Sub-theme 20: Organizing Alternatives to Capitalism: Theories, Models and Mechanisms

Luciano Barin Cruz
HEC Montréal, Canada
Mário Aquino Alves
Business Administration School of São Paulo (FGV/EAESP), Brazil
Bernard Leca
University Paris-Dauphine, France

Call for Papers

Three decades of neoliberal doxa led to an erosion of the Keynesian post-war consensus (Bourdieu, 1998). Deregulation replaced public control of the economy (Centeno & Cohen, 2012) and corporate elites – grounded in management theories – enacted models that have been described as key sources of organizational troubles (Ferraro et al., 2005; Ghoshal, 2005). In spite of the perverse effects of the recent economic crises, the difficulties of the economies to recover and the huge waves of protest in different parts of the globe (Castells, 2012), these models remain the dominant ways of thinking, mostly due to the permanence in power of the same financial corporate elites that enacted those models (Daguerre, 2014).

In opposition, alternative organizational models have spread over the world in recent years. Some of these organizational models carry new labels, such as social entrepreneurship (Dacin et al., 2010), inclusive innovation (George et al., 2012), inclusive business (Halme et al., 2012), social business (Yunus et al., 2010) and hybrid organizations (Battilana & Dorado, 2010). Others, such as cooperatives (Charterina et al., 2007), carry a strong heritage of more than a century of experience. In common, they seek to balance social mission with economic performance and strive to find new ways of organizing and influencing social and economic development.

Even though empirical experiences multiply on the ground, little systematic research has been conducted to understand which theories and which mechanisms may help to describe, analyse and explain how these alternative organizational models organize and eventually contribute to the diffusion and development of such models.

This sub-theme aims at addressing this important gap in organizational studies and welcomes the exploration of any of the following topics, as well as other relevant topics:


  • Which theories? We encourage the use of traditional concepts from organizational theory such as institutional analysis and institutional work (e.g., Lawrence et al., 2009; Mair et al., 2012), performativity (Cabantous & Gond, 2011; Spicer et al., 2009), research on social movements (Schneiberg et al., 2008: 637), strategy as practice (Vaara et al., 2012) and others that may be mobilized to analyse these alternative models. We also encourage studies discussing whether and how alternative theories "from the South" have been mobilized, or how theories "from the North" can be reassembled in the South. For instance, how have the ideas of authors such as Guerreiro-Ramos (1976), Freire (2000) and Ibarra-Colado (2006) contributed to the mobilization of emancipatory ideals? Which theories or representations inform alternative organizational forms in Latin American, African and Asian countries?
  • Which organizational models? A second set of questions relate to the alternative organizational models that can be mobilized to turn emancipatory ideals or theories into social reality. For instance, are workers’ cooperatives or social enterprises sustainable alternatives to capitalist organizations from an economic, social and ecological viewpoint? What are the economic, social and environmental consequences of these new models?
  • Which mechanisms? A final set of questions concerns the mechanisms whereby alternative theories or models are mobilized. Under which conditions can a theory successfully influence a region of the world by facilitating the development of new organizational forms? How might organizational theories be mobilized to help actors establish and develop such organizations? Are the ideals promoted by some thinkers from the South immunized from perverse effects?




  • Battilana, J., & Dorado, S. (2010): "Building sustainable hybrid organizations: the case of commercial microfinance organizations." Academy of Management Journal, 53 (6), 1419–1440.
  • Bourdieu, P. (1998): Contre-feux: Propos pour servir à la résistance contre l’invasion néo-libérale. Paris: Édition Raison D’Agir.
  • Cabantous L., & Gond, J.-P. (2011): "Rational decision-making as a 'performative praxis': Explaining rationality's éternel retour." Organization Science, 22 (3), 573–586.
  • Castells, M. (2012): Networks of Outrage and Hope. London: Polity Press.
  • Centeno, M.A., & Cohen, J.N. (2012): "The arc of neoliberalism." Annual Review of Sociology, 38, 317–340.
  • Charterina J., Albizu, E., & Landeta, J. (2007): "The quality of management in Basque companies: Differences existing between cooperative and non-cooperative companies." In: S. Novkovic & V. Sena (eds.): Advances in Economic Analysis of Participatory and Labor-Managed Firms, Vol. 10. New York: Elsevier Science, pp. 109–150.
  • Dacin, P.A., Dacin, M.T., & Matear, M. (2010): "Social entrepreneurship: why we don't need a new theory and how we move forward from here." Academy of Management Perspectives, 24 (3), 37–57.
  • Daguerre, A. (2014): "New corporate elites and the erosion of the Keynesian social compact." Work, Employment and Society, 28 (2), 323–334.
  • Ferraro, F., Pfeffer, J., & Sutton, R.I. (2005): "Economics language and assumptions: How theories can become self-fulfilling." Academy of Management Review, 30 (1), 8–24.
  • Freire, P. (2000): Pedagogy of Freedom: Ethics, Democracy, and Civic Courage. Lanham. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • George, G., McGahan, A.M., & Prabhu, J. (2012): "Innovation for inclusive growth: towards a theoreticalf ramework and a research agenda." Journal Management Studies, 49 (4), 661–683.
  • Ghoshal, S. (2005): "Bad management theories are destroying good management practices." Academy of Management Learning and Education, 4 (1), 75–91.
  • Guerreiro-Ramos, A. (1976): "Theory of social systems delimitation: A preliminary statement." Administration & Society, 8 (2), 249–272.
  • Halme, M., Lindeman, S., & Linna, P. (2012): "Innovation for inclusive business: Intrapreneurial bricolage in multinational corporations