Observation, Differentiation, Hierarchy, and Patterns


After careful reflection on the assigned readings, post a thoughtful response to the following prompt.

Among the areas in which your sociological theory and research skills may be useful, human resource management (AKA: Personnel) offers much promise. This week's readings may orient you toward building skills in this and other professions that will allow you to use your sociological knowledge and skills. They provide a totally different orientation toward hierarchies and stratification than the overarching theories of Marx, Durkheim, and Weber -- although Durkheim's division of labor anticipates the modern organization as does Weber's bureaucracy.

For this week's discussion, observe people at work in a supermarket, drug store, department store, the college library, the cafeteria -- perhaps just a department rather than the entire store. Spend some time with this. Take notes. What are the key positions? Who seems to follow directions from whom? What are the actual tasks performed? What does the "mini-hierarchy" look like? Are women and men equally distributed across all positions?

Draw a diagram to share if you can, like the diagram in Chander's article or in the article by Walters of jobs in a supermarket. Who is the manager? Is he or she also the owner? What knowledge, skills, and abilities contribute to differences in authority, status, and pay?


You won't be able to address all of the questions, but share enough to give a sense of the hierarchy and management.

Sample Answer