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Evaluate whether rationalisation provides the ‘one best way’ to manage and control contemporary organisations.

1,000-word formative assessment

1. Describe the main features of rational organisation and explain how one particular technique of rationalisation helps to increase efficiency and control in organisations (approx. 300 words)

Here you need to describe the main features of early rational organisation as developed around the Industrial Revolution. You should give a brief overview of rational organisational design (bureaucracy) rational work design (Taylorism and Fordism) and then concentrate on an aspect within one of these to explain how they increase efficiency and control (for example Taylorism or organisational structure). In order to make a coherently structured final essay, the area that you choose to focus on here should be the area that you apply to Junction Hotel later on – don’t write about Taylorism here then apply bureaucracy to the case study, make sure that they link up.

NB: A good essay structure will discuss these early forms of rationalisation before going on to discuss McDonaldisation and other examples of contemporary rationalisation, so avoid talking about these until the next section

2. Explain how rationalisation is found in contemporary organisations (approx. 300 words)

Here you need to demonstrate how the ideas outlined in the previous section can be found in contemporary organisations. The McDonaldisation of Society is an important insight here (see Ritzer for this), and it links to the previous section and develops them in a contemporary setting. You can also develop this section further to show how both rationalisation and emotional labour are part of the service sector labour process (Bryman covers this well and makes a link to McDonaldisation).

In your final essay you can develop this section further by drawing upon other examples of contemporary rationalisation. These are covered in the final lecture of term, so you won’t be able to use them for this formative assessment, but see the Cadwalladr piece on Amazon for one example of a contemporary organisation that you might use here.

3. Analyse and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of rationalisation, taking into account the perspectives of managers and workers (approx. 300 words)

Here you are becoming more critical and starting to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of rationalisation.

Section 1 will guide what you write here. If you have looked mainly at bureaucracy then concentrate on critiques of bureaucracy (eg Weber). If you have looked mainly at Taylorism then look at critiques of Taylorism (eg Marx and Braverman).

Here is where you should bring in competing perspectives from the social organisation, for example the perspective of Mayo, as a means of evaluating the underlying assumptions of different approaches to management and addressing the part of the essay question that asks if there is a ‘one best way’ approach to management.

4a. In no more than 50 words, provide a sentence which summarises the main argument that you are making in your essay.

This statement will be used in the introduction to your summative essay. Rather than giving a list of what you will write in the essay, it flags up at the start of the essay what your main arguments and conclusions will be, in other words it tells the reader where you will be heading. This is not easy to do, but it is worthwhile attempting this now in order to get an idea of what the focus of your essay is.

4b. In no more than 50 words, provide a sentence which outlines how you plan to apply your arguments to Junction Hotel

Here, give an indication of how you will apply the ideas in this assessment to the Junction Hotel case study when you write your summative essay. Make sure that the area where you concentrate in section 1 (eg Taylorism, organisational structure) is also the area that you use here. Give a brief outline of the area of the hotel where you want to apply rationalisation and how you would apply it.

5. Provide a reference list, in Harvard style, for all references cited in the text above

This should be straightforward as the references are given elsewhere in this document, but make sure to remove any annotations and present the references in alphabetical order.

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