- Subject index
This long-awaited second edition of Economy/Society Markets, Meanings, and Social Structure continues to offer an accessible introduction to the way social arrangements affect economic activity, and shows that economic exchanges are deeply embedded in social relationships. Understanding how society shapes the economy helps us answer many important questions. For example, how does advertising get people to buy things? How do people use their social connections to get jobs? How did large bureaucratic organizations come to be so pervasive in modern economies—and what difference does it make? How can we explain the persistence of economic inequalities between men and women and across racial groups? Why do some countries become rich while others stay poor? This book presents sociological answers to questions like these, and encourages its readers to view the economy through a sociological lens.
Chapter 3: Organizations and the Economy
Organizations and the Economy
Many of us imagine that the market is a place that privileges economic efficiency above all else. Competition forces people and firms to act in a cold-blooded, profit-maximizing way. If they do not, eventually they will go bankrupt and be driven from the marketplace. And if the market embodies efficiency, then big bureaucracies seem to characterize just the opposite: ungainly, immobile, tied up in red tape, and weighed down with lots of organizational “fat.” Government bureaucracies in particular have a very bad reputation for red tape and paperwork; for incompetence, inflexibility, and overcentralization; and for employing too many anonymous, impersonal, and inefficient bureaucrats. Politicians justify proposals to privatize state-owned companies or to relinquish government functions to the private ...