My Ideologies: What makes a successful organization

After spending the last 16 weeks studying organizational communications in Dr. Gregory’s COMM610 class there are specific ideologies I would incorporate in any organization they are leadership, organizational communication, creativity & collaboration, and culture & identity.

The leader of any company must be able to accomplish a few simple goals with their employees. They must be able to effectively communicate with their employees, show supportiveness, motivate the team, adapt to change, and empower employees to succeed. If a leader is able to deliver these traits to their employees then it should lead to an innovative workplace, no matter the management style of the leader (Eisenberg, 262-6).

Hear-No-Evil-See-No-Evil-Speak-No-Evil

The organizational communication of any business is the identity of the company. Google for example assimilates their employees to the values of the organization with socialization. They implement an integration perspective to clearly and consistently portray the company culture (Eisenberg, 119-21).

In retrospect, this model of organizational communication at Google has lead to innovation and creativity matched by few companies. This company culture is favorably positioning Google as a successful organization today and into the future.

The ability for a organization to be both creative and collaborate poise them for longevity and success for years to come. As a rule, teams make better decisions than individuals (Eisenberg, 221). The decision-making process of many top performing companies hold true to this position.

Ikea, for example, makes many business decisions by collaborating with their employees and vendors before initiating a company decision. Ikea CEO, Anders Dahlvig believes when doing so you incorporate the success of the company and all persons involved in the Ikea process. It promotes cross-functionally and effectiveness within the system, allowing the culture to become cooperative in turn portraying the sense of entrepreneurial spirit within the company (Heffernan, 2011).

Ikea promotes collaboration through including all employees in business decisions.

Ikea promotes collaboration through including all employees in business decisions.

Organizational culture can also provide a unique sense of identity. In the example of Apple Computers, the strong culture of the organization is represented through the companies many loyal consumers.

For the launch of new Apple products former CEO Steve Jobs would present the products during Mac World conferences. These events invited Apple employees and members of the culture to witness the greatness that is a new Apple product. This outward portrayal of organizational culture teaches members of the group the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to the organization. thus growing it’s identity (Eisenberg, 111).

When done appropriately this can grow enthusiasm with the brand. The example of enthusiasm with Apple computers, leads to massive lines of people waiting out front of Apple’s retail stores in anticipation of purchasing new products.

Apple self promotes new products through dramatic product presentations, In turn growing anticipation (and lines) for their products.

Apple self promotes new products through dramatic product presentations, In turn growing anticipation (and lines) for their products.

This interpretive view examines how the culture at Apple is socially constructed in everyday communicative behaviors among all members of the organization. With enthusiasm in a brand the exposure of it’s identity can be clearly represented by its members (Eisenberg, 118-9).

A successful organization is larger than the ideologies I present in this journal. These should be considered a foundation for an organization to grow. If they are established correctly a somewhat ‘perfect organization’ can flourish. Google, Ikea, and Apple are three examples of how these specific ideologies are being incorporated into a successful organization. Through a organizational communicative lens it is imperative to investigate an organization for these traits. If a company on the decline was able to restructure their organizational communications to align with the above ideologies, could they bounce back?

Citations:

Eisenberg, E. M., Goodall Jr., H. L., Trethewey, A., (2009). Organizational communication: Balancing creativity and constraint. Boston: Bedford / St. Martin’s.

Heffernan, M., (2011). Ikea’s former ceo on how to collaborate. Inc., Retrieved from http://www.inc.com/margaret-heffernan/ikeas-former-ceo-on-how-to-collaborate.html

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Creativity and Collaboration: The Emerging Leaders Retreat

Bowling Green State University (BGSU) has an extensive Greek community system. There is a hierarchy associated with this community with academic personnel monitoring the performance of each Greek chapter on campus.

B.G.S.U. is a Liberal Arts University located in North West Ohio.

B.G.S.U. is a Liberal Arts University located in North West Ohio.

In the late 1990s, the Greek Affairs department at BGSU established programs to help built collaboration and creativity within the Greek community. In 2003 & 2004 myself and a group of 5 other Greek members ran one of these programs called Emerging Leaders.

This program is a weekend retreat for 3 members of each on-campus fraternity and sorority and is designed to promote creative thinking and collaboration with leadership activities, small group sessions, and large group challenges which are used to build a bond over common Greek membership experiences (Emerging, 2012).

To effectively lead this program the six leaders meet on a regular basis to create activities that we believe will spawn leadership in the community through creativity and collaboration.

