Peopling Organizations

Tim Hallett, David Shulman and Gary Alan Fine

in The Oxford Handbook of Sociology and Organization Studies

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199535231
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management C

Peopling Organizations

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  • Business and Management
  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour
  • Business History



Interactionists have long focused on what goes on within organizations—thus their scholarly importance as researchers of work. However, they have avoided conceptualizing organizations as such until quite recently. Their primary concerns are the relationships among individuals and how people create meanings and social relations. Structures and institutions, while never denied, receive secondary attention. Interactionists have made their most significant advances studying interpersonal realms, not in their investigations of ‘institutions’ or ‘society’. This article argues that the value of the interactionist approach for organizational research exists in its emphasis on how interaction and meaning provide a foundation for thinking about the constitutive role of people in organizations. The ‘peopled’ perspective of symbolic interaction stands in stark contrast to the ‘un-peopled’ view that has often characterized organizational sociology.

Keywords: organizational sociology; interactionist approach; social relations; organization research; symbolic interaction; people's roles

Article.  10355 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Business History

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