Michael A. Dover Doctoral Student, Social Work and Sociology

Michael A. Dover
Doctoral Student, Social Work and Sociology
Submitted to Prof. Mark S. Mizruchi
October 3, 1996
Status and Power Preliminary Examination Question #4 (September 1996)
(Essay to satisfy the conditional pass)
AWhat is the relationship between class analysis and institutional or
organizational analysis of status and power? Are they competing
perspectives? Complimentary? Do they ask similar questions, or are
they investigating different dimensions of inequality?@
Table of Contents
Introduction ...................................................................................................................................................... 3
Do they address different dimensions of inequality? ....................................................................................... 3
Aspects of the relationship of the three forms of analysis ............................................................................... 4
Classical roots of class, organizational and institutional analysis: Marx, Weber, Durkheim ............. 4
Modern roots of analytic synthesis: Dahrendorf, Mills, Polanyi ........................................................ 5
Relationship Continued: Prototypes/Working Definitions: Wright, Stinchcombe, DiMaggio/Powell............ 6
Discuss/define Wright/class analysis in relationship to organizational and institutional analysis...... 6
Discuss/define Stinchcombe/organizational analysis in relation to class and institutional analysis . 7
Discuss/define DiMaggio & Powell/institutional analysis in relation to class/organizational ........ 7
Are they competing perspectives? ................................................................................................................... 8
Are they complementary perspectives? ......................................................................................................... 10
Conclusions .................................................................................................................................................... 12
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
The 1970's saw the advent of open systems perspectives on organizations (Mizruchi and
Galaskiewicz 1994). During that decade, organizational analysis recognized the centrality of organizational
environment in constraining and penetrating organizations, and institutional analysis conceptualized
organizations as functioning in the context of the cultural rules and beliefs of the wider institutional
environment (Scott 1995). Class analysis sought both to study links between firms= internal states and
segmented labor markets (Burawoy 1979; Edwards 1979) and to develop an early form of the social class
model of intercorporate relations (Mizruchi and Galaskiewicz 1994). Fueled by the implications of the open
systems perspective, the next 15 years saw the development of syntheses represented by the new
institutionalism in organizational analysis (Scott 1995; DiMaggio and Powell 1991) and the work of
Mizruchi (1992) and others.
Three prototypical examples of class, organizational and
analysis may be identified from that period: Wright (1986); Stinchcombe (1990), and DiMaggio and Powell
(1983), respectively. The relationship between these forms of analysis will be explored by asking whether
they address different dimensions of inequality; exploring their roots in classical (Marx, Weber and
Durkheim) and early modern (Mills, Dahrendorf and Polanyi) theory; presenting prototypes and definitions
of each form of analysis; identifying the questions each asks; and asking whether they are competitive,
complementary or both.
Do they address different dimensions of inequality?
Baron and Bielby (1980: 738) argued that social inequality may be studied at several levels of social
organization (societal, institutional, organizational, role, individual) and corresponding units of analysis
(economy, industry, firm, job and worker). Dimensions of inequality will be considered in terms of these
levels/units. DiMaggio and Powell (1991: 9, 16) noted that institutionalism in organizational analysis has
primarily been applied at industry-wide, national and international levels. Scott (1995: 60) noted that
sociologists apply institutional forms of analysis primarily to the world systems, society and organizational
field levels.i A review of the preliminary examination list confirmed that institutionalist contributions
(North 1981; Skocpol 1992; DiMaggio and Powell 1983; Polanyi 1944; Piore and Sabel 1984; Walder 1995;
Fligstein 1996)
focused on these levels.
Non-institutionalist organizational analysis focused on
intra/interorganizational levels (Blau 1968; Pfeffer 1981; Pfeffer 1987; Stinchcombe 1990; McPherson and
Rotolo 1996; Perrow 1979).
The levels/units of class analysis included the societal (Wright 1986),
industrial (Hodson 1986; Burawoy 1993), firm (Stark 1986; Burawoy 1979, 1992), and job levels (Moore
1995; Braverman 1974, Part IV). Thus, class analysis and institutional analysis examine overlapping
dimensions. Class and organizational analysis also overlap. Organizational and institutional analysis
overlap only at the interorganizational level.
This observation, and the need to address both the societal
and organizational levels, justify including and distinguishing organizational and institutional analysis.
Aspects of the relationship of the three forms of analysis
Classical roots of class, organizational and institutional analysis: Marx, Weber, Durkheim
One aspect of the relationship of class, organizational and institutional analysis can be found in their
distinct (but overlapping) roots in Marx, Weber and Durkheim, respectively. For Marx, the study of power
led him to focus primarily on class inequality and on how economic relations shaped consciousness.
