Office Space [excerpt]
Tags: corporations, organizations/occupations/work, theory, weber, alienation, authority, bureaucracy, rationalization, white-collar, subtitles/CC, 06 to 10 mins
Access: Extended clip no online access; (short 2:11 clip available at MovieClips)
Summary: While the entire Office Space film is a great satire on bureaucracy and office work, this excerpt (on DVD begin at 0:30; end at 6:50; shorter clip available above) is particularly good for demonstrating Weber's concept of bureaucracy. It is also super funny. This clip specifically conveys key dimensions of bureaucracy: functions and roles organized by rules; positions organized in a hierarchy; administrative acts, decisions, and rules communicated through written documents; division of positions based on competencies; those in authority have greater pay and social status compared with those they manage; and positions within the bureaucracy are not dependent on an individual. Weber viewed bureaucracy as essential to industrial capitalism, but noted that the rationality of bureaucratic workplaces often turn us into "specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart." Like Lumberg in the clip above, the rationalized organization of the contemporary workplace (and life more generally), can rule over us like an "iron cage." As one watches the clip, you may want to consider how the workplace depicted in this clip does or does not match up to Weber's ideal-typical bureaucracy, and what are its consequences on workers and everyone throughout society?
Submitted By: Paul Dean
5/3/2011 11:23:28 pm
Where in the movie is the segment you believe to have the greatest representation?
5/3/2011 11:38:16 pm
In a single segment, I used the clip mentioned in the summary above (begin at 0:30; end at 6:50). From what I remember of watching the entire film, there were lots of great references throughout the film but there was too much extraneous footage to make them useful in class. The opening scenes mentioned string together several features of bureaucracy and office work without all that extraneous footage (plus its really funny). Please let us know if you find additional clips useful from the film!
1/30/2013 12:21:10 am
Alas, I cannot find even the shorter clip....
9/5/2013 07:11:54 am
But WHERE is the clip?
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