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A Model of Human Motivation for Sociology

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Jacob Alsted

Many macro-sociologists have insufficient understanding of the roots of human motivation and this seriously hampers the effort to build theoretical models of society, social organisations and social change. The aim of this work is to remedy this deficiency. In this book, a model of motivation is constructed in order to demonstrate how it can improve our understanding of society. The aim here is an integration of concepts from psychology and sociology. Furthermore, it is the aim to clearly demonstrate that such a model adds new insights to our understanding of society. It can enrich key concepts used for analysis of meso- and macro-level phenomena. The author argues that the model of motivation can increase our understanding of, on the macro-level, the history of the state and, on the meso-level, dynamics in organisations.

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3. Meso-Level Problems 51

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CHAPTER 3 Meso-Level Problems The problems of macro-sociology outlined above are, not surprisingly, also found in many theories of organisational and group behaviour. This chapter will treat two aspects of meso-level theory: 1. The structure of groups and organisations 2. The direction and character of organisational change Each of the two aspects has distinctive features and problems of its own, although these are all related to the problems sketched above. The Structure of Organisations Theorising about the social structure of organisations is as important as theorising about the structure of society. The reasons for this are not unlike those stated in the previous chapter. To understand organisations, organisational theorists must have an idea of the general elements of organisations. As a consequence, most organisational theory assumes that there are some basic characteristics that all organisations share. Among these characteristics is the 'structure' of organisations. In organisational theory the term 'structure,' however, conveys several different meanings. It is often unclear how the term is to be understood and on what level it operates. This section aims to clarify this confusion. Three different meanings of the structure of organisations will be treated: 1. Structure as formal structure 2. Structure as informal structure 3· Structure as motivational structure 52. Meso-Level Problems The question to be answered is: what are the basic structural elements of social inter- action and thus of groups and organisations? I will argue that to answer this question, one must demonstrate what emotional requirements an organisation must fulfil to...

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