How Emerging Organizations Take Form: The Role of Imprinting and Values in Organizational Bricolage

Organization Science 25(6): 1785 - 1806.

53 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2014 Last revised: 13 Aug 2015

See all articles by Markus Perkmann

Markus Perkmann

Imperial College Business School

André Spicer


Date Written: March 2, 2014


We examine how emerging organizations acquire shape by drawing on multiple organizational forms, a process we call organizational bricolage. Studying Indymedia London, a grassroots media collective, we propose a grounded theory of organizational bricolage that identifies how various types of organizational forms are selected, and how they are instantiated into the organization. While extant research has emphasized imprinting as primary mechanism shaping newly founded organizations, we point to the additional role of organizational values. Emerging organizations augment their imprinted forms by using ancillary forms aligned with their organizational values, and reinforce their core features by differentiating themselves from antagonistic forms that conflict with their values. We contribute to the literature on organizational formation by developing a process model that details how imprinted forms are subsequently modified. Moreover, we extend theories of bricolage by specifying the limits to the relative arbitrariness of bricolage as an activity, and contribute to the study of organizational values by suggesting they act as a focusing device shaping organizational structure.

Keywords: Organizational forms, Imprinting, Bricolage, Organizational values, Entrepreneurship

Suggested Citation

Perkmann, Markus and Spicer, André, How Emerging Organizations Take Form: The Role of Imprinting and Values in Organizational Bricolage (March 2, 2014). Organization Science 25(6): 1785 - 1806.. Available at SSRN:

Markus Perkmann (Contact Author)

Imperial College Business School ( email )

London, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

André Spicer


No Address Available

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