Sociology: Max Weber and Formal Organizations Essay

Submitted By kimmer526
Words: 1224
Pages: 5

In every facet of life, there are numerous groups and organizations. There are many social groups that people belong to as well as formal organizations. Formal organizations are groups that are combined to achieve their goals. These groups are usually secondary and can be identified in three different types. Compared to formal organizations a century ago, there has been much evolvement. There are many trends in the formal organizations today and many different characteristics. There are three types of formal organizations that need to be considered. The first type is the Utilitarian organization. This is the most common type. The majority of people in the world will choose to join one of these organizations in their lifetime. This is the organization one will join if an income in being made. Being a member of this type of organization has the purpose of making a living. The second type is the normative organization. This is an organization that someone joins to serve a purpose. According to Macionis (2005), “People join normative organizations not for income but to pursue some goal they think is morally worthwhile.” (p. 119). This type can also be known as a volunteer group. The final type of formal organization is the coercive organization. These are the groups that others are forced to join such as a prison or hospital. It is very important to realize that any formal organization can meet the characteristics of one or all of these types. Formal organizations have been around for many years. Over the past century there have been many changes in the formal organizations. Organizations in the past faced many challenges. They did not have the technology that is available today. Due to this, information was not able to be transferred over long distances and there was a lag in communication. The only form of communication available was face to face.
The information that was collected was not able to be collected in a timely manner nor were there available storage for the information gathered. This caused organizations to be very unproductive. Also, the worldview from the varying time frames is also different. According to Macionis (2006), “Tradition, according to German sociologist Max Weber, consists of values and beliefs passed from generation to generation.” (p. 119). In the prior years, organizations were conservative and this caused low efficiency and not a lot of room for change. In the past century, it seemed that work ethics were passed down from generations and no new ideas were ever presented. In today’s organization, we do not rely on tradition, but on rationality. As stated by Macionis (2006), rationality is “a way of thinking that emphasizes deliberate, matter-of-fact calculation of the most efficient means to accomplish a particular task.” (p. 119). This helps organizations get things done quickly and not hang onto ideas from the past. Also, rationality refers to having an open mind as well to any changes that will make tasks go quicker. A known difference in the times within organizations is the employees that were hired. Centuries ago, companies would only hire Caucasian males. These employees would have their specific job tasks and would not be assigned any other job. In today’s society, men and women are hired and race is not an issue. There is equal opportunity employers today that do not hire based on race or gender. Today, organizations take job performance as the main hiring base. Today, talents are not ignored. According to Macionis (2006), “excluding women and minorities from the workplace ignores the talents of more than half the population.” (p.124). The bureaucratic system would suggest that in an organization, an employee would do their specific job and report to their manager.
Today, more employees are working more tasks and are working together to create work groups and teams. In past organizations, there were no relationships between employers. Today, relationships are built