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Statistics as Organizational Products


  • Carol Jane Thomas



The paper argues that statistics should be seen as organizational products and that growth in the range and variety of statistics testifies to growth in the power of organizations. The paper emphasises the importance of identifying the functions of statistical systems, and recommends a genealogical approach to help identify the unwitting testimony given by the assumptions and motivations associated with the categorizations and data creation procedures used in the production of statistics. The paper examines the motivations, assumptions, and functions associated with statistical systems involving the Census of Population, the British National Food Survey, economic management, and unemployment. The discussion focuses on the evidence these case studies provide on the role of statistics in society and of the influence of organizational meanings on society.

Suggested Citation

  • Carol Jane Thomas, 1996. "Statistics as Organizational Products," Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, vol. 1(3), pages 1-5.
  • Handle: RePEc:sro:srosro:1996-34-1

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