Marxist class analysis saw the human exercise of power as in the Alast instance@ stemming from a status as
bearer of a position rooted in relations of production. But Marx distinguished between aspects of workplace
authority produced by capitalism and others which were generic to the social nature of production.ii For
Marx, the manufacturing organization produced a complex hierarchy of wages and skills reflecting both
natural and acquired capacities. iii Marx was also concerned with the analysis of historically specific
institutional forms, such as Bonapartism and the Factory Acts. Thus, class analysis was primary, but was
also applied to the study of organizations and institutions.
For Weber, power was rooted in one=s position as a wielder of varying degrees of economic goods
and skills. Status reflected an additional form of stratification based upon prestige or life style. Another
aspect of power for Weber was the development of constellations of individual interests. iv He recognized
that class-conscious organization can succeed when Alarge numbers of persons are in the same class
situation@.v In addition, power stemmed from the combined legitimatizing effects of three elements of
domination: charismatic, legal/bureaucratic and traditional. These elements of power were exercised in
social relationships and in organizational and institutional contexts. Relations of authority were related to
both rationally-pursued material interests and to shared value orientations towards institutional authority
structures themselves. Societal and class conflict were seen as self-limiting, not immanent as in Marx=s
account. Bureaucratic rationality served to reduce undue sources of conflict. For Weber, organizational
analysis was primary, but class and institutional factors were also important.
Durkheim=s approach to the integrative problem of modern society (Parsons 1937) was concerned
with the institutional conveyance of social facts that normatively and coercively constrain human behavior.
Parsons also pointed out that Durkheim observed that interests tend to centrifugally escape normative
control. But Durkheim noted that rules stemming from different institutional contexts can conflict. The
"institution of classes" caused conflicts which threatened organic solidarity (Division: 310). Each class had
its own morality (Ethics: 100). Inequality was explained by unequal societal contributions and personal
endowments, but the "lower classes" objected (Division: 310).
Such factors undermined the
interdependence that Durkheim saw as the basis of order (Mizruchi 1992). In response, Durkheim stressed
the importance of moral discipline (Suicide: 251). vi
Despite Durkheim's incomplete attention to
organizations (Berkowitz 1988), Durkheim stressed they transmit institutional values (Rules: 4-10). vii
Institutions were Durkheim=s foundation, but classes and organizations were also studied.
Modern roots of analytic synthesis: Dahrendorf, Mills, Polanyi
Although Dahrendorf, Mills and Polanyi may be seen as loosely representing, respectively, the
Weberian emphasis on the centrality of organization, the Marxian emphasis on the centrality of classes, and
the Durkheimian stress on social institutions, their work also reflects a more complex and increasingly
synthetic relationship between the three forms of analysis. For instance, Dahrendorf (1959) advised social
science not to either entirely reject or fully accept Marxist class analysis. For Dahrendorf, there was an
institutional isolation between the political state and industrial production, which he saw as independent
centers of power. Class conflict concerned the distribution of authority in social organizations which had
skill-based hierarchies (1959: 148). Class was derived from one=s social role in an organization, rather than
from one=s relationship to the capital-labor divide.
essentially, a form of organizational analysis.
Arguably, this form of class analysis becomes,
By and large, this is a competing, rather than a
complementary perspective to Marxist class analysis. But Dahrendorf retained a re-defined concept of class
in his analysis, as had Weber before him. Although he viewed the capitalist class as having become a
diverse, un-unified group rather than a class, he didn=t entirely substitute analysis of organizational structure
and social roles for Marx=s analysis of class relations and interests. Rather, he specified which aspects of
Marx he rejected, sustained and supplemented. In this way he followed his own advice and pointed the way
towards future syntheses.
Dahrendorf distinguished his institutional isolation theory from Mills= institutionally-linked power
elite (Dahrendorf 1959: 270). Mizruchi and Galaskiewicz (1994) said Mills influenced the social class
model of analysis. Domhoff (1978) argued Mills wrote from an institutional elite perspective. Mills can be
seen as combining elements of institutional, organizational and class analysis. For Mills (1956: 285), there
was a structural coincidence of interest among three institutional domains of power - the economic, political,
and military. The historical evolution of the power elite was seen as a resulting from shifts in the relative
influence of these institutional domains. He viewed organizations as characterized by centralized power and
knowledge, which accrued to individuals occupying positions within key organizations (1956: 3). Power
was positional and rooted in organizational auspices. But while the power elite were role-determined, they
were also role-determining (1956: 25). The power elite didn=t merely occupy positions of power, they also
designed and created organizational positions of pivotal power.
