The Symbolic interpretive perspective of organisations is that they are consistently being constructed and reconstructed by members by means of interaction which is symbolically mediated. They are also cultural communities which are put together by human relations and personal meanings to individuals and organisations. The purpose of organisation theory, in relation to the symbolic interpretivist perspective, is to describe how people give meaning and order to their personal experience within certain circumstances, through their interpretive symbolic acts, forms and processes. Researchers in this area are committed to be true to the personal experience and to be open minded about explanations by other researchers. The findings of symbolic interpretivist are hard to replicate which is why modernist reject their findings as it cannot be replicated and be tested for reliability. Symbolic interpretive organisations believe that if employees or workers understand culture and the meaning behind the cultural, the verbal communications, as well as the nonverbal communications, symbols and objects it is then that workers will begin to understand themselves better (Hatch & Cunliffe, 2006).
Symbolic interpretive perspective understands reality by what has been experienced by having first hand emotions and feelings experienced by one themselves. This knowledge can enable organisation to engage more effectively with diverse cultures within an external to organisations (Lundberg 2008). Symbolic interpretive perspective defines organisation structure contribute to work which is meaningful to them by reconstructing structure through observation and participation. Symbolic interpretive identifies the reason why work is produced in a certain way by having stable routines in work through knowledge and human interactions to accomplish organizational goals (Hatch & Cunliffe, 2006). Symbolic interpretive organisations see the organisation like a community. The symbolic interpretive organisation does not look at testing and experimentation to get hard evidence like a modernist organisation would who as explained previously take a more scientific approach towards organisation (Taylorism).
Symbolic interpretivist also includes social construction, where by the believe that the social world is negotiated, organised and also constructed by humans’ interpretation of objects and words. They also believe that it is this socially constructed reality which maintains social order however what we deem to be ‘reality’ is created through our shared interpretations which can be communicated through symbols and examples of international ‘norms’. The difference between ordinary reality and socially constructed reality is that in ordinary reality we presume objects, for example, exist independently of our thoughts whereas socially constructed reality are products of our thoughts, feelings and perceptions which are influenced by economic, political and social influences that we use. The social construction side of things is in contrast with the modernist view of objective reality however this does not mean that reality which is ‘socially constructed’ is not real as beliefs can affect behaviour just as much as objective facts. There is also symbolic interactionism. An example of this is young people associating smoking with being cool which then projects a positive image to peers and a positive self-esteem making smoking a symbolic meaning which is then affecting our behaviours. The meanings that are created come from interactions we share with other people and then the meanings are then modified through an interpretive process where we instantly create meaning and check our meanings with others. Overall symbolic interpretivist understands organisations to be like a community and creating meanings through symbols which capture our own personal understanding of reality through shared norms.