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Organizations, occupations and the structuration of work

The Transformation of Work

ISBN: 978-0-76230-766-1, eISBN: 978-1-84950-097-5

Publication date: 14 March 2001


Since the late 1950s and early 1960s, the study of organizations and occupations, although linked, in principle, as subfields, have become, in practice, increasingly disconnected. Organizational theory has tended to concentrate on higher level theorizing about the design and operation of governance structures while research on occupations has continued to be informed by more contextually sensitive investigations of occupational interaction in concrete work situations. Drawing on a study of how resource recycling practices spread across colleges and universities, we argue for re-uniting the study of occupations and organizations through a focus on what we call the structuration of work. We track how the rationalization of recycling practices through system wide social movements and professional associations enabled the emergence of a new occupation of recycling coordinators in the field of higher education. We use the case of resource recycling in colleges and universities to illustrate how field-level processes and lower-level occupational actions in organizations are mutually constitutive and shape the social organization of work.


Lounsbury, M. and Kaghan, W.N. (2001), "Organizations, occupations and the structuration of work", Vallas, S. (Ed.) The Transformation of Work (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 25-50.



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