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Organizational Communication topics

1. What is structuration theory, and why is this theoretical perspective unique in comparison to the other theoretical perspectives you have covered in this course?

2. In which ways does the socialization process within organizations support the validity of structuration theory? Please provide at least one concrete example to support your response.

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Structuration theory

Structuration theory was put forward by British sociologist Anthony Giddens in the 80's. While it appears complex, to come to understand it requires the need to amalgamate other concepts already held to be true in social life. The theory explores how society is organized. For Giddens, the dichotomies that organize social life - micro/macro perspectives, agency/structure & subjective/objective social systems are all reconciled in the manner by which any society in question is uniquely organized. Society is the sum total of all these dichotomies - everything is always dynamic, in tension and subject to the influence of the other. Nothing is ever just micro as society is the sum total of a host of micro but from a macro perspective, it is also not the case that one cannot just use the macro perspective to look into society to come to terms with all social activities. When human beings come together in groups, there are pre-existing dynamics that influence the way they come to organize themselves.

Consider a small community began by a family (like in the early days of the Pioneers when America was young). Let's say this community grew and grew as others moved in, others who are not family. But the pre-existing nature of that group is that it is familial in nature therefore the manner people treat each other and expect from one another is from that perspective. Yet one cannot fully say that it is a community that is 'family' because not all are related and not all see each other as family. With the structure in place, those that join in attempt to behave within the expectations of that structure. The thing is that original structure as it is cannot hold because it has to take into account the influence of new members, of newcomers and the need to adjust to change. Thus, nothing is ever permanent - it is always subject to change. This is the heart of Gidden's structuration theory - the nature of the group, culture or community influences the manner in which it is structured and organized but it is not just that ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides information, assistance and advise to help students tackle the questions (see above, 1 & 2) on the topic of structuration theory and organizational socialization process. Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic. A word version is attached.