Social Construction of Organization. A New model in Organizational Development


  • Alexandra Damaschin Department of Sociology, Social Work and Human Resources, UAIC University of Iasi



social constructionism, relational constructionism, appreciative inquiry, development, uncertainty


The paper brings into discussion the social construction of organization and proposes a new model in organizational development. The paper begins with a synthesis on the paradigm of social constructionism, emphasizing its utility in organizational studies. In times of uncertainty and rapid changes, a lot of organizations lose their missions and meanings, or have the capacity to reinvent and to thrive. The question is what makes the difference? In this line, the paper proposes a theoretical model, gathering the social constructionism, relational constructionism, and appreciative inquiry. Using the grounded theory strategy, in-depth interviews and focus groups were developed with employees and leaders from nongovernmental organizations, Iasi, and Bacau Counties. Data are analyzed through NVivo program and present multiple perspectives regarding their activity in social field. The theoretical model may be an inspiration for organizations that are interested in achieving new ideas, solutions, and results.


Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (1966). The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Education.

Burke, W. W. (2011). A perspective on the field of organization development and change: The Zeigarnik Effect. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 47(2), 143-167.

Burr, V. (2015). Social constructionism (3rd Ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Camargo-Borges, C., & Rasera, E. F. (2013). Social constructionism in the context of organization development: Dialogue, imagination, and co-creation as resources of change. Sage Open, 3(2), 1-7,

Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing Grounded Theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. London: Sage.

Charmaz, K. (2014). Constructing Grounded Theory (2nd edition). Sage.

Cooperrider, D. & Fry. R. (2020). Appreciative inquiry in a pandemic. An improbable pairing. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 56 (3), 266-271, Sage Publications,

Cooperrider, D. L., & Whitney, D. (2001). A positive revolution in change. In D. L. Cooperrider, P. Sorenson, D. Whitney, & T. Yeager (Eds.), Appreciative inquiry: An emerging direction for organization development. Champaign, IL: Stipes.

Cooperrider, D. L., & Whitney, D. (2005). Appreciative inquiry: A positive revolution in change. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Cooperrider, D. L., Whitney, D., & Stavros, J. (2008). Appreciative inquiry handbook. For leaders of change (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Gergen, K. J. (1994). Realities and relationships. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Gergen, K. J. (2009). An invitation to social construction (2nd ed.), London: Sage.

Gergen, K. J. (2015). An invitation to social construction (3rd ed.), London: Sage.

Gergen, K. J., Gergen, M. M., & Barrett, F. J. (2004). Dialogue: life and death of the organization. In D. Grant, C. Hardy, C. Oswick & L. Putnam (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Organizational discourse. London. Sage.

Gergen, K. J., McNamee, S., & Barrett, F. J. (2001). Towards transformative dialogue. International Journal of Public Administration, 24(7/8), 679-707.

Gergen, M. (2013). The social construction of grievances: constructive and constructionist approaches to a relational theory, in D. M. Hosking, H. P. Dachler, & K. J. Gergen (Eds.), Management and Organization: Relational Alternatives to Individualism, Taos Institute Publication.

Glaser, B. G. & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Chicago: Aldine.

Gray, B., Bougon, M.G., & Donnellon, A. (1985). Organizations as constructions and destructions of meaning, Journal of Management, 11(1), 77-92.

Holstein, J. A., & Gubrium J. F. (Eds.). (2008). Handbook of constructionist research, New York: Guilford Press.

Hosking, D. M. (2011). Telling Tales of Relations: Appreciating Relational Constructionism, Organization Studies, 32(1), 47-65.

Hosking, M., & McNamee, S. (2006). The social construction of organization. Malmo, Sweden: Liber & Copenhagen Business School Press.

Hosking, M., & McNamee, S. (2006). The social construction of organization. Malmo, Sweden: Liber & Copenhagen Business School Press.

Marshak, R. J., & Grant, D. (2008). Organizational discourse and new organization development practices. British Journal of Management, 19, S7-S19,

McNamee, S. (2004). Social construction as a practical theory. Lessons for practice and reflection in psychotherapy. In Pare D., Larner G. (Eds.). Critical knowledge and practice in psychotherapy (pp. 9-21). New York, NY: Haworth Press.

McNamee, S., & Gergen, K. J. (Eds.). (1999). Relational responsibility: Resources for sustainable dialogue. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

McNamee, S., & Moscheta, M. (2015). Relational intelligence and collaborative learning. New Directions in Teaching & Learning, 143, 25-40,

Powley, E. H., Fry, R. E., Barrett, F. J., & Bright, D. S. (2004). Dialogic democracy meets command and control: Transformation through the appreciative inquiry summit. Academy of Management Executive, 18(3), 67-80.

Ramaswamy, V. (2009). Leading the transformation to co-creation of value. Strategy & Leadership, 37, 32-37,

Sandu, A. (2012). Social-Constructionist Epistemology, Lumen, Iasi.

Stavros, J. M., & Torres, C. B. (2005). Dynamic relationships: Unleashing the power of appreciative inquiry in daily living. Taos, NM: Taos Institute Publications.

Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques (2nd edition), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Watkins, J. M., & Mohr, B. J. (2001). Appreciative inquiry: Change at the speed of imagination. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.




How to Cite

Damaschin, A. (2023). Social Construction of Organization. A New model in Organizational Development. Postmodern Openings, 14(2), 39-55.



Network Society

Publish your work at the Scientific Publishing House LUMEN

It easy with us: publish now your work, novel, research, proceeding at Lumen Scientific Publishing House

Send your manuscript right now