According to Susan Cain’s article “The Rise of the New Groupthink” creativity is spawned when a person enjoys privacy and freedom from interruption. This creativity is spawned from the groupthink mentality of meeting and sharing ideas. Once the groupthink session is over the person takes the shared information with them and works on it independently to present at a later date (Cain, 2012).

This mode of independent collaboration worked well when we were creating activities for Emerging Leaders. For instance, we needed to create an activity which identified a persons perceived advantages over other groups. As a group we decided this was best done with an exercise that lined the Greek members up in a straight line and told them to take a step forward if they identified with the advantage.

Once we decided on the activity as a group, we took this information back with us to create questions that would be used in the exercise. When the group convened later that week we presented our ideas and agreed upon the most qualified questions. Examples of the questions were take a step forward if you are white, male, parents are not divorced, you are not on financial aid, etc.

When we ran the activity with our first group of Greek members we noticed some flaws in it, however it went off well. The members were able to recognize the perceived advantages of our society and then discuss how to level the playing field with others who do not have these perceived advantages.

At the end of each retreat we sit down with the participants of the weekend program and discuss the activities freely. Reaching beyond our boundaries, we initiated participatory collaboration by starting the discussion with things we as the leaders of the retreat felt could have been done better.

When we opened the discussion about the perceived advantages activity we mentioned that our questions might have been flawed by our own perceived biases and welcomed their input. Many participants obliged and suggested other questions to incorporate in the next program. We took their suggestions back with us, thought about them independently and then gave our recommendation on which ones we should use in the activity. We discussed them as a group and incorporated many of the recommended questions in the next program.

In the 2010 Wharton school of Business article “How group dynamics may be killing innovation” the author discusses how group brainstorming sessions are the last thing innovators need. The author recommends a hybrid approach where group brainstorming sessions begin the conversation, but independent after the fact would bring different dynamics to the situation and create quality ideas. (Wharton, 2010).

Group picture of participants in the Emerging Leaders retreat.

Group picture of participants in the Emerging Leaders retreat.

The structure associated with being a team leader in Emerging Leaders promotes groupthink opportunities as well as thinking independently to devise many different options for the retreat. In turn, this produced creativity and collaboration within the group. If the hierarchy associated with Greek Affairs wanted to limit the opportunities of open-source innovation with this program it would be interesting to see if Emerging Leaders would be as successful as it has become.

Citations:

Cain, S., (2012, January). The rise of the new groupthink. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/opinion/sunday/the-rise-of-the-new-groupthink.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Bowling Green State University. (2012). Emerging leaders in the greek community. Retrieved from http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/sa/vp/page123305.html

Wharton. (n.d.). In Knowledge @ Wharton: Innovation and Entrepreneurship. How group dynamics may be killing innovation. Retrieved from http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=2487

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Leadership: Steve Jobs

Trait theory questions if natural leaders are born or made in the case with Steve Jobs I believe it is both (Eisenberg, 250). Let’s investigate further.

The leadership of Steve Jobs entices us to "Think Different" regarding Apple products

The leadership of Steve Jobs entices us to “Think Different” regarding Apple products

Steve Jobs is the former maniacal leader of Apple. With the technical help of Steve Wozniak he developed the worlds first personal computer. The innovative mind of Steve Jobs brought consumers products we didn’t even know we needed including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

Steve Jobs during his recognizable product launch presentations.

Steve Jobs during his recognizable product launch presentations.

Steve Jobs was adopted by a young Northern California couple shortly after he was born on February 24th, 1955. According to his biography he excelled so much in school that he became bored with it and stopped trying. His adopted parents made him skip the sixth grade and enter junior high as a youngster (Isaacson, 9-14).

When Steve Jobs was at the helm at Apple he was a notoriously temperamental leader often firing people on the spot. He had two ways to look at Apple products: “Complete Shit” or “The best thing ever”. This symbolized the way computers ran in binary code of either a “0” or “1” to make code (Isaacson, 134).

Steve Jobs excelled in two forms of leadership, transformation and discursive. Transformational leadership “foregrounds organizational change and transformation as the essential task of effective leaders” (Eisenberg, 255). This was on wide display when Steve Jobs took over Apple Computers for a second time in July of 1997 when Apple Computers was on the verge of shutting its doors.

