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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 29 September 2020

Hui Situ, Carol Tilt and Pi-Shen Seet

In a state capitalist country such as China, an important influence on company reporting is the government, which can influence company decision-making. The nature and…

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Abstract

Purpose

In a state capitalist country such as China, an important influence on company reporting is the government, which can influence company decision-making. The nature and impact of how the Chinese government uses its symbolic power to promote corporate environmental reporting (CER) have been under-studied, and therefore, this paper aims to address this gap in the literature by investigating the various strategies the Chinese government uses to influence CER and how political ideology plays a key role.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses discourse analysis to examine the annual reports and corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports from seven Chinese companies between 2007 and 2011. And the data analysis presented is informed by Bourdieu's conceptualisation of symbolic power.

Findings

The Chinese government, through exercising the symbolic power, manages to build consensus, so that the Chinese government's political ideology becomes the habitus which is deeply embedded in the companies' perception of practices. In China, the government dominates the field and owns the economic capital. In order to accumulate symbolic capital, companies must adhere to political ideology, which helps them maintain and improve their social position and ultimately reward them with more economic capital. The findings show that the CER provided by Chinese companies is a symbolic product of this process.

Originality/value

The paper provides contributions around the themes of symbolic power wielded by the government that influence not only state-owned enterprises (SOEs) but also firms in the private sector. This paper also provides an important contribution to understanding, in the context of a strong ideologically based political system (such as China), how political ideology influences companies' decision-making in the field of CER.

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Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 19 January 2015

Pingying Zhang, Paul Fadil and Chris Baynard

The purpose of this paper is to better understand dependency issues between the CEO and the board as well as the between the board and CEO through Emerson’s power

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to better understand dependency issues between the CEO and the board as well as the between the board and CEO through Emerson’s power dependency framework.

Design/methodology/approach

A symbolic management approach is integrated with a board-CEO power dependency model to study the dependency issues.

Findings

According to the symbolic management perspective, uncertainty increases the likelihood of symbolic actions. A high level of uncertainty in CEO dependency issues suggests a high likelihood that board power over the CEO is manifested on a symbolic level, whereas a low level of uncertainty in board dependency issues suggests otherwise for CEO power over the board. The core of board-dependency issues is information provision.

Practical implications

A focus on improving board control over CEO performance, compensation and strategic proposals is likely to generate symbolic actions without an effective result.

Originality/value

The paper advocates that an effective approach to enhance board power is through reducing board information dependency on the CEO.

Details

Competitiveness Review, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1059-5422

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1999

Michelle Lynn Kaarst‐Brown

Power and politics have long been accepted as often detrimental elements of change processes. An element of the political arena that has received limited attention…

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Abstract

Power and politics have long been accepted as often detrimental elements of change processes. An element of the political arena that has received limited attention, however, is the inadvertent symbolism associated with the presence of an external consultant or change agent. Presents a retrospective analysis of role symbolism of two consultants during a 14‐month change project. Using concepts drawn from theories on organizational power, stages of change, and symbolism, a framework of five symbolic roles of the external consultant is presented. These roles include symbol of change‐to‐come, symbol of changing norms and values, symbol of power redistribution, symbolic wishing well, and symbol of organizational empowerment. The emergence, significance and implications of these symbolic roles during different change stages are explored. Implications are developed for researchers, change agents and external consultants in general.

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Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 12 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Book part
Publication date: 5 February 2019

Jean-François Côté

The place of G. H. Mead’s works in symbolic interactionism is both central and paradoxical. It stands at the very foundation of Hebert Blumer’s initial invention of…

