Artifacts and Organizations: Beyond Mere Symbolism, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Artifacts and Organizations

Beyond Mere Symbolism, 1st Edition

Edited by Anat Rafaeli, Michael G. Pratt

Psychology Press

240 pages

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Artifacts in organizations are ubiquitous but often overlooked. The chapters in this book illustrate that artifacts are everywhere in organizational life. They prevail in how offices are decorated, language is used, business cards are designed, and office cartoons are displayed. In addition, artifacts can be seen in the name of an organization and its employees, products, buildings, processes, and contracts, and they represent people, organizations, and professions.

Artifacts and Organizations suggests that artifacts are neither superficial nor pertinent only to organizational culture. They are relevant to a rich and diverse set of organizational processes within and across multiple levels of analysis. Artifacts are shown to be integral to identity, sense-giving and sense-making processes, interpretation and negotiation, legitimacy, and branding. The book seeks to communicate that artifacts are often much more than what is currently recognized in organizational research. The four sections of this edited volume address various aspects of what is known about and known through artifacts. Together, the full set of chapters challenge the field to move beyond a narrow conceptualization and understanding of artifacts in organizations.

This book leads students to embrace the full complexity and richness of artifacts. In addition, the text seeks to inspire those who focus on artifacts as symbols to delve deeper into the complexities of artifacts-in-use, for individuals, organizations, and institutions.


"The book would be very useful for individuals in academic and research settings. There is a lot of information that can be used to generate excellent classroom discussions and lectures and to germinate interesting and potentially fruitful research ideas."


"The book edited by Rafaeli and Pratt…represents the voice of contemporary scholarship on corporate artifacts in the United States, and it demonstrates that such scholarship is characterized by epistemological and methodological concerns rather different from those that have inspired European scholars of the same matters. The book is well structured."

Administrative Science Quarterly

Table of Contents

Contents: J.P. Walsh, A.P. Brief, Series Foreword. Preface. A. Rafaeli, M.G. Pratt, Introduction: Artifacts and Organizations: More Than the Tip of the Cultural Iceberg. Part I: Knowing Artifacts. I. Vilnai-Yavetz, A. Rafaeli, Managing Artifacts to Avoid Artifact Myopia. A. Strati, Organizational Artifacts and the Aesthetic Approach. D. Yanow, Studying Physical Artifacts: An Interpretive Approach. K. Elsbach, Perceptual Biases and Misinterpretation of Artifacts. Part II: Artifacts and Knowledge. N. Anand, Cartoon Displays as Autoproduction of Organizational Culture. P. Carlile, Artifacts and Knowledge Negotiation Across Domains. A. Cunliffe, J. Shotter, Linguistic Artifacts in Organizing and Managing. Part III: Artifacts, Brands, and Identity. M. Schultz, M.J. Hatch, F. Cicolla, Brand Life in Symbols and Artifacts: The LEGO Company. C.V. Harquail, Employees as Animate Artifacts: Wearing the Brand. Y. Baruch, On Logos and Business Cards: The Case of UK Universities. R. Cappetta, D. Gioia, Fine Fashion: Using Symbolic Artifacts, Sensemaking, and Sensegiving to Construct Identity and Image. Part IV: Artifacts and Legitimacy. M.A. Glynn, C. Marquis, Fred's Bank: How Institutional Norms and Individual Preferences Legitimate Organizational Names. M. Fiol, E. O'Connor, Stuff Matters: Artifacts, Social Identity, and Legitimacy in the U.S. Medical Profession. W.N. Kaghan, M. Lounsbury, Artifacts, Articulation Work, and Institutional Residue. Part V: Toward Future Research. M.G. Pratt, A. Rafaeli, Artifacts and Organizations: Understanding Our "Object-ive" Reality.

About the Series

Organization and Management Series

The Organization and Management Series publishes books that establish innovative avenues of inquiry or significantly alter the course of contemporary research in an established area.

Taking a broad view of the domain of organization and management scholarship, the editors seek to publish theoretical and empirical works grounded in a variety of disciplinary perspectives that focus on units of analysis ranging from individuals to industries. In addition, the series welcomes purely methodological contributions, as well as edited volumes of original essays.

Manuscript proposals should be sent to: Art Brief, Department of Management, University of Utah, 1645 E Campus Center Drive #105, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-9304 ([email protected]), Michael Frese ([email protected]), Kim Elsbach ([email protected]), and Christina Chronister ([email protected]).

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General