When Jobs founded Apple Computers in 1978 he built the company on simplicity and design, developing three specific computers, Apple II, Lisa, and the Macintosh. After he was ousted from Apple in 1985, the company created a flurry of products including multiple variations of the same computer (see Macintosh Performa). When Jobs reemerged as the defacto CEO of Apple in 1997 he shut down the Performa department completely. He then drew a four quadrant plane on a board and told the Apple executive team that the way to greatness is simplicity “we will focus on four products” one for the home (PC) one for on-the go computing (laptop) one for education (iBook) and a super computer for professionals (Power Mac).

Steve Jobs 4 quadrant portfolio.

Steve Jobs 4 quadrant portfolio.

Recognizing that the company would never survive in the current market place Steve Jobs acted as a change agent to lead the Apple organization through an increasingly turbulent business environment (Eisenberg, 255). With Jobs vision the company looked toward the future and has not looked back since.

Steve Jobs also excelled in a discursive leadership style, which focus on “the cultural aspects of leadership as reflected in concrete interactional processes” (Eisenberg, 257). Simply put, the culture of Apple Computers was established because of Jobs adamant leadership style which demanded nothing but the best from his employees.

Jobs treated his employees badly at times, when developing new products he visioned how it would feel in a consumers hands just as much as how the product worked. His passion for detail and user experience allowed him to go off the deep end many times when confronting employees who were displaying the progress of their work to him.

Steve was often referred to have a “reality distortion field” which was often labled his “consummate skill at persuasion and salesmanship” (Chouhan, 2011). This reality distortion field gave him the ability to convince himself and others to believe almost anything. This was first on display when working on the Macintosh project, when he gave developers unfathomable deadlines to get aspects of the project done. In the end, Jobs reality distortion field gave his employees the motivation they needed to complete the projects. In the case of the development of Macintosh, his employees never missed a deadline for completion.

I believe Jobs was born a leader who was influenced by his traumatic upbringing to create Apple as a company. His binary thought process of a product being the ‘greatest’ or ‘worst’ thing can be attributed to being abandoned by his parents at birth. Would Steve Jobs still be a great leader without his life experiences, probably. Would he be able to create one of the most innovative companies without them, we will never know.

Citations:

Eisenberg, E. M., Goodall Jr., H. L., Trethewey, A., (2009). Communicating leadership, Organizational communication: Balancing creativity and constraint (pp. 250-57). Boston: Bedford / St. Martin’s.

Isaacson, W., (2011). Steve Jobs. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Chouhan, S., (2011, September, 16). An exclusive interview with Daniel Kottke. India Today. Retrieved from http://archive.is/20120916/http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/india-visit-gave-a-vision-to-steve-jobs/1/154785.html

 

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Organizational Culture: Google

The organizational culture of Google is a unique framework of a modern American company.  Google uses a practical view to enhance their workforce.

Google Logo

A practical view “responds to managers’ desire for practical advice and specific communication strategies for enhancing competitiveness and increasing employee satisfaction” (Eisenberg, 113). In a study by Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman Jr., they identified eight common characteristics of their cultures which make them excellent (Eisenberg, 115). Lets examine how Google implements these characteristics in their routine.

1. Bias for action. – Google uses active decision making in their processes and adapts to change in the industry as they occur. When Apple developed the iPhone, Google rushed to develop a competing smartphone. With quick turn around, Google developed the Android smartphone to combat the changes in their business environment.

The Google Android Smartphone

The Google Android Smartphone

2. Close relations to the customer. – Google never forgets who makes them successful: their customers. They constantly develop new products to suit the needs of their consumer base and place a constant concern on their needs. When Google released Google Maps in 2005, they created a simple digital mapping service for customers to get directions from one place to another. Throughout the years customer demand for improvements made Google Maps into a multi-layered tool which can be used to determine traffic conditions, see multiple views of a street, plan a trip using public transportation, and navigate on the go with a smartphone. These implementations identify the strong tie Google has with their customers.

Google Maps has evolved due to customer demand.

Google Maps has evolved due to customer demand.

3.  Autonomy and entrepreneurship –  Google empowers their employees by encouraging risk taking, the result is innovation. For instance in 2010 Google employees came together to find a way to take a picture of a landmark in a city and have the Android smartphone recognize what that landmark is and send the user information on the location. This risk produced innovation which can only be done by a company with an entrepreneurial passion for innovation.

4. Productivity through people – Quality products depend on quality people and Google recruits the best. Their hiring process is based on multiple interviews with different department heads. They create specific problem solving questions during the interview process to see how a candidate will react in the situation. This is done to find candidates whom empower their consensus-driven culture and determine if the candidate can “get-things-done” (google students, 2012).

