Whyte, William The Organization Man
. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1957.
Waldie writes of his father as a specifically Catholic form of 1950s Organization Man
However, throughout The Organization Man
, Whyte is hard pressed to identify just what is wrong with what, at times, appears to be a welcome social alternative to a competitive individualism that produces social inequalities.
The transactional mindset and focus on compliance and conformity of people as objects in The Organization Man
were crafted around a mechanistic view of organization, prevalent at that time.
Hoberek's book helps us see that the Organization Man
's apparently psychological responses to the emerging social structures of postmodernity were actually misguided efforts to stake a claim for economic, political, and cultural authority predicated on a new form of labor: mental labor.
Calling for something to be done "to change our circumstances in the school, the workplaces, the bureaucracies, the government" and insisting on man's "unrealized potential for self-cultivation and self-direction," the statement issued a challenge to modern society built on a critique that had begun six years earlier with William Whyte's The Organization Man
. Even the unions have failed, complained SDS, to promote the progressive agenda, proving themselves vulnerable to the temptations of bourgeois materialism: "Today even the House of Labor has bay windows."
In the post-1945 part, the focus becomes lost in "Work and Labor/Management Relations," which moves from migrant farmers, to a selection from William Whyte's The Organization Man
, to documents on wage work at McDonald's and technological unemployment.
What's more, the Organization Man
, the lifelong corporate employee who worked his way faithfully and slowly up the executive ladder, appears to be headed out the door--increasingly nudged, apparently, by women.
His career is engagingly recounted in his last book, My Times: A Memoir of Dissent, which should be a required journalism school text on how not to be an organization man
. * We also note the loss of another Nation friend, economist Robert Heilbroner, a superb popularizer in the best sense, who gave us articles on subjects as varied as Clintonomics and the future of socialism, always in lucid, down-to-earth prose.
The shift from a stable view of self and work formed in an earlier era of the "organization man
" (Whyte, 1956) to a less stable, more creative view of "the new individualists" (Leinberger & Tucker, 1991) is apparent in today's young worker.
Whyte labeled the "organization man
." The final era started in the 1980s and is characterized by what Michael B.
I concluded to accept, even for those bad terms and will start in tomorrow." Initially, he found "this beginning at the bottom rung of the ladder pretty trying on one who has led such an independent life as I have." Within months, however, as a member of the antecedent group of men who would create the twentieth century's "organization man
," Boyle worked his way up from a day laborer into a loyal, salaried employee.