“When The Sleeper Wakes”: A Short Story Extending Themes In Radical Organization Theory

4314 words - 18 pages

Mid-Term Case Study Analysis


According to Ann Cunliffe, Organization Theory “wasn’t recognized as a discipline until the 1960s” (Cunliffe, 2008, pp. 8). Currently however, Organization Theory is a common concept and has to be practiced every day by managers. For that reason, managers and administrators must be aware of the competitive advantage that derives from the thorough knowledge of organizational theories. Organizational literature offers a broad amount of tools that can help managers in their decision making processes. Even though theories are not rules, they are based on observation and data collection over the years, and are accepted among scholars (Vibert and ...view middle of the document...

One story is his life in a dream, and the other story is his real life when he is awake. To explain the case, I have divided the content in Jermier’s work in two parts in this paper. One part refers to the managerial challenges presented in his writing. The second part refers to the radical concepts that he contrasts in the two stories.
Regarding the managerial challenges, Jermier relates in both stories that the manager of the plant and a representative from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) speak to the employees of the plant to tell them that the plant is not following the standards of security. The cause is that the workers do not wear their safety masks when working in the “dry-side storage areas” of the plant; making themselves more vulnerable to the dust and vapors produced in those areas. Therefore, the manager announces that the available masks do not fit the employees because the men have beards; they must shave their beards to comply with the safety regulations. Second, challenge is when the foreman finds two employees smoking drugs and alerts security and personnel to solve the situation.
Concerning the concepts of radical theory: During the “dream” (pp.67-69), Jermier presents his main character, named Mike, as a well-being worker. Mike is described as punctual and caring for his job. Additionally, Mike’s responses to the managers’ decisions (manager and foreman) are passive, and comprehensive. By the other hand, during the “nightmare” (pp.70-73) Jermier tells the story of Mike’s real life; he does not possess goods, does not like his job nor agrees with the managers’ decisions. In the real life, Mike is an oppressed worker that is against the system (organization) because he perceives that rules are dictated without considering the workers as human beings (without considering his preferences and beliefs.

Classical Organization Theories; paving the way to explain Radical Theory in Organizations

Even though organize is a human natural behavior, the concept has been conceptualized during the time as consequence of the human evolution. A formal definition of organization by The Business Dictionary.com is “a social unit of people that is structured and managed to meet a need or to purse collective goals”. From this standpoint, it is clearer to understand why theorists in the past developed approaches to better structure and manage people. As consequence, we find a “range of theories and models that attempt to explain how organizations function and relate to the environment “(Cunliffe,2008, pp. 3).
The classical and scientific management theories include the first attempts to create “the one best way” to manage an organization. Chronologically, the major authors (the ones we studied in class) of these theories are: Adam Smith (1776), Frederick Winslow Taylor (1916), Henry Fayol (1916), Max Weber (1922) and Luther Gulick (1937). The focus of these advocates was to find one best way of organizing people...

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