Sample Undergraduate Work, Organisation and Society Essay

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Part 1 – Organisations are Distinguished by the Reasons why People Participate in them (Macionis, 2010)

Contractual Roles and Expectations of Managers and Subordinates in Different Types of Formal Organisations

Utilitarian Organisation

Utilitarian organisations are the type of organisations that people join to gain something in return. These types of organisations maintain their control through the system of bartering. The utilitarian organisations are usually big and include both for-profit and not-for-profit organisations. These types of organisations may consist of some business organisations and universities (Svara, 2014). Although business organisations and universities are regarded as practical organisations, these institutions are diverse. Some parts of these organisations may qualify to be utilitarian, but others may not. However, there are some roles and expectations of managers as well as subordinates in utilitarian organisations.

The people who enter the membership of utilitarian organisations have specific contractual roles and expectations. The managers are expected to manage the subordinates by delivering the expectations of performance to the subordinates in return for a particular reward. The managers are also expected to prepare themselves and their subordinates for the higher positions in the organisation (Sluss, David, and Dick, 2011). Another role of the managers is to handle difficult situations and solve the subordinates’ problems regarding the understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

In addition to this, the subordinates also hold some responsibilities when they enter the membership of a utilitarian organisation. The subordinates are required to follow the roles and duties given to them by the organisation through managers. The subordinates are also expected to listen to their managers and perform tasks as appointed to them. The subordinates under a utilitarian contract have to fulfil all the obligations given to them as they are being rewarded in exchange for their services and can be held accountable for this.

Normative Organisations

The normative organisations are the types of organisations that people join to promote a common goal: to promote a social cause to gain personal satisfaction. The membership of these types of organisations is entirely voluntary. These organisations offer individuals some non-financial goals to achieve, which are considered worthy to them (Yolles, Fink and Dauber, 2011). And they also do not provide monetary rewards or benefits to individuals in exchange for their service.

Any contract or obligation does not bind the people who are part of the normative organisations. They are there as part of their identity as these organisations reflect the interests, goals, and ambitions of the persons joining them. The managers, as well as the subordinates in a normative organisation, share almost the same responsibilities as in a utilitarian organisation, but the difference is that in the utilitarian organisation, they fulfil their duties to get the reward associated with the completion of the goal.

However, in this type of organisation, the managers and the subordinates fulfill their responsibilities due to a social cause and for their satisfaction. The people or the members of these organisations are expected to show a sense of responsibility towards the cause of the normative organisation (Sluss, David, and Dick, 2011). This is because the people who join such organisations are considered to have a particular devotion towards the cause and hence are expected to show specific commitment.

Coercive Organisations

Coercive organisations are organisations that hold a strict culture, and they strip the individuality of the members to preserve order and obedience. These types of organisations maintain their control through the display of force over the members. A person cannot leave the organisation without the authority’s approval, and the people do not voluntarily join these types of organisations (Johnston, 2013). The prison is a coercive organisation in which people are stripped of their possessions, and its membership is involuntary.

The members of the coercive organisations also have specific roles and responsibilities. The coercive organisations have stringent rules and policies, and the managers and the subordinates are expected to comply with those rules and regulations to avoid any uncertain event. The managers in these organisations are expected to communicate the roles to the subordinates, and the subordinates are required to fulfil those roles without any leniency.

The managers and the subordinates in such organisations have repetitive roles. They are expected to follow them without any space for even a little deviation from how the task is required to perform (Sluss, David, and Dick, Rolf. 2011). Moreover, the members in coercive organisations are expected to fulfil their duties with or without their will.

This is because the members cannot voluntarily enter or leave such organisations once they have entered. And even in organisations where they can voluntarily enter, like the military, they do not have the option to leave without permission and are expected to carry out all the roles they have.

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Part 2 – Critically Assess the Three types of Sabotage as Detailed by Taylor & Walton (1971), with Reference to Organisational Case Examples

Sabotage is defined as an act of showing destructive behaviours in the workplace that is carried out deliberately by an individual to prevent the action or success of the competition. According to Watson (2017), sabotage is the deliberate disturbance of the flows of work within a company and the discouragement of the workplace conditions for the management to achieve its purpose. Taylor and Walton (1971) have described three types of sabotages which are:

  • An effort of an individual to decrease frustration and tension
  • Attempts to ease or simplify the work process
  • Asserting control over others

An Effort to Decrease Frustration and Tension

This is the first type of sabotage, as described by Taylor and Walton. This type of sabotage is defined as the rational act of destruction carried out by an individual to reduce his frustration and tension. According to Dwamena (2012), the activities of the organisations are the primary cause of frustrations and tensions in the organisations, which make the employees show sabotaging behaviour to reduce the frustration and tension. A very little focus has been put on investigating this issue in an organisational setting, although it has been researched enough in the laboratory.

