Understanding hierarchy in contemporary work

Lundholm, Susanne E., Rennstam, Jens and Alvesson, Mats (2012). Understanding hierarchy in contemporary work. In Thomas Diefenbach and Rune Todnem (Ed.), Reinventing hierarchy and bureaucracy: from the bureau to network organizations (pp. 113-140) Greenwich, United States: Emerald Group Publishing. doi:10.1108/S0733-558X(2012)0000035007

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Author Lundholm, Susanne E.
Rennstam, Jens
Alvesson, Mats
Title of chapter Understanding hierarchy in contemporary work
Title of book Reinventing hierarchy and bureaucracy: from the bureau to network organizations
Place of Publication Greenwich, United States
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing
Publication Year 2012
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1108/S0733-558X(2012)0000035007
Open Access Status
Series Research in the Sociology of Organizations
ISBN 1780527829
ISSN 0733-558X
Editor Thomas Diefenbach
Rune Todnem
Volume number 35
Chapter number 4
Start page 113
End page 140
Total pages 28
Total chapters 8
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
The chapter aims to bring out the dynamic nature or hierarchy in organizations and presents a conceptual framework for making sense of hierarchy in contemporary work. We describe hierarchy as the result of a contradictory dynamic that incorporates both vertical and horizontal practices of organizing. The vertical practice, verticalization, draws on and reproduces the formal organization, whereas the horizontal practice, horizontalization, orders people on the basis of their knowledge and initiatives. The dynamic between these two practices varies, we argue, depending on the social and epistemic distance of formal managers' from the operative work process. Three different dynamics between verticalization and horizontalization – loose coupling, translation, and integration – are identified and illustrated, drawing on three ethnographically inspired studies of knowledge work. Through these three dynamics, the chapter casts light on and provides nuances to the current discussion in the literature on postbureaucracy.
Keyword Hierarchy
Knowledge work
Vertical and horizontal practices
Q-Index Code B1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Book Chapter
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
UQ Business School Publications
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Created: Tue, 26 Mar 2013, 15:05:22 EST by Karen Morgan on behalf of UQ Business School