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Related to rationalizations: callous, feigning, immunity, construed


in psychology: see defense mechanismdefense mechanism,
in psychoanalysis, any of a variety of unconscious personality reactions which the ego uses to protect the conscious mind from threatening feelings and perceptions.
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  1. the general tendency within modern capitalist societies for all institutions and most areas of life to be transformed by the application of RATIONALITY. As seen by WEBER, for example, such a process of rationalization is the master process which underlies the transformation of the economic, political and legal institutions of western societies (notably in the spread of BUREAUCRACY and of systematic forms of accountancy and law). Furthermore, the effects of this process are also evident in other sectors of society, e.g. the bureaucratization of science and learning, and developments in music and in religious organization.

    Weber had major reservations about the implications of the operation of so seemingly inexorable a process, which he sometimes referred to as creating an ‘iron cage’ that would increasingly restrict individuality. He recognized that a narrow calculation of ‘instrumental rationality’ was likely to conflict with 'substantive rationality’ i.e. the rationality of outcomes appraised in terms of wider human objectives. At the same time, however, in a world ‘disenchanted’ by rationality, he did not believe that a 'strictly scientific’basis existed for a generalized conception of human interests or human needs. Human beings possess freedom of action, and must therefore ultimately make their own choices (see also VALUE FREEDOM AND VALUE NEUTRALITY).

    Other theorists have taken a more optimistic view of the outcome of the rationalization process. HABERMAS, for example, has suggested that ‘human interests’ will be identifiable in a context in which a truly democratic critical discourse exists (see also CRITICAL CULTURAL DISCOURSE). In general, however, sociologists have remained more agnostic on such issues (see also FORMAL AND SUBSTANTIVE RATIONALITY).

  2. any after-the-act justification of an action which seeks to present this action in a favourable light, as having a coherent rationale, in circumstances where such a ‘rational’ reconstruction lacks plausibility (compare DEFENCE MECHANISMS).
PARETO regarded many social accounts, including most sociological and political theorizing, as involving rationalization in this general sense, as lacking a truly objective basis (see RESIDUES AND DERIVATIONS). Although emphasizing the importance of distinguishing rationality from nonrationality Pareto had no illusions that rationality could ever become the guiding principle in social and political life; on the contrary, he is usually seen as a key figure in the pessimism about progress that typified much thinking in POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY at the turn of the 19th-century (see ÉLITE THEORY, NEOMACHIAVELLIANS).


A defense mechanism against difficult and unpleasant situations in which the individual attempts to use plausible means to justify or defend the unacceptable situations.
References in periodicals archive ?
Surprisingly, none of the examples of potential fraud rationalizations in COSO's Integrated Framework include anything related to the first two items above.
While understanding potential rationalizations is important, it is just a first step in designing effective antifraud programs.
The few examples of rationalizations in COSO describe fraud committed by a "lone wolf." Instead of limiting searches to such cases, think like the WorldCom crooks: consider the incentives and policies that could encourage employees to follow somebody like Scott Sullivan.
The good news is that most interventions overlap several of the fraud rationalizations, and considering them in concert can provide the most effective defense.
Research shows that individuals who behave unethically usually experience guilt and discomfort before committing the deviant act, and that they try to reduce this guilt and discomfort through rationalization. By understanding the common techniques for rationalization, organizations can design antifraud programs to make rationalization harder and, as a result, make it more challenging for potential fraudsters to commit fraud.
The rationalization process identifies the performance of every SKU in the portfolio.
Having the right products in the product portfolio requires the company to have a formalized management product rationalization process.
The first-time rationalization process will target portfolio products for improvement or elimination, ranging from 20% to 35% of the total SKUs offered.
The product rationalization process is a management process that ensures products offered in the product portfolio can perform at the level expected from the enterprise's investment.