Abstract

The place of G. H. Mead’s works in symbolic interactionism is both central and paradoxical. It stands at the very foundation of Hebert Blumer’s initial invention of symbolic interactionism with respect to Mead’s social behaviorism and has been discussed and debated ever since because of the problems caused by such a presumed direct filiation. Returning to Mead in order to broaden the perspective offered by Blumer is a must and has to face some fundamental issues raised in this context. This article starts by examining the ontogenetic and phylogenetic processes involved in Mead’s concept of society, in order to show the multiple dimensions involved in significant symbols. An illustration of Mead’s wider perspective is given in reference to the feminist movement as analyzed first by Mead’s student, Jessie Taft, and goes back to the origin of the movement with Mary Wollstonecraft. This leads to the analysis of the debate about the place of power in symbolic interactionism, initiated by Peter M. Hall, and addresses the alternative between domination and emancipation. This alternative has been worked out by Lonnie Athen’s radical symbolic interactionism analysis of domination on the one side, and by Kathy Charmaz and Norman K. Denzin on the other side of emancipatory symbolic interactionist practices. Another solution is proposed to this alternative, with the analysis of power being intrinsically constituted by domination and emancipation, in their respective contribution to the understanding of the symbolic dispositions of autonomy – a concept that remains relatively undeveloped in Mead’s works.

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The Interaction Order
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-546-7

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Book part
Publication date: 26 July 2016

Natalia Ruiz-Junco

This chapter assesses the power focus in contemporary interactionist theory, and advances several premises about power based on recent research and theory. I first examine…

Abstract

This chapter assesses the power focus in contemporary interactionist theory, and advances several premises about power based on recent research and theory. I first examine the main assumptions of the view of power that emerged in the wake of the astructural bias debate, which became an implicit standard for assessments of power in the tradition. Next, I explore the criticisms of the astructural bias thesis and related conceptualization. My argument is that while the debate correctly spotlighted the power deficit of interactionism, it had theoretical implications that distracted us from the task of fully conceptualizing power. In the second part of this chapter, I examine recent interactionist work in order to build general premises that can advance interactionist theory of power. Based on this analysis, I elaborate four premises that interactionists can use, regardless of theoretical orientation. Drawing on examples from my ethnographic research, I illustrate how researchers can benefit from the use of these premises.

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The Astructural Bias Charge: Myth or Reality?
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-036-7

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Abstract

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 12 no. 4/5/6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 27 June 2008

Karl von Holdt and Edward Webster

Is labour's decline permanent, or is it merely a temporary weakening, as Beverley Silver suggests in her recent book, as the labour movement is unmade and remade in…

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Abstract

Purpose

Is labour's decline permanent, or is it merely a temporary weakening, as Beverley Silver suggests in her recent book, as the labour movement is unmade and remade in different locations and at different times? The article aims to examine this question in South Africa, one of the newly industrialised countries of the 1960s and 1970s, now largely bypassed by new manufacturing investment destined for countries such as India and China.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper concentrates, through six case studies, on the growing non‐core and peripheral zones of work and examines the impact of the restructuring on labour.

Findings

The evidence presented is ambiguous. While there have been significant innovative union organising experiments, it may be that the structural weakening of labour has been too great and that the new sources of power are too limited, to permit effective reorientation.

Practical implications

It is concluded that significant progress will only be made if there is a concerted effort to commit resources and above all to develop new associational strategies that recognise the potential for symbolic power as an alternative to the erosion of structural power of workers and the unions that represent them. Unless such a shift is made the crisis of labour movements internationally may be better understood as a permanent crisis than the temporary one Silver suggests.

Originality/value

The paper identities the potential for new strategies to develop and sustain associational and symbolic power that might compensate for weakened structural power and facilitate a remaking of the labour movement under new conditions.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Book part
Publication date: 17 February 2017

Giuseppe Delmestri and Mara Brumana

Kostova, Roth and Dacin called in 2008 for the advancement of a theoretical conception of the multinational corporation (MNC) that takes into account both power

Abstract

Kostova, Roth and Dacin called in 2008 for the advancement of a theoretical conception of the multinational corporation (MNC) that takes into account both power relationships among actors and the structure of its internal institutional field. While micro-political scholars of MNCs have started to answer the former part of the call regarding power, the second part has not been thoroughly addressed yet. Furthermore, the agentic aspects typical of power games and the structural aspects characterizing institutional fields have not been fully combined in a multi-level perspective of MNCs so far. Leaning on Bourdieu, we suggest an answer to the pending call. We theorize the MNC as a playing field of power emerging around the issue of finding a meta-rate of conversion of the actors’ capitals constituted in national fields. We conceive such issue field in a dynamic state due to the constant entry and exit of new players (e.g. through mergers, acquisitions or divestitures). This results in the need to continuously test the validity of exchange rates. The role of the metainstitutional field level of the MNC as a global category is also discussed.