Mills (1956: 122-3) suggested that
interlocking directorates represented evidence of a unified outlook among the Apropertied class@, and that
associations such as N.A.M. Atranslate narrow economic powers into industry-wide and class-wide powers@,
thus presaging Useem=s idea of classwide rationality (Useem 1984). Mills set a research agenda on elites
that took class, organizational and institutional factors into account.
Polanyi (1944) studied social institutions which influenced the subsequent course of history: both
purposive, public human inventions (social welfare systems) and various undisclosed powerful social
instrumentalities (from little-known regulatory systems to more diffuse processes similar to Durkheim=s
social facts). Polanyi argued that while at any one point in time a class analysis of a particular society might
conceivably be informative, over the long-run, class interests have only limited explanatory power. His own
conception of class referred to standing, rank, status and security, that is, primarily social rather than
economic factors. Citizenship was an important form of status for Polanyi. The ultimate source of power
was the ability to shape citizen opinion in a way which could produce behavioral conformity. Nevertheless,
Polanyi rejected Durkheim=s stress on the need for an all-encompassing ideology which could forge social
solidarity. Polanyi identified a fundamental contradiction between the existence of an unregulated market
economy (commodification) and the institutional measures of the state (decommodification). The former
can lead inexorably to human degradation, but the latter hinders capitalist development. Polanyi had faith in
Weberian bureaucracy as an ameliorative instrument of planning, but did not prioritize the study of
smaller-scale organizations.
Polanyi was the forerunner of efforts to apply institutional analysis to
macro-level analysis of societies and institutions.
Prototypes/Working Definitions: Wright, Stinchcombe, DiMaggio/Powell
Discuss/define Wright/class analysis in relationship to organizational and institutional analysis
For Wright, Marx=s analysis of the dynamics of exploitation was the key element of class analysis.
But Wright also sought to go beyond the analysis of a simple polarization of class relations within the
capitalist mode of production. He developed an analysis of class that could be applied across different
modes of production. He contended that control of organizational assets was part and parcel of the
mechanism of exploitation, not just ownership of the means of production. Exploitation was based not only
on ownership position but on an organizational position coordinating production within a complex division
of labor. Organizational analysis of the extent to which managers and supervisors utilize such assets was a
key aspect of Wright=s analysis of class structure (Chapter 5). But Wright also argued that class analysis
needed to use conjunctural analysis to examine Aconcrete institutional details,@ since both Aclass and
non-class relations and practices usually occur@ (1986: 11-13). For the purposes of this answer, class
analysis is seen as using concepts such as domination and exploitation by a dominant class to help explain the
various dimensions of inequality. Class analysts see organizations as tools of class domination, sites of class
struggle or organizational bearers of class relations. Key questions include: How do common class
interests stemming from relations of production at the economic Abase@ shape the behavior of class actors
and influence superstructural institutions and organizations? How do class forces produced by economic
relations influence the nature of institutions and organizations? How do classes impose their will?
Discuss/define Stinchcombe/organizational analysis in relationship to class and institutional analysis
Stinchcombe (1990) relied upon a postulate of organizational rationality rather than an institutional
analysis of the societal and cultural contexts of organizational behavior.
Specific mechanisms of
information processing found in organizational units were stressed, not the rules and belief systems which
Scott (1995) saw as incorporating institutional influences. Stinchcombe argued that different concrete
rationalities compete with each other to form a hierarchy determined by success in reducing the total
environmental uncertainty to which organizational information systems (OISs) respond. OISs engage in
organizational acts which can ultimately be traced to the organized structures of intentions of collectivities of
individuals. Functional processes ensure that the most rationalized OISs prevail. Stinchcombe stressed the
role of rationality, as opposed to institutional analysis=s stress on routines. Stinchcombe also applied
organizational analysis to issues of concern to class analysts, such as the internal labor market and external
labor market segmentation. Organizational analysis is defined for the purposes of this question in a way
which excludes new institutionalist forms of organizational analysis which incorporate both organizational
analysis and institutional analysis. Organizational analysis examines status and power from the distinctive
standpoint of organizationally-centered structures and processes. While these structures and processes may
intermediate between individuals and larger social structures such as social institutions (Scott 1995: 142), the
focus of organizational analysis is primarily on organizations and their immediate environments, units and
internal actors. Key questions are: How do structures of organizations and networks of organizations shape
the nature of individual and institutional behavior? What is the intra-organizational structure of power
(Pfeffer 1981)? How do organizations ensure the predictable and dependent
flow of resources from other organizations (Pfeffer 1987)? Are organizations= tools in the hands of
managers (Perrow 1979)?
