Sociology: A Brief Introduction, 4/e
Groups And Organizations
- The construction of fair, clear, and workable social policy regarding sexual
harassment has become a challenge for modern organizations and institutions.
Review your text's discussion of sexual harassment at the end of this chapter.
Then, direct your web browser to a search engine such as Yahoo!
or Lycos. Search for your college or
university's homepage and find the sexual harassment policy. If this policy
is not online, try the name of another school in your area. After reflecting
on your text's discussion and on the website, answer the following:
- How does the college or university define sexual harassment? How does it compare to the definition offered in your book?
- Who is included in this definition? Do you feel any groups or persons have been left out of the definition who should be included?
- What examples are given of sexual harassment?
- What are the consequences for those who engage in such behavior?
- If you were to draft the next version of this policy, what changes would you make? Why?
- One of Max Weber's most important contributions to sociology has been through
his examination of bureaucracies. To learn more about Weber and his ideas,
log onto The Dead
Sociologists' Society/Index, a website by Larry R. Ridener. Click on the
picture of Weber and read "The Person", "A Summary of Ideas", and "The Original
- What connections can be drawn between Max Weber's life story and his theory? How did childhood, education, work, and personal relationships shape his sociological ideas and research?
- What fact did you learn about Weber's life that interested you the most? Why?
- What connections can be drawn between Weber's "Types of Authority" and his thinking on bureaucracies? Give your own example of a leader from politics, history, or religion for each of Weber's type of authority.
- Do Weber's "Characteristics of a Bureaucracy" (described in Table 6-2 in the book as well as on the website) apply to your place of current or past employment? Why would the place where you work be considered a bureaucracy? Or why would it not be considered as such?
- Do the ideas from the chapter regarding primary and secondary groups, in- and out-groups, and reference groups also apply to where you work? How so?
- Your chapter discusses some of the dysfunctions of bureaucracies, as well
as technology's impact on the workplace. To learn more about these issues,
specifically the practice of downsizing, visit Yahoo!
News. Read the recent "News Stories", choose one headline that intrigues
you, and answer the following:
- What current groups of employees are faced with downsizing or potential layoffs?
- How many workers will lose their jobs?
- What is the corporation's or business's reasoning for making the decision? Do you agree or disagree that such a decision in this case is necessary?
- Did automation play a part in the decision to lay off workers or downsize the workforce? If so, how?
- What other economic, social, or political forces played a part in the decision?
- Visit two of the links offered in the "Related Web Sites" area. How does each site view downsizing? What definitions or examples are given?
- How might Max Weber view downsizing or layoffs? How does this practice connect to his five characteristics of a bureaucracy in Table 6-2?
- What might a conflict theorist say about downsizing? How does this view compare with a functionalist view on the issue?