Details

Multinational Corporations and Organization Theory: Post Millennium Perspectives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-386-3

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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 3 June 2020

Mhamed Biygautane, Stewart Clegg and Khalid Al-Yahya

Existing public–private partnership (PPP) literature that explicitly adopts neo-institutional theory, tends to elucidate the impact of isomorphic pressures and…

Abstract

Purpose

Existing public–private partnership (PPP) literature that explicitly adopts neo-institutional theory, tends to elucidate the impact of isomorphic pressures and organizational fields and structuration on PPP projects. This paper advances this literature by presenting the institutional work and micro-level dynamics through which actors initiate and implement a new form of project delivery. The authors show how actors enact responses to institutional structuration in the expansion and transformation of an airport from a public entity into a PPP in Saudi Arabia.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use a single case study design that offers an empirically rich and thick description of events such as the dynamic processes, practices and types of institutional work carried out by actors and organizations to deliver the project under investigation.

Findings

Religious symbolic work as social integration triggered system integration work, which expanded the power capabilities of individual actors leading the project. Repair work then followed to alleviate the negative effects of disempowering the agency of actors negatively affected by the PPP model and to streamline the project implementation process.

Practical implications

This research offers several practical implications. For PPPs to operate successfully in contexts similar to the Gulf region, policymakers should provide strong political support and be willing to bear a considerable risk of losses or minimal outcomes during the early phases of experimentation with PPPs. Also, policymakers should not only focus their attention on technical requirements of PPPs but also associate new meanings with the normative and cultural-cognitive elements that are integral to the success of PPP implementation. In order to design strategies for change that are designed to fit the unique cultural and sociopolitical settings of each country, policymakers should empower capable individual actors and provide them with resources and access to power, which will enable them to enforce changes that diverge from institutionalized practices.

Social implications

This research connected the PPP literature with theoretical frameworks drawn from neo-institutional theory and power. It would be valuable for further research, however, to connect ideas from the PPP literature with other disciplines such as psychology and social entrepreneurship. PPP research examines a recent phenomenon that can potentially be combined with non-traditional streams of research in analyzing projects. Expanding the realm of PPP research beyond traditional theoretical boundaries could potentially yield exciting insights into how the overall institutional and psychological environments surrounding projects affect their initiation and implementation.

Originality/value

The paper contributes new insights regarding the roles of religious symbolic work, allied with social and system integration of power relations in implementing PPP projects. It suggests a theoretical shift from structures and organizational fields – macro- and meso-levels of analysis – to individuals – micro-level – as triggers of new forms of project delivery that break with the status quo.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 12 November 2018

Victor Burigo Souza and Luís Moretto Neto

This work aims to identify the characteristics of the coproduction of the common good, or public services, from the models of public administration found in projects…

Abstract

This work aims to identify the characteristics of the coproduction of the common good, or public services, from the models of public administration found in projects awarded by the United Nations, specifically in the 2014 United Nations Public Service Award (UNPSA) category of “encouraging participation in public policy decisions through innovative mechanisms.” This multicase documentary analysis uses a typology of coproduction adapted from Salm and Menegasso (2010), which integrates several typologies of public participation. The revised typology includes five models of coproduction – community-led coproduction, state-led coproduction, self-interested coproduction, symbolic coproduction, and manipulative coproduction. The typology is used in the analysis of two United Nations award-winning projects in 2014: a community participation project for the effective management of malaria at Tha Song Yang in Thailand and the Intercouncil Forum in Brazil. This first case displays a preponderance of the self-interested coproduction ideal type, due to its focus on efficiency and delivery effectiveness of the service. The second case displays a preponderance of the symbolic coproduction ideal type due to its use of consultation practices to give the impression that there is direct participation in the decision-making, without substantive effect on the outcomes. Based on this analysis, recommendations are made for revising the criteria used by the UNPSA to ensure that projects with similar participation to those in the state-led and community-led coproduction models are awarded in the future.

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