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From Freemasons to Industrious Patriots - Assignment Example

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The level of disciplinization in these organizations was more strict and rigorous with formal initiation procedures and estate…
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From Freemasons to Industrious Patriots
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1. What are the main arguments outlined in the paper?  The paper has Alfred Kieser discussing key arguments to evaluate the change in freemason organizations of the past and modern organizations. The main arguments are as follows:
Freemason organizations were built on spiritual and religious ethics of discipline that were characteristic to the Mason Cult in the ancient times. The level of disciplinization in these organizations was more strict and rigorous with formal initiation procedures and estate structures grounded in tradition.
Kieser observes that with time, the Mason Cult had to let go of the rigorous traditions to keep up with changing society and environmental conditions and allow more transparency in between estates. He agrees with Weber that letting go of traditional rules and introducing more rational ones was an indication of modernization that marked the middle ages. Sticking to the German context, the author shows that with time, freemasons were allowed to inculcate elite practices as joining reading book clubs, improving drinking habits and recognizing organizational discipline.
The author also studies that modernization of organizational culture began in two waves, one in 1760 and the other in 1790s with the establishment of patriotic societies which had strong influence in decision making process of the governmental bodies of the states, in spite of poor number of members in the 50 to 60 such groups found all through Germany. This was the beginning of modern organizations wherein the philosophy of the organization was more important than self discipline, patriotism or ethical practices.
According to Kieser, people who follow organizational discipline in modern day organizations, fail to recognize the need of learning new and individualistic working styles and disciplines. This is in stark contrast to the rational approach seen in freemasons of the middle ages and is indicative of work culture stagnation. This is also directly in contrast with the modern culture of social progress.
Writer suggests that instead of resorting to this new kind of iron cage, the employees must go for multi-societal memberships to develop more complete self discipline and industrious patriotism that is devoid of single organizational dominance.
2. What are the differences between early freemason organizations and modern organizations? What has changed?
The early freemason organizations comprised low classes of the society including manual laborers, small time vendors and believers of traditional Mason cult. The practices used by these organizations were based on ethical and spiritual philosophies. They were dedicated to achieving spiritual goals like establishing personal standards of discipline and extending them to contribution to society.
Modern organizations on the contrary are based on economic and societal philosophies and are more focused on achieving worldly goals like growth of business, economic growth, societal development and similar goals.
Freemasons were against members of one estate joining other estates in the neighborhood. In modern organizations, multiple memberships in different organizations is encouraged to ensure that the individual is able to contribute maximally to society.
The factor that has gone amiss is the reliance on ethical practices and a focus on self development. Individual lifestyles are so governed by the organizational discipline that people have forgotten that other than what is being taught to them, there are other aspects to their personalities that remain to be discovered and used in societal transformation. Economic philosophies cannot guarantee personal disciplinization as well as spiritual philosophies can.
Full Reference in Harvard Format:
Kieser, Alfred. (1998) From Freemasons to Industrious Patriots. Organizing and Disciplining in 18th Century Germany. Organization Studies 19:47. Sage: California. Link URL: (Accessed on 5th September, 2014)
Summary of main arguments/points:
The writer assesses the steady development of freemason culture to modern day organizations through different stages as seen in 18th century Germany. He uses thoughts and preaching of eminent writers and organization thinkers to back his arguments that while broadening perspectives through multiple organization affiliations is good in modern day organizations, the lack of ethical philosophy at the core of organizational discipline is not a great idea. He emphasizes that self disciplinization and originality are reduced in members of modern organizations due to set standards of performance and disciplinary expectations.
Useful quotations:
The freedom in secrecy becomes the secret of freedom – Koselleck, 1976
The emancipation of citizenship developed stepwise from the most secret inner
space of the mind and the heart to the secret inner space of the lodges to the civic
society and to the public sphere. (Contiades 1968: 142)
Behaviour in sports and behaviour in production reflected
each other (Eichberg 1978: 300).
The fictitious references to tradition that were built into the rituals facilitated the internalization of these new forms of behaviour. (Kieser, 1998: 58)
Key References to follow up
Contiades, Ion 1968 Nachwort in Gotthold Ephraim Lessing: Ernst und Falk, mit den Fortsetzungen Johann Gottfried Herders und Friedrich Schlegels. I. Contiades (ed.), 127-157. Frankfurt am Main: Insel.
Koselleck, Reinhart 1976 Kritik und Krise. Zur Pathogenese der btirgerlichen Welt, 2nd Ed.
Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp
Weber, Max 1978 Economy and society: An outline of interpretive sociology, edited by G.
Roth and C. Wittich. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Weber, Max 1987 The sociology of religion, 4th Ed. Boston: Beacon.
Things that I didn’t understand:
The article is thoroughly researched and written in easy to understand English. Therefore, I found all concepts to my understanding.
Things that seemed surprising or interesting:
The initiation ritual in the Mason cult and Patriotic societies.
Words I didn’t know:
Pedagogues, disciplinization Read More
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