Discuss/define DiMaggio & Powell/institutional analysis= relationship to class/organizational analysis
For DiMaggio and Powell (1983), individuals continue to rationally respond to uncertainty, but
within institutional arenas, the maturation of organizational fields from diversity to relative uniformity is
accompanied by a process of institutional definition which brings normative factors into play along with the
degree of rationality associated with competition.viii
This process of structuration in organizational fields
involves increased interaction; emerging coalitions and patterns of domination; burgeoning field-specific
information loads; and heightened awareness of the existence of a uniquely demarcated field itself. Within
such fields, both connectedness and structural equivalence can be found, with the latter applying even to
unconnected dyads of organizations that are linked to a similar set of other organizations. Within such
fields, competitive and institutional isomorphic processes tend to produce organizational homogeneity.
Institutional isomorphic processes can include coercive, mimetic/emulative and normative forms of
isomorphism (or their combination). For DiMaggio and Powell, this is not a mechanistic, determinate
process. Numerous variables at the organizational level and field level influence the extent to which
isomorphic processes affect organizations. These variables account for factors which are both endogenous
and exogenous to organizations and fields. This enables DiMaggio and Powell to argue their approach
improves on previous forms of elite-control analysis and natural selection analysis, which are seen here as
related to class and organizational analysis. The concept institutional isomorphism improved institutional
analysis= ability to study links between the organizational, interorganizational, institutional and societal
levels of social organization. Institutional analysis is narrowly defined here as a form of analysis which
accounts for the influence of social institutions on classes, organizations, and individuals. Institutional
analysis identifies a variety of regulative (including coercive), normative and cognitive processes that convey
the resource requirements, standards, values, and schema embedded in institutional logics, mechanisms and
bases of legitimacy and compliance. Institutional analysis asks: How do institutions shape economic
relations and organizational and individual behavior?
organizational collectivities shape institutions (Scott 1995)?
How do innovative actors and interventive
Are they competing perspectives?
Answering the question, AAre they competing perspectives?@, will help to further explore the
relationship between the forms of analysis.
Burawoy (1990) criticized the tendency to assimilate
non-Marxist science into Marxism. Polanyi (1958, cited by Burawoy 1990) viewed Marxism as the
anti-thesis of science. ix Pfeffer (1987) distinguished clearly between the tenets of the intra-class and
resource dependence perspectives, although he also noted there were many similarities. x
Thus, key
advocates of the three forms of analysis have contended that they are competing perspectives. Yet we have
seen from the above prototypes and definitions that each form of analysis tends to ask different questions.
We have seen from the first section that there are both different and similar (overlapping) dimensions of
inequality. And we have seen that each form of analysis can trace itself back to somewhat different
theoretical roots. Overall, this may make them different, even incompatible accounts, but it doesn=t make
them competing accounts. In fact, they may be complementary in the sense that they each contribute
knowledge about different aspects of social organization. But when different forms of analysis (influenced
by neo-Marxist, institutional segmentation and organizational theories) were applied to similar levels
(organizational stratification), they were considered Acompeting accounts@ by Baron and Bielby (1980:
750). In this answer, accounts are not considered competing unless they apply different forms of analysis to
similar levels and ask similar questions. To be potentially complementary, they must be amenable to
synthesis (next section). Let=s compare two sets of studies where different forms of analysis are applied to
similar questions and levels.
AHow is domestic social policy determined at the state level?@, asked Quadagno (1988); Skocpol
(1992), and Laumann and Knoke (1987). Are these competing accounts? Offe (1984, cited by Quadagno
1988) identified three tiers of state power (arena of political decision-making; a matrix of social power where
macro processes influence social policy agenda priorities; and shifts in the relative power resources of
classes). Alford and Friedland (1985) identified three levels of state power: systemic, structural, and
situational. Although Quadagno (1988) sought to address all three of these levels, her class-oriented
analysis mainly concerned systemic/matrix shifts. Four key factors were examined: (1) the structure of the
labor movement (the industrial/craft division), (2) changing state capacity for action, (3) the structure of the
economy, and (4) the structure of the state/polity (particularly the Congressional committee system=s affect
on Southern strength). Thus, both class-related (1 & 3) and institutional (2 & 4) processes figured into her
analysis. Skocpol (1992) rejected determinist views that socioeconomic transformations directly influence
the agenda of state policy and rejected structuralist models that the state accommodates itself to capitalism.
