Organization: A development of the interactionist perspective.

  • Bryan James Johnson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The sources and bases of a growing critique of the 'established orthodoxy' of organizational analysis are identified and discussed, and an alternative framework - derived from the perspective and method of interactionism - proposed for the study of organization. Following a consideration of the historical origins of the interactionist approach in sociology, and an introduction to the basic model of social life implicit within the tradition, an attempt is made to apply the concepts and ideas to the specific task of understanding organization. The particular development of the interactionist perspective as represented by the work of Strauss et al (1963) and which led to his conceptualisation of the organization as 'negotiated order' is then outlined and discussed, and an assessment made of the relevance and usefulness, the strengths and weaknesses of the model, through analysis of case material drawn from a study of factory management. The conclusion that the negotiated order model does not fully or properly work out the implications of the essentially processual viewpoint on organization that it represents, leads to the suggestion of a further development of the perspective to overcome some of the particular difficulties associated with understanding organization in these terms. Introduction of the concepts of power and influence provide the means for the further development of the perspective, and for the construction of a 'micropolitical' model of organization - which, it is argued on the basis of some further discussion of case material, enhances our understanding and appreciation of the organizational process.
Date of Award1982
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

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