This essay is a critical synthesis of recent researches in the sociology of organizations. While inspired by neo-institutionalism, they have made some propositions to overcome some of its limits and flaws, in order to be able to apprehend simultaneously change and reproduction processes. On one hand, organizational fields tend to be considered as more ambiguous and heterogeneous than in the seminal texts of neo-institutionalism and, on the other hand, these works have tried to “bring actors back in” their analyses, and especially the role of change entrepreneurs. Some of their conclusions remind of “old” institutionalism’s ones; however, their conceptualizations of power and meso order are less robust than in the seminal texts of organizational sociology. As a conclusion, this essay calls for studies that would identify and specify the social mechanisms that may explain the sources of power and reflexivity, as well as their uneven distribution in the social spaces.
- Sociology of Organizations