Instead, she argued that prior institutional characteristics of state formation and previously implemented
social policies shape the nature of a structured polity of courts, parties and voluntary associations. In turn,
the polity constrains and empowers politicians to implement new characteristics and policies in a rather
path-dependent manner. Skocpol did account, however, for the effect of economic relations and cultural
patterns on the capacities and political behavior of citizen groups which influence state policy.
focus was largely on the structural and systemic levels. Skocpol stressed institutional factors rather than
Quadagno=s class factors as predominant in state policy formation. Laumann and Knoke (1987:30)
recognized that institutionalist theories help explain the way in which normative rules place constraints upon
organizations operating within different institutional arenas.
But by and large, they focused upon
organizational interests rather than upon the normative and ideological expectations which stem from sources
of legitimation and funding of organizations.
Laumann and Knoke (1987) explicitly rejected both
pluralistic-individualist and Marxist class approaches. They identified a mid-level structure - organizations
- as the key to understanding a state whose public/private boundaries were blurred.
Tightly knit,
nonideological business and labor-led interest group coalitions deployed resources to influence policy
events. Their managerial elite approach focused on networks of organizational elites (state managers and
interest group managers) rather class or mass-based elites.
So far it would appear that their levels of analysis are not so similar after all. What if we reconsider
our previous typologies of level of analysis, by applying Laumann and Knoke=s distinction between levels of
analysis of events and levels of analysis of actors?
For events, Skocpol was concerned with path-dependent
historical events within institutions; Quadagno with the timing of events associated with shifts in the matrix
of class forces; Laumann and Knoke with the policy event processes themselves. Thus, their event levels of
analysis were different. For actors, Skocpol examined situationally influential individual and associational
actors; Quadagno world-historically located class actors and their representatives; and Laumann/Knoke
networks of organizational actors. Thus, their actor levels of analysis diverged as well. Are these
competing forms of analysis?
The approaches are clearly not compatible. But upon closer examination,
they studied different levels of analysis. Thus, using the modified Baron and Bielby definition, they don=t
turn out to be directly competing perspectives.
Hodson (1986) and Pfeffer (1987) each asked how interorganizational-level processes influence
intra-organizational inequality. Pfeffer (1987) argued that in order to understand inequality, it is necessary
to focus on the way in which individuals are sorted in and by organizations, but also upon the way in which
organizations are sorted within networks of organizations. Thus, both intraorganizational actors and
organizations themselves have ranks within their respective environments. Holding the nature of an
individual=s organizational position constant, one=s rank within society as a whole is enhanced if one is
associated with a larger rather than a smaller organization. Hodson (1986) extended Weber's concept of
marketable resources of individuals to define structural resources of firms that are attached to employment
positions rather than individuals. Seeking to use organizational sociological and institutional economic
outlooks to supplement dual economy theory and status attainment approaches, Hodson argued that the
resources brought to class struggles are influenced by the size, concentration, capital intensity, foreign
involvement, and corporate autonomy of the organization, which are in turn influenced by the structure of the
industry. Thus, the organizational structure of the productive enterprise itself and the industry in which it is
embedded, and not merely class contradictions, help to explain wages and working conditions. Pfeffer
(1987) used organizational analysis and Hodson (1986) sought to extend class analysis. Clearly, the
approaches met our modified Baron/Bielby criteria of competing accounts.
Are they complementary perspectives?
If class analysis and organizational or institutional analysis are complementary, they ought to be
amenable to synthesis.
Learning whether the three forms of analysis are compatible enough to be
synthesized successfully will tell us something more about the relationship between them. To what extent
has this been accomplished?
Baron and Bielby (1980) recognized the potentially complementary nature of
organizational, class, and institutional analysis. They proposed one early form of synthesis.xi Mizruchi's
synthesis (Mizruchi 1992), a structural model of corporate political behavior, was called the interorganizational model of class cohesion. Using a relational approach to structural sociology, Mizruchi
synthesized the resource dependence and social class models of intercorporate relations. The resource
dependence model stressed the role of organizations rather than individuals.
It stressed the ways
organizations cope with uncertainty by connecting with stable resource acquisition networks and by using
interlocks to neutralize or constrain potential resource competitors. The social class model had a wing which
stressed individual/family roots of the dominant class (Zeitlin 1974; Domhoff 1967), and an institutional
wing stressing the role of key corporate and financial institution positions (Mintz and Schwartz 1985;
Useem 1984). Mizruchi criticized the Domhoff/Zeitlin wing=s definitions of class, stressing instead
network links between the controlling positions of corporations, as represented by their boards and
A class analyst might argue Mizruchi engaged in a false synthesis of competitive perspectives.
