Relational Perspectives in Organizational Studies

Relational Perspectives in Organizational Studies

A Research Companion

Edited by Olympia Kyriakidou and Mustafa F. Özbilgin

The contributors to this highly innovative and authoritative research companion, leading experts in their field, apply relational analyses to different areas of organization studies and provide a comprehensive review of the relational perspectives. The book features empirical, theoretical, philosophical and methodological contributions from a wide spectrum of disciplinary perspectives on relationality in and around organizations.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Olivia Kyriakidou and Mustafa F. Özbilgin

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, organisation studies


Olivia Kyriakidou and Mustafa F. Özbilgin Organizational theorists are faced with a fundamental dilemma: whether to conceive of the social world as consisting in substances or in processes, in static ‘things’ or in dynamic, unfolding relations. They take as their point of departure the notion that it is static, preformed (Emirbayer, 1997) entities (structures, organizations, groups, individuals) that constitute the fundamental units of all inquiry without being modified internally by their interrelationships and dynamic processes. This theoretical stance has led large parts of the organizational community to study implicitly or explicitly organizational phenomena either from a micro or macro perspective without depicting organizational reality in dynamic, continuous and processual terms. Unfortunately, while there is an increasing interest in incorporating both micro and macro perspectives in the same theoretical formulation or research design, there are no systematic attempts underpinned by a coherent framework to synthesize micro and macro organizational processes. The thesis of the present book is that organizational phenomena ranging from the behaviors, thoughts and emotions of organization members to the collective actions of organizations occur at several levels of analysis which are in some way linked. It is our argument that micro and macro processes cannot be treated separately and then added up to understand behavior in, or behavior of organizations. We argue for a relational perspective to foster integration of micro and macro organizational perspectives and to provide a framework in which organizational phenomena could be studied in dynamic and processual terms. Entrepreneurial venturing, in Chapter 7,...