Finding the Organization in Organizational Theory: A Meta-theory of the Organization as a Social Actor, Organization Science
Organization theory is a theory without a protagonist. Organizations are typically portrayed in organizational scholarship as aggregations of individuals, as instantiations of the environment, as nodes in a social network, as members of a population, or as a bundle of organizing processes. This paper hopes to highlight the need for understanding, explicating and researching the enduring, noun-like qualities of the organization. We situate the organization in a broader social landscape by examining what is unique about the organization as a social actor. We propose two assumptions that underlie our conceptualization of organizations as social actors: external attribution and intentionality. We then highlight important questions and implications forming the core of a distinctively organizational analytical perspective.
Brayden King, Teppo Felin, David Whetten
King, Brayden, Teppo Felin, and David Whetten. 2010. Finding the Organization in Organizational Theory: A Meta-theory of the Organization as a Social Actor. Organization Science. 21: 290-305.