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date: 10 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

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

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