Organizational aesthetics: Caught between identity regulation and culture jamming

Varda Wasserman*, Michal Frenkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations

Abstract

Applying insights from Lefebvre's spatial theory [Lefebvre, H. 1991. The Production of Space. Blackwell, Oxford, UK] to an analysis of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs-recently relocated to its new award-winning building-the present study seeks to offer a more comprehensive model of the role of organizational aesthetics (OA) in identity regulation and culture jamming. Our contribution is threefold. (1) At the empirical/methodological level, this study attempts to simultaneously analyze the three Lefebvrian spaces in a single organization, demonstrating negotiations and struggles over interpretations of OA. (2) We analyze aesthetic jamming as a form of intentional and unintentional efforts at collective resistance that not only reveals the aesthetic mechanisms of regulation, but actually uses them as a method of counterregulation. (3) Whereas most studies in this emerging body of literature focus on the regulation of organization-based identities (bureaucratic and professional), we show how the translation of extraorganizational hierarchies of identities (national, ethnic, and gendered) into the organizational control system is also mediated by OA.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)503-521
Number of pages19
JournalOrganization Science
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Keywords

  • Culture jamming
  • Design
  • Identity regulation
  • Lefebvre
  • Organizational aesthetics
  • Organizational identity
  • Power and control
  • Resistance
  • Subjugation

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