Keeping a Dream Alive: Sustaining the Rational Myth of Industrialization in the Construction Industry from 1945 to 1970

Thibault Daudigeos, Eva Boxenbaum, Sylvain Colombero, Jean-Charles Pillet

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch


How do rational myths survive over time? According to Meyer and Rowan (1977), rational myths provide idealized cultural accounts of how organizations should operate. They have two key properties: 1) they are rationalized prescriptions that specify in a rulelike way the appropriate means to rationally pursue certain social purposes, and 2) they are highly institutionalized, i.e. their legitimacy is taken for granted. Rational myths help organizational members make sense of uncertain situations and guide organizational action in meaningful and legitimate directions. While existing literature has shed light on how rational myths come into existence and how they operate, we are still missing insight into how they survive over time. Our enquiry explores, through a multimodal analysis, how rational myths survive over time in the absence of solid demonstrations that they hold true. Empirically, we examine the rational myth of industrialization as formulated by the automotive industry at the turn of the 20th century, notably how it expressed itself in the construction industry in the postwar period.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2016
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event2nd International Conference on Visuality, Materiality, Multimodality - Copenhagen Business School, København, Denmark
Duration: 22 Sept 201623 Sept 2016
Conference number: 2


Conference2nd International Conference on Visuality, Materiality, Multimodality
LocationCopenhagen Business School


  • Rational myth
  • Industrialization
  • Construction industry

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