Selznick’s theory of organizations offers a starting point to understand how organizations cohere as social actors. Each organization has a specific character that reflects its commitments to particular constituencies and that embodies certain values. Selznick’s theory explained how character evolves in relation to the formal structure of the organization, stamping an organization with a personality that guides its leaders’ future decision-making and deliberation. This paper traces Selznick’s development of this theory and suggests that his theory is useful for contemporary scholars who are interested in understanding how organizations relate and respond to and potentially shape their environments.
Thanks to Matt Kraatz for encouraging me to write this piece and for his guidance and feedback.
King, B. (2015), "Organizational Actors, Character, and Selznick’s Theory of Organizations", Institutions and Ideals: Philip Selznick’s Legacy for Organizational Studies (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 44), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 149-174. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0733-558X20150000044007Download as .RIS
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