5. Hands-on, value-driven – Google has a “10 things we know to be true” statement which is based on the core values of the company. Based on this philosophy, Google achieves performance from it’s employees by implementing these values into their business model. For instance the first value on Google’s list is “Focus on the user and all else will follow” which coincides with the first two characteristics of a great company culture (Google company, 2012).

6. Stick to the knitting – Great companies stick to what they do great, and with Google that is internet technology. Google doesn’t diversify by going into other product of service fields. If they do diversity their product line they incorporate the aspects of Google that consumers find great.

7. Simple form, lean staff – Google is characterized as a company with a lack of complicated hierarchies. There are many employees working for Google, however they are encouraged to mingle with all departments with a hope employees will cross-pollinate with ideas. Google promotes this idea with common areas that allow for members of each department to convene.

Example of how the free form environment of Google HQ promotes employee integration.

Example of how the free form environment of Google HQ promotes employee integration.

8. Simultaneous loose-tight properties – Top performing companies such as Google are hard to  categorize. Meaning their structure is loose  and never centralized yet they retain strong core values. Google is a perfect example of this, in the companies “10 things we know to be true” #5 is “you don’t need to be at your deck to need an answer” (Google company, 2012). The company encourages individual action and responsibility by allowing their employees the freedom to work from “anywhere”

The organizational culture of Google is fascinating to explore. The core values of this company are strong and the culture is relaxed. Employees are encouraged to convene with one another with the goal of innovation at the center of all aspects of Google. Could Google innovate the way they do if their corporate structure was rigid like many other Fortune 500 companies?

Citations:

Eisenberg, E. M., Goodall Jr., H. L., Trethewey, A., (2009). Cultural studies of organizations and communication, Organizational communication: Balancing creativity and constraint (pp. 113). Boston: Bedford / St. Martin’s.

Ten things we know to be true. (2012). Google Company. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/about/company/philosophy/

Hiring process: What to expect. (2012). Google Students. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/intl/en/jobs/students/joining/

 

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Systems Theory: The Android OS

Android’s Open System vs. Apple’s Closed System… who will win?

A systems approach to development empahisizes the difference between a disconnected set of parts and a collection of parts that work together to create a functional whole (Eisenberg, 79).

Take for example Google’s Android mobile operating system for smart phones which is considered an open system for smartphone users. Google decided to give everyone an opportunity to write code for their operating system and apps features. This lead to the development of some interesting programs including street scape and a 360 degree panoramic picture taking app. These user generated contents allow for the Android OS to flourish in the marketplace. Unlike the infamous closed system of Apple’s IOS customers can personalize their user experience.

In alliance with Weick’s concept of sensemaking, Google has created “structure to the unknown” within their Android OS (Weick, 4). Google created the open source project, a web site dedicated to defining how users can create content for their Android smart phone. In this instance Google is trying to set a precedence in both individual and social activity within their operating system by allowing users to interact with one another to address how text (in this case code) is constructed as well as how it is read. “Sensemaking is about authoring as well as reading” (Weick, 6-8). Meaning users have the ability to review and test each others ideas for the Android operating system before they are publicly launched.

Schon’s theory regarding problem setting as a key component of professional work applies to Google’s open system theory towards software development because of the set problems associated with operating under this systems theory umbrella (Weick, 8-9). The risk / reward scenario for Google is high on both ends of the spectrum. Allowing the consumer to create content for the Android OS allows for a multitude of developmental ideas to be created for the platform. On the other hand the company should be suspicious  for malicious activities with their open system. Outside system developers could hide viruses, tracking software or spam within their applications to cause harm to the OS and their consumers.

As a critical approach to Google’s open system cognitive dissonance theory can be applied to focus on post decisional efforts to revise the decisions that have negative consequences (Weick, 11). Hypothetically speaking, malicious activities do get into the Android OS and cause harm to the system. Google should create new methods of screening software that is created for the open system including a pre-screening or peer review. These systems may already be in use, however the transparency of their screening process is limited.

The loosely coupled system of Google’s Android OS is limited to the strengths of the devices which run the operating system (Gregory). In some instances some of the user generated content for the Android OS does not result in complete compatibility across all devices. Meaning, if software was developed to work on a Samsung smart phone with a 7 inch screen, it might not be completely compatible with a Motorola phone with a 6 inch screen. This is a direct reason why Apple does not permit an open system, they believe that all systems should work ‘brilliantly’ together and the only way to achieve this is to do it from within their system (closed system).

