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MAINTAINING SOCIAL ORDER IN A SITUATION OF ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES (ON THE EXAMPLE OF A MEDICAL COMMUNITY)

Elena Bogomiagkova (elfrolova@yandex.ru), Kirill Ivashchenko

Saint Petersburg University, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Citation: Bogomiagkova E., Ivashchenko K. (2019) Problema podderzhaniya sotsial'nogo poryadka v situatsii organizatsionnykh izmeneniy (na primere meditsinskogo soobshchestva) [Maintaining social order in a situation of organizational changes (on the example of a medical community)]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 22(1): 66–89 (in Russian). https://doi.org/10.31119/jssa.2019.22.1.4

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Abstract. This article approaches the issue of maintaining social order in terms of organizational changes. The department of the military medical institution has been used as an example. Having faced the necessity to be divided into two parts — one moved to the civil hospital and the other to another location within the same institution — the study medical community experienced a ‘breakdown’ of social order. The research interest was focused on the subculture of the professional group as well as on the outcomes of this ‘breakdown’ and methods of restoration used by medical professionals in their new work environment. This research is based on a number of sociological and anthropological theories of organizational and professional cultures, and on Garfinkel’s concept of social order revisited by A. Korbut. Empirical base consists of interviews with 9 medical professionals before and after the organizational changes. This study draws important conclusions about the specific nature of the study occupational community. When the informants described workplace, the commonly used the metaphorical image of ‘home’. The informants mentioned different behavioral habits among colleagues, which cannot be reflected on or logically explained, and which turned out to be explicit due to the organizational changes. The main difference between the new workplace and the old one lies in transition from the ‘everyday life’ mode to the ‘awareness’ mode, meaning that the routine actions and workflow lost their ‘naturalness’ and ’normality’. This included the following: 1) maintaining connections with other departments of the Academy and interpersonal relationships between colleagues; 2) holding conferences on the everyday basis and paying attention to one’s workplace and work environment; 3) holding onto some in-group beliefs and sticking to certain work traditions and rituals; 4) restoring conventional working practices. Thus, we draw conclusion that, in their everyday routine, professionals follow not external or imposed norms (such as medical education, regulations and protocols), but rather they rely on situational and local ‘normality’ of their colleagues’ behavior, which provides predictability and mutual understanding and, as a result, constitutes social order.

Keywords: Occupational community, medical community, social order, medical culture, professional culture, interview.

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