Researcher's digest mediators cited as social agents

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  • 478 NATIONAL CIVIC REVIEW [October

    Researchers Digest . . John M . Capozzola, Editor

    Mediators Cited As Social Agents

    Family, Church, Volunteers Are Significant Structures IN To Empower People: The Role of Mediat- m g Stmctures In Public Policy (American

    Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Re- search, 1150 Seventeenth Street, N. W., Washington, D. C. 20036, February 1977, 45 pages), Peter L. Berger and Richard J. Neuhaus explain the rationale for a project being conducted throughout this year to inves- tigate new methods of delivery of vital services in health, education, welfare, housing and law enforcement.

    According to Berger and Neuhaus, there are two major, contradictory trends in public opin- ion on public policy in the United States. While there is a strong animus against big govern- ment, there is also a continuing desire for services provided by the welfare state. The authors suggest, however, that this dichotomy may be more apparent than real. Public policy can recognize the continuation and expansion of the services of the welfare state, but utilize mechanisms other than large superstructures to deliver such services.

    Berger and Neuhaus relate this dichotomy to the double identity crisis faced by individ- uals in coping with the realities of moderniza- tion. In the private realm, where the individ- ual is left to his own devices for the fulfillment of needs, insecurity and instability are rife. In the public realm, megastructuressuch as the state and large capitalist enterprises proffer various devices for the fulfillment of needs, but such devices often have no personal meaning.

    The report suggests a new public policy pat- tern with a central, basic concept of mediating structures, which the authors define as those institutions standing between the individual in in his private life and the large institutions of public life. Neighborhood, family, church

    and various voluntary associations are exam- ples of key mediating structures.

    Berger and Neuhaus underscore the prop- ositions that mediating structures are essen- tial for a vital democratic society, and that public policy should protect and foster mediating structures, and, wherever possible, should utilize mediating structuresfor the reali- zation of social purposes. The first proposi- tion assumes that mediating structures gener- ate and maintain the values in society. In their absence, the democratic state becomes devoid of the values cherished by the populace.

    For the second proposition, the authors state that, at minimum, public policy should not damage mediating structures. At maximum, the proposition assumes that the services of the welfare state may be expanded without gov- ernmental tyranny.

    The assumption is that people understand their own needs and are the best judges of how such needs are to be fulfilled. Mediating struc- tures can empower people to provide for their own needs, resist encroachment by the mega- structures and thus attain greater control over their destinies.

    People in neighborhoods can be empowered by a public policy which recognizes the uniqueness rather than the uniformity of each neighborhood. Each constituency should have the power to shape the character of the neigh- borhood and the course of its development. For example, while recognizing that first amendment rights must be preserved, the au- thors decry the uniform rulings of courts which permit obscenity in neighborhoods where people are opposed to this behavior. In other areas, people can be empowered via tax poli- cies which provide incentives for home im- provement, and by media regulations which provide a greater voice for local interests.

    The family as a mediating structure can em- power people when public policy fosters family autonomy against excessive state interference. For example, the authors recommend that handicapped people remain within the family

  • 19771 NEWS IN REVIEW 479

    rather than in institutions whenever possible. In education, the voucher system can help to increase the power of parents in choosing what they feel is the proper education for their child.

    With respect to the church as a mediating structure, the report states that the first amendment should not be construed to mean absolute separation between church and state. Berger and Neuhaus hope that public policy will more nearly approximate the Kurland rule (named after Philip Kurland of the University of Chicago), which states that if a policy servesalegitimatesecularpurpose, itisamatter of legal indifference whether or not that policy employs religious institutions. Public policy should recognize, for example, the right of people to choose nursing homes of th$r reli- gious choice. Churches, as well as other volun- tary associations, should not be subjected to excessive state certification and licensing re- quirements, which are too often cloaks for pro- fessional empire building.

