How Durkheim's Theory of Meaning-Making Influenced Organizational Sociology
Oxford Handbook of Sociology and Organization Studies: Classical Foundations, Paul S Adler. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009
34 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2013 Last revised: 19 Jun 2013
Date Written: 2009
Émile Durkheim’s Division of Labor has palpably influenced students of organizations, occupations, and stratification. Chapter 11, by Paul Hirsch, Peer Fiss, and Amanda Hoel-Green, documents that influence by exploring his contribution to our understanding of the global division of labor. In this chapter I examine the influence of Durkheim’s theory of meaning on organizational sociology, which has taken a cultural turn since the late 1970s with the rise of the new institutional theory (Meyer and Rowan, 1977, Dimaggio and Powell, 1983) and organizational culture theory (Barley and Kunda, 1992, Schein, 1996). As the founder of the cultural approach in sociology, Durkheim might well have won credit for the cultural turn in organizational analysis. But while he is frequently cited for his influence on micro-level constructionists and symbolic interactionists, such as Erving Goffman (1974) and Karl Weick (1995), he is rarely cited by social constructionists who study organizations (but see Dobbin 2004).
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