Saturday, August 06, 2011

Stephen Krasner on decoupling

From Conversation with Stephen D. Krasner:

"I got the title from one of my colleagues, John Meyer, who is a sociologist at Stanford. This is actually a common concept in sociology: decoupling. The idea is that norms can be decoupled from behavior. The standard story would be something like the following. Your business: if you go to the bank to get a loan, you have to have a business plan. If you don't have a business plan, people will not take you seriously. But everybody knows you're not going to follow the business plan. So you have a set of rules, you have to behave in a certain way, but everybody knows that at some level it's not what's going to drive your behavior. You have to have a vice president for technology, but if it's some eighteen-year-old computer science major at Berkeley, no one will take you seriously. So the eighteen-year-old may actually be running your technology but you better have some thirty- or thirty-five-year-old out there with a formal title.

There are lots of situations. International relations, and life in general, is complex. We have these rules. The rules may work some of the time; often, they don't. So organized hypocrisy is in some sense inherent. I wasn't kidding when I said it's part of life, not just international relations."

He was talking about his book "Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy" reviewd here.

Here Prof. John Meyer discusses how he and Brian Rowan came up with the idea of decoupling and John W. Meyer and Brian Rowan paper
The Structure of Educational Organizations ( Also and, and a more recent discussion by another Meyer and Rowan

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