Manna from Heaven: The Exuberance of Food as a Topic for Research in Management and Organization

Sage Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Human Relations, 2008, 61 (7), pp. 935 - 963
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Organizations have, in the past, often been discussed as if they were Cartesian mentalities, planning agendas, learning from doing, processing information, reducing equivocality, mimicking and copying, floating disembodiedly apart from the actors who work in these organizations. We are offered representations of organizations as organically grounded metaphors that minimize the biological facticity of employees: namely, their need for food. While the inputs to organizations conceived as if they were quasi-systems are well explored, and the emotional and `irrational' side of organizations is increasingly discussed, the necessity of inputs to the biological systems that staff them is not. Nonetheless, despite the lack of explicit scholarly attention to food at work, its importance guarantees its hidden presence in the organizational literature, often in the context of more `serious' themes. We identify four approaches to the relationship between food, work and organization. For dessert, we propose a research menu that aims to uncover several possibilities for making the role of food in organizational life more explicit.
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