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    Relevant sociological literature Essay

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    Reflecting on your own personal experience, discuss the ways in which group membership has influenced you in ways you now regret. Support your analysis by making reference to relevant sociological literature drawn from the first three weeks of the course, almost all of which should be useful. For the purpose of this question this essay will focus on a particular period in my life when I was employed as a Business Manager at Ikea. It is important in the initial part of the paper to give a broad overview of the organisational culture and structure.

    The next section will cover the connections between the organisation and the types of groups discussed in the Sociology course. We will then move onto consider the group that I was a part of, and assess how this affected both my own and colleagues behaviour (whilst in the group environment and outside the group setting). Finally we will look at any regrets I felt due to being directly influenced by the group. The Ikea organisation is a well-known global company that sells home furnishings.

    Ikea’s founder – Ingvar Kamprad developed the organisation from humble beginnings in his hometown of Smi?? land (a poor county in the southern part of Sweden) in 1943 (http://www. anpro. co. uk/ 08/11/03). Culture is (in sociological terms) aspects, which are learned rather than inherited, elements shared by members of society that allow co-operation and communication. Culture is also diverse across many countries and what may be acceptable in the east may not been seen as appropriate in western society and vice versa. (Giddens, 2001:22-24). IKEA has a strong cultural identity.

    The values that are practiced today at every level of Ikea are based on the principles that have been nurtured from the beginning by Ingvar’s own personal way of life. Some of these include; equality, empowerment, simplicity a focus on humbleness, value, openness and the Ikea family (Ikea Intranet). Ikea (in 1999) had a total of 143 stores in 22 countries around the world within each store the staffing structure was quite flat in terms of hierarchy (see Fig 1). The next part of this paper will move onto look the group of IKEA and its sub divisions in terms of how they relate to sociological groups.

    The whole assemblage of Ikea is enormous, in physical number of persons belonging, so taking a narrower view we will focus on one store, the store where I worked Ikea – Gateshead. The cultural values that are introduced to each new employee (and then re-enforced at regular intervals throughout their employment in the form of daily meetings, training sessions, days away, visiting the homeland in Sweden) can be aligned to the large-scale indoctrination of such groups similar to that of the Seekers (Jonestown 1978 http://jonestown. sdsu. edu/ 12/11/03).

    In both cases the methods of keeping such large groups together can be correlated in many ways. Re-enforcement of values and way of life of the group Jargon used to defeat the sceptics amongst the group members, Ikea used such terms as 1″trust the process” when a question was raised about a particular prospective problem, just as Jim Jones imposed thought terminating slogans on his followers should they question his or their own belief. The long-term members and most persuasive characters were in positions of power.

    They would intervene in any sub-division of the family norm that may be seen as causing waves e. g. a “click” of new employees (of which I was a member) would talk together and discuss the frustrations of working the Ikea way, it was then that an intervention would take place and we would all be spoken to individually about going against the norm and each of us warned that it was best to detach ourselves from this “rebel” group. Although the ideologies of Jim Jones was poles apart from that of Ingvar Kamprad, how they attain the commitment and maintain the continued togetherness of the group was remarkable similar.

    My role in Ikea was that of a Business Manager, during my initial induction I spent 3 months in various departments learning the “Ikea way” and appreciating my colleagues different roles and responsibilities. As with The Japanese Model where in Japanese organisations managers entering a firm would spend their 1st year in various departments. (Giddens, 2001:363). This type of process engendered equality and encouraged communication across the store both vertically and horizontally. Therefore not forming Weber’s pyramid of authority, with each level only being responsible for the one below (Giddens, 2001) instead all co-workers were integrated.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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