Liminality in Organization Studies: Theory and Method, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Liminality in Organization Studies

Theory and Method, 1st Edition

By Maria Rita Tagliaventi


138 pages

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Hardback: 9780367142858
pub: 2019-08-06
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In a time of flexible and mutable work arrangements, there is hardly a domain of organizing that has not been affected by liminality. Temporary workers who switch companies based on projects, consultants who operate at the boundaries between the consultant and the client companies, or ‘hybrid entrepreneurs’ who start new ventures, while still keeping their previous job, are examples of liminality in organizations. Liminality is also felt by managers who handle interorganizational relationships within customer-supplier networks or scientists who, albeit affiliated with R&D units, have strong ties with their scientific communities, acknowledging that they belong to neither setting thoroughly. Precious hints for enriching our comprehension of liminality in organizational settings can be conveyed by the reflection that has flourished in different fields.

This book advances knowledge of liminality management by elaborating on a model that puts together aspects of the liminal process that have been mostly described in a separate way so far, benefiting from the input provided by experience in sociology, medicine, and education. Through the articulation of a model that accounts for the antecedents, content, and consequences of liminality in organizations, the book intends to prompt quantitative research on this topic. It will be of value to those interested in organizational behavior, organization and management, marketing, sociology of work, and sociology of organizations.


"The ongoing internationalization of business and the challenges of inter-organizational relationships suggest that Liminality is a topic of growing importance. This book provides valuable insight on the concept of Liminality, how it works within organizations and lessons learned from different Liminality experiences. In the field of global sourcing this knowledge will be valuable for buyers, providers and advisors." – Ron Babin, Ryerson University, Canada

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: The Foundations of Liminality

    1. Introduction
    2. Between and Betwixt: Experiencing Transitions
      1. Timeliness and Spacelessness
      2. Rites, Ceremonies, and Symbols
      3. The Anti-Structure
      4. Communitas
      5. Identity Work

    3. Liminality as a Realm of Possibilities, but also a Domain of Anguish
      1. The Creative Power of Liminal Personae
      2. The Negative Feelings Associated to Liminality

    4. The Liminoid Experience
    5. Conclusion

Chapter 2: Liminality and Organizations

2.1 Introduction

    1. The Changing Nature of Work Arrangements and the Diffusion of Liminality
      1. Liminality across Organizational Boundaries
      2. Liminality as Contingent Work
      3. Liminality within a Single Organization
      4. Liminality as the Pursuit of Multiple Careers

    2. Liminality in Specific Organizational Settings
      1. Entrepreneurship as Liminal Experience
      2. Liminality in Teams and the Relevance of Leadership

    3. The Liminal Organization
    4. The Aftermath of Liminality in Organizational Settings
    5. Conclusion

Chapter 3: Emergent Perspectives on Liminality

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Liminality as a Protracted Experience

3.3 Liminality as a Repeated (and Repeatable) Experience

3.4 Liminality as a Dynamic Experience

3.5 Liminality as Additive Experiences

3.6 Liminality as Degree of Intensity of Experience

3.7 Liminality as Creation of Practices

3.8 Conclusion

Chapter 4: Towards a Model of Liminal Experience

    1. Introduction
    2. Perception of Liminal Experience
      1. The Dimensions of Timeliness and Spacelessness
      2. The Dimension of Anti-structure
      3. The Dimensions of Communitas
      4. The Dimensions of Identity Work
      5. The Dimensions of Collective and Individual Practice

    3. Conclusion




About the Author

Maria Rita Tagliaventi is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the University of Bologna, Italy.

About the Series

Routledge Focus on Business and Management

The fields of business and management have grown exponentially as areas of research and education. This growth presents challenges for readers trying to keep up with the latest important insights. Routledge Focus on Business and Management presents small books on big topics and how they intersect with the world of business research.

Individually, each title in the series provides coverage of a key academic topic, whilst collectively, the series forms a comprehensive collection across the business disciplines.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Organizational Behavior
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Organizational Development