First, a class analyst could charge that Mizruchi=s definition of class substituted Weberian positional power
for Marxian class power. However, by defining market constraint as the ability of members of one industry
to impose limits on the profits of members of another industry, Mizruchi linked organizational-analytic
concepts of resources and class-analytic concepts of profit.xii Second, one hypothesis asserted firms with
common interests in government regulation (by virtue of being in heavily regulated industries) were more
likely to behave similarly. Marx pointed out that large firms were less opposed to the Factory Acts than
small firms, as the Acts favored capital-intensive over labor-intensive firms. But Mizruchi controlled for
capital intensity. Third, class analysts could argue that the organizational model of class cohesion is a
one-class model, and that structural definitions of the capitalist class evade the reality of class struggle. But
Mizruchi traced the structural model of cohesion to both Simmel and Marx. Simmel (1955: 176) argued that
reduced substantive ties between employers and employees created a chain of events from increased labor
solidarity, to class conflict, to employer associations (in that order). Given Mizruchi=s data, he could not be
expected to confirm or rule out Simmel=s assertion, but it isn=t inconsistent with his definition. Fourth, in
looking for sources of capitalist control of corporations independent of ownership, and in stressing a
positional/network conception of class, has Mizruchi denied the reality of an actually existing capitalist class,
conceived of in Domhoff=s or Zeitlin=s terms? True, Mizruchi does not reserve an explicit place at the
ruling class table for Marx=s so-called Amoney capitalist@, who is not an Aactually functioning capitalist@
holding one of Mizruchi=s controlling positions in a major corporation (Marx 1967, V3: 436). But
Mizruchi accounts for such investor positions indirectly through a financial institutions variable.xiii
What about the organizational side of the equation?
into a false synthesis?
Did Mizruchi artificially inject the class model
Does he really need the class in the interorganizational model of class cohesion?
Mizruchi=s direct interlock variables had their theoretical origins in both the class and organizational
models. Given the joint measurement of such variables, it is hard to assess such a charge. But if
organizational theory is robust on its own, then variables rooted primarily in the class model should show
weak results, and vice versa for variables rooted in organizational theory. The financial institution-related
variable of indirect interlocks stemmed from the institutional version of the class model. And indirect
interlocks proved to be stronger predictors than direct interlocks.
Both the institutional and the
interpersonal/business community versions of the class model were supported, along with institutional
theories of structural equivalence.
Mizruchi described his central concept, market constraint,
class-analytic (profit), organizational-analytic (resource) and institutional-analytic (structural equivalence)
Class, organizational, and institutional theories all found support in Mizruchi=s synthesis.
Mizruchi=s conclusions about theoretical convergence survive these charges by organizational and class
analysts. At an interfirm unit of analysis, synthesis is possible, and the three forms of analysis appear
To review the nature of the relationship between these forms of analysis, it was first found that the
forms of analysis were being applied to both different and overlapping dimensions of equality, which were
conceptualized at Baron and Bielby=s levels of social organization or units of analysis. According to the
modified Baron/Bielby example of the nature of a competing account, the different forms of analysis were
considered competitive only when they were applied separately to similar questions about similar dimensions
of inequality. The potential for competition was seen in their classical theoretical roots. For while Marx,
Weber and Durkheim concentrated primarily on different aspects of social organization, and therefore made
complementary contributions to social science, they also developed competing accounts of such structures as
class, workplace organizations, and public institutions. The early modern social theorists began the process
of synthesis by linking different aspects of social organization.
The modern prototypical examples
remained distinctive representatives of each form of analysis. The definitions of each form of analysis and
the questions posed by each were clearly different. But each form of analysis also expanded its analytic
scope to examine additional levels of social organization, where a potential for competitive accounts arose.
In one case (Pfeffer/Hodson), the forms of analysis were shown to be competitive, when carefully matched
with the modified Baron/Bielby criteria. But in another case (Mizruchi 1992) they were shown to be
complementary forms of analysis, amenable to synthesis.
In conclusion, the relationship between the three forms of analysis is one in which these approaches
to social science root themselves in and transcend classical and early modern theoretical roots; typify and
defy the distinctions drawn between the prototypical examples; conform to and outstrip the definitions
crafted for the purposes of this analysis; ask the questions identified and ask myriad more as well; stress a
central level of social organization and explore the relations between levels; have both unique and common
units of analysis; compete with each other and combine with each other. The relationship, in other words, is
both complex and upon occasion elegant and simple. As social science advances, the answers to the
questions asked here would require frequent re-appraisal. But the continued existence of competitive,
complementary and synthetic uses of class, organizational, and institutional analysis seems assured given
the long histories traced in this answer.
