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Bureaucratic Structure and Personality

by: Robert K. Merton

From Robert K. Merton, Social Theory and Social Structure.Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1957, pp. 195-206.

Robert K. Merton A formal, rationally organized social structure involves clearly defined patterns of activity in which, ideally, every series of actions is functionally related to the purposes of the organization.(1) In such an organization there is integrated a series of offices, of hierarchized statuses, in which inhere a number of obligations and privileges closely defined by limited and specific rules. Each of these offices contains an area of imputed competence and responsibility. Authority, the power of control which derives from an acknowledged status, inheres in the office and not in the particular person who performs the official role. Official action ordinarily occurs within the framework of pre existing rules of the organization. The system of prescribed relations between the various offices involves a considerable degree of formality and clearly defined social distance between the occupants of these positions. Formality is manifested by means of a more or less complicated social ritual which symbolizes and supports the pecking order of the various offices. Such formality, which is integrated with the distribution of authority within the system, serves to minimize friction by largely restricting (official) contact to modes which are previously defined by the rules of the organization. Ready calculability of others’ behavior and a stable set of mutual expectations is thus built up. Moreover, formality facilitates the interaction of the occupants of offices despite their (possibly hostile) private attitudes toward one another. In this way, the subordinate is protected from the arbitrary action of his superior, since the actions of both are constrained by a mutually recognized set of rules. Specific procedural devices foster objectivity and restrain the “quick passage of impulse into action.”(2)

Index The structure of bureaucracy

The ideal type of such formal organization is bureaucracy and, in many respects, the classical analysis of bureaucracy is that by Max Weber.(3) As Weber indicates, bureaucracy involves a clear-cut division of integrated activities which are regarded as duties inherent in the office. A system of differentiated controls and sanctions is stated in the regulations. The assignment of roles occurs on the basis of technical qualifications which are ascertained through formalized, impersonal procedures (e.g., examinations). Within the structure of hierarchically arranged authority, the activities of “trained and salaried experts” are governed by general, abstract, and clearly defined rules which preclude the necessity for the issuance of specific instructions for each specific case. The generality of the rules requires the constant use of categorization, whereby individual problems and cases are classified on the basis of designated criteria and are treated accordingly. The pure type of bureaucratic official is appointed, either by a superior or through the exercise of impersonal competition; he is not elected. A measure of flexibility in the bureaucracy is attained by electing higher functionaries who presumably express the will of the electorate (e.g., a body of citizens or a board of directors). The election of higher officials is designed to affect the purposes of the organization, but the technical procedures for attaining these ends are carried out by continuing bureaucratic personnel. (4)

Most bureaucratic offices involve the expectation of life-long tenure, in the absence of disturbing factors which may decrease the size of the organization. Bureaucracy maximizes vocational security.(5) The function of security of tenure, pensions, incremental salaries and regularized procedures for promotion is to ensure the devoted performance of official duties, without regard for extraneous pressures.(6) The chief merit of bureaucracy is its technical efficiency, with a premium placed on precision, speed, expert control, continuity, discretion, and optimal returns on input. The structure is one which approaches the complete elimination of personalized relationships and non rational considerations (hostility, anxiety, affectual involvements, etc.).

With increasing bureaucratization, it becomes plain to all who would see that man is to a very important degree controlled by his social relations to the instruments of production. This can no longer seem only a tenet of Marxism, but a stubborn fact to be acknowledged by all, quite apart from their ideological persuasion. Bureaucratization makes readily visible what was previously dim and obscure. More and more people discover that to work, they must be employed. For to work, one must have tools and equipment. And the tools and equipment are increasingly available only in bureaucracies, private or public. Consequently, one must be employed by the bureaucracies in order to have access to tools in order to work in order to live. It is in this sense that bureaucratization entails separation of individuals from the instruments of production, as in modern capitalistic enterprise or in state communistic enterprise (of the midcentury variety), just as in the post-feudal army, bureaucratization entailed complete separation from the instruments of distinction. Typically, the worker no longer owns his tools nor the soldier, his weapons. And in this special sense, more and more people become workers, either blue collar or white collar or stiff shirt. So develops, for example, the new type of scientific worker, as the scientist is “separated” from his technical equipment — after all, the physicist does not ordinarily own his cyclotron. To work at his research, he must be employed by a bureaucracy with laboratory resources.

