Power Dynamics in Field-Level Events: A Narrative Approach

Tamar Gross*, Tammar B. Zilber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Drawing upon an in-depth analysis of two bio-tech annual conferences in Israel, we explicate the exertion of power in convening. Event organization involves three narrative mechanisms: (1) telling stories which construct the field, and enacting them through different genres that channel participants to perform these stories in the unfolding of the event; (2) setting the stage and a space of possibilities for certain stories to be told in certain ways, and limiting others; and (3) grounding the stories in meta-narratives that confer plausibility on some of them over others. Our contribution lies in explicating how diverse narrative mechanisms allow organizers to exert various faces of power in organizing an event, how organizers use power to construct their own and others’ resources, and how power is used not only through words, but also through space and embodiment. Taken together, self-serving constructions of the field are turned into a taken-for-granted reality, while constraining participants’ ability to negotiate or refute it.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1369-1390
Number of pages22
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • bio-tech
  • field-configuring events
  • field-level events
  • narrative analysis
  • power relations


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