Perpetuation of Race
Class, and Gender Inequalities Some bureaucracies perpetuate inequalities of race, class, and gender because this form of organizational structure creates a specific type of work or learning environment. This structure was typically created for middle- and upper-middle-class white men, who for many years were the predominant organizational participants.
For people of color, entry into dominant white bureaucratic organizations does not equal actual integration (Feagin. 1991). Instead, many have experienced an internal conflict between the bureaucratic ideals of equal opportunity and fairness and the prevailing norms of discrimination and hostility that exist in many organizations. Research has found that people of color are more adversely affected than dominant group members by hierarchical bureaucratic structures and exclusion from inFormal networks. Like racial inequality. social class divisions may be perpetuated in bureaucracies (Blau and Meyer, 1987). The theory of a "dual labor market- has been developed to explain how social class distinctions are perpetuated through different types of employment Middle- and upper-middle-class employees are more likely to have careers characterized by higher wages. more job security. and opportunities for advancement. By contrast. poor and working-class employees work in occupations characterized by low wages. lack of job I security. and few opportunities (or promotion. The "dual economy" not only reflects but may also perpeluate people's current class position. Gender inequalities are also perpetuated in bureaucracies. Women in traditionarly male organizations may feel more visible and experience greater performance pressure. They may also lind it harder to gain credibility in management positions. Inequality in organizations has many consequences. People who lack opportunities for integration and advancement tend to be pessimistic and to have lower self-esteem. Believing that they have few opportunities. they resign themselves to staying put and surviving at that level. By contrast. those who enjoy full access to organizational opportunities tend to have high aspirations and high self-esteem. They feel loyalty to the organization and typically see their job as a means
for mobility and growth.