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Title: The Dynamics of Post-Bureaucracy: How Status Shapes Authority in Contemporary Organizations
Authors: Bernier, Clark
Advisors: DiMaggio, Paul J
Contributors: Sociology Department
Keywords: Authority
Big Data
Subjects: Sociology
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation contributes to the development of a dynamic account of status and authority in contemporary organizations. The papers in this dissertation brings social-psychological mechanisms out of the lab into complex real-life settings, develop new computational measures to operationalize theoretical ideas, and ground these quantitative measures and ideas in ethnographic work. The project draws on billions of interactions among hundreds of thousands of individuals in thousands of teams and small organizations taken in a task-and-project-management software I refer to as TaskFlow. Metadata from this software allow me to separately measure communication patterns, order giving, exchange of digital work artifacts, and acts of deference. I ground these digital data in four months of participant observation and interview data collected while working as a data scientist at the pseudonymous hotel-services startup GuestInn. In Chapter 1, I use a combination of the participant observation and interview data to develop theory about the ways that people coordinate work when roles are ambiguous. I argue that mechanisms that support normative control, such as the *vertical* control of membership rights, provide accountability for *lateral* coordination. I also introduce the concept of *generalized authority rights* to describe authority rights that are decoupled from official position and nominally granted to all employees. In Chapter 2, I use mixed methods to develop a dynamic process model, based on previously-demonstrated mechanisms, of how individuals' status changes unfold. I show that conspicuously *avoiding* giving orders may serve to increase one's status more than giving orders does. Contrary to existing models of status emergence, some status behaviors, such as giving orders, may be a source of status hierarchy *stability* rather than status change. Finally, in Chapter 3, I develop the idea that increased interdependence in the structure of work leads to status being more important in individuals' decision making. Using detailed interaction data from more than 3,000 organizations, I demonstrate that increases in two forms of interdependence increases the extent to which status factors into who is willing to give direct orders.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Sociology

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