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Economic LivesHow Culture Shapes the Economy$
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Viviana A. Zelizer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780691139364

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691139364.001.0001

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Intimacy in Economic Organizations

Intimacy in Economic Organizations

Chapter:
(p.237) 12 Intimacy in Economic Organizations
Source:
Economic Lives
Author(s):

Viviana A. Zelizer

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691139364.003.0013

This chapter moves away from the analysis of economic transactions in intimate relations to studying intimacy within economic organizations. Just as some analysts have feared the commodification of intimacy, others worry about “intimization,” the improper intrusion of intimacy in what are supposed to be efficiency-driven, impersonal organizations. The chapter asks why people worry so much about the presence of intimacy in organizations and reviews the evidence on its actual effects. It argues that while sexual intimacy, friendship, and kinship sometimes do disrupt organizations, they often coexist with organizational effectiveness, or even contribute to it. These three forms of intimacy are singled out not because they are interchangeable or because they mark degrees on some scale of intensity but because differences among them clearly show how the presence of intimacy within economic organizations affects organizational performance.

Keywords:   intimacy, economic organizations, sexual intimacy, friendship, kinship, organizational performance

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