Anatomy of a “concept” for conceptography

A student asked me to describe more what goes into a concept for the conceptography project.

The inspiration for this is the research tool called the annotated bibliography. The AB works effectively when you have ot integrate and keep trac of a wide variety of sources.  I find it a key research tool and technique to use between reading and writing papers.  The AB serves as the connective tissue of your thinking.

The conceptography is designed to allow you to build your own connective tissue between reading the book, Organizations and Organizing and writing across the class, on the blog and in your papers.

You may have two questions:

How do I chose two concepts?

I recommend you pick concepts you find interesting, useful, or challenging.  Based on my feedback you will be abel to improve at picking good concepts.

What goes into a concept?

At a minimum: your annotation should be 1-2 paragraphs and include a key passage or quotation, as well as your paraphrase of the concept.  You should also include why you find it interesting and how it connects to other key concepts or ideas.

Another sample concept (beyond ones on blog).

“Formalization” is a concept discussed in Ch 2 on pages 37-40.  Formalization is evident when we find that the rules governing behavior are precise and  explicitly formulate and that roles and realtions are grounded in the position and not the person.  Davis and Scott describe formalization as ” abstraction plus government” (38).  This phrase captures how formalization depends on abstractly defining relations and then how those abstractions are designed to govern others.  ANy bureaucracy will have a high degree of formalization.  There are two reactions to formalization.  On the one hand, people often fail to appreciate how it can smooth out interactions among idiosyncratic people and actually minimize power struggles when roles are murky.  On the other, they are often quick to point to formalization as the source of many pathologies owing to its rigidness and supposed dehumanizing effect.  FOr example, people do not tend to exclaim:

Thank god for the DMV (of my state).  The really treated me the same as everyone else and did not discriminate between one type of client and another.

They may also complain:

I can’t believe how silly and formal this place is.  DO they really need to ask me if I am a criminal   The reason that clerk is so mean to me is because he works in this grim bureaucracy.

Formalization as a concept makes it possible to imagine and test all kinds of specific interventions designed to make the organization more efficient and oso on.  The authors point out that interventions and organizational designs are possible to imagine doe to formalization.  Formalization is a key idea to have even as go deeper into org theory becuase it defines how organizations are different from other social structures like the family, community or church.


2 Responses

  1. This issue of relgious liebtry as defined by Vatican II’s Dignitatis Humanae forms part of the crucial issue of the discussions between Rome and the SSPX, just as with the error of collegiality (that all the bishops are equal to the pope). Even non-SSPXers (e.g., Gherardini and Matei) are disputing what level assent is due to Vatican II, particularly the portions that are contradictory to what the Church has traditionally taught. So this is not merely an SSPX issue, but a theological one for the entire Church.

  2. Thanks for reading the post… Venkatesh. This blgo is not active, but I do have students blogging at and

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