The Reorganization of Legitimate Violence: The Contested Terrain of the Private Military and Security Industry During the Post-Cold War Era

Research in Organizational Behavior, Forthcoming

77 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2013

See all articles by Joel A. C. Baum

Joel A. C. Baum

University of Toronto - Joseph L. Rotman School of Management

Anita M. McGahan

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Date Written: October 29, 2013

Abstract

We investigate the interplay between institutional structures and agency in the emergence of the private military and security industry (PMSI). Despite its controversial nature, the PMSI has achieved sufficient legitimacy since the end of the Cold War to account at times for the majority of military personnel deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. We find both structure and agency central to the PMSI’s development. The analysis points first to the central roles played by actors with expertise, reputation, and credibility based in sovereign structures, and, second, to structural shifts that reconfigured the military field in ways that both enabled and constrained agency. Various actors lent credibility to new activities that were integrated with and substitutes for previously legitimated approaches by using these openings to discredit prevailing institutional logics and to construct bridges between old and new institutions. However, it is the interplay of structure and agency that affords the clearest view of the expansion of the modern PMSI and the forces fostering and impeding its legitimacy. Our analysis reflects on a central question in organization theory: Where do new industries come from, and what entrepreneurial strategies are employed to establish organizational legitimacy under structural constraints?

Keywords: Private Military and Security Companies, institutional entrepreneurs, legitimation

JEL Classification: L1, L2

Suggested Citation

Baum, Joel A.C. and McGahan, Anita M., The Reorganization of Legitimate Violence: The Contested Terrain of the Private Military and Security Industry During the Post-Cold War Era (October 29, 2013). Research in Organizational Behavior, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2347503

Joel A.C. Baum (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Joseph L. Rotman School of Management ( email )

University of Toronto
105 St. George Street
Toronto, ON, M5S 3E6
Canada
416-978-4914 (Phone)
416-978-4629 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/~baum

Anita M. McGahan

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada
416-978-6188 (Phone)

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