Dalton, Melville. 1959. "Men Who Manage." in The Sociology of Economic Life, edited by Mark Granovetter and Richard Swedberg. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.


Dalton worked in a chemical plant in the Midwest and observed management practices. He assessed the informal organizational chart and compared it to the formal organizational chart to show strong differences. However, he found that these deviances and informal arrangements are often what made the plant run smoothly. "Cliques and political intrigues are not a sideshow and distraction from productive activities but instead an essential aspect of the way these activities are carried out" (editor's note).

Power among heads was often based more on personal influence than of positional power. New formal programs to clear up maintenance priority issues were somewhat unsuccessful because the informal power would subvert the formal authority.

Most importantly, "The financial costs of keeping social mechanisms in repair merge with those of the physical". p. 333

"Whether or not we are able to preach what we practice, the organization will fall apart without sustaining action from some clique" p. 335

Dalton sees various types of cliques -- vertical, horizontal, and random. Vertical cliques are either symbiotic or defensive. Horizontal cliques are either agressive or defensive.

 

Vertical Symbiotic Clique

In this situation, the top person aides his subordinates, vice versa. They were the real power centers at Milo.

 

Vertical Parasitic Clique

Often based on family ties or previous friendships, in these cases the subordinate gets undue influence or power based on their assiciation with higher ups. This leads to distrust among other members.

Horizontal Defensive Clique

Brought on by crises, these happen across departments to fight a common evil. Usually they are temporary and inherantly weak.

 

Horizontal Agressive Clique

These are based on a drive to make changes beneficial to all clique members.

Random Clique

These cliques cross hierarchical and department boundaries, and members share more friendship and social relations than formal goals. These people are often not in functional cliques. The random cliques intensify informal activities in the plant.

Summary

"The logically conceived plans of one executive level are variously altered by subordinate levels to fit their shifting social relations, as well as the emergencies at work.... Achievement of organizational goals intertwines with individual and group ends near and remote from those of the firm." p. 342 Persons above to deal with the confusion come to the fore as leaders, with or without the title. They become the nucleus of cliques that work as interlocking action centers, and as bridges between official and unofficial purposes". Cliques are the indespensible promoters and stabilizers -- as well as resisters -- of change.