This indicates that Android’s Open System platform is indeed taking market share away from the industry. However Apple continues to be one of the most profitable companies in the world.

Google’s means for motivating the consumer to use the Android OS can be looked at through Maslow’s looking glass. For instance, Maslow suggests a whole repertoire of means through with users could be motivated. These types are Physiological, Security, Social, Ego, and Self-actualizing.

The Android operating system is still in the process of adapting it’s organization to the environment in which it exists in. The open system has complex organizational needs that must be satisfied to remain healthy and effective. Evolving with it’s users and incorporating new technologies are imperative to meet many of Maslow’s defined needs.

In addition to these, security should be a major concern with users and in the example of Google’s Android OS, this means protecting the user from viruses, spam, and other malicious activities that may be associated with their open source project (Morgan, 36-37).

The Android OS self organizing system approach is adapted from Google’s widely held position on how they are organized. They find great people first, and then allow them to fit in where they fit best (Wheatly).

On a wider scale Google is asking their users to do the same thing with developing software for the Android OS. Is this model of mass efficiency better than Apple’s closed system?

References

Eisenberg, E. & Goodall., Jr., H. (2010) Organization communications, balancing creativity and constraint. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Weick, K., (1995) Sensemaking in organizations. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications.

Gregory, K.W. 2012

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Critical Theory: Capitol Broadcasting Company

Capitol Broadcasting Company is a mid-sized privately held media company which distributes content through the Carolina’s with traditional media. The company’s overwhelming unwritten motto is “we’re all family here”, meaning they want everyone to feel welcomed as a member of the Capitol Broadcasting Company family. There are perks to being apart of the CBC family, some of the most recognizable ones are industry leading benefits package (including free health insurance for the employee), profit sharing and reimbursement programs, and (most importantly) internal promotions.

In contrary to this there is a manufactured consent among employees about how we should conduct business. All properties are smoke-free, to receive our health benefits we must agree to a health screening, and to be apart of the profit sharing program we must work for the company for at least three years. If an employee would like to receive these perks associated with working for CBC then they must adhere to these policies (Eisenberg, 145).

These ideologies serve as the basis of the theory behind how Capitol Broadcasting Company is ran as an organization, and they serve as motivational factors to tenure employees. There is a specific employee that Capitol Broadcasting Company is looking for  and if you are willing to agree to their belief systems then there is a good chance that you will thrive in their work environment (Eisenberg, 141).

The belief among workers at Capitol broadcasting Company is that the wealth of the company is not funneled to a few elite owners, yet shared among the employees. A relation to Deetz Democracy in an Age of Corporate Colonization discussion about the family structure shifting away from the home and into the office space. In the instance of Capitol Broadcasting Company we are compensated well, yet not well enough to change our basic relations to the work experience (Deetz, 24).

Our pay scale is labeled A-D, ‘A’ being the elite and ‘D’ being part time employees, within this grade there are additional measures (i.e. C3 is a full time employee C1 is a mid level manager). In the compensation structure at CBC it is widely believed that a two parent working model is necessary to live at the standard CBC wants it’s employees to portray unless the employee reaches ‘upper management’  (level B3 or above) these would be decision makers for the entire organization.

The hegemony that Capitol Broadcasting Company has is a powerful form of control. Within the company the organizational hierarchy is noticeable. In limited instances do employees interact with people outside of their hierarchal level, we obey the rules that the ruling elite place upon us. Why is this?

At Capitol Broadcasting Company we believe that we do work in one of the best environments for personal and professional growth we have security comparable to Union workers and better benefits than competing companies. We are annually ranked as one of the best places to work for in North Carolina, and we are a top 50 employer to raise a family. This believe is implemented in our own ideology by the financial incentives that we are given as employees of Capitol Broadcasting Company (Deetz, 33).

As an employee of Capitol Broadcasting Company I can attest that there is little resistance to these ideologies that are implemented in the work place. The overall belief is that they are an overall good for the company and the employer. The health screening process for example is used more as a tool for the employee to know how they are doing health wise. You are not penalized if you do not meet their criteria as a “healthy employee”. The same goes for the smoke free policy, as an employer it is their right to prohibit smoking on company property yet Capitol Broadcasting Company won’t fire an employee if they are a smoker or on their break step off the property to have a cigarette.

Capitol Broadcasting Company is trying to portray a feeling of family and home within their company. Within the American business landscape this is becoming less of a norm and more of an exception. The belief is that allowing employees of companies such as Capitol Broadcasting Company to feel like family and offering incentives to conform to their model is both good for the employee and employer. One could wonder if there is a better approach to allow an individualistic identity within the business model?

