The Wizards of Oz: Towards an Institutional Approach to Elites, Expertise and Command Posts

36 Pages Posted: 20 May 2013

See all articles by Mayer Nathan Zald

Mayer Nathan Zald

University of Michigan - Department of Sociology

Michael Lounsbury

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization

Date Written: January 17, 2010

Abstract

Over the past half century, organizational studies scholarship has increasingly drifted away from addressing broader societal and political issues, as well as an interest in developing policy-relevant recommendations. In this paper, we argue that the time is ripe for a systematic re-engagement with how the dynamics of economy and society are fundamentally shaped by various elites, new forms of expertise, and their command posts — centers of societal power that regulate, oversee, and aim to maintain social order. Recalling early efforts by C. Wright Mills and his contemporaries, we call for the development of an institutional approach to the study of elites and command posts that draws on contemporary theories of power and culture to inform the creation of a new body of knowledge to inform our understanding of policy making and implementation. Drawing on a diverse array of sociological literatures and examples, the institutionalist agenda we lay out requires research that goes beyond a focus on any particular nation-state; a cumulative research program that embraces cross-national comparative studies and the study of international elites and command posts that operate across nation-states is crucial.

Keywords: power elites, public policy, command posts of organizations and institutions, expertise, institutional theory, power

Suggested Citation

Zald, Mayer Nathan and Lounsbury, Michael, The Wizards of Oz: Towards an Institutional Approach to Elites, Expertise and Command Posts (January 17, 2010). Organization Studies 2010 31: 963; University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-34. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2266670

Mayer Nathan Zald (Contact Author)

University of Michigan - Department of Sociology ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Michael Lounsbury

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada

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