Bureaucracy is administration which almost completely avoids public discussion of its techniques, although there may occur public discussion of its policies.(7) This secrecy is confined neither to public nor to private bureaucracies. It is held to be necessary to keep valuable information from private economic competitors or from foreign and potentially hostile political groups. And though it is not often so called, espionage among competitors is perhaps as common, if not as intricately organized, in systems of private economic enterprise as in systems of national states. Cost figures, lists of clients, new technical processes, plans for production — all these are typically regarded as essential secrets of private economic bureaucracies which might be revealed if the bases of all decisions and policies had to be publicly defended.

Index The dysfunctions of bureaucracy

In these bold outlines, the positive attainments and functions of bureaucratic organization are emphasized and the internal stresses and strains of such structures are almost wholly neglected. The community at large, however, evidently emphasizes the imperfections of bureaucracy, as is suggested by the fact that the “horrid hybrid”, bureaucrat, has become an epithet, a Schimpfwort.

The transition to a study of the negative aspects of bureaucracy is afforded by the application of Veblen's concept of “trained incapacity”, Dewey’s notion of “occupational psychosis” or Warnotte’s view of “professional deformation”. Trained incapacity refers to that state of affairs in which one’s abilities function as inadequacies or blind spots. Actions based upon training and skills which have been successfully applied in the past may result in inappropriate responses under changed conditions. An inadequate flexibility in the application of skills will, in a changing milieu, result in more or less serious maladjustments.(8) Thus, to adopt a barnyard illustration used in this connection by Burke, chickens may be readily conditioned to interpret the sound of a bell as a signal for food. The same bell may now be used to summon the trained chickens to their doom as they are assembled to suffer decapitation. In general, one adopts measures in keeping with one’s past training and, under new conditions which are not recognized as significantly different, the very soundness of this training may lead to the adoption of the wrong procedures. Again in Burke’s almost echolalic phrase, “people may be unfitted by being fit in an unfit fitness”; their training may become an incapacity.

Dewey’s concept of occupational psychosis rests upon much the same observations. As a result of their day to day routines, people develop special preferences, antipathies, discriminations and emphases.(9) (The term psychosis is used by Dewey to denote a “pronounced character of the mind.”) These psychoses develop through demands put upon the individual by the particular organization of his occupational role.

The concepts of both Veblen and Dewey refer to a fundamental ambivalence. Any action can be considered in terms of what it attains or what it fails to attain. “A way of seeing is also a way of not seeing — a focus upon object A involves a neglect of object B.” (10) In his discussion, Weber is almost exclusively concerned with what the bureaucratic structure attains: precision, reliability, efficiency. This same structure may be examined from another perspective provided by the ambivalence. What are the limitations of the organizations designed to attain these goals?

For reasons which we have already noted, the bureaucratic structure exerts a constant pressure upon the official to be “methodical, prudent disciplined.” If the bureaucracy is to operate successfully, it must attain a high degree of reliability of behavior, an unusual degree of conformity with prescribed patterns of action. Hence, the fundamental importance of discipline which may be as highly developed in a religious or economic bureaucracy as in the army. Discipline can be effective only if the ideal patterns are buttressed by strong sentiments which entail devotion to one’s duties, a keen sense of the limitation of one's authority and competence, and methodical performance of routine activities. The efficacy of social structure depends ultimately upon infusing group participants with appropriate attitudes and sentiments. As we shall see, there are definite arrangements in the bureaucracy for inculcating and reinforcing these sentiments.

