Sub-theme 07: (SWG) The Glocalization of Organizational Design and Managerial Practice

Gili S. Drori
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Markus A. Höllerer
Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales, Australia
Peter Walgenbach
Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germany

Call for Papers


Organizational design – in both form and content – is essentially inspired and influenced by its cultural and institutional context. From a rational choice perspective, organizational design and ways of organizing are fueled by the individual rational decisions of social actors, based on calculative assessments of resources, objectives, and the match between them. Institutional approaches, on the other hand, focus on how organizational design draws on – i.e., adopts, adapts, translates, or decouples – elements that have been rationalized in the broader environment and are sedimented in shared social knowledge; organizational design is, then, considerably influenced by relevant constituencies in an organization's network. In this year's standing working group on "institutions and knowledge", we wish to expand the conversation on the very ways by which the intensification of globalization affects organizational design and managerial practices. Globalization, with its unique combination of homogenizing influence and nonetheless locally varying imprint, which together is thought of as a "glocal mélange", directly shapes organizational design as well as indirectly influencing the knowledge according to which organizations are designed; globalization also affects the processes by which these managerial ideas and concepts disseminate. What is also prominent in such a conversation are the notions of isomorphism and heterogeneity, resilience and resistance, theorization, translation, institutionalization of new global business models, or the emergence of hybrid or blended organizational forms.


Here, we broadly define glocalization as a point of hybridity that emerges at the interface of different geographical, cultural, or social contexts, from the interaction of different logics, and at multiple levels. Although literally the term "glocalization" refers solely to the hybridity of the global and the local – and thus to the transcendence of boundaries between different levels –, abstractly, the term can also acknowledge transcendence of various other social boundaries (such as field, organizational, or historical boundaries). The term "glocalization" is also potent in describing both processes (e.g., translation, theorization, fusion, and blending) and outcome (i.e., a hybrid form or bricolage). With such breadth of glocalization, we wish to foster discussion of the very impact that boundary-transcendence (rather than sets of dichotomies) has on organizational design. In addition, with glocalization enveloping multiple contexts and levels, we encourage an assessment of design and its spread as complex and circular (rather than as simplistically linear and through direct paths of influence). With that, the language of glocalization allows for an analytic, yet complex, approach toward issues of organizational design, its sources and roots: We aim to move beyond distinctions that evoke simple dichotomies, and beyond understandings that depict organizational forms disseminating from a common core, into an analytic approach that respects complexity, multiplicity, hybridity, and co-constituency, while still paying attention to notions of structure, power, agency, and institutions.

We encourage paper submissions that specifically tie matters of organizational design (structures or forms, models, or practices) with the global and universal diffusion of organizational design elements. With that, we wish to focus on the many dimensions of design as an outcome of complex processes that transcends boundaries of cultures, political entities, economic sectors, and technical specialization. We particularly invite (but do not restrict) submissions on the following topics at the intersection of glocalization and organizational design:

Issues of design

  • What are the histories of organizational design? How do conceptions of organizational design become globally institutionalized? How do models draw on existing knowledge as they change, evolve, and transform in the era of glocalization?
  • What is the "locus" of innovative forms and designs of management and organization? Where do practices emerge and where are they implemented?
  • Is a hybrid design the inevitable outcome of glocalization? How does the complex array carried by glocalization shape organizational design?
  • Is organizational design subject to passing fashions?

Issues of processes

  • In light of a glocal "menu" of endless possibilities for hybridity, how is organizational design formulated, innovated, matured? How does it become illegitimate or even disappear? What is the role of translation and editing?
  • What is the role of cultural knowledge in the process of glocalization? In which respect is theorization a precondition for the glocalization of organizational design and managerial practices?
  • What social conditions produce a specific organizational design rather than another? And, in a glocalized world, what is the nature and source of such social conditions?
  • What about the role of agency in the process of glocalizing organizational design? And, what is the impact of structure?

Issues of transcendence of boundaries

  • What range of social/cultural contexts come to constitute a glocal model, and how?
  • What complexities emerge from having both variety and homogeneity in organizational design across sectors and fields?
  • How does the variety of global organizational designs challenge the notions of an organizational field and the boundaries of a network?
  • What are the effects of the hybridization of organizational forms across different sectors (for profit, nonprofit, and public)?

In summary, we intend to build a forum for discussion of glocalization of organizational design. In such discussions we intend to highlight design as an outcome, the designers (i.e., the social actors that are involved in creating, re-drafting, and publicizing the organizational design), and the inspirations for organizational design, while contemplating also the alternative processes, modes, and actors of organizational designs that have faded away or were otherwise marginalized.


Gili S. Drori 
Markus A. Höllerer 
Peter Walgenbach