Studying organizational fields through ethnography

Tammar B. Zilber*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

6 Scopus citations


The interorganizational social sphere has attracted much interest in recent years (Baum & Rowley, 2005). According to open-system approaches like Institutional Theory, this social sphere-the organizational field1-is where much of the drama of organizational reality takes place (Wooten & Hoffman, 2008). Organizational fields are networks of actors (individuals and organizations; DiMaggio & Powell, 1991), who negotiate the meanings they share or contest (Scott, 1994) through various channels of communication (Hoffman, 1999). These meaning are worked out within an ongoing, political (Brint & Karabel, 1991), and context-bound effort to form collective understanding (Wooten & Hoffman, 2008). Accordingly, organizational “reality, " the “natural” ways of thinking, structures, norms of conduct, and practices are neither usually born within the organization itself nor are they taken up by direct imitation of other organizations alone or from the society within which an organization resides. Rather this taken-for-granted reality of organizations is borrowed and translated from a mediating sphere-the organizational field-that is analytically and socially discerned between organizations and societies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Qualitative Organizational Research
Subtitle of host publicationInnovative Pathways and Methods
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781317908777
ISBN (Print)9781848725096
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Taylor & Francis.


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