Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Moral Mazes: The World of Corporate Managers 20th Anniversary ed. Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199729883
ISBN-10: 0199729883
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$13.50 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$15.93 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
36 New from $11.93 40 Used from $2.20
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
$15.93 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Moral Mazes: The World of Corporate Managers
  • +
  • The Labor of Luck: Casino Capitalism in the United States and South Africa
  • +
  • Fast Food, Fast Talk: Service Work and the Routinization of Everyday Life
Total price: $74.63
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Some books have the rare fortune to become ever more relevant, more useful, and more interesting twenty years after they were written. This books fortune involves a kind of misfortune, because the phenomena that Moral Mazes analyzes are deplorable, and we would wish that the book were no longer relevant. Originally published in 1989, Moral Mazes has been supplemented for this second edition with a long analysis of how the 'organized irresponsibility' Jackall analyzed in the 1980s has become the key to understanding our current Great Recession. ... I can think of no single book that has more opened up my sense of how to do philosophy in the last year."--Philosophical Practice


"An interesting, unorthodox, and provocative book.... Better than any other I have seen, [Jackall's] study reveals the normative reality of the manager's world."-Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr., Yale Journal on Regulation


"Reformers who want to change the corporation, first must understand it. Robert Jackall's carefully researched analysis of the 'bureaucratic ethos' is one place to
begin."--Ethikos


"A finely honed tour of an odyssey of moral transformation, in which the actors themselves remain largely unaware of the nature of their journey. It is a brilliant work."--Troy Duster, New York University


About the Author

Robert Jackall is the Willmott Family Third Century Professor of Sociology & Public Affairs, Williams College; author of Image Makers: Advertising, Public Relations, and the Ethos of Advocacy (Chicago, 2000), Wild Cowboys: Urban Marauders & the Forces of Order (Harvard, 1997), and Street Stories: The World of Police Detectives (Harvard, 2005).
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 20th Anniversary ed. edition (December 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199729883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199729883
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.9 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #475,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Moral Mazes" is an extensive, award-winning and highly accurate sociological portrait of life in the modern corporation, an academic precursor, so to speak, of the "Dilbert" cartoon strip. Unlike many other writers on this topic, Jackall doesn't resort to Marxist rants, but rather, compares modern corporate culture to the "Protestant" work ethic most Americans are raised into.
Jackall's inquiry, based on in-depth interviews with managers themselves, is broad in scope, and it is hard to generalize. Within about 200 pages, he covers the social circles of the corporation, cronyism, bad decisionmaking and public relations, to name a few. He discovers that corporations, at the upper levels at least, resemble a king's court more than a meritocratic organization. The essential work of a manager is not "management" or "leadership," but constantly making the right friends and adopting the correct posture. Anyone who has worked in such a setting, or knows people in such a field, will be able to relate instantly, although it can be argued that Jackall did not need to spend years of ethnographic research to reach this conclusion.
This book is not for everyone, as Jackall must conclude that "ethics" as practiced by managers is nothing more than "survival" and ambition for one's own "advantage." While such a diagnosis may seem harsh, it is difficult to rationally explain recent events in the marketplace, such as the Enron scandal, without concluding that corporate executives have a moral compass that differs from that of the everyday person.
Contrary to what a layman may think, Jackall makes no moral judgments of his own, although readers most certainly will. The title itself can be misinterpreted by people not familiar with sociology.
Read more ›
Comment 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This book ought to be required reading for all MBA candidates and would be corporate middle managers as an intro into the sad and dysfunctional but real corporate world. In numerous scenes that will be instantly familiar to anyone who has worked at a Fortune 200 firm the book recounts numerous instances of failed and misdirected management. Depressing because it reveals the underbelly of corporate America and capitalism but readable in its accurate portrayal. Occasionally at times slow (particularly towards the end when he presumably is tired of writing) it does a clinical autopsy on management. Like watching a train wreck you are compelled to keep reading even as you realize the denouement. If you think that ignorance is bliss - give this a miss - on the other hand, if you are a frustrated idealist and need proof that in order for evil to overcome good, good only has to do nothing, it is worth the investment. An excellent primer on why we need ethics courses but more importantly ethical actions.
Comment 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
American culture claims to value individuality, risk-taking, team work, straight talk, and personal responsibility. American business culture pays lip service to these values, too, but it actually rewards conformity, sucking up, self-promotion, euphemism, cronyism, expediency, and, above all else, having the knack for never never never being associated with a bad decision or a failure. "Moral Mazes" explores and exposes these contradictions in lipsmacking detail. The author is a sociologist, and he did a great deal of field research for this book. He wraps his argument in the jargon of social science. But, in reality, he's a satirist and an acute observer of the human comedy, like a modern Veblen or Mills. His book is very good, but I suspect it's a bit unfair to corporate managers, who do, after all, make useful widgets and other things from time to time.

Memory lane: I was the manager of a chain bookstore for eight months after I graduated from college. Our CEO visited one day, not long after he had summarily fired 30 percent of the managers in the Los Angeles area in order to terrorize the survivors. While inspecting my store, he paid close attention to the magazine racks. We had a normal assortment of periodicals: news magazines, sports mags, skin rags (Playboy and Penthouse, but not Hustler), womens' journals, biker mags, etc. After a long and careful scrutiny of the mix, the CEO pronounced his verdict: "This store needs more porn." So we put out Hustlers. The CEO had an MBA from Harvard. The chain went bankrupt about 10 years later. That made me glad.
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
An outstanding book.

Jackall correctly discerns that in the corporate world of bureaucratic double-speak, "details are pushed down, and credit is pulled up." Without prejudice or malice, he ably shreds the myths of corporate excellence, accountability and supposed work ethic.

As a corporate middle manager, I cannot recommend this book enough to those about to enter, or who have newly entered into the corporate world. It should be a bible to those who are determined to stay in the corporate world, and an encouragement for those looking to jump ship.
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert Jackall is a sociologist by profession, currently teaching at Williams College. His book was originally published in the late ‘80’s, based on his research of corporate life which was conducted earlier in the decade. It has recently been reissued, most fittingly so, as a “twentieth anniversary edition,” with an additional 20 page chapter entitled “Moral Mazes and the Great Recession.” In this chapter Jackall demonstrates how many of the characteristics of corporate life, in particular, the expedient and contextual value systems, that he identified in the early ‘80’s were operative in both causing the “financial meltdown” of 2008, as well as in the reaction to it. He credits a noble predecessor, C. Wright Mills, for originating the phrase “organized irresponsibility” in describing corporate life, which certainly was most operative in the explanations for the financial disaster: no one was responsible, it was a “Tsunami,” and we had no idea it was coming.

In the introduction to his original book, Jackall states that his objective is to answer the following question: “What rules do people fashion to interact with one another when they feel that, instead of ability, talent, and dedicated service to an organization, politics, adroit talk, luck, connections, and self-promotion are the real sorters of people into sheep and goats?” For a work by a sociologist, his is a bit of an outlier: no tables or graphs to bolster a “scientific, quantitative approach.” And I think it is all the better for it. He lays out his methodology at the beginning, and admits that the vast majority of corporations that he approached refused to let him conduct his research.
Read more ›
2 Comments 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Moral Mazes: The World of Corporate Managers
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
This item: Moral Mazes: The World of Corporate Managers