Management Control and Worker’s Participation


Today, I come to tell you a banned book, at least it used to be banned in the last 1980s in China which everyone views as modern literary classic nowadays. It is Nineteen Eight- Four, written by English author George Orwell, he is a literary great writer. The outline of the story actually is very simple, it is about the year 1984. He imagined a future world. In that future world experienced a nuclear war, the whole war in ruins. Finally, leave three countries. One of the countries called Oceania. It is believed to be composed of the United States and Britain. Sides of the Atlantic, there are also countries called Eurasia and Eastasia.

These three countries in a state of war. The war between the three countries all occur in unmanned land, the territory of any country is never compromised. What were they fighting for? In fact, they were not mainly fighting for resources or ideological struggle. The war can provoke a national sense of patriotism, hatred of other countries, taking advantages for domination. 1984 world completely eradicate all other circumstances lead to the loss of power of the ruling class of their own in addition to the problem occurred. First he controlled the production of all things, that does not let too many people a good solution to the problem of food, clothing and have the energy to think about reasonable and objective laws of the world ruling class led to the presence of people appear moderate. As Weber (1978) said, business is discharged ‘without regard for persons’. Moreover, he does not let people starved to death and others lead to revolt. Then, he controlled everyone’s mind, namely to make everyone except the government should not think of the things you think about, even with the existence of God and other terms of the elimination of freedom leads to these ideas cannot be propagated, which is to eradicate the possibility of more powerful groups rose up against the middle-man. It is control by bureaucracy rules, it ensures the production and economic activities are in a predictable and impersonal manner control, which similar Nazi Germany ruling. Personal relationship is not necessary for organization. Is bureaucracy is good or bad? The important of bureaucratic organization for Nazi Germany have been show by Zygmunt Bauman (1989). Impersonal bureaucratic rules is working well for organization achieve specific goal. Bureaucratic organization run the business in efficiency way, stabilize the production and economic but the activity is impersonal(weber,1978). However, the education from bureaucratic organization are different from other, which mean that the term of “impersonal” maybe have a different meaning in bureaucratic culture. Moreover, the standard of “being a human” such as happiness, sadness, arrogance is different.

According to Fayol (in stewart,1997), manager cover the tasks of planning, motivating, controlling and coordinating. There are only three countries that society, each one the same but in such a strange state of society, each understand a wide range of war unfavorable ruling, but the war is present and must be, because they see the war has become a way to control resources, that is, when food and other necessities of excess production will lead to a lot of people out all day in order to meet the food and clothing problem When run around and attend to other cases, the government will use war to solve these “too much” of resources, so as to achieve domestic stability, which is the so-called war that is peace. Therefore, only the right to rule rests in the hands of the rulers, and extreme personality cult also indirectly eliminate the possible problem of the ruling class, which is an extremely stable society. War was not to conquer or defend territory, but to maintain a stable rule. I think ‘peace’ from here is not for whole community but for the ruling class. The majority of people still struggle financially, only the upper layer benefit from war. War can help the party to manage the whole country.

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The rule methods are almost exactly the same in three countries, are made of a very authoritarian party. The book describes the social, history can be changed, the party people of the country live in dire straits, food is not satiation, but also deeply convinced that extremely privileged life now. People living in a variety of monitoring, thinking from, even instinct bow to the party-state. For people who do not like the party-state may make him disappear immediately, so that we are convinced that this person never existed. Production output is just a number, perhaps the fact that there is no start production. People still walk barefoot on the road. Woman being trained together with the party-state men just to complete the task of the party-state, as the party-state production people. The children always watched their parents, if the parents have found that attempts to betray the party-state or “abnormal” behavior, they ran “thought police” that give hair. Party state to prove his words always right, change constantly newspaper previously published remarks. History is forgotten, no party state impossible things. They are bureaucratic organizations, control the entire country. This book mainly is written about Oceania. The people are being brainwashing by the party, the nation people have to listen to party word. They even fabricated news to change history. They get the people obey and monitor the nationals every day. If nationals cannot meet their criteria, they will be caught because of thought crime literally. They will be disappeared or evaporated.

According to Bell (1962), the nature and process of work has been transformed by the ideology of rationalism, with significant implication for the worker. Moreover, modern work s about the timing, pace and space constraints. The worker need to adapt to the working system of the industry, and it determines where and how working he/she lives. Merton (1940) mentioned, bureaucratic organization is ‘impersonal machines’. It is a rational management organizational structure. It must follow a specific set of rule and procedures, with clear authority registration, transfer responsibilities from top to bottom, the emergence is the result of social division. He also states that any organization must have some form of authority as a foundation. The appropriate authority can eliminate confusion and bring order. They cannot achieve organizational goals if there are no such authoritative organizations.

