*** Apologies for cross-posting ***
The summer issue of Organization Theory is out now!
For a direct link to the issue, with full access to all articles:
Taking Individual Choices Seriously: A process perspective of self-selection in strategy work
Martin Friesl, Christoph Brielmaier & Leonhard Dobusch
An increasing body of work investigates the participation of a diverse set of actors in strategy making. We argue that extant research tends to gloss over a fundamental condition underpinning such participation: while participation may reflect a hierarchical mandate, insofar as it relates to the actual involvement of employees, it is the result of a process of self-selection. From this perspective, forms of participative strategizing are neither fully the outcome of deliberate top-down choice, nor do they form a random pattern that is subject to the whims of individual employees. Such forms of strategizing are rather, as we argue in this paper, based on an endogenous logic of whether and how an individual self-selects, and in turn involves her/himself in the process, or not. To conceptualize the broader phenomenon of strategy participation, we draw on practice theory to conceptualize how individuals knowingly choose to involve themselves in strategizing events and we develop in turn a process model of self-selection as an ongoing social accomplishment. This model elaborates different patterns of participation in strategy making (stabilizing and shifting trajectories) with variable emergent outcomes. We end the paper by discussing the implications of our theorizing for ongoing research on open and participatory strategizing, and for the body of work on strategy as practice.
The Digital Undertow and Institutional Displacement: A Sociomaterial Approach
Wanda J. Orlikowski & Susan V. Scott
As "the digital" becomes pervasive within organizations and industries, it is increasingly evident that how we live, work, connect, coordinate, and govern are being significantly changed by digitalization. Many of these digital transformations are highly visible and dramatic, involving a purposeful repositioning and restructuring of organizations and industries. But in addition to these direct and visible changes, we argue that processes of digitalization are also producing less visible transformations in core institutional values, norms, and rules, which are indirectly, yet more profoundly, reconfiguring how organizations and industries perform. Referencing findings from two different sectors, we posit that the corollary effects of waves of digitalization-what we conceptualize as the "digital undertow"-are generating a set of dynamics that are displacing institutional apparatuses from their positions of primacy and authority within industries. We further suggest that our conventional toolkits for studying organizational phenomena are not well equipped for examining such corollary effects of digitalization. In addressing this challenge, we consider how the relational and performative theorizing of strong sociomateriality provides a powerful analytic for investigating these effects and we highlight how it offers valuable insights into the institutional displacements arising in the digital undertow.
Competence Attrition: A linguistic theory of the effects of external competence acquisition for organizations
Simone Guercini & Christian Lechner
What happens to old competences in organizations when new competences are acquired? In this paper, we propose a competence attrition theory to explain the effects of acquiring new competences on previously acquired ones. While the presumed positive role of available competences for the acquisition of new competences has been the subject of extensive research, the potentially negative effect of the acquisition of external competences on the availability and use of existing competences has not been sufficiently theorized. We aim to do so by extending existing learning and absorptive capacity theories with insights from linguistics on competence attrition. Specifically, informed by parallel patterns in language acquisition and attrition, we develop a set of focused propositions on competence acquisition and attrition in organizations. We end the paper by discussing the implications of our theorizing for existing theory and research.
The Resources of Institutional Entrepreneurs in Different Structural Settings
Deborah Jackwerth-Rice, Jens Koehrsen & Jannika Mattes
As agents of strategic institutional change, institutional entrepreneurs (IEs) draw resources from their structural environment to alter the structural context in which they are embedded. In this article, we explore which resources IEs mobilize in different structural settings. We distinguish between (positional or free) field resources and personal resources, all of which may be material, cultural, social, symbolic or political in kind. Our review of leading case studies of institutional entrepreneurship shows that centrally positioned IEs draw primarily on organizational positional resources. By contrast, peripherally positioned IEs rely mainly on the skillful mobilization of free resources as well as on the personal resources of individuals. Also the field's degree of institutionalization has an impact on IEs' resources: in emerging fields where field positions and field boundaries are not yet defined, resources must be imported from mature fields. Furthermore, although resource-poor peripheral IEs may set off institution-building processes in emerging fields, they are usually superseded by central organizational actors during later stages of institution-building.
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: A goals-based approach to studying social movements in markets
Jocelyn Leitzinger & Daniel Waeger
Prior research on social movements and markets has thus far paid only scant attention to movement goals. In the few instances that goals are considered, the focus is on how goals provide a shared purpose to movement participants, and not on their substantive nature or 'content'. In contrast, our review of the movements and markets literature suggests that the substantive nature of movement goals is critical because it provides a more comprehensive understanding of different market-based movements and their interactions with market actors – ultimately impacting the consequences for movements and their targets. We develop a social movement typology using a goals-based perspective to distinguish between three types of movement: alteration movements, whose goal is to alter or change the practices of markets or their actors; creation movements whose goal is to create new market categories as a means of addressing their grievances; and elimination movements whose goal is to eradicate or remove products, industries, or markets altogether. We propose that the relationship between these types of movement and market actors goes through a four-stage life cycle – emergence, action, interaction and settlement – and that initial variation in movement goals shapes differences in the movement–market relationship at each stage of this life cycle.
Organization Theory (OT) is an online, open-access journal that publishes the best theory work in the field, ranging from theoretical essays and theory building papers to review pieces and debates. The journal is published by SAGE in collaboration with the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS).
OT offers a high-quality, developmental review process for authors. Submissions are handled by a dedicated and expert editorial team with experience in helping authors develop theory articles. For more details on the journal and our submission guidelines, see journals.sagepub.com/home/ott