To read this content please select one of the options below:

Researching Organizational Elites: A Critical Realist Perspective

Rethinking Power in Organizations, Institutions, and Markets

ISBN: 978-1-78052-664-5, eISBN: 978-1-78052-665-2

Publication date: 5 April 2012


This chapter reviews three analytical perspectives – ‘structural’, ‘network’ and ‘cultural’ – on the study of power and their implications for theorizing elites. It builds on this initial theoretical review by developing a critical realist approach to the study of organizational elites out of the structurally based perspective identified in the first section of the chapter. The explanatory potential of this critical realist approach is then illustrated through two case studies of ruling elites embedded in contrasting historical, political and social contexts. The final section of the chapter provides a discussion of the wider implications of these case study analyses for understanding and explaining the ‘new feudalism’ which is emerging in advanced political economies and societies.



Reed, M. (2012), "Researching Organizational Elites: A Critical Realist Perspective", Courpasson, D., Golsorkhi, D. and Sallaz, J.J. (Ed.) Rethinking Power in Organizations, Institutions, and Markets (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 34), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 21-53.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited