Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies at the U.S. Army War College; 29-year veteran of the U.S. Army
In Part 2 of our episode on Selznick’s TVA and the Grass Roots, we discuss its implications on contemporary organizational studies. In many ways, the story of TVA mirrors those of many other grass-roots style operations that have taken place since. The “cooptative mechanism” Selznick identified, whereby power or the burdens of power are shared and co-evolve, showed the relevance of political relations in the legitimacy that organizations—particularly public ones—strive for in order to operate.
Philip Selznick's classic 1949 book, TVA and the Grass Roots: A Study in the Sociology of Formal Organization contributed to his theory of organization. The TVA -- the Tennessee Valley Authority -- was formed to foster recovery from the Great Depression. But its very existence was controversial as it sat uncomfortably between public and private sectors, and between the federal and state levels of government. What were the challenges the TVA faced and how did this story contribute to Selznick’s theory?
How does our assessment of how one "wins" drive us to throwing social competitions, and thus the social contract, out of balance? And even if the social contract is fixed, how can we prevent other forms of injustice from working their way in?
This episode expands on the previous episode to explain the influences of power and communication over the competitive environment. What are the characteristics of the strategies used to shape such competition and what effects do they have on the social contract?
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Creator Details

Carlisle, Pennsylvania, United States of America
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
4 days, 20 hours
Podchaser Creator ID logo 092265