Portland State University. Department of Sociology
Date of Award
Master of Arts (M.A.) in Sociology
1 online resource (3, iv, 67 leaves, ill. 28 cm.)
Bureaucracy, Power (Social sciences), Organization
The research problem of this thesis is an examination of inter-bureau power relations. A modification of Max Weber’s classical ideal type bureaucracy is the conceptual model to which sociological analysis is made. An empirical examination of the variance between the conceptual model and data collected in the field is analyzed in order to illustrate inter-bureau power relations. The analysis of the conceptual model is based upon three assertions. They are: (1) inter-bureau power relations are based upon coercion and not cooperation; (2) normative standards that are established by the administrators of the bureaucracy are differentially enforced; and (3) goals that are established by the administrators of the bureaucracy are subject to distortion.
Participant-observation and casual interviewing techniques were the methods employed to collect data pertaining to the nature of inter-bureau power relations over a nine month period. The research problem lent itself to a qualitative approach in that the data were largely subjective and required recording over a period of time. The data collected were primarily a result of participant-observation conducted while an employee of the bureaucracy studies. Additional information was collected and analyzed from documents related to the functioning of the bureaucracy. Permission was sought and received, from the bureaucracy and related organizations studies, to use the data collected.
This study found that the Weberian styled conceptual model, representing the authority hierarchy of the bureaucracy studied, was theoretically based upon cooperation, rationality, logic and equalitarian principles. Maintaining the Weberian styled authority hierarch had become ideology to the administrators of the bureaucracy. The existence and operation of this particular hierarchy was made to matter of public record, thus satisfying the political aspects of public accountability. However, it was found that there were other organizational hierarchies that the administrators of the bureaucracy utilized in performing the operation functions of the bureaucracy. For the purposes of this thesis the “other” authority hierarchies were known as working models. The authority hierarchies of the working models seems to be operationally based upon the concepts of coercion, differential enforcement of normative standards, and distortion of administrators’ goals. A unique characteristic of the working models was that they were quasi-secret, and virtually no public records were kept of their existence of operation.
Potterf, Gerald Wayne, "Inter-bureau power relations; a sociological analysis of an ideal type organizational model" (1971). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1475.