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Constructing Organizational LifeHow Social-Symbolic Work Shapes Selves, Organizations, and Institutions$
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Thomas B. Lawrence and Nelson Phillips

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198840022

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198840022.001.0001

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Organization Work

Organization Work

Chapter:
(p.115) 5 Organization Work
Source:
Constructing Organizational Life
Author(s):

Thomas B. Lawrence

Nelson Phillips

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198840022.003.0005

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.

Keywords:   organization, organization work, modernity, postmodernity, discourse, relationality, materiality, actors, agency

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