Book Report & Summary for “The Ropes to Skip and the Ropes to Know - Studies in Organizational Behavior” 7th Edition By: Richard Ritti and Steve Levy
Rezension / Literaturbericht 2009 5 Seiten
“The Ropes to Skip and the Ropes to Know”
Textbooks are full of valid information that serves their purpose well, but often lack color and entertainment. When a student picks up a textbook, they expect to be overwhelmed with dry information that they need to be able to recite and recognize thoroughly. Authors, Richard Ritty and Steve Levy turned their textbook about organizational behavior and management practices into an interesting story about “The Company” and provide education in an entertaining way. The book follows a story about a man named Stanley, who is fresh out of college and was hired into The Company. He is forced to make sense of the everyday events (“the ropes”) of the organization, and takes the reader step by step to give a more meaningful alternative to a textbook. The book is laid out in a series of small stories or tales. Each tale goes on to describe an event in the life of a fictitious employee and company. The tales will ring true to anyone who has spent time in the trenches. The book then goes on to explain these events from an organizational behaviorist’s point of view. The book gives true insights into a firm’s organizational structure and culture and helps them reflect on their experiences in their own organizations. “The Ropes to Skip and the Ropes to Know” reveals how organizations truly work. The book describes personnel behavior in a large corporation, and how managers should act. It digs deep into an organization, and goes past the easy to see rules, and into what is right and wrong for managers. It gives real life examples of how personnel act and react under different circumstances and the reasons for it.
Personally, I was amazed by the author’s ability to keep me entertained throughout the entire book. This is a great reference for anyone who is first starting out in business or for the seasoned employee or manager who wants to know why crazy, unpredictable things happen at work. The portion that I learned the most was from the first section. The major theme from the episode titled “De Gustibus Non Disputandum Est” from section one of the monographs is about socialization and perception. The author discusses through the process of socialization into the organization we develop a perception for producing and interpreting the behavior that we see. Social perception is shaping the interpretation of behavior and events within the organization. Perception is what we believe is that of what we see. The author explains to us that when communication passes from person to person, participants become increasingly uncertain about the details from the original picture. Social perception of organization events is influenced by context, just as is physical perception. Impression management is important in shaping relations among superiors and subordinates. Superiors project the image of the generalist, knowing the stuff of many specialties, but only enough to make necessary decisions. Subordinates must obtain the image of well restrained dependability, a willingness to learn, and simply doing the work is not as important as making the decision.
The chapter that I thought was well related with what the author was saying was the first chapter. Everyone in The Company was at the company picnic, and Stanley was playing a round of horseshoes with a man he didn’t know. The Company picnic was comprised with individuals from the President all the way down the lowest participant, and everyone was dressed in relaxed attire. Stanley was bragging about his position and what he knew of the company while beating the elder gentlemen. He didn’t know that he was actually playing the President of The Company, Mr. Marsh. I believe that Stanley might even had offended Mr. Marsh towards the end of the conversation, and Mr. Marsh made sure to say his name quite a few times, but the reality was that there are hundreds of Stanley’s in the company. It didn’t matter what he had said to Mr. Marsh to offend him, because Mr. Marsh only cares of one thing. The success of the company and the necessary decisions that the author spoke about in section one. Now that Stanley knows who Mr. Marsh is, he will surely never make the same mistake twice.
Chapter one in the book is Social Influence, Socialization, and Culture. This chapter relates well with the major theme from section one because the chapter describes the Classical view and Bureaucracy of an organization. The classical viewpoint is an early prescription management that advocated high specialization of labor, intensive coordination, and centralized decision making. This basically tells us how superiors and subordinates are supposed to act in the organization. The author also does a great job by showing us these things also towards the end of my paragraph. The chapter also explains to us about the managerial roles that are played out in the organization. I can relate this to the Ropes’ character because at the picnic, everyone set their roles aside to have a good time and interact. They tell us what Mr. Marsh’s role in the company is, and what Stanley’s role in the company is. During the picnic The Company networks even after they’ve dropped their roles with each other. Finally, when Stanley is telling Mr. Marsh what he thinks of the company, Mr. Marsh knows he is focusing on the quality of the company by his speech. I feel that that is what saved Stanley from being fired on the company picnic day.
The second key factor I learned in the book was from chapter 3, when the author describes that most workers in an organization think of social stratification as a necessary task. Achievement is rewarded by promotion; so many people must deserve the jobs that they receive. When a manager is in the professional position, chances are most people will believe that it involves the attribution of traits and motives. Just like how I read about Lesley and the host manager who mistaken her for the secretary, he had a motive to do so. The motives might not always be correct, but there is a reason for them. The author describes ascribed status as some members of society being assigned lower social statuses because of beliefs that society holds about them by reason of sex, race, religion or ethnic background. He gives examples of religious and sexist discrimination, such as catholic, John F. Kennedy and a woman that was the Democratic candidate for Vice-President, Geraldine Ferraro. Not too long ago, if you looked into any organization, most professionals and middle managers were white males. Most secretaries in the organizations were white females, and looking into the situation further most people would say “well that is just the way it is.” There was always a motive or attribute of trait that was used as an excuse to cover up the discrimination.
As you can see from my detailed explanation from what I learned, it is very easy to become in gulped within this book, because the characters are so easily relatable with everyone’s day to day work life. The only con that I found to this book was that it focused only on corporate America, and didn’t venture out into the international side of business as much as I would have liked. The authors of the book definitely touched on the subject of culture often, but seemed to repeat themselves by saying that all organizations have the same myths, rituals, cultures. I feel that international business behavior was not addressed sufficiently throughout the book. With organizations outsourcing frequently now days, it is an important issue in any organizational behavior textbook.
As I read the book the paragraphs, sections and chapters just came in a stream and I just devoured them without stopping. I understood, I learned and I enjoyed. The relevance of the book was to show the reader that an organization is changing everyday, and as an employee you must keep up. The title specifically shows the reader that it is important to learn the ropes if you want to move up through an organization. The author not only focuses on the management side of organizational behavior, but often visits the personnel side to show the reader both sides of a situation. In conclusion, I found the book to be extremely interesting and one that I will be sure to use in the future reference throughout my career.