Racism in Toyland

“Chapter 6: Formal Organizations” and the first half of Chapter 11: Economics and Politics” takes a macro approach to understand modern organizational structures and behaviors. Williams looks at organizations through a microlens. She studies and analyzes specific organizations to understand the day-to-day moments of times and spaces. In this exercise I want you to think about how micro-level realities in a formal organization can help us think about the modern economic system and bureaucratic structures.
Based on what you read in chapters 6 & 11 define terms in your own words.
Postindustrial Society
Iron Cage of Rationality

In Racism in Toyland, Christine Williams explores the role of racism in the everyday behaviors of the retail industry. Briefly explain how she studies this question. Then briefly summarize what she concludes.

Next critically think about how we should understand formal organizations through the lens Williams provides. There is no right or wrong answer.

In your opinion, what does Williams’s piece tell us about the postindustrial society? And what does it tell us about Capitalism?

In your opinion, can capitalism continue to function if there is a built-in racist mechanism within the capitalist system? Explain your answer.

Assuming Williams’s claims and conclusions are accurate; is the racism she exposes rational or is it an example of the Iron Cage of Rationality? Explain your answer.

Refer to the seven characteristics of a bureaucracy (Ferrante 109-110). Choose 2-3 of the characteristics. Clearly,  state which items you choose and explain these characteristics in your own words. Finally, compare these characteristics to what we learn about organizations in Williams’s reading. Do the characteristics persist, do they fail, are the amended to meet the actual reality of the organization? What does this tell us about actual bureaucracies as compared to the ideal type?




Sample Solution