The Polyarchic Bureaucracy: Cooperative Resistance In The Workplace And The Construction Of A New Political Structure Of Organizations

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Journal Article
Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 2012, 1, 34 (1), pp. 55 - 79
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Many bureaucracies still exist, and not just in the public sector. Increasingly, however, we would argue that they are more likely to evolve towards polyarchic forms because of the growing centrality of stakeholder resistance, especially that which is premised on empowerment of key employees. We suggest that managerial responses to this resistance are transforming bureaucracies through process of accommodation: upper echelon managers invent responses to contentious acts and voices so as to reintegrate 'resisters' while rewarding them for contesting decisions in a cooperative way. Understanding these processes help us understand why traditional bureaucracy is currently transforming itself as a resuit of the emergence of new forms of resistance in the workplace.
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