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[Excerpt] The lack of research and, by extension, the paucity of empirically grounded theory on organizations and occupations have left unanswered questions that are critical for understanding the social organization of work in post-industrial economies. Under what conditions are organizations likely to bureaucratize professional tasks? What types of tasks are most likely to be affected by such bureaucratization and how do occupations adjust to such changes? Conversely, what forces have transformed organizations into breeding grounds for new occupations? How are organizations affected when they employ large numbers of professionals? What dynamics occur when the boundaries between occupation and organization begin to blur?

Questions such these are grist for the papers in this volume. Our aim in assembling the papers has been to stimulate researchers and theoreticians to examine more closely the intersection between organizations and occupations. Like the authors of these papers, we believe that it is no longer wise for organizational and occupational sociology to develop as independent areas of theory and research. In fact, to continue to do so may mean that our understanding of the workplace will become increasingly unrealistic.


Suggested Citation

Barley, S. R., & Tolbert, P. S. (1991). Introduction: At the intersection of organizations and occupations [Electronic version]. Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, ILR School site:

Required Publisher Statement

Copyright held by Elsevier. Final version published as: Barley, S. R., & Tolbert, P. S. (1991). Introduction: At the intersection of organizations and occupations. In P. S. Tolbert & S. R. Barley (Eds.), Research in the sociology of organizations: Vol. 8 (pp. 1-13). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.