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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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Introduction to Constructing Organizational Life

Introduction to Constructing Organizational Life

(p.3) 1 Introduction to Constructing Organizational Life
Constructing Organizational Life

Thomas B. Lawrence

Nelson Phillips

Oxford University Press

This chapter develops the arguments that underpin the rest of the book, and introduces the three forms of social-symbolic work explored in greater detail in subsequent chapters. It begins by exploring the possibility of social-symbolic work that is rooted in the historical changes associated with the transitions to modernity and postmodernity. It then develops the concept of social-symbolic work, explaining its roots in studies of social structure and agency, identifying its three key dimensions—discursive, relational, and material—and introducing three key forms of social-symbolic work (self work, organization work, institutional work). Finally, it presents a process model of social-symbolic work that guides the analysis of the different forms of social-symbolic work.

Keywords:   social-symbolic work, social-symbolic objects, agency, modernity, postmodernity, social structure, discourse, relationality, materiality

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