At the moment, it suffices to observe that in order to ensure discipline (the necessary reliability of response), these sentiments are often more intense than is technically necessary. There is a margin of safety, so to speak, in the pressure exerted by these sentiments upon the bureaucrat to conform to his patterned obligations, in much the same sense that added allowances (precautionary overestimations) are made by the engineer in designing the supports for a bridge. But this very emphasis leads to a transference of the sentiments from the aims of the organization onto the particular details of behavior required by the rules. Adherence to the rules, originally conceived as a means, becomes transformed into an end-in-itself; there occurs the familiar process of displacement of goals whereby “an instrumental value becomes a terminal value”. (11) Discipline, readily interpreted as conformance with regulations, whatever the situation, is seen not as a measure designed for specific purposes but becomes an immediate value in the life-organization of the bureaucrat. This emphasis, resulting from the displacement of the original goals, develops into rigidities and an inability to adjust readily. Formalism, even ritualism, ensues with an unchallenged insistence upon punctilious adherence to formalized procedures. (12) This may be exaggerated to the point where primary concern with conformity to the rules interferes with the achievement of the purposes of the organization, in which case we have the familiar phenomenon of the technicism or red tape of the official. An extreme product of this process of displacement of goals is the bureaucratic virtuoso, who never forgets a single rule binding his action and hence is unable to assist many of his clients. (13) A case in point, where strict recognition of the limits of authority and literal adherence to rules produced this result, is the pathetic plight of Bernt Balchen, Admiral Byrd’s pilot in the flight over the South Pole.

According to a ruling of the department of labor Bernt Balchen . . . cannot receive his citizenship papers. Balchen a native of Norway, declared his intention in 1927. It is held that he has failed to meet the condition of five years continuous residence in the United States. The Byrd antarctic voyage took him out of the country, although he was on a ship carrying the American flag, was an invaluable member of the American expedition, and in a region to which there is an American claim because of the exploration and occupation of it by Americans, this region being Little America.


The bureau of naturalization explains that it cannot proceed on the assumption that Little America is American soil. That would be trespass on international questions where it has no sanction. So far as the bureau is concerned, Balchen was out of the country and technically has not complied with the law of naturalization. (14)

Index Structural sources of overconformity

Such inadequacies in orientation which involve trained incapacity clearly derive from structural sources. The process may he briefly recapitulated. (1) An effective bureaucracy demands reliability of response and strict devotion to regulations. (2) Such devotion to the rules leads to their transformation into absolutes; they are no longer conceived as relative to a set of purposes. (3) This interferes with ready adaptation under special conditions not clearly envisaged by those who drew up the general rules. (4) Thus, the very elements which conduce toward efficiency in general produce inefficiency in specific instances. Full realization of the inadequacy is seldom attained by members of the group who have not divorced themselves from the meanings which the rules have for them. These rules in time become symbolic in cast, rather than strictly utilitarian.

Thus far, we have treated the ingrained sentiments making for rigorous discipline simply as data, as given. However, definite features of the bureaucratic structure may be seen to conduce to these sentiments. The bureaucrat’s official life is planned for him in terms of a graded career through the organizational devices of promotion by seniority, pensions incremental salaries, etc., all of which are designed to provide incentives for disciplined action and conformity to the official regulations. (15) The official is tacitly expected to and largely does adapt his thoughts, feelings and actions to the prospect of this career. But these very devices which increase the probability of conformance also lead to an over-concern with strict adherence to regulations which induces timidity, conservatism, and technicism. Displacement of sentiments from goals onto means is fostered by the tremendous symbolic significance of the means (rules).

Another feature of the bureaucratic structure tends to produce much the same result. Functionaries have the sense of a common destiny for all those who work together. They share the same interests, especially since there is relatively little competition in so far as promotion is in terms of seniority. In-group aggression is thus minimized and this arrangement is therefore conceived to be positively functional for the bureaucracy. However, the esprit de corps and informal social organization which typically develops in such situations often leads the personnel to defend their entrenched interests rather than to assist their clientele and elected higher officials. As President Lowell reports, if the bureaucrats believe that their status is not adequately recognized by an incoming elected official, detailed information will be withheld from him, leading him to errors for which he is held responsible. Or, if he seeks to dominate fully, and thus violates the sentiment of self-integrity of the bureaucrats, he may have documents brought to him in such numbers that he cannot manage to sign them all, let alone read them. (16) This illustrates the defensive informal organization which tends to arise whenever there is an apparent threat to the integrity of the group. (17)

