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Jobs as Gordian Knots: A New Perspective Linking Individuals, Tasks, Organizations, and Institutions

The Structuring of Work in Organizations

ISBN: 978-1-78635-436-5, eISBN: 978-1-78635-435-8

ISSN: 0733-558X

Publication date: 17 August 2016

Abstract

Jobs fundamentally influence and are influenced by individuals, organizations, and societies. However, jobs themselves are largely conceptualized in an atomized and disembodied way. They are understood as being designed, altered, and dissolved and bringing their consequences one at a time. I advance an alternative view of jobs as a system of ties that span jobs, organizations, and the environment beyond organizational boundaries. These ties create Gordian Knots that hold jobs in place and explain how they change. I illustrate the model with case study evidence and propose an agenda for research on jobs as organizational systems.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgments

I thank Diane Burton, Marta Elvira, Ruthanne Huising, Rodney Lacey, Anne Miner, Gerardo Okhuysen, Marc-David Seidel, and participants in the Montreal Organizations Writing Workshop (MOWW) and the Wharton People and Organizations conference for comments on this paper.

Citation

Cohen, L.E. (2016), "Jobs as Gordian Knots: A New Perspective Linking Individuals, Tasks, Organizations, and Institutions", The Structuring of Work in Organizations (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 47), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 25-59. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0733-558X20160000047013

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016 Emerald Group Publishing Limited