The protagonist is called Winston Smith; he was working in a very important sector in Oceania. It is called Ministry of Truth, but it is a Ministry which is full of lie. It changes the real history. For example, they would say the invent airplane. They entertain the public. Winston Smith responsible for modifying the past new. Slowly he began to have doubts about this ruling and became a very dangerous man.The experience of management from Watson (1994), there is a strong sense that what workers do is ‘right’ and it involves identity work, to find out ‘who I am’. Winston is clear that he was doing wrong. However, he did not have enough power to against as a person who be managed. Winston try to find out what is the ‘real’ self. Abraham Maslow (1968) and Carl Roger (1961) view human life is a search for the ‘authentic’ self. The ‘real’ information provide by party which make people ideality themselves as party want. However, Winston experienced the world that is not control by bureaucratic organizations, which make him different from other.

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He fell in love with a girl, but please note that the relationship between man and woman is not allowed in this totalitarian. It is a sexually repressed country. Bureaucratic manager is an amoral, efficiency-seeking character as Maclnytyhe (1985) said. McMylor (1994) also argue that management is not a scientific way of practice built upon factual law-like generalizations. More likely to say the party is controlling the people than managing the people. The purpose of marriage is to have children and train more national comrades. They thought to enjoy sex, then also try to revolt the country. Then, they were caught. Both afflicted and been brainwashed. They had vowed never betray each other. In the end, they were brainwashed successfully and betrayed each other’s.

After the twentieth century, modern technology makes totalitarian politics becomes feasible. Such as radio, broadcast which through modern totalitarian political will promote their party’s idea and achievement. In the story, Nineteen Eight- Four, the most important technological product is ‘telescreen’. Its function is not only can play propaganda, but also as monitor used. Party place the screen throughout the country. People are monitored in home, office, square, corridors. In Oceania, the monitor is not target to against the behavior, but the thought. Goldstein (in the story)

Mention in the book, the inability of the past totalitarian fully implemented, as a result of unable to grasp the people’s action.

“He control the past control the future, he who controls the present controls the past”. The self follows the change on the social, the self is seen as ‘historically produced and socially structured’ (Casey, 1995, P66). Winston Smith responsible for modifying the news. Winston had been proletarian district which is less relate the party and try to find “whether before the revolution better than now”, and finally failed. The grasp of reality is the most important aspect of the human personality, but this aspect has been destroyed by Ministry of truth. It also destroyed the human imagination. It manages everyone’s entertainment, novels and movies. As long as the purpose is to control their imagination. Imagination can help people to imagine the different possibilities when face with reality. Ministry of truth make people cannot imagine other environment that actual can happen. They lose imagination and becomes the slaves of reality, and the reality with is modified and controlled.

The country attempts to modify the text, simplified expression of the text in order to more accurately grasp the reality. For example, they cannot say certain words “big brother is ungood” when after long term of brainwashing. The accept the new language, and will think “big brother is ungood “is a contradictory argument, logically it makes no sense. The external environment is how brainwashing work. It is possible the social relation can be systematic control in management. Therefore, treats people as if they were simply objects rather than also as subject. (Grey, 2013, P99)

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‘Big brother is watching you’. Slogan are everywhere on the streets of all cities. Family can always hear the party’s propaganda in their home. The environment that Winston Smith face, when he speaks, party heard at any moment, the police will go to monitor people behavior as well.

In this story, ‘sex’ is an important issue. Sexual attraction is taboo in bureaucratic organizations but anger and competitiveness are normally condoned (Martin et al. 1998:434). Winston and his girlfriend began a sexual liberation at the beginning, which is an action to against the government. In the high political repression, sex is repressed. Conversely, sexual liberation brings a revolt to against the high-pressure politics. Winston described his girlfriend as a half of a traitor. Although she pursuits sexual liberation, she did not seem to seek liberation. She was party members, she knew the party would confound right and wrong and turn things upside down. Winston’s girlfriend did not believe the party said, but will be still applauded warmly in every convocation. In personal, she is totally not believing it. What she thinks about is satisfaction from daily needs.

In my point of view of society in ‘1984’ can also be applied in the community nowadays to a certain extent. Think of our life now, everyone has a cell phone on hand. We like to share life now; everyone has a cell phone on hand. We like to share life with other. We automatically show our life to others instead Big Brother. Big Brother is everyone around us.

Thank you for your attention.

(1976 words)


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Grey, C. (2013). A very short, fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about studying organizations (3rd ed). London: Sage.

MacIntyre, A. (1985). After virtue (2nd ed). London: Duckworth.

Martin, J. (1990),’re-reading Weber: searching for Feminist Alternatives to Bureaucracy’, paper presented to the Academy of management in San Francisco

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