Previous studies of secretarial work in organizations have reported a discrepancy between formally acknowledged roles and actual labor performed. In addition, many clerical jobs have been neither successfully routinized nor rationalized. As in other areas of women's work, articulation and categorization of tasks has been stunted by lack of language to adequately describe them. This analysis examines the character of secretarial work based on data from secretaries working in organizations of different size and at various levels of bureaucratic control. A typology of secretarial labor is presented that reflects a corresponding continuum of clear definition and formal recognition by organizations. Some of this ambiguity is accounted for by the fact that gender expectations are interwoven into the work role. Much of secretarial labor, including intellectual and emotional aspects of the work, are "invisible" to organizations, yet are essential to fulfilling organizational and professional goals.

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