Human Resource Management revised
Title of your Article (always use title capitalization)-don’t bold.
Drug gangs present in today’s world contribute to the degradation of communities and the society at large. They are responsible for the increase in violent behavior in individuals both young and old in the community. These drug gangs are dedicated to the sale and distribution of the illegal drugs subject to the laws of drug prohibition. In as much as drug gangs are detrimental to the society due to its vast negative impacts, these drug gangs most often than not are run similar to most companies that carry out legitimate businesses. This paper’s purpose is to draw similarities between a doctor’s clinic where I work and the drug gangs described by Venkatesh in his book “Gang Leader for a Day” focusing on the social and economic processes in the daily running of said clinic. This paper will compare my views as a sociological participant observer of the work of a receptionist in a medical clinic focusing on the social and economic environment to those of the Black Kings drug gang in Venkatesh’s book.
The medical clinic that I work in is a relatively small practice when compared to other large practices. The chain of command is rather short due to the small number of staff available to the practice. The physician is the head of the organization, and he also doubles as the chief administrator of the practice (Physicians Practice). His primary roles include overseeing the running of the clinic, to diagnose and treat the patients, and also managing the financial matters of the clinic including paying the staff. Under him is a couple of nurses whose roles include administering medication to the patients and also caring for the admitted patients. At the bottom of the chain is the receptionist to the clinic whose primary role is to keep a record of the patients who come seeking treatment at the clinic, create a schedule for the physician regarding the appointments and consultations he has due, and bill the patients who have received treatment. The organizational structure enables the allocation of functions and responsibilities to various entities of the company like the department, branch, smaller workgroups, and finally the individual. This process of delegation is paramount in the efficient running of the organization.
The clinic is also involved in activities that give back to the community. In any organization, the essence of conducting community involvement and Corporate Social Responsibility is primary in establishing the company’s image in society (Hond p.24). Among the CSR activities that the clinic participates in are giving free check-ups to members of the community who cannot afford the checkups, creating a platform to spread awareness about general health practices in the community, and also offering free consultations from time to time.
Some of the social processes present at the medical clinic environment include competition, cooperation, socialization, and conflict. The aspect of socialization occurs on a daily basis as all employees exchange pleasantries every morning, during briefings between the physician and the staff, between the incoming patients and the receptionist during the signing in procedure and many more interactions. There is also cooperation among all the employees as everyone has to do their bit to ensure the clinic functions at a professional standard. Competition is primary among the nurses because every one of them wants to prove their worth to the physician. Conflict, on the other hand, is quite unavoidable because there are some instances when the employees and at times patients become hostile due to the high pressure at the workplace. These conflicts are mostly dealt with via dialogue and applying accommodation by the parties that are affected.
In chapter three of “Gang Leader for a Day”, Sudhir learns that it is the work of the gang to keep peace in the territory it commands. The gang spoke with the woman that had her daughter raped and also stopped her when she was throwing liquor bottles at the presumed culprit. The reason for the gang’s involvement is because the culprit was not responsible for infecting the young girl with an S.T.D and thus when she became violent, the gang had to intervene. A second scenario to consider is while Sudhir was talking to the Johnson brothers and a fight ensued between a customer and one of the brothers due to the issue of overcharging the customer. In this case, T-Bone, a gang member gave Kris, one of the brothers, 25 dollars to solve the problem. In this second scenario, the gang is perceived as a channel to solve disputes rather than involving the police. These two scenarios of how the gangs intervene during problems within its territory are similar to how the clinic handles its in-house problems. In a legitimate business environment, the Human Resource department is responsible for making sure that the welfare and the relations of the employees are positive. In the case of my work environment as a receptionist in a clinic, the Human resource department is not available due to the small nature of the clinic. The doctor who owns the practice, however, is responsible for solving in-house problems that occur and creating a working environment that is peaceful and suitable for the daily running of the clinic.
