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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 ?
The rationalization process identifies the performance of every SKU in the portfolio.
Rationalization is a factor often viewed as out of the control of management and internal auditors.
These risks and uncertainties include: the nature and timing of NOVA Innovene's announced rationalizations; the quantification and timing of any write-down to be taken by NOVA Chemicals as a result of the announced rationalizations, realizing synergies and cost savings targets; and other risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in the publicly filed disclosure documents and securities commissions reports of NOVA Chemicals and its subsidiaries or affiliated companies.
The reduction in staffing levels, coupled with plant rationalization initiatives and the continued focus on productivity improvements, position the company as a much leaner organization.
capacity rationalizations and Methanex's low cost structure.
The specific actions are being implemented as planned and include plant closures and divestitures, product and plant rationalizations and reduced selling, general and administrative expenses.
The methanol market has suffered weak pricing conditions over the past two years but has shown recent pricing strength based on rapidly rising natural gas costs, rising industrial demand, current strong MTBE demand, continuing rationalization of high cost capacity and competitors' production problems stemming from low maintenance spending through cyclical lows.
The strong position, the security driven growth, the potential for further rationalization and a consolidation of the lock business creates opportunities for a continuous good profit growth.