Towards a Theory of Organizationality

Dennis Schoeneborn, Leonhard Dobusch, David Seidl

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Current debates on the concept of organization are troubled by a dilemma of specificity vs. openness: how can the notion of organization be kept specific and distinctive enough to preserve its analytical value (the hallmark of proponents of a narrow view on organization), while keeping it wide and open enough to account for new, alternative, and fluid forms of organization (what proponents of a widened view on organization call for)? In this article, we propose a gradual understanding of organization, which reconciles narrow and widened views of organization and allows capturing the dynamics of an emerging theory of organizationality. Treating collective actorhood as a key criterion of what constitutes organization, we develop a gradual theory of organization that considers collective actorhood as a matter of degree. We argue that collective actorhood depends on communicative attributions: when activities get attributed to collective social addresses rather than to individual social addresses, the collective social address starts to gain organizationality. We identify three main attribution practices (i.e. identity-claiming, boundary-drawing, and decision-interlinking practices) that increase the attribution of collective actorhood and thereby organizationality.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2021
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event45. Workshop der Kommission Organisation 2021: Verband der Hochschullehrer für Betriebswirtschaft - Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany
Duration: 22 Sept 202124 Sept 2021
Conference number: 45


Conference45. Workshop der Kommission Organisation 2021
LocationLeuphana Universität Lüneburg


  • Actorhood
  • Boundary
  • Decision
  • Collective identity
  • Gradualization
  • Organizationality
  • Organization theory

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