It would be much too facile and partly erroneous to attribute such resistance by bureaucrats simply to vested interests. Vested interests oppose any new order which either eliminates or at least makes uncertain their differential advantage deriving from the current arrangements. This is undoubtedly involved in part in bureaucratic resistance to change but another process is perhaps more significant. As we have seen, bureaucratic officials affectively identify themselves with their way of life. They have a pride of craft which leads them to resist change in established routines, at least, those changes which are felt to be imposed by others. This non logical pride of craft is a familiar pattern found even, to judge from Sutherland's Professional Thief, among pickpockets who, despite the risk, delight in mastering the prestige-bearing feat of “beating a left breech’ (picking the left front trousers pocket).

In a stimulating paper, Hughes has applied the concepts of “secular” and “sacred” to various types of division of labor; “the sacredness” of caste and Stande prerogatives contrasts sharply with the increasing secularism of occupational differentiation in our society. (18) However, as our discussion suggests, there may ensue, in particular vocations and in particular types of organization, the process of sanctification (viewed as the counterpart of the process of secularization). This is to say that through sentiment-formation, emotional dependence upon bureaucratic symbols and status, and affective involvement in spheres of competence and authority, there develop prerogatives involving attitudes of moral legitimacy which are established as values in their own right, and are no longer viewed as merely technical means for expediting administration. One may note a tendency for certain bureaucratic norms, originally introduced for technical reasons, to become rigidified and sacred, although, as Durkheim would say, they are laique en apparence. (19) Durkheim has touched on this general process in his description of the attitudes and values which persist in the organic solidarity of a highly differentiated society.

Index Primary vs. secondary relations

Another feature of the bureaucratic structure, the stress on depersonalization of relationships, also plays its part in the bureaucrat’s trained incapacity. The personality pattern of the bureaucrat is nucleated about this norm of impersonality. Both this and the categorizing tendency, which develops from the dominant role of general, abstract rules, tend to produce conflict in the bureaucrat’s contacts with the public or clientele. Since functionaries minimize personal relations and resort to categorization, the peculiarities of individual cases are often ignored. But the client who, quite understandably, is convinced of the special features of his own problem often objects to such categorical treatment. Stereotyped behavior is not adapted to the exigencies of individual problems. The impersonal treatment of affairs which are at times of great personal significance to the client gives rise to the charge of “arrogance” and “haughtiness” of the bureaucrat. Thus, at the Greenwich Employment Exchange, the unemployed worker who is securing his insurance payment resents what he deems to be “the impersonality and, at times, the apparent abruptness and even harshness of his treatment by the clerks. . . .Some men complain of the superior attitude which the clerks have.” (20)

Still another source of conflict with the public derives from the bureaucratic structure. The bureaucrat, in part irrespective of his position within the hierarchy, acts as a representative of the power and prestige of the entire structure. In his official role he is vested with definite authority. This often leads to an actually or apparently domineering attitude, which may only be exaggerated by a discrepancy between his position within the hierarchy and his position with reference to the public. (21) Protest and recourse to other officials on the part of the client are often ineffective or largely precluded by the previously mentioned esprit de corps which joins the officials into a more or less solidary ingroup. This source of conflict may be minimized in private enterprise since the client can register an effective protest by transferring his trade to another organization within the competitive system. But with the monopolistic nature of the public organization, no such alternative is possible. Moreover, in this case, tension is increased because of a discrepancy between ideology and fact: the governmental personnel are held to be “servants of the people”, but in fact they are often superordinate, and release of tension can seldom be afforded by turning to other agencies for the necessary service. (22) This tension is in part attributable to the confusion of the status of bureaucrat and client; the client may consider himself socially superior to the official who is at the moment dominant. (23)

Thus, with respect to the relations between officials and clientele, one structural source of conflict is the pressure for formal and impersonal treatment when individual, personalized consideration is desired by the client. The conflict may be viewed, then, as deriving from the introduction of inappropriate attitudes and relationships. Conflict within the bureaucratic structure arises from the converse situation, namely, when personalized relationships are substituted for the structurally required impersonal relationships. This type of conflict may be characterized as follows.

