate authority within a bureaucratic organization aims to remove the subjectivity and unpredictability of human action thus decisions are made and behaviours implemented in a …show more content…
The degrading and humiliating process the prisoners endured can be identified in Goffman’s theory. As a result prisoners are now falling into their roles as they were compliant in the process of admission. The prisoners accepted this behaviour as the norm as they did not question authority. Goffman further identifies that institutions have a methodical goal to transform the inmates they control (Smith, 1999). Transformation is achieved through officials wishing to attain order as appose to the ethos of the institution. Therefore the power of the organization over inmates on entering the institution is the first reduction of the self (Goffman, 1959).
Persons’ in authority are represented in status by dress and manner. This demeanour is powerful as it demonstrates the authority or power of the person (Goffman 1959, in Branaman and Lemert). Goffman shows why his theory of ‘presentation of self in ever day life’ is relevant to the power of an organization (Goffman 1959, in Trevino). He describe his theory as a theatrical performance, we are all acting guided by settings, appearances and manners, furniture, decor and physical layout including props which guide a performance (Trevino, 2003). The prisoners found it difficult to remove