The frustration and tension in the organisations can be caused by meddling with the objective achievement at a workplace. In response to the interference in the attainment of goals caused by the organisations, the employee shows the behaviour of sabotage to reduce his frustration (Lasslett, Green, and Stanczak, 2015). However, the most crucial factor, as described by Shneikat, Belal, Abubakar, and Ilkan (2016), is favouritism that promotes employee exhaustion. This also leads the employee to get frustrated and makes him exert the sabotaging behaviour.

In contrast to this, the employees can also exert sabotage behaviours to pursue their intentions. According to Samer (2009), more than one type of sabotages mentioned by Taylor and Walton can be identified in a single employee. An example is also given in the book that mentions that an employee was frustrated as he wanted to control the turning on of a machine in the workplace. This shows that he tried to exert control, due to which he was frustrated and carried out sabotage behaviour.

Attempts to Ease or Simplify the Work Process

This is also one of the types of sabotages as defined by Taylor and Walton in 1971. There is not much research carried out on this topic by researchers, and very limited literature is available. The employees at various instances find it hard to accept the change process being carried out in the organisations. Hence, they try to ease it or simplify it by their personal comfort. This also falls in the category of workplace sabotage as it disrupts the workflows of an organisation and can cause trouble (Ambrose, Seabright, and Schminke, 2002).

In some cases, this type of sabotage may be described as an individual action. An example of this type of behaviour is given in the book published in 2001 by Routledge. The example shows that an employee on a conveyor belt was responsible for tightening the nuts of the machines on the belt. The organisation had the policy that if there are 3 or more than 3 loose nuts of a machine on the belt, that machine should be marked so that the nuts can be tightened later on by separating that machine.

It was done because there was insufficient time on the conveyor belt to tighten more than two nuts. Suddenly, the supervisor found more than the usual number of machines separated at the end of the day. When he investigated, he discovered that an employee was showing sabotage behaviour on the conveyor belt. Whenever the employee finds a machine on which two nuts are loose, he loosened the third one instead of tightening the two as it was easy. Through this, the employee was making the process facilitating and easier for himself.

Assert Control over Others

This is the third type of sabotage described by Taylor and Walton.  This type of sabotage is defined as the attempt to challenge the authority by asserting control over the process. It can be seen in employees in the workplace through different actions. These are actions undertaken by an individual to take charge of a particular aspect in a workplace, which can disrupt the workplace (Dwamena, 2012). There are various examples of this type of sabotage in the workplace.

According to the author Samer (2009), asserting control over other or things in the workplace setting is the individual level problem of the employee. The book has given particular examples showing employees in a workplace setting carrying out acts of sabotage to assert control. An example of this kind of behaviour mentioned is an employee who renounces and spreads false claims about other employees in an organisation. Lasslett, Green, and Stanczak (2015) have termed this sort of behaviour as an attempt to show the superiority of the person over the other employees.

Similarly, people also shout and create significant issues out of minor problems in the organisations to show that they possess the power. This disrupts the organisations as it is an act of sabotage. This act also follows the third type of sabotage, as detailed in Taylor and Watson (David, 2010).


Ambrose, M.L., Seabright, M.A. and Schminke, M., 2002. Sabotage in the workplace: The role of organizational injustice. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 89(1), pp.947-965.

Shneikat, Belal & Abubakar, A & Ilkan, Mustafa. (2016). Impact of Favoritism/Nepotism on Emotional Exhaustion and Education Sabotage: As Moderated by Gender.

Dwamena, M.A., 2012. Stress and Its Effects on Employees Productivity–A Case Study of Ghana Ports and Habours Authority, Takoradi (Doctoral dissertation).

Lasslett, K., Green, P. and Stańczak, D., 2015. The barbarism of indifference: Sabotage, resistance, and state-corporate crime. Theoretical Criminology, 19(4), pp.514-533.

Samer, S., 2009. Shop Floor Culture and Politics in Egypt.

Watson, T., 2017. Sociology, Work, and Organisation: Seventh Edition. Pp.384-387.

Harris, L.C. and Ogbonna, E., 2002. Exploring service sabotage: The antecedents, types, and consequences of frontline, deviant, antiservice behaviors. Journal of Service Research, 4(3), pp.163-183.

David, L., 2010. Managing the Shopfloor: Subjectivity, Masculinity, and Workplace Culture. Pp.224-227.

Svara, J.H., 2014. The ethics primer for public administrators in government and nonprofit organizations. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Yolles, M., Fink, G. and Dauber, D., 2011. Organisations as emergent normative personalities: part 1, the concepts. Kybernetes, 40(5/6), pp.635-669.

Sluss, David and Dick, Rolf. 2011. Role Theory In Organizations: A Relational Perspective.

Johnston, M., 2013. Mimetic, coercive, and normative influences and the decision of national sport organisations to bid for world championship events (Doctoral dissertation, Auckland University of Technology).

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