In the last 10 years or so, a growing body of research has highlighted the importance of social movements as the mechanism through which fields change or new fields emerge. This article contributes to this body of research by studying how an organization was able to promote institutional change from the center of a field by channeling the legitimacy generated by local religious movements. Data comes from the archives of a special commission within the Catholic Church that developed rules for adjudicating miracles performed by candidates to sainthood. The social movement is composed of candidates and their supporters who mobilized local communities using miracles. The period of the analysis was the aftermath of the Protestant Schism, when long-established practices and beliefs were fundamentally challenged. By approving miracles that created ties between individuals that spanned across kinship and social status boundaries, the commission was able to channel legitimacy into the wounded core of the Church. At the same time, receiving Rome’s approval reduced the competition the candidate’s supporters faced from other religious activists. The noncontentious interaction that occurred between the two actors gave birth to the field of modern sainthood. The main implication for organization theory is that, even in the absence of conflict, a new environment and ideology can emerge endogenously from the center of a field and transform both the organization and the social movement.
Parigi, P. (2014), "The devil’s advocate and the church: Building adaptable organizations", Religion and Organization Theory (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 41), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 371-411. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0733-558X20140000041018Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2014 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited