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Walter W. Powell, Achim Oberg, Valeska Korff, Carrie Oelberger and Karina Kloos

Walter Powell, Achim Oberg, Valeska Korff, Carrie Oelberger and Karina Kloos deal with the processes and mechanisms of organizational change and field transformation. On the one hand, this is a classical topic of neo-institutional theory and research, and the authors make use of an impressive array of knowledge from previous studies here. On the other hand, and based on that ‘intellectual history’ as the authors call it, they conduct a highly innovative study by focusing on new organizational forms and field transformation in the nonprofit sector. To underline innovativeness, the authors have developed a web crawler in order to determine change by analyzing organizations’ websites and their references to other organizations through hyperlinks. By doing so, they identify the diversity and dynamics of organizational fields whose boundaries are becoming increasingly porous.

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Gili S. Drori, Achim Oberg and Giuseppe Delmestri

Gili Drori, Achim Oberg, and Giuseppe Delmestri set out to identify historical trends in field-level processes of global world culture in individual organizational artifacts – university emblems. Their innovative methodology allows them to reconstruct and understand broad cultural trends and long historical changes in higher education through small, organizational-level visual icons. In addition, by tracing distributions and developments, they are able to identify period-specific cultural models and locate the individual universities within them. With their longitudinal study they add to the core concerns of institutional theory: the theory of fields, organizational roles and identities, world society theory, and to the visual and material turn in institutional analysis. In particular, they embed ‘strategic’ decisions by individual organizations in cultural and global dynamics of the organizational field, thereby institutionally ‘grounding’ their agency.