Communication, Perception, and Power and Influence: Misuse of Organizational Behavior in Titicut Follies

            Titicut Follies (Wiseman, 1967) is an observational documentary which shows the mundane scenes of the interaction among the psychiatrists, guards, inmates, nurses, and social workers at Bridgewater State Hospital in the 1960s. The Bridgewater State Hospital functions as a prison for the mentally insane criminals whose activities are all under surveillance. The system normalizes their behavior to torture the inmates mentally and physically. Moreover, they find pleasure in being expected and encouraged to perform harmful tasks which mark their achievements in the professional career. In the prison culture shown at Bridgewater, scenes selected in this essay are examples of issues regarding communication, perception, and power and influence discussed in MGMT 320 Organizational Behavior. The interactions in Titicut Follies contain misuse of organizational behavior intended to build a healthy environment. In this case it only benefits those in power.
Continue reading

review, visuals

Revisiting Titicut Follies

41ybgz5qhvl-_sx331_bo1204203200_ titicut_follies_cover1

The authenticity of Wiseman’s depictions of the Bridgewater prison is out of the question. Inevitably the minor influence of the camera on Wiseman’s subjects is in fact in this case insignificant, because no matter how the subjects dramatize their behavior, they behave in a way that they want to be perceived under social expectations. Wiseman gives no intervention in his silent shooting of the scenes, strong and eye-opening evidence of the interaction among the guards, inmates, interrogators, psychiatrists, nurses, and social workers, which would otherwise not be seen by the public. Wiseman distinguishes his approach from other documentarians of his time by using a mosaic structure beyond objective chronological accounts of events (Grant, 2006). Named after the inmates’ talent show (meaning Taunton River in the Wampanoag language), this documentary is a valuable record of prison culture in its presentation of a valid microcosm of the state institution in its treatment of the mentally insane criminals in the 1960s.
Continue reading