Towards a Theory of Organizationality: A Gradual View on Collective Actorhood

Dennis Schoeneborn, Leonhard Dobusch, David Seidl

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Extant organizational scholarship struggles with the dilemma of defining the concept of organization in a way sufficiently specific to distinguish it from other social phenomena, yet wide and open enough to capture novel and fluid forms of organizing. To address this openness-specificity dilemma, we draw on the emerging literature on “organizationality”, which treats organization as an attribute of social phenomena that can vary by degree. To advance this view, we propose collective actorhood as the main criterion of organizationality, with higher and lower levels of organizationality corresponding to different degrees of collective actorhood. Our model explains how collectives are “charged” with actorhood and hence with organizationality through attribution practices of identity-claiming, boundarydrawing, and decision-making. Overall, we add to organizational scholarship by (1) elaborating on the relation between the concepts of organization and collective actorhood, (2) by gradualizing the notion of collective actorhood (thus bridging narrow and wide views of organization), (3) by dynamizing the notion of collective actorhood (thus being able to explain processes towards higher or lower degrees of organizationality). Finally, we reflect on how our model of organizationality can help expand the scope of organizational scholarship and strengthen its relevance for the social sciences more broadly
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2022
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event38th EGOS Colloquium 2022: Organizing: The Beauty of Imperfection - Vienna University of Economics and Business, Wien, Austria
Duration: 7 Jul 20229 Jul 2022
Conference number: 38


Conference38th EGOS Colloquium 2022
LocationVienna University of Economics and Business
Internet address


  • Collective actorhood
  • Attribution practices
  • Identity
  • Organizayionality
  • Organization theory

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