Organization work represents the purposeful, reflexive efforts of individuals, collective actors, and networks of actors to shape organizations as social-symbolic objects. This chapter begins the exploration of organization work by examining the history of the organization as a social-symbolic object, and how that history has shaped organization work. Organizations as social-symbolic objects changed dramatically over time, and so the chapter explores the history of the organization, focusing on its transformation in modernity, and then its reformulation in postmodernity. It then conceptualizes organization work: beginning by exploring its discursive, relational, and material dimensions, and then discussing the kinds of actors who might engage in organization work.
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