 

References

Deetz., Corporate colonization of the life world. (Incomplete reference)

Eisenberg, E. & Goodall., Jr., H. (2010) Organization communications, balancing creativity and constraint. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

 

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Classic Management: The Union Stock Yards

Classic management, a workforce theory which focuses on efficiency was developed during the industrial revolution to maximize the output on the assembly line. This is a style with a purpose, and defined by managerial hierarchy. Based on five elements of management, planning, organizing, command, coordination, and control (Miller, 7) this style is authoritarian and responsibilities trickle down to employees through managers.

The importance of classic management is due in part to it’s wide-spread use during the Age of Reason / Enlightenment period of the late 1700’s through the 1950’s (Gregory Lecture). Many companies during this period implemented classic management practices as a business style in part because of the development of mass production, limited rights for workers and the shared understanding of the roles they played within the company (Miller, 8).

A view of the Union Stock Yards circa. 1947.

The Union Stock Yards of in Chicago’s meatpacking district during the 1880s-1930s is a perfect example of how classic management was implemented to create the world’s largest meat processing facility. The yards were created during the Civil War as a centralized place to process food for the Union troops due to Chicago’s vast array of centralized railroad access to the country. Once the war ended corporations took over the stock yards and further mechanized them for the sole purpose of maximizing efficiency.

This mechanization allowed the Union Stock Yards to grow and provide more packaged meat to the country than anywhere else in the nation. Beyond the efficiency of the yards this classical process clearly defined the hierarchy and division of labor according to Weber’s theory of bureaucracy. This focus on efficiency allowed labor and safety problems to arise that would cause work stoppages and disrupt the productivity of the process (Miller, 11).

During these years laborers in the “yards” were relegated to meager wages and unsafe working conditions. It was not unheard of to hear of a finger ending up in the meat processing lines or of employees dying due to dysentery from bacterial infections. In many instances labor walked off the lines to protest these conditions. Instead of listening to the concerns of laborers the top of the company hierarchy meet them with force In many cases riots ensued and were squashed by the authority. In a few instance laborers needs were meet at the absolute minimum and they reluctantly agreed to go back to work. The closed system of the Union Stock Yards allowed the authority to function without retribution. Meaning, when labor strikes did arise, they were quickly put down (Miller, 12).

Fire was another serious concern on the yards, the infrastructure of the yards was developed to accommodate an army, not a nation. When companies came in and expanded the yards, they did not take waste and pollution into consideration. Both ended up being dumped into the Chicago River, and the gases of decomposing cattle sometimes started a fire which spread throughout the wooded yards quite quickly. The factory bureaucracy of the Union Stock Yards did not place importance on the concerns of disaster. The belief was “there are no gains without pains” running an organization that was focused solely on efficiency proved costly in these instances where the lack of infrastructure development caused disaster (Eisenberg, 62-65).

Weber’s theory of bureaucracy proposes a closed system driven by rational authority with a strict reliance on rules, division of labor, and a hierarchy in which power is centralized. The result of this, in the case of the Union Stock Yards is maximum efficiency in processing cattle to the extent that they hold ultimate control over the procedures of laborers (Miller, 13).

In contrast, implementing Frederick Taylor’s theory of scientific management could help maximize efficiencies within the yards and suggests that with the development of infrastructure and labor rights the yards would be run safer and more efficiently (Miller, 14-15).

Taylor suggests that many laborers in a classical management system are systematically soldiering. Meaning a group of workers would often pressure each other to limit production to avoid having their individual pay scale lowered. In this instance decent wages and safe working conditions could have helped to maximize employees overall attitude towards working at the Union Stock Yards, which hypothetically speaking could improve efficiency.

Today, the Union Stock Yards are extinct. The implementation of the trucking industry and our interstate highway system dissolved the need for a centralized meat packing industry. In 1971 the last cattle was slaughtered in the yards and the area was quickly demolished and turned into a new Chicago neighborhood. It’s interesting to wonder if the stock yards would still be around today if decision makers used the scientific theory of Taylor to improve working conditions and wages.

Eisenberg, E. & Goodall., Jr., H. (2010) Organization communications, balancing creativity and constraint. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Gregory, K.W. 2012

Miller, K., (2006) Organizational communications: Approaches and processes. (1,3) Belmont, CA: Thomas Wadsworth.

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