Deficiencies of practical rationality in organizations

Suppose we are willing to take seriously the idea that organizations possess a kind of intentionality -- beliefs, goals, and purposive actions -- and suppose that we believe that the microfoundations of these quasi-intentional states depend on the workings of individual purposive actors within specific sets of relations, incentives, and practices. How does the resulting …

What is a norm?

The role of norms in social behavior is a key question for sociology. Is a norm a sociological reality? And do individuals behave in conformance to norms?We can offer mundane examples of social norms deriving from a wide range of social situations: norms of politeness, norms of fairness, norms of appropriate dress, norms of behavior …

Habits, plans, and improvisation

How does thought figure in our ordinary actions and plans? To what extent are our routine actions the result of deliberation and planning, and to what extent do we function on auto-pilot and habit?It is clear that much of one's daily activity is habitual: routine actions and social responses that reflect little internal deliberation and …

Unintended consequences

International relations studies offer plentiful examples of the phenomenon of unintended consequences -- for example, wars that break out unexpectedly because of actions taken by states to achieve their security, or financial crises that erupt because of steps taken to avert them. (The recent military escalations in Pakistan and India raise the specter of unintended …

Trust

What is the role of trust in ordinary social workings? I would say that a fairly high level of trust is simply mandatory in any social group, from a family to a workplace to a full society. Lacking trust, each agent is forced into a kind of Hobbesian calculation about the behavior of those around …

Bad behavior

How do we explain the occurrence of anti-social behavior that we witness in everyday life? For that matter, how do we explain the more common occurrence of good behavior?There are numerous extreme examples of anti-social behavior. But more prosaic examples are more interesting. A passenger on a jet airliner becomes enraged at being denied additional …

What is a "moral intuition"?

We have all had this experience: we hear of a complicated social or personal event, and we think inwardly, "that's wrong!" A co-worker tells us an embarrassing private story about another co-worker; we hear on the news that the number of children in poverty has increased; we read about a mining company that has dumped …

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