Organizational space, place and civility

Muetzelfeldt, Michael (2004) Organizational space, place and civility. Working Paper. Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.


Organizational life depends in no small part on civility between its members. This is explicit in accounts of organization that emphasize trust, shared vision and congeniality as organizing principles. But it also applies in those accounts that emphasize market-like or power-based transactional relationships, where civility is the unacknowledged but still crucial lubricant for these more instrumental engagements. Civility's complex and contradictory features include constraint and interpersonal attunement, drawing on sentiment as well as reason, to govern relationships with others who are both allies and competitors. These features are characteristic of organizational life as well as of society at large. This chapter explores the role of space in producing and reproducing organizational civility. Spatial arrangements in organizations establish distinctions and express meanings about organizational power and authority, but do so in ways that appear independent of the people as actors, who can then present themselves as familiar social equals. This applies to large spatial arrangements, as well as small scale organizational spaces such as private offices, semi-public meeting rooms and public areas. Each has its markers, its rules of interaction, and its place in reproducing civility within authority by mediating their contradictory features and by providing resources for people to manage their difficulties.

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Item type Monograph (Working Paper)
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 350000 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Historical > FOR Classification > 1503 Business and Management
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Management and Information Systems
Keywords organizational space; civility; organizational power
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