Reading and Writing Organizational Lives

Carl Rhodes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the use of multiple reading strategies as a way to conduct research into organizational life. The paper reviews the role of paradigm thinking as being the dominant approach to understanding research methodology in organization studies. It is argued that paradigm diversity has taken a position of meta-theoretical hegemony where students of organizations are compelled to enter into the paradigm discourse in order to do research. Based on the work of Cleo Cherryholmes, it is further argued that a 'reading' rather than 'researching' based approach is a way of doing organizational enquiry outside the paradigm framework. An account of organizational life in an autobiographical format is presented and is 'read' using three different reading strategies - one feminist, one critical and one deconstructive. The implications of these reading strategies for researching organizational life are then discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-29
Number of pages23
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2000


  • Organizational storytelling
  • Paradigms of analysis
  • Research literacies


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