Bureaucracy, Collegiality and Social Change
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Bureaucracy, Collegiality and Social Change

Redefining Organizations with Multilevel Relational Infrastructures

Emmanuel Lazega

This insightful book theorizes the contrast between two logics of organization: bureaucracy and collegiality. Based on this theory and employing a new methodology to transform our sociological understanding, Emmanuel Lazega sheds light on complex organizational phenomena that impact markets, political economy, social networks and social stratification.
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Chapter 7: Conclusion

Emmanuel Lazega


The book redefines organization using a stratigraphic approach to the co-constitution of bureaucracy and collegiality across levels and across boundaries, thus exploring the central role that actors in multilevel positions play in multilevel activation of multilevel collective agency and social change in the organizational society. To existing analyses of collegiality and innovative work using multiple types of networks (multiplexity), this framework adds a multilevel dimension. It relies on concepts such as vertical linchpin and vertical social niches to improve our understanding of dynamics of multilevel networks as contextualized by stratification, mobility and political/cultural controversies. Without any claim to exhaustivity, it helps revisit some of the issues that have been at the core of contemporary sociology of organizations, economic sociology and political sociology. At least four general areas of urgent further research are identified from the formalism and from the approach of social and institutional change presented here: the redefinitions of the commons and collective responsibility, for example in cooperatives or in more distributed uses of bottom-up platforms; the use of organizations as ratchets of social stratification and social inequalities; the struggle for open science, against social engineering based on monopolized knowledge of multilevel relational infrastructures in society; and a better understanding of dynamics of multilevel networks in joint regulation and the political process. Further exploitation and expansion of this framework is a task that public sociology should not leave to growing privatized sociology.

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