Essai: From iron cages to liquid modernity in organization analysis

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Organization Studies, 2010, 31 (12), pp. 1713 - 1733
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Historically, the metaphor of the iron cage, as a key component of Weber's sociological imagination, has played a central role in organization studies. It did so both in its initial role in the sociology of bureaucracy and in its reinterpretation in institutional terms. More recently, there have been claims that the metaphors should change. The implications of this for the analysis of organization are the subject of this paper. To address these changes, we draw on debates that have been current in the sociology of consumption, where there is an emergent consensus that there has been a shift to an increasingly liquid modernity. We ask, what are the implications of liquid modernity when viewed not solely in the sphere of consumption but when we shift focus back to the sphere of production - to organizations? © The Author(s), 2010.
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