Proceedings of the 51st Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2007, Tokyo, Japan, Papers: 51st Annual Meeting

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Levers for Intervention in Organizational Decision-Making

Carl Slawski

Abstract


LEVERS FOR INTERVENTION IN ORGANIZATIONAL DECISION-MAKING:
Local Government Red Tape and Fudging-‘Bureau-CATS’
Unmasked by TRANSPARENCY

Carl Slawski (Emeritus Professor of Sociology, CSULB)
555 S. Ventu Park Rd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91320 – USA

A juicy case study of dead-end whistle-blowing inquiries over a steep and narrow if not precarious hillside home construction site in Open Space zoning in southern California is described and examined in light of a systemic theory for reprogramming “Bureau-CATS.” Coping with this breed, from land grading to fire road standard enforcers, from Planning to Building to Fire road Inspectors, is described in terms of Dramaturgical (Goffmanesque “discrepant role”) and Labeling Theory (Sykes & Matza’s “neutralization techniques,” 1957) as well as “splintered” formal organization-theory (revised from Slawski’s 4-box flow diagrams on BUREAU-cratitis (Shanghai, 2002), and now on “how to navigate through its maze”), finally ending in a new and widely applicable GST type of feedback and feed-forward model of how to reprogram the system of permissions and superficial inspections, fraught as it is with vicious cycles (a la Alvin Gouldner on rules), plus the red-tape ball fudged by both the contractor, and the choir of county ‘B-CATS,’ all to the detriment of the formerly open environment, the danger of foundation or wall failure (perhaps because of a nearby earthquake fault), undermining the narrow, winding pot-holed fire road, or a possible landslide of the house down the hill into the creek-bed below. Who cares? Who gets paid off, at least by in-bred ‘idiosyncracy credits’ through the virtual “old-boy network” established between inspectors and SPEC house builders? Neighbors’ property rights and peace of mind be damned! How does this kind of ecologically corrupt, vicious cycle (of greedy developers over norms of sustainability across generations) get started? Why doesn’t someone do something about it? Has anyone tried TRANSPARENCY? Read on and see for yourself.

Key Words: ‘BUREAU-cratitis’/ vicious cycles / ecological corruption /
land development / greed.
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