Environmental structuring of interaction in a total institution - its measurement and effects on consensus of role conceptions



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Two main thrusts have developed in this paper. The first has been an application of Barker's (1968) behavior setting survey method to the study of organizations. This initial discussion has dealt with the application of this technique to an organization classed as a total institution, as Goffman (1961) uses the term. A number of concepts which can be used to characterize the organizational members' experience of the organization have been derived from the data generated by the behavior setting survey. The second thrust of the paper has been to relate these characterizations of experience to consensus among the organizational members. The discussion of consensus was limited by the nature of the data to two of the consensus spheres pointed out by Etzioni (1961), those being consensus on performance obligations and consensus on cognitive perspectives. The feasibility of the technical application of the method has been demonstrated both here and elsewhere (LeCompte, 1969). The initial data reported here indicate that much of conceptualization which members reported could be related to their experiences as structures by the environment of the hospital.



Organizations, Institutions