    MICHAEL C. QUINN

    New York City

    Report Assesses Research on Motivation Theory

    In Models of Personnel Motivation (Insti- tute of Public and Urban Affairs, San Diego State Unitersity, February 1977, 33 pages), Louis M. Reareviewsmajorscholarly research since the turn of the century. The report com- pares and contrasts the theories of Max Weber, Frederick Taylor, Elton Mayo, Gordon Allport, Abraham Maslow, Chris Argyris, Frederick Herzberg, Douglas McCregor and Herbert Simon.

    Rea begins his discussion by highlighting the tenets of traditional organization theory articu- lated by Weber and Taylor. Weber developed the concept of bureaucracy, stressing its essen- tial characteristics of impersonality, ra- tionality and authoritarian hierarchy. Taylors scientific management closely paralleled Webers scheme.

    Rea argues that Taylor, unlike Weber, dealt with worker motivation. In Taylors theory,

    the motivation for the worker was essentially monetary. The employer and employee could further their mutual interests in profit by sub- scribing to the concept of efficiency. Taylor advocated a piecework incentive system as a practical means of motivating workers to pro- duce efficiently.

    The report notes that Webers and Taylors theories were deficient because they over- looked the irrational, emotional, motivating features of human behavior. Rea discusses the attempts of Elton Mayos Hawthorne experi- ments to fill this gap. The Hawthorne studies did not destroy the traditional notions of efficiency and economic incentive, but dem- onstrated that an organizational climate of cooperation can lead to high levels of motiva- tion and consequent high levels of productiv- ity. Thus, Mayo and his associates added the much needed dimension of human relations to organization theory.

    Rea traces further developments in the human dimensions of motivation, such as Allports and Maslows theories of personality. Maslow suggested that each person has a hierarchy of needs, the lowest (hunger, thirst, etc.) of which serve as motivators of behavior only when they are unsatisfied. But if such needs are fulfilled, the individual will be moti- vated to pursue needs of a social order, such as love and affection, and ultimately the highest need of self-actualization, i.e., realization of the individuals most outstanding natural tal- ents.

    Argyris, like Maslow, also placed a pre- mium on self-actualization. Argyris discov- ered a low level of interpersonal competence in different types of organizations, which were characterized by frustrated, fearful, apathetic employees. This organizational cli- mate hindered not only the personal goals of the employees but also the goals of the organi- zation. As a solution, Argyris recommended candor, openness, participative management and job enrichment.

    Rea analyzes later refinements in humanist motivation and theory by Herzberg and McCregor. Rea finds, however, that, despite the intellectual progress of the human rela- tions movement, the actual behavior in orga- nizations today more closely resembles Weber

  • 480 NATIONAL CIVIC REVIEW [October

    and Taylor. The work of the contemporary theorist Simon is interpreted by Rea as a sophisticated development of the traditional views propounded before the Hawthorne ex- periments. While Simon criticized the tra&- tionalist administrative principles because of their internal inconsistencies, he essentially agreed with the notions of centralized power, decision making and management motivation of employees via indoctrination in the virtues of organizational goals.

    Rea concludes that the human relations theorists have failed to muster necessary em- pirical support. Popular theories have put forth an oversimplified model of motivation which assumes that satisfaction of personal needs motivates higher job performance. Rea argues that some recent empirical investiga- tions suggest an inverse relationship. The up- shot of this report is that current popularized theories of motivation must be viewed with a healthy skepticism, and that a model which incorporates the more useful tenets of both the rational and humanist models is in order.

    MICHAEL C. QUINN New York City

    West Virginia Government Needs Reorganization

    West Virginia State Government Organiza- tion (West Virginia Public Mairs Reporter, Bureau for Government Research, West Vir- ginia University, Morgantown 26506, Feb- ruary 1977), by David A. Bingham and John E. Tyler, describes the present setup and dis- cusses organization theory as it relates to the structure of state government.

    The organization of state government af- fects policy development, decision making, di- rection, control, support, communication pat- terns, initiative, accountability and efficiency. According to the authors, the need for reor- ganization in West Virginia, as well as in othe