The bureaucracy, as we have seen is organized as a secondary, formal group. The normal responses involved in this organized network of social expectations are supported by affective attitudes of members of the group. Since the group is oriented toward secondary norms of impersonality, any failure to conform to these norms will arouse antagonism from those who have identified themselves with the legitimacy of these rules. Hence, the substitution of personal for impersonal treatment within the structure is met with widespread disapproval and is characterized by such epithets as graft, favoritism, nepotism, apple-polishing, etc. These epithets are clearly manifestations of injured sentiments. (24) The function of such virtually automatic resentment can be clearly seen in terms of the requirements of bureaucratic structure.

Bureaucracy is a secondary group structure designed to carry on certain activities which cannot be satisfactorily performed on the basis of primary group criteria. (25) Hence behavior which runs counter to these formalized norms becomes the object of emotionalized disapproval. This constitutes a functionally significant defence setup against tendencies which jeopardize the performance of socially necessary activities. To be sure, these reactions are not rationally determined practices explicitly designed for the fulfillment of this function. Rather, viewed in terms of the individual’s interpretation of the situation, such resentment is simply an immediate response opposing the “dishonesty” of those who violate the rules of the game. (26)However, this subjective frame of reference notwithstanding, these reactions serve the latent function of maintaining the essential structural elements of bureaucracy by reaffirming the necessity for formalized, secondary relations and by helping to prevent the disintegration of the bureaucratic structure which would occur should these be supplanted by personalized relations. This type of conflict may be generically described as the intrusion of primary group attitudes when secondary group attitudes are institutionally demanded, just as the bureaucrat-client conflict often derives from interaction on impersonal terms when personal treatment is individually demanded.

Index Problems for research

The trend towards increasing bureaucratization in Western Society, which Weber had long since foreseen, is not the sole reason for sociologists to turn their attention to this field. Empirical studies of the interaction of bureaucracy and personality should especially increase our understanding of social structure. A large number of specific questions invite our attention. To what extent are particular personality types selected and modified by the various bureaucracies (private enterprise, public service, the quasi-legal political machine, religious orders)? Inasmuch as ascendancy and submission are held to be traits of personality, despite their variability in different stimulus-situations, do bureaucracies select personalities of particularly submissive or ascendant tendencies? And since various studies have shown that these traits can be modified, does participation in bureaucratic office tend to increase ascendant tendencies? Do various systems of recruitment (e.g., patronage, open competition involving specialized knowledge or general mental capacity, practical experience) select different personality types? (27) Does promotion through seniority lessen competitive anxieties and enhance administrative efficiency? A detailed examination of mechanisms for imbuing the bureaucratic codes with affect would be instructive both sociologically and psychologically. Does the general anonymity of civil service decisions tend to restrict the area of prestige-symbols to a narrowly defined inner circle? Is there a tendency for differential association to be especially marked among bureaucrats?

The range of theoretically significant and practically important questions would seem to be limited only by the accessibility of the concrete data. Studies of religious, educational, military, economic, and political bureaucracies dealing with the interdependence of social organization and personality formation should constitute an avenue for fruitful research. On that avenue, the functional analysis of concrete structures may yet build a Solomon’s House for sociologists.

Index Notes

2. For a development of the concept of “rational organization”, see Karl Mannheim, Mensch und Gesellschaft im Zeitalter des Umbaus (Leiden: A. W. Sijthoff, 1935), esp. 28 ff.

