This chapter begins by introducing some ways of thinking about work, occupations, and organizations that provides a wider context for the issues confronting mediation. Everett Hughes, one of the most creative US sociologists of his generation, was invited to talk to the American Nurses Association about the study of nurses work. Hughes's comments on the predicament of US nurses around 1950 resonate clearly with anyone familiar with the community of mediation practitioners in recent years. The study of organizations used to be dominated by attempts to find the most efficient structures of command and control for the achievement of the organization's goals. This programme, which has its origins in Frederick W. Taylor's vision of scientific management, was developed in an era when the future seemed to lie with the giant bureaucracies of the modern state and the Fordist corporation.