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Work, human agency and organization forms: an anatomy of fragmentation

Kallinikos, Jannis ORCID: 0000-0002-4446-2878 (2003) Work, human agency and organization forms: an anatomy of fragmentation. Organization Studies, 24 (4). pp. 595-618. ISSN 0170-8406

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0170840603024004005


The article is concerned with the changing premises of human involvement in organizations underlying current employment and labour trends. The appreciation of these trends is placed in the wider historical context signified by the advent of modernity and the diffusion of the bureaucratic form of organizations. The article attempts to dissociate bureaucracy from the dominant connotations of centralized and rigid organizational arrangements. It identifies the distinctive mark of the modern workplace with the crucial fact that it admits human involvement in non-inclusive terms. Modern humans are involved in organizations qua roles rather than qua persons. Innocent as it may seem, the separation of the role from the person has been instrumental to the construction of modern forms of human agency. An organizational anthropology is thereafter outlined based on Gellner’s (1996) conception of “Modular Man”. Modernity and bureaucracy construe human beings as assemblages of relatively independent behavioural modules that can be invoked individually or in combination to respond to the differentiated character of the contemporary world. While the occupational mobility and organizational flexibility currently underway presuppose a model of human agency that recounts basic attributes of the modular human, they at the same time challenge it in some important respects.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © (2003) Sage Publications. Articles available via LSE Research Articles Online are protected under intellectual property law, including copyright law. Any use made of the contents should comply with the relevant law. Stable URL for specific article:
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 19 May 2005
Last Modified: 19 May 2024 07:30

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