Monday, June 3, 2019

Johanna Mair, Hertie School of Governance and Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS)

The Emergence of a Field Ideology: Pathways to Domination and Systemic Power in the Field of Impact Investing

Time and Location: 3:00-4:30 PM, CERAS Building, 520 Galvez Mall, Stanford CA 94305 (Room 123)

Co-authors: Lisa Hehenberger, ESADE and Ashley Metz, Tilburg University*

Ideas and beliefs that define legitimate action in organizational fields are of central concern to organizational scholars, yet we often ignore how ideas become taken-for-granted and valued.  In this study, we use a new way of seeing to uncover power-laden processes at the level of ideas in the European field of impact investing. Our study sheds light on how some ideas are suppressed while others become dominant, shaping field trajectories. We introduce the construct of field ideology - a context-specific set of ideas and beliefs that are linked in non-random ways, pattern work and behavior, and become principles that guide action in fields. To make ideas and ideological building blocks visible and to specify covert processes that explain how a dominant field ideology takes shape, we use an insider/outsider research approach that couples long-term field exposure with unbiased and generalizable analysis. Our study offers analytical and theoretical advances on more dynamic perspectives of institutional life in fields.

* The manuscript is the result of a truly collaborative effort among the three authors. All authors contributed equally and names are listed in alphabetical order.