Informality and Formality in Medium-sized Companies: Contestation and Synchronization

Marlow, S., Taylor, S. and Thompson, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-0930-0088, 2010. Informality and Formality in Medium-sized Companies: Contestation and Synchronization. British Journal of Management, 21 (4), pp. 954-966. ISSN 1045-3172

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Accounts of managerial practice in small and medium-sized firms frequently draw upon notions of formality and informality. In this paper, we explore the relationship between these concepts through an analysis of managerial approaches to employment relations practice in six growing, medium-sized organizations. Drawing on recent conceptual work on informality and formality, we argue that the use of the terms in previous analyses tends to neglect the co-dependency of both the concepts and managerial approaches to the employment relationship. We present an alternative conceptualization of formalization and informalization processes that emphasizes synchronization through interactional practices. Through this analysis, we suggest that debate in this area can be reframed through thinking of informality and formality as a dualism rather than a dichotomy, and challenge the notion that small firms must, should or inevitably do move from informality to formality. From this, we construct an inclusive model of formality and informality that better reflects practice and enables further analytical development.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: British Journal of Management
Creators: Marlow, S., Taylor, S. and Thompson, A.
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Date: 2010
Volume: 21
Number: 4
ISSN: 1045-3172
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 23 Mar 2016 14:44
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 14:00

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