Salary surveys as institutional myth: ritual, validity, reality

Richard J. Herzog
2009 International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior  
The use of dialectics and social construction theory can help expose rationalized institutional myths used to create useable knowledge. This discussion presents a popular technique, advocated and used among public officials when establishing pay scales, called a salary survey. Salary surveys appear rational because they use logical positivist (quantitative) methods to illustrate a "truth" that is actually "symbolic." This process is institutionalized when pay discussions and decisions are
more » ... ed to proceed on the basis of salary surveys. Salary surveys take on the role of myth when they become accepted by officials as an "objective reality" without a thorough examination of the biases and assumptions. This study uses the ritual, validity, reality dialectic to illustrate how administrators construct and shape reality through social interaction. Through this dialectic, some officials may want to question their acceptance of salary survey practices and consider the recommendations offered in this article.
doi:10.1108/ijotb-12-02-2009-b002 fatcat:kujsgk4jb5duxpcfuijsofi6ri