2. H. D. Lasswell, Politics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1933), 120-21.

3. Max Weber, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (Tubingen: J. C.B. Mohr, 1922), Pt. III, chap. 6; 650-678. For a brief summary of Weber’s discussion, see Talcott Parsons, The Structure of SocialAction, esp. 506 ff. For a description, which is not a caricature, of the bureaucrat as a personality type, see C. Rabany, “Les types sociaux: le fonctionnaire”, Revue generale d'admistration, 1907, 88, 5-28.

4. Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia (New York: Harcourt, Brace,1936), 18n., 105 ff. See also Ramsay Muir, Peers and Bureaucrats (London: Constable, 1910), 12-13.

5. E. G. Cahen-Salvador suggests that the personnel of bureaucracies is largely constituted by those who value security above all else. See his “La situation materielle et morale des fonctionnaires”, Revue politique et parlementaire (1926), 319.

6. J. Laski, “Bureaucracy”, Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. This article is written primarily from the standpoint of the political scientist rather than that of the sociologist.

7. Weber, op. cit., 671.

8. For a stimulating discussion and application of these concepts, see Kenneth Burke, Permanence and Change (New York: New Republic, 1935), pp. 50 ff., Daniel Warnotte, “Bureaucratie et Fonctionnarisme”, Revue de l'Institut de Sociologie, 1937, 17, 245.

9. Ibid., 58-59.

10. Ibid., 70.

11. This process has often been observed in various connections. Wundt’s heterogony of ends is a case in point; Max Weber’s Paradoxie der Folgen is another. See also MacIver’s observations on the transformation of civilization into culture and Lasswell’s remark that the human animal distinguishes himself by his infinite capacity for making ends of his means. See Merton, “The unanticipated consequences of purposive social action”, American Sociological Review, 1936, 1, 894-904. In terms of the psychological mechanisms involved, this process has been analyzed most fully by Gordon W. Allport, in his discussion of what he calls the functional autonomy of motives. Allport emends the earlier formulations of Woodworth, Tolman, and William Stern, and arrives at a statement of the process from the standpoint of individual motivation. He does not consider those phases of the social structure which conduce toward the transformation of motives. The formulation adopted in this paper is thus complementary to Allport’s analysis; the one stressing the psychological mechanisms involved, the other considering the constraints of the social structure. The convergence of psychology and sociology toward this central concept suggests that it may well constitute one of the conceptual bridges between the two disciplines. See Gordon W. Allport, Personality (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1937), chap. 7.

12. See E. C. Hughes, Institutional office and the person, American Journal of Sociology, 1937, 43, 404-413; E. T. Hiller, “Social structure in relation to the person”, Social Forces, 1937, 16,34-4.

13. Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia, 106.

14. Quoted from the Chicago Tribune (June 21, 1931, p. 10) by Thurman Arnold, The Symbols of Government (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1935), 201-2. (My italics.)

15. Mannheim, Mensch und Gesellschaft, 32-33. Mannheim stresses the importance of the “Lebensplan” and the “Amtskarriere”. See the comments by Hughes, op. Cit., 413.

16. A. L. Lowell, The Government of England (New York,1908), I, 189 ff.

17. For an instructive description of the development of such a defensive organization in a group of workers, see F. J. Roethlisberger and W. J. Dickson, Management and the Worker (Boston: Harvard School of Business Administration, 1934).

18. E. C. Hughes, Personality types and the division of labor, American Journal of Sociology, 1928, 33, 754-768. Much the same distinction is drawn by Leopold von Wiese and Howard Becker, Systematic Sociology (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1932), 222-25et passim.

19. Hughes recognizes one phase of this process of sanctification when he writes that “professional training carries with it as aby-product assimilation of the candidate to set of professional attitudes and controls, a professional conscience and solidarity.The profession claims and aims to become a moral unit.” Hughes,op. cit. 762, (italics inserted). In this same connection, Sumner’s concept of pathos, as the halo of sentiment which protects a social value from criticism, is particularly relevant, inasmuch us it affords a clue to the mechanism involved in the process of sanctification. See his Folkways, 180-181.

