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Difficult Decoupling: Employee Resistance to the Commercialization of Personal Settings

Catherine Turco
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 118, No. 2 (September 2012), pp. 380-419
DOI: 10.1086/666505
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/666505
Page Count: 40
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Difficult Decoupling: Employee Resistance to the
                    Commercialization of Personal Settings
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Abstract

The market’s tendency to organize personal spheres of life is not always unfettered, and while past studies have identified public discomfort as a bar to market expansion, this study considers a commercialization project that gained public acceptance yet nevertheless failed. The study’s key theoretical insight is that the organizational decoupling required for successful commercialization may complicate companies’ ability to gain employee acceptance. Rich ethnographic data from Motherhood, Inc., an organization offering support and services for new mothers, is leveraged to identify two conditions under which employee resistance may arise and undermine successful commercialization. This article contributes to sociological understandings by theorizing the important role of employees in commercialization and to organizational theory more generally by specifying conditions under which decoupling may be difficult to achieve.

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