Book Review: Secrecy at Work: The Hidden Architecture of Organizational Life

Cover of Secrecy at Work by Jana Costas and Christopher Grey  Jana Costas, Christopher Grey : Secrecy at Work: The Hidden Architecture of Organizational Life. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016. 202 pp. $27.95, paper.

Blake E. Ashforth of Arizona State University Tempe recently contributed a book review in Administrative Science QuarterlyAn excerpt from the book review:

In their provocative new book, Jana Costas and Christopher Grey focus not on organizational secrets per se, the content that is concealed, but on organizational secrecy, “the processes through which secrets are kept” (p. 7). Note the plural in “processes,” as the dynamics and their ramifications can become quite complex. The authors’ goal, which they amply meet, is to bring secrecy out from the shadows, as it were, and convince the reader that it warrants far more scholarly Current Issue Coverattention as both an important topic in its own right and as a complement to management topics such as leadership, organizational change, and politics.

The book’s subtitle, “The Hidden Architecture of Organizational Life,” speaks to their core argument: that secrecy explicitly and implicitly creates a compartmentalized structure linked by narrow corridors, a machinery for surveillance and monitoring, and organizational norms and professional ethics codes, all coupled with processes for sharing and not sharing information. “Like electricity or water in buildings, secret knowledge must always be penned in to proscribed places and forced to flow around prescribed routes” (p. 140).

You can read the rest of the book review from Administrative Science Quarterly free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to keep current on all of the latest research published by Administrative Science QuarterlyClick here to sign up for e-alerts! You can also follow the journal on Twitter–click here to read recent tweets from Administrative Science Quarterly!

You can also read additional blog content for Administrative Science Quarterly content from the ASQ Blog, as well as Editor Henrich Greve’s blog, Organizational Musings.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s