Organizational Spaces

Organizational Spaces

Rematerializing the Workaday World

Edited by Alfons van Marrewijk and Dvora Yanow

This insightful book poses interesting theoretical and methodological questions for the processes of spatial design and the treatment of workspaces in organizational settings of various kinds. The contributors expertly answer the need for practical field research on spatial settings and materiality in organizations of various sorts.

Introduction: The Spatial Turn in Organizational Studies

Alfons van Marrewijk and Dvora Yanow

Subjects: business and management, critical management studies, organisation studies, research methods in business and management, research methods, research methods in business and management, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory


Introduction The spatial turn in organizational studies Alfons van Marrewijk and Dvora Yanow Organizational Spaces engages various aspects of work-related settings and their relationships to their ‘inhabitants’, from employees at all levels to clients or customers, and from visitors to onlookers at a greater remove. Spatial settings are coming more and more to figure explicitly in analyses of organizations and organizational practices (Hernes et al. 2006), as seen in recently published works (for example, Gregson et al. 2002, Taylor and Spicer 2007, Dale and Burrell 2008). Studies of organizational spaces have ranged in focus from examining the role of organizations’ headquarters and other buildings’ spatial design in communicating organizational meanings to onlookers near and far, to the allocation and use of space for communicating organizational meanings internally (Berg and Kreiner 1990, Goodsell 1993, Yanow 1993, Kornberger and Clegg 2004, Van Marrewijk 2009a). Other studies explore more general, theoretical questions concerning the meanings of built spaces and the extent to which these meanings are central to an organization’s identity (Goodsell 1988, Lefebre 1991, Preoffitt et al. 2006, Yanow 2006a) or investigate spatial elements that communicate the organization’s brands and goals (Bitner 1992, Gregson et al. 2002, Felstead et al. 2005, van Marrewijk 2009b). Still other works seek to articulate how organizational spaces and their meanings might be systematically studied (Yanow 2000, 2006b). These examples demonstrate the growing, explicit attention being given in organizational studies to the importance of engaging spatial settings. The chapters in this book present new theoretical, empirical and...