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Forthcoming Cambridge Elements Series


Organization Theory

Organizations matter. They are the fundamental instruments for the collective accomplishment of economic and social purposes. As such, they can be vehicles of social progress and the solution to basic problems such as the provision of food, healthcare, education and other human needs and wants. But they can also, as Philip Selznick memorably argued, be used as ‘weapons’ that privilege some interests over others, not always legally or intentionally. At their worst, organizations provide the tools to multiply the effects of the darkest of human impulses and result in terrorism, genocide, and labour camps. As a result, it is essential that we understand how organizations work, how we can control them, and how we can insure they generate social good.

Organization theory is the key discipline in studying these issues. While it covers many different approaches to understanding organizations, its focus is on what constitutes the how and why of organizations and organizing, bringing understanding of organizations in a holistic way. It recognizes that there are many different types of organizations – corporations, not-for-profits, social enterprises, hospitals, family firms, theatres, and so on - and seeks to understand those differences and their implications. Moreover, organization theory utilizes many different theoretical perspectives and lenses – but the focus is upon understanding organizations in a holistic way.

The purpose of the Cambridge Elements on Organization Theory is to systematize and contribute to our understanding of organizations. We envisage two types of Elements. One will present and discuss core and emerging theoretical perspectives and approaches. A second will apply those perspectives to issues and outcomes, including those of long standing concern (such as achieving organizational change, managing innovation, the comparison of different types of organizations, etc.); and, more recent concerns (such as social, ethnic and gender inequality, corruption and wrongdoing, corporate social responsibility). The idea of this latter set of contributions is to show how organization theory speaks to these issues and thus highlights its application and relevance.

The format of Elements allows scholars to develop arguments at greater length and to use a wider range of approaches than is typically possible within the constraints of a journal article, with scope for authors to update their element regularly. The relatively concise treatments will provide researchers with an ideal platform from which to develop further research. The modular nature of the series will also mean that instructors can easily mix and match Elements as assigned readings for graduate and undergraduate courses on organizations or to add in organizational topics to related courses.

To view the latest published Elements in this series, visit the Organization Theory Series Page.


About the Editors - Nelson Phillips

Nelson Phillips is the Abu Dhabi Chamber Professor of Strategy and Innovation at Imperial College London. His research interests include organization theory, technology strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship, often studied from an institutional theory perspective. He has published four books: Discourse Analysis with Cynthia Hardy published in 2002, Power and Organizations with Stewart Clegg and David Courpasson published in 2006, Technology and Organization with Graham Sewell and Dorothy Griffiths published in 2010, and the Oxford Handbook of Innovation Management with David Gann and Mark Dodgson published in 2014. He is also the Past Division Chair of the Organization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management and an Editor-in-Chief of Innovation: Organization and Management.

Advisory Board

The editors will be supported in their work by an advisory board of distinguished organization theory scholars:

Paul Adler, USC
Mats Alvesson, Lund University
Steve Barley, University of Santa Barbara
Jean Bartunek, Boston College
Paul Hirsch, Northwestern University
Ann Langley, HEC Montreal
Renate Meyer, WU Vienna
Danny Miller, HEC Montreal
Mike Tushman, Harvard University  
Andrew Van de Ven, University of Minnesota

About the Editors - Royston Greenwood

Royston Greenwood is the Telus Professor of Strategic Management at the University of Alberta, a Visiting Professor at the University of Cambridge, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests include organizational change and professional misconduct. He has published in various journals, including the Administrative Science QuarterlyAcademy of Management JournalAcademy of Management ReviewOrganization ScienceOrganization Studies, the Journal of Management Studies, and the Academy of Management Annals. He has served on several editorial boards and is a former editor of the Academy of Management Annals and of Strategic Organization. He is a co-editor of the Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism. He received the 2014 Distinguished Scholar Award from the Organization and Management Division of the Academy of Management.

Elements in Development

A number of Elements have already been commissioned for this series including:

Organizational Learning from Performance and Aspirations: A Multiple Goals Perspective by Pino Audia and Henrich Greve

Professional Occupations and Organizations by Daniel Muzio, Ian Kirkpatrick and Sundeep Aulakh

Cultural Entrepreneurship by Michael Lounsbury and Mary Ann Glynn

Emotions in Organizations by Charlene Zietsma, Maxim Voronov, Madeline Toubiana and Anna Roberts

Managing Healthcare Organizations by Trish Reay and Elizabeth Goodrick

Managing Organizational Stigma by Bryant Hudson and Karen Patterson

Rising Waters: Can Institutions Stem the Tide? By Dev Jennings and Andrew Hoffman

Qualitative Methods in OT by Nelson Phillips and Panita Surachaikulwattana

Social Innovation by Paul Tracey

The Challenge of Organizational Change by John Amis