Work: Four Worlds and Ways of Seeing

Rick Delbridge, Jeffrey J. Sallaz

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Organizations are spaces and places of work. In this introductory essay to the Special Issue of Organization Studies dedicated to ‘Worlds of Work’, we lay out our vision for placing the study of work and workers back at the centre of organization studies. We advance four inter-related work-world metaphors or ways of seeing organizations: as physical worlds, as worlds of hierarchy, as spaces of innovation, and as fields of actors. Research that puts work at the centre of organizational analysis, and places organization within its context of economy, politics and society, will provide important new insights into the experience of work and nature of contemporary organization. Such an agenda will be founded on both a recognition of the socially constructed nature of these phenomena and their dialectics, tracing how these tensions play out in new and hybrid forms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1449-1462
Number of pages14
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • labour
  • organizations
  • space and place
  • work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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