Some of the social processes present in the gang’s work environment are similar to those present in my workplace. The major ones include socialization, conflict, and cooperation. The aspect of socialization is clear when J.T. met with some of his crew members every morning at the Hamburger Heaven to discuss the priorities for the day and delegate duties (Venkatesh p117). Cooperation, on the other hand, was the backbone of the drug gang. The street-level peddlers had to work in groups to sell the drugs and hence move inventory. Conflicts were unavoidable because of the nature of work in the drug business. Most of the conflicts revolved around the junior members and included either cases of disrespect or when two members of rival gangs had a liking for one girl. J.T. had to intervene in such scenarios because if fights brought about a death in the project, it would result in the involvement of the police in the matter.
In chapter 4, the head of the gang, J.T, considers himself as the C.E.O of an organization. He fancies himself a leader and philanthropist because he quit his mainstream job in Chicago to move back to the projects and use the proceeds from the drug gang he heads to help others. He gave money to local centers for the youth to buy computers and sporting equipment. He also volunteered his gang members to the community leaders who in turn tasked them with escorting the elderly in the community on errands (Venkatesh p.115). His members were also responsible for beating up domestic abusers resulting in the shunning of such behavior in the community. J.T. also made it a mandate that his drug gang members go to high-school, get a diploma, and avoid using drugs. In his perspective, the drug economy was primary to the community because it helped in the redistribution of money from the pockets of the drug addicts back into the projects through the philanthropic efforts of the gangs. This idea of philanthropy is similar to what companies call Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Community Involvement. The clinic is also involved in activities of CSR through giving free consultations and free check-ups to members of the community thus showing similarity to the philanthropy of the drug gangs.
The Black Kings gang also has a hierarchy in its organizational structure to help in the smooth running of day to day activities. Black Kings, like other drug gangs, maintained a relatively small class of leadership. At the top is the board of directors comprised of 24 men who oversaw all the Chicago neighborhoods controlled by the Black Kings, managed the drug revenues, and also oversaw the functions of the region C.E.O’s like J.T. Under the board of directors were the deferent regional C.E.O’s whose work was to motivate and coordinate the troops through the times of peace and war. Under him are a small number of officers; several enforcers, a treasurer, a coordinator of security, and finally directors who are lesser-paid and primarily manage a team of six members each that did the selling of the drugs in the street-level. This kind of hierarchy in the organizational structure of the Black Kings’ drug business is quite similar to that of the clinic because the clinic also has a chief administrator and the command chain flows linearly down to the receptionist at the bottom of the command structure. These types of structure enable those at the top to delegate various tasks to different individuals in both scenarios and thus helps in improving efficiency.
In the book “Gang Leader for a Day”, Sudhir got a chance to be the head of the gang for an entire day. He got to encounter the dilemmas that a C.E.O encounters in his or her day to day running of an organization. He had to find a way to delegate the activities to some of the gang members like the cleaning o Ms. Bailey’s building to Moochie’s group and even judge the dispute between Billy and Otis resulting in his decision that Otis should be punished. In the underground economy, on the other hand, tenant leaders like Ms. Bailey got a cut from the activities that were carried out in her building. She acted as a local IRS and the people who ran businesses like daycares and cutting hair in the apartments had to pay her a fee. This practice is quite similar to what happens to the medical receptionists at the clinics as they too have to pay the government taxes through the Internal Revenue Service.
In conclusion, drug gangs have their cons when it comes to what they portray in society. They may also have some pros like maintaining peace in the territories they control and even getting involved with the community through philanthropy. When the working environments of gangs are compared those of a clinic, gangs and the clinic where I work at tend to have several elements that are similar when it comes to hierarchy, social processes, and general management.
“Chapter 4.” Gang Leader For A Day. Wikispaces. 5 Dec 2015. https://gangleader.wikispaces.com/Chapter+4
Hond, Frank Den. Managing Corporate Social Responsibility in Action Talking, Doing and Measuring. Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate, 2007. Print.
“Physicians Practice” Establishing the Chain of Command at your Medical Practice. Physicians Practice, June 2012.Web. 8 Dec 2015. http://www.physicianspractice.com/staff/establishing-chain-command-your-medical-practice
Venkatesh, Sudhir. Gang Leader for a Day. New York Times, Penguin Books, 2008.