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i. However, as Scott (1995) has noted, various forms of institutional theory have been applied at nearly all
levels of social organization, and integrative forms of organizational and institutional analysis were seen by
Scott (1995) as having the potential to examine both top-down and bottom-up aspects of the relationships of
institutions, organizations, and actors.
ii. For Marx, Athe work of directing, superintending and adjusting@ takes on Aspecial characteristics@
once it became a function of capital (Marx, Capital, Volume One, cited by Foucault 1979: 175). Foucault
sought to extend an analysis of these special characteristics of power and authority to non-workplace
institutions, thus providing a neo-Marxist form of institutional analysis. For Marx, this was not merely a
passing comment. In Volume Three of Capital, Marx (p. 385) argued: AThe work of management and
supervision - so far as it is not a special function determined by the nature of all combined social labour, but
rather by the antithesis between the owner of means of production and the owner of mere
labour-power...has all too often been quoted to justify this relationship". He then goes on to argue that
this work of management and supervision, while it may be (p. 386) "common to all modes of production
based on class contradictions like the capitalist mode" does not justify exploitation. Here, Marx opens the
door which later generations of scholars enter. Here, Marx essentially admits that some, at least, of the
work of management and supervision is necessary to production under most modes of production. How
much becomes an empirical question.
iii. Marx stated (Capital, Volume One, p 348): "The collective labourer, formed by the combination of a
number of detail labourers, is the machinery specially characteristic of the manufacturing period." But the
collective labourer has both simple and complex functions. He went on (p. 349): "Manufacture,
therefore, develops a hierarchy of labour-powers, to which there corresponds a scale of wages....The
various operations of the hierarchy are parcelled out among the labourers according to both their natural and
their acquired capacities." Thus, Marx recognized that, empirically, social hierarchies involve an interplay
of class structure, various occupational niches, and individual status attainment.
iv. From Max Weber=s Law, cited by Reinhard Bendix in Max Weber: An Intellectual Portrait.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1962, p. 287.
v. Weber, Max. Economy and Society: An outline of interpretive sociology. Edited by Guenther Roth
and Claus Wittich. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978, p. 305.
vi. Durkheim noted the need for a "moral discipline...to make those less favored by nature accept the
lesser advantages which they owe to the chance of birth" (Suicide p. 251). Such a "moral order" (Suicide
p. 309) or "collective order" (Suicide p. 252) could "neither be foreseen nor calculated" (Ethics, p. 75) by
human design. Instead, conflicting tensions within society were most often resolved by a basic "regulative
force" (Suicide p. 248) which promotes an organic "balance"(Ethics, p. 75) within society. Evolving
social institutions (as well as workplace and occupational organizations) would need to ensure enlightened
universal rather than particularistic value systems prevailed.
vii. In Rules, Durkheim saw two forms of transmission of social facts. First, there were what he called
general social currents which directly conveyed morals, beliefs, customs and fashions (Rules, p. 4).
Second, social facts stemming from institutional sources such as legal systems; religious faiths and
financial systems were conveyed to social actors indirectly (p.10) through intermediate groups ("partial
groups") (p. 3), such as local churches, occupational associations and the "economic organization" (p.10).
viii. DiMaggio and Powell (1983) argued that the rationalistic assumptions underlying previously
recognized forms of competitive isomorphism don=t account sufficiently for the nature of bureaucracy or
the extent of the tendency towards homogeneity within organizational fields. In their 1991 article,
however, DiMaggio and Powell appear to have moved further from their earlier joint emphasis on
rationality and normative factors, arguing (p. 3): AStudies of organizational and political change routinely
point to findings that are hard to square with either rational-actor or functionalist accounts.@ They later
imply (p. 7) that rational actor approaches are something less than sociological in nature, and stress the role
of normative factors. They explicitly argue that the (p. 8) Anew institutionalism in organization theory and
sociology comprises a rejection of rational-actor models.@ However, the assumptions of the joint
influence of cognitive, normative and what might be considered pragmatic processes in their incipient
theory of practical action may be seen as another form of the assumption of the organized individual
(Coleman 1990). Coleman pointed out that rational choice assumptions were one simplifying sub-set of
that broader assumption.
