Between Institutional Theory and Lefebvre: Sensemaking, Logics and Enactment of, and in, Space

Gili S. Drori, Briana Preminger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The paradigmatic breach by institutional theory into the field of organization studies, which resulted in its current domination over macro-analyses of organizations, was predicated on its reorientation of the field towards social constructivism and cultural analysis. Indeed, institutional theory’s wide recognition is based on its reading of Weber, Schutz, Goffman, Berger and Luckmann, and on recasting their claims into a series of principles that emphasize, among other ideas, the centrality of symbolic systems, cultural scripts and discourse for institutionalization. Consequently, although institutions stand on regulative, normative and cognitive pillars and are formalized into structures, practices and behaviours, institutionalists devoted less attention to the material aspects of institutions. In other words, while institutionalists study formal aspects and structuration of organizations and empirically gauge such processes by a variety of organizational artifacts, the search for patterns of meaning obscured materiality. Most insistently, Friedland (2009: 24) declares that institutions have an “absent presence,” claiming that whereas institutions are widely acknowledged as social constructs, they present themselves in material practices imbued with symbolic meanings. Friedland’s call to make the invisible institutional substance visible (2009: 49) contributed to the recent “material turn” and “visual turn” in organization studies (see e.g., Carlile et al., 2013; Meyer et al., 2013; respectively). As summarized by Jones and Massa (2013: 1127).

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationOrganisational Space and Beyond
Subtitle of host publicationThe Significance of Henri Lefebvre for Organisation Studies
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781315302423
ISBN (Print)9781138236400
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Taylor and Francis.


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