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Functionalism Revisited: A practice based Functionalism
Unformatted Document Text:  Functionalism Revisited 28 When an institution of modern economics, i.e., organizations, arose at the end of the 18th and at the beginning of the 19th century in Europe, later in the North America, deliberate attempts have been made to realize clear ideas of how the social and economic systems should work out. They were attempts to detach the ideas of “old ways” of leading life (socially and economically) through unwitting, collective efforts of developing and engaging in “new ways.” For instance, Hewitt (1989) and Jensen (1990) point out that the concept of modern community and self-identification derive from jettisoning the concept on "organic community.” As the industrial processes were accelerated, people were implicitly and explicitly forced to seek new identities in their new life ground, which might be represented as new organizational life under waged conditions. It was explicit because people could not see themselves as peasants any longer. Instead, they began to see themselves selling their labors (in manufacturing settings) and selling their management skills (in organizational settings). It was implicit because numerous efforts were put into such transformations (organic social life to industrial life) without explicit plans. Smiths (Grampp, 2000; Swedberg, 1991) developed a clean view of the division of labor and suggested the invisible hands as a mechanism of economics. Ricardo (Swedberg, 1991; Winship & Rosen, 1988) visualized a mechanism of selling-price settlement through understanding demand and supply volumes. Weber (1947) investigated and illustrated an ideal type of “bureaucratic mode” of organizational life. He characterized “modern officialdom” as (1) hierarchical organizational structure; (2) regular activities fixed by (organizational or law) rules, which is used for the requisite of organizational tasks; (3) clear distinction between “public (organizational matter)” and “private”; (4) use of written documents (the files); and (5) management of office based on general rules, which are more or less stable, exhaustive, and can be learned via training 8 . Later on, Blau (Blau, 1974; Calhoun et al., 1990) and Merton (1957) pursued their goals to explicate the operations of bureaucratic organizations and developed structural functionalistic approaches. Simon (cited in Williamson, 1996; see also Auster & Choo, 1996; Simon, 1982, 1991) and Williamson (1981a) also developed TCA approaches focusing organizational governance structures. Chandler (1962) saw patterns of emerging professional managers in American economics and gave us a picture of how ownership and management began separate. Two points are important. First, what I see in common in them all is that they implicitly focused on, though not collectively, “regular features” of modern societies and economies. Such regularities, however it should be noted, did not stem from a vacuum – i.e., law-like principles that governed the 8 According to Weber (1968), such regularities found in modern officialdom were based on “uniformity of social action” (p.5). He saw that orientation of social actions was driven by individuals’ simultaneous actions to conform what seem to be regular. To be strict, it should be noted that Weber was known to oppose deterministic view (Coser, 1977).

Authors: Kim, Hyo.
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Functionalism Revisited 28
When an institution of modern economics, i.e., organizations, arose at the end of the 18th and at
the beginning of the 19th century in Europe, later in the North America, deliberate attempts have been
made to realize clear ideas of how the social and economic systems should work out. They were attempts
to detach the ideas of “old ways” of leading life (socially and economically) through unwitting, collective
efforts of developing and engaging in “new ways.” For instance, Hewitt (1989) and Jensen (1990) point
out that the concept of modern community and self-identification derive from jettisoning the concept on
"organic community.” As the industrial processes were accelerated, people were implicitly and explicitly
forced to seek new identities in their new life ground, which might be represented as new organizational
life under waged conditions. It was explicit because people could not see themselves as peasants any
longer. Instead, they began to see themselves selling their labors (in manufacturing settings) and selling
their management skills (in organizational settings). It was implicit because numerous efforts were put
into such transformations (organic social life to industrial life) without explicit plans. Smiths (Grampp,
2000; Swedberg, 1991) developed a clean view of the division of labor and suggested the invisible hands
as a mechanism of economics. Ricardo (Swedberg, 1991; Winship & Rosen, 1988) visualized a
mechanism of selling-price settlement through understanding demand and supply volumes.
Weber (1947) investigated and illustrated an ideal type of “bureaucratic mode” of organizational
life. He characterized “modern officialdom” as (1) hierarchical organizational structure; (2) regular
activities fixed by (organizational or law) rules, which is used for the requisite of organizational tasks;
(3) clear distinction between “public (organizational matter)” and “private”; (4) use of written documents
(the files); and (5) management of office based on general rules, which are more or less stable,
exhaustive, and can be learned via training
8
. Later on, Blau (Blau, 1974; Calhoun et al., 1990) and
Merton (1957) pursued their goals to explicate the operations of bureaucratic organizations and
developed structural functionalistic approaches. Simon (cited in Williamson, 1996; see also Auster &
Choo, 1996; Simon, 1982, 1991) and Williamson (1981a) also developed TCA approaches focusing
organizational governance structures. Chandler (1962) saw patterns of emerging professional managers
in American economics and gave us a picture of how ownership and management began separate.
Two points are important. First, what I see in common in them all is that they implicitly focused on,
though not collectively, “regular features” of modern societies and economies. Such regularities,
however it should be noted, did not stem from a vacuum – i.e., law-like principles that governed the
8
According to Weber (1968), such regularities found in modern officialdom were based on “uniformity
of social action” (p.5). He saw that orientation of social actions was driven by individuals’ simultaneous
actions to conform what seem to be regular. To be strict, it should be noted that Weber was known to
oppose deterministic view (Coser, 1977).


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