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 other state governments, is the direct result of the following factors:

    1. Administrative growth has been rapid and uncoordinated; some agencies have been added without integration into the existing structure.

    2. There is no standard organizational for- mat, terminology or practice; similar functions apear to exist in widely dissimilar organiza- tional structures.

    3. Management, coordination and direction of the whole is difficult.

    4. Authority relationships and methods of appointment between agency heads and the governor vary widely.

    5 . The incongruities of the structure make it difficult to depict organizational relationships; there is no formal organization chart issued by the state government.

    The authors found no definitive theories of organization design in literature or organiza- tions. Their two main groupings of approaches are:

    1. Universal design theory, which sets up an optimal structure for all situations and provides absolute principles of design. These approaches have been Criticized because they are not universally applicable and do not take into account existing environmental, social, functional and political factors.

    2 . The contingency theory maintains that organizational structure will be different from situation to situation, and must be adapted to the unique factors in each instance. Con- tingency approaches require careful diagnosis and sensitivity to the particular situation. And, while more difficult to apply than universal principles, contingency approaches are more realistic. I t would be argued strongly, for ex- ample, that West Virginia has a unique situa- tion, history, political climate, state of devel- opment, culture and interest group structure, and that any organizational design should be adapted to these factors.

    While each situation sould be considered separately, the authors state, principles and models can still be adapted to the needs of West Virginia. In addition, experience at the federal level, sub-state levels and in private organiza- tion may be effectively utilized. Experiences in these administrative organizations provide a wealth of information, models, probabilities and other helps in developing an organiza- tional plan.

    In conclusion, the authors stress that organi- zational structures are interdependent with a wide range of other forces, from individual

  • 19771 NEWS IN REVIEW 48 1

    behavior to politics to culture. In addition, knowledge about organizational structures and their impacts is still limited. As a result, organizational change should involve taking risks and developing designs.

    RICHARD W. LONG

    New York City

    New Design Needed for Growth Policy

    An article in the University of Kentuckys Public f l a i r s Analyst, provides a design for growth policy of definition, credibility, realism and accountability. Only when these four qualities are applied can growth policy be effective, says Lynn R. Muchmore in State Growth Policy: Designing for Action (Center for Public Affairs, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40506, Vol. 4, No. 2 , 1977, pages 5-7).

    Most attempts at establishing growth policy have resulted in failure, he says. Since there is rarely one policy to supercede all others, growth occurs haphazardly, the decisions which affect it being made on an ad hoc basis.

    Growth policy, first of all, should be so writ- ten and defined that decisions can be based on it. Generalities should be avoided whenever possible as they are of little help when choices must be made.

    Credibility is defined as authority and will- ingness to support growth policy politically and on a continuing basis. One method used to obtain this support is to put goal setting into a boradly based I citizen participation pro- gram. Through this process the public is in- formed of the need to make decisions for the future while growth can still be directed. Re-

    sponse from citizens then serves as a catalyst to the formation of political support.

    Still another way to form policy support has been to have legislators meet with experts on growth and discuss the alternatives. The com- plexity of many issues can be covered in this way.

    Growth policy must also be realistic if it is to be accepted by the community. The public will not support apolicy which removesfreedom of choice from what is considered to be the basic right to direct ones own life. Any growth pol- icy must accept the fact that the right of private property is inherent in the American system.

    There are also bureaucratic and economic limitations. Independent state agencies are not always willing to cooperate with each other, each having its own constituents and interests which receive first consideration. The fact that growth policy for the state or region as a whole cannot be expected to receive immediate priority over agency issues must be considered, according to Muchmore.

    Finally, some form of accountability must be provided. As conditions change so must policy if it fails to work effectively in the new environment. Successful accountability is difficult to obtain, the author states, because no one group stands to profit or lose if the policy does not function as it should. Only when a crisis arises is the.rtpplication of growth policy and the result analyzed critically.

    One means of insuring accountability is through the budget, by grouping expenditures together so that major issues and policies can be easily identified and evaluated by legisla- tures and executive boards. Legislative com- mittees or cabinet groups with a specific re- sponsibility for monitoring growth policy can also provide this accountability.

    NANCY HULBROCK