Sociology

Categories and Classification

This theory or framework examines how markets and products are grouped into categories. This grouping serves many useful purposes, including communicating in simple terms what the product is because of the shared understandings. In some instances, products are very general and thus span multiple categories. This has been shown to have a negative impact. Another potential issue is the legitimation of (new) categories or products.

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Organizational Identity

Organizational Identity is defined as the members’ collective, shared sense of who they are as an organization, collectively understood by an organization’s members to be central, distinctive and enduring, collective-level, emergent and aspect of firm.

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Social Movements

There are many definitions for the concept of social movements. For instance, one definition focuses on social movements as a set of opinions that represents preferences for changing the social structure and or the reward distribution of a society (McCarthy & Zald, 1977). Another definition focuses on a collective attempt to change individuals or societal structures and institutions (Zald & Ash, 1966). A different definition is a lot more broad, discussing social movements as a large number of people making efforts to solve a problem they feel they have in common (Toch, 1965). There are more definitions of social movements than discussed above. Some are broad and others are narrower. However, there are a few aspects these definitions have in common. First they all refer to a group of people. Second, they all discuss collective action. And third, they all mention some form of outcomes.

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Social Network Theory

Social Network Theory (SNT) focuses on the relationship between two or more actors. The main concepts, then, are the actors also called nodes, and their relationship, or tie.  SNT is unique in that it is considered both a theory and a method.

Network Analysis Image from my methods class

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Institutional Theory

The institutional analysis of organizations has a long history (Parsons, 1956; Selznick, 1948, 1949, 1957).  Selznick focused on empirical analysis of organizations and their institutional environment and Parsons discussed how institutions integrate organizations in society by the use of authority, rules, and contracts (Powell, 1991; Scott & Davis, 2007). Often referred to as “old institutionalism,” scholarly work was focused on the importance of vested interests, informal structures, as well as values, norms, and attitudes (Powell, 1991; Selznick, 1996).

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Organizational Ecology

Organizational ecology theory has its roots in the natural selection work in biology. It is primarily concerned with the founding and death of organizations and organizational survival (Hannan & Freeman, 1977).

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Resource Dependence

Resource Dependency Theory (RDT) acknowledges that every organization needs resources to function. These resources can be found both within and outside an organization. When the resources are outside the focal organization, it leads to interdependence and therefore uncertainty.

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