ix. Polanyi apparently directed his fire at the Soviet interpretation. For his own part, Burawoy (1990)
stressed the necessity of retaining the integrity of Marxism=s core postulates, while simultaneously
building auxiliary theories within new branches of Marxism which both clarify the nature of new
developments and strengthen the character of Marxism. Thus, he praised Gramsci=s turn towards the
superstructural, which might here be conceived of as a turn towards institutional analysis. Burawoy
(1990) was critical of efforts by analytical Marxists to assimilate non-Marxist theories into Marxism. Yet
Burawoy=s own early work (Burawoy 1979: 5) was an explicit effort to incorporate organizational theory
into Marxism while insisting the study was Marxist. The line between Marx=s stress on using the best of
non-Marxist science and deviating from Marxism=s core postulates may be difficult to assess. In any case,
appending a subordinate non-Marxist approach to a Marxist study is one thing. Integrating class analysis
with other forms of analysis is another.
x. Pfeffer (1987: 33) noted a series of contrasts between the resource dependence and intra-class
perspectives on intercorporate relations: (1) Networks of organizations subordinate individual, family and
class interests to organizational imperatives, as opposed to extra-organizational actors/classes
subordinating organizations to their interests, (2) Resource dependence perspectives permit application to
all organizations rather than mainly to business firms, (3) Transaction/resources flows are key rather than
family/class solidarity, (4) Patterns of resource exchange shape control and internal power differentiation,
as opposed to internal power differentiation being determined by the relationship of ownership to control,
(5) Organizational policy is shaped by managers interacting with the environment in the interests of the
organization, rather than being determined by the nature of the interaction between owners, managers and
workers, (6) Organizational action is determined by forces over and above individual intent, rather than
organizations being an instrument of individual intent, (7) The need to reduce environmental uncertainty
and relate to interdependencies is more important than a drive for profit and efficiency, (8) The goal is to
maximize organizational power and interests, rather than serve the interests of owning families or a
capitalist class, (9) Individuals at the helm of organizations are beholden to their position and tend to serve
organizational interests rather than managerial actions tending to serve the owners or themselves. Thus,
for Pfeffer (1987), organizations are pluralistic coalitions of interests but also reflect institutionalized
patterns of activity which don=t perfectly reflect any interests. In other words, organizations are markets for
influence and control, but institutionalized intraorganizational and interorganizational power relations
produce continuity. Thus, organizations seeks to reduce uncertainty implicit in interdependency, but some
organizations become more dependent than others, creating a distribution of interorganizational power.
This forces compliance with the demands of more powerful organizational actors. Those
intraorganizational actors seen as best able to cope with external power relations tend to accrue
intra-organizational power.
xi. On the one hand, Baron and Bielby (1980: 750) argued that a focus on the nature of power within firms
is a common point of focus of several Acompeting theories of work organization and stratification@. They
criticized neo-Marxist class analysts such as Braverman (1974) for a control imperative perspective, one
which views firm-level organization as a mere reflection of societal-level class relations. They argued
that dual economy theorists= institution-level analysis of different forms of labor control -- as represented
in this preliminary examination by Edwards (1979) and Clegg (1981) -- failed to adequately draw upon the
organizational sociological literature in studying internal labor markets in core industry firms. On the
other hand, Baron and Bielby (1980) noted that organizational analyses and structuralist and segmentation
approaches to the study of social inequality have often focused on overlapping issues. They pointed out
that Burawoy (1979b) realized that a good deal of the variance in forms of labor process is probably
explained within various industrial sectors rather than between them, and that Burawoy understood the need
to study the structure of those dimensions of inequality rooted in the distribution of organizational positions
or Aempty places@ within the economy. They called for the incorporation of organizational analytic
perspectives into structuralist and segmentation studies.
xii. Mizruchi=s operational definition relied upon a measure of the dependence of industry B on industry
A for purchases and sales, and on the level of concentration in industry B. Although the available
measures weren=t directly related to profit, Mizruchi (1992: 75) cited work indicating that industries that
are more highly concentrated enjoy higher profit margins.
xiii. Furthermore, although Marx=s account of the transition from private capital to social capital and its
Adirectly associated individuals@ (p. 436) may seem more consistent with the Domhoff/Zeitlin definition,
Marx ( p. 439) stressed that for the capitalist it is a position of Acontrol over social capital, not the
individual capital of his own, ...[which]...gives him control of social labour.@ It is not being rich that
makes you a capitalist, but the position which investing the money gives you in relation to labor. Thus,
even individual/family wealth dispersed via institutional investment through myriad corporations can be
conceived of in Mizruchi=s structural and network terms. The chairs at the ruling class table in which the
Amoney capitalists@ sit, or in which proxies sit in their place, are not their personal chairs, but rather their
assigned places at the table.