Negotiated Order

Based on Weber and George Herbert Mead, who both stated that meaning only arises from social interaction, some researchers have focused on how meaning is created and maintained in organizations (Scott p. 108). This is commonly known as the "symbolic interaction" method (Roy, 1952, Goffman 1961) or the "action approach" (Silverman, 1971). Formal structures and rules are resolved into fragile sets of misunderstandings, negotiations, etc. as individuals struggle for control and meaning (Scott p. 108). Sometimes these negotations transcend the organizational boundaries.

Goffman's use of "frames" --"a set of background rules that actors impose on specific situations in order to define their meaning and suggest what kinds of interaction are appropriate" (Scott p. 109). Actors try to figure out what the situation is and act accordingly.

Much of the work in this area is ethnomethodological.