20. “ ‘They treat you like a lump of dirt they do. I see a navvy reach across the counter and shake one of them by the collar the other day. The rest of us felt like cheering. Of course he lost his benefit over it. . . . But the clerk deserved it for his sassy way.’” [E. W. Bakke, The Unemployed Man, 79-80]. Note that the domineering attitude was imputed by the unemployed client who is in a state of tension due to his loss of status and self-esteem in a society where the ideology is still current that an “able man” can always find a job. That the imputation of arrogance stems largely from the client’s state of mind is seen from Bakke’s own observation that “the clerks were rushed, and had no time for pleasantries, but there was little sign of harshness or a superiority feeling in their treatment of the men.“ In so far as there is an objective basis for the imputation of arrogant behavior to bureaucrats, it may possibly be explained by the following juxtaposed statements. “Auch der moderne, sei es offentliche, sei es private, Beamte erstrebt immer und geniesst meist den Beherrschten gegenuber eine spezifisch gehobene, ‘standische’ soziale Schatzung.” [Weber, op. cit.,652.] “In persons in whom the craving for prestige is uppermost, hostility usually takes the form of a desire to humiliate others.” K. Horney, The Neurotic Personality of Our Time, 178-79.

21. In this connection, note the relevance of Koffka’s comments on certain features of the pecking-order of birds. “If one compares the behavior of the bird at the top of the pecking list, the despot, with that of one very far down, the second or third from the last, the none finds the latter much more cruel to the few others over whom he lords it than the former in his treatment of all members. As soon as one removes from the group all members above the penultimate, his behavior becomes milder and may even become very friendly. . . . It is not difficult to find analogies to this in human societies, and therefore one side of such behavior must be primarily the effects of the social groupings, and not of individual characteristics.” K. Koffka, Principles of Gestalt Psychology (New York: Harcourt, Brace,1935), 668-9.

22. At this point the political machine often becomes functionally significant. As Steffens and others have shown, highly personalized relations and the abrogation of formal rules (red tape) by the machine often satisfy the needs of individual clients more fully than the formalized mechanism of governmental bureaucracy. See the slight elaboration of this as set forth in Chapter I.

23. As one of the unemployed men remarked about the clerks at the Greenwich Employment Exchange: “ ‘And the bloody blokes wouldn’t have their jobs if it wasn’t for us men out of a job either. That’s what gets me about their holding their noses up.’ ” Bakke, op.cit., 80. See also H. D. Lasswell and G. Almond, “Aggressive behavior by clients towards public relief administrators”, American Political Science Review, 1934, 28, 643-55.

24. The diagnostic significance of such linguistic indices as epithets has scarcely been explored by the sociologist. Sumner properly observes that epithets produce “summary criticisms” and definitions of social situations. Dollard also notes that “epithets frequently define the central issues in a society”, and Sapir has rightly emphasized the importance of context of situations in appraising the significance of epithets. Of equal relevance is Linton’s observation that “in case histories the way in which the community felt about a particular episode is, if anything, more important to our study than the actual behavior. . . . A sociological study of ‘vocabularies of encomium and opprobrium’ should lead to valuable findings.”

25. Cf. Ellsworth Faris, The Nature of Human Nature (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1937), 41 ff.

26. Community disapproval of many forms of behavior may be analyzed in terms of one or the other of these patterns of substitution of culturally inappropriate types of relationship. Thus, prostitution constitutes a type-case where coitus, a form of intimacy which is institutionally defined as symbolic of the most “sacred” primary group relationship, is placed within a contractual context, symbolized by the exchange of that most impersonal of all symbols, money. See Kingsley Davis, “The sociology of prostitution”, American Sociological Review, 1937, 2, 744-55.

27. Among recent studies of recruitment to bureaucracy are: Reinhard Bendix, Higher Civil Servants ln American Society (Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 1949); Dwaine Marwick, Career Perspectives in a Bureaucratic Setting (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1954); R. K. Lelsall, Higher Civil Servants in Britain (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1955); W.L. Warner and J. C. Abegglen, Occupational Mobility in American Business and Industry (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1955).

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