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Shift in Hybridity in Response to Environmental Complexity: The Transformation of the Italian Guardia di Finanza

Organizational Hybridity: Perspectives, Processes, Promises

ISBN: 978-1-83909-355-5, eISBN: 978-1-83909-354-8

Publication date: 7 December 2020


A key challenge for hybrid organizations is managing to recombine the different institutional logics they incorporate while navigating complex, fast-changing environments. To examine how hybrids address this issue, the authors analyze the evolution of the Italian fiscal police – the Guardia di Finanza – from its foundation in 1862. Building on this unique case of a fiscal law enforcement agency that incorporates public fiscal and military logics, the authors propose that hybrid organizations can integrate the different logics they incorporate on the basis of four mechanisms. The mechanisms of upward and downward vertical integration trigger the integration of different logics throughout the entire organization. Integrated horizontal task extension and integrated horizontal competency extension enable an organization to manage a broader range of tasks while it develops the competencies that environmental complexity demands. These four mechanisms interact and, when properly managed, reinforce each other. With this chapter, the authors contribute to research on the processual nature of organizational hybridity and to broader research on the role of structures and competencies in dealing with environmental complexity.




The authors gratefully acknowledge the entire Corps of the Guardia di Finanza, and in particular all the Generals, Officers, and Junior Officers, for their collaboration in this project. A special acknowledgment is due to General (retired) Nino di Paolo, Lieutenant General (retired) Flavio Zanini, and Major Gerardo Severino for their tireless support and availability. Any errors are our own.


Ramus, T., Vaccaro, A., Versari, P. and Brusoni, S. (2020), "Shift in Hybridity in Response to Environmental Complexity: The Transformation of the Italian Guardia di Finanza", Besharov, M.L. and Mitzinneck, B.C. (Ed.) Organizational Hybridity: Perspectives, Processes, Promises (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 69), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 211-236.



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