Comments

First published in The Transformation of Work, Volume 10, pages 241–262. Copyright © 2001 by Elsevier Science Inc. All rights of reproduction in any form reserved. ISBN: 0-7623-0766-8 Authors cited as Gerhard Daday and Beverly Burris

Abstract

Many corporations attempt to establish a unified corporate culture as a way of orienting employees toward corporate goals and objectives. However, a technocratic organizational structure has been found to exist in many high-tech corporations, which divides employees into an expert and non-expert sector based on differences in credentials and technical expertise. Because of this division, employees working within these two sectors experience differences in corporate rewards, worker autonomy, and creative freedoms. These factors have been found to lead to a polarized, divided, and discontented workforce. To understand how a technocratic structure influences and affects a dominant corporate culture and organizational efficacy, we conducted a qualitative study of a high-tech corporation named SYS, located in the Southwestern United States. We chose three occupational groups to participate in this study: engineers, technicians, and administrative assistants. The intent of this study was to determine how employees from these three occupational groups, who differ according to gender, education, and technical expertise, see and interpret the dominant culture within a technocratic organizational structure. The data from this study suggest that a strong and vibrant team-based organizational structure appears to mitigate the polarization that has been found to exist within many technocracies. The results obtained from this case study also suggest that despite differences between these occupational groups, a teaming environment appears to bridge significant differences between these occupational groups and to create a cohesive workforce.

Disciplines

Inequality and Stratification | Sociology | Work, Economy and Organizations