Sub-theme 10: What’s taking space? Re-framing place in everyday organizational life


Dr. Paul W Chan, The University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Professor Kristina Lauche, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands
Professor Christine Räisänen, Chalmers University, Sweden

Call for papers

What takes place in everyday organizing is a question that has interested organizational scholars for some time.  It locates the emphasis on the actions, activities and practices of people as they make organizing happen.  In this stream, we re-frame ‘place’ within everyday organizational life by instead asking, ‘what’s taking space’?  In so doing, we examine the relationship of place to and with space(s) in organizations.  Where space is socially produced through the performance of everyday practices, representations and imaginations (Lefebvre, 1991), place often invokes a particular form of space that is inhabited and embodied (Hubbard and Kitchin, 2011).  When asking what takes place in organizations, organizational spaces tended to be treated as ‘neutral shells’ divorced from social dynamics (Baldry, 2010), implicitly taking occupied as well as unoccupied space(s) for granted.  Thus, in posing the question ‘what takes space?’ we query the idea of place as a bounded entity.  Therefore, we seek to problematise issues of who and what gets placed where and why within and across organizational spaces.  We invite contributions that tackle the relational concepts of, and relationships between, space and place in everyday organizing and how these may impact on subjectivities and selfhoods (see e.g. Burrell and Dale, 2003; Kornberger and Clegg, 2004).

We welcome papers that address one or more of the following:

  • Framing, social interactionism and territoriality: In answering who places whom and what in organizational space, we are concerned with the role of framing in organizations (Goffman, 1974), and how organizational actors construct meanings of everyday occurrences so that experiences and actions can be legitimised (Benford and Snow, 2000).  We are also interested in how spaces are territorialised, de-territorialised and re-territorialised (Bauman, 2000).
  • Time and temporalities: We are keen to explore how organizational actors move around within time and space (Hatch, 2002) and at different paces and rhythms (Sabelis, 2001).  We encourage submissions that consider different temporal perspectives in order to question when space is placed.
  • In-between-ness and liminality: We invite contributions that explore transformations of and transitions between space and place, and theorise organizational space and place in terms of liminal practices (Turner, 1982).  We also attend to the possibilities that organizational work within a given space can sometimes, intentionally and unintentionally, alter the intended use of that space.  Examples include work associated with mining, construction and demolition of buildings.
  • Bodies and materiality: Organizational spaces are not only shaped by human agency, but also by the material artefacts and bodies placed within the space.  We therefore seek contributions that explore sociomaterial practices of what takes place in space, and what places space.
  • Power relations: Organizational spaces are fertile terrains for power struggles.  Therefore, contributions that explore how place and/or space can be or become contested discursive sites are also welcome.
  • Methodologies and ethnomethodologies: How we study the interplay between space and place in organizations is called into question.  We hope that contributions can produce novel ways of questioning and expanding our perspectives of organizational space and place.


Baldry, C. (2010). Plastic palm trees and blue pumpkins: synthetic fun and real control in contemporary workspace. In: S. McGrath-Champ, A. Heron and A. Rainnie (Eds.) Handbook of Employment and Society: Working Space. Cheltenham: Edward-Elgar, 213-227.

Bauman, Z. (2000). Liquid Modernities. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Benford, R.D. & Snow, D.A. (2000).  Framing processes and social movements: an overview and assessment. Annual Review of Sociology, 26(x), 611-639.

Burrell, G. & Dale, K. (2003). Building better worlds? Architecture and critical management studies. In: M. Alvesson and Willmott H.  (Eds.) Studying Management Critically. London: Sage, 177-196.

Goffman, E. (1974). Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience. New York: Harper Colophon.

Hatch, M.J. (2002). Essai: Doing time in organization theory. Organization Studies, 23(6), 869-875.

Hubbard, P. & Kitchin, R. (Eds.) (2011). Key Thinkers on Space and Place. London: Sage.

Kornberger, M. & Clegg, S.R. (2004). Bringing space back in: organizing the generative building. Organization Studies, 25(7), 1095-1114.

Lefebvre, H. (1991). The Production of Space. Oxford: Blackwell.

Sabelis, I. (2001). Time management: paradoxes and patterns. Time and Society, 10(2-3), 387-400.

Turner, V. (1982). From Ritual to Theatre: The Human Seriousness at Play. New York: Performing Arts Journal.

Paul Chan is a Lecturer in the Management of Projects in The University of Manchester.  He researches employment relations in engineering projects, spanning topics like equality and diversity, human resource development and organizational sensemaking.  He is also interested in studying how the built environment and engineered artefacts shape the realities of human relations at the workplace.

Kristina Lauche is the Chair of Organizational Development and Design at Radboud University Nijmegen and professor of Organization Studies of Innovation at Delft University of Technology.  Her research addresses coordination practices across boundaries, technology appropriation, and innovating as upward influencing processes by which innovators shape organizational strategy.  She draws on practice approaches to study how materiality and social interactions mediate agency in organizations.

Christine Räisänen is the Chair of Organization and Communication at Chalmers University in Sweden.  She obtained her PhD in Applied Linguistics at the English Department, Göteborg University.  She has extensively studied organizational discursive practices and knowledge/information management in project organizations.  She is currently researching the role of space in practices of strategy-making.

Posted On: June 8, 2014
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