Theorizing Institutional Entrepreneuring: Arborescent and Rhizomatic Assembling

Gehman, J., Sharma, G. & Beveridge, A. 2022. Theorizing Institutional Entrepreneuring: Arborescent and Rhizomatic Assembling. Organization Studies. 43: 289–310. doi:10.1177/01708406211044893.

22 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2021 Last revised: 31 Jan 2022

See all articles by Joel Gehman

Joel Gehman

George Washington University - Department of Strategic Management & Public Policy

Garima Sharma

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

'Alim Beveridge

University of Nottingham, Ningbo - University of Nottingham Ningbo China

Date Written: February 1, 2022

Abstract

A growing body of research has cataloged the myriad actors involved in tackling persistent institutional problems. Yet we lack a theoretical toolkit for explicitly conceptualizing and comparing diverse modes of institutional entrepreneuring—the processes whereby actors are created and equipped for institutional action—capable of ameliorating grand challenges. Drawing on assemblage theory, we articulate two ideal-typical modes of assembling actorhood: arborescent and rhizomatic. We differentiate each mode along four principles: association, combination, division, and population. Building on our theorization, we propound an arborescent-rhizomatic space comprising clusters of arborescent, rhizomatic, and hybrid actorhood. To explore the generativity of our framework, we revisit selected research at the intersection of institutional entrepreneurship and grand challenges. We close by articulating how our concept of assembling actorhood reorients research toward institutional entrepreneuring and contributes to the application of assemblage theory within organization studies.

Keywords: institutional entrepreneurship, grand challenges, assemblage theory, actorhood, rhizome, Deleuze and Guattari

JEL Classification: Q01, O35

Suggested Citation

Gehman, Joel and Sharma, Garima and Beveridge, 'Alim, Theorizing Institutional Entrepreneuring: Arborescent and Rhizomatic Assembling (February 1, 2022). Gehman, J., Sharma, G. & Beveridge, A. 2022. Theorizing Institutional Entrepreneuring: Arborescent and Rhizomatic Assembling. Organization Studies. 43: 289–310. doi:10.1177/01708406211044893., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3901118

Joel Gehman (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Department of Strategic Management & Public Policy ( email )

Washington, DC 20052
United States

Garima Sharma

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies ( email )

Department of Economics
35 Broad Street, 6th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
United States

'Alim Beveridge

University of Nottingham, Ningbo - University of Nottingham Ningbo China ( email )

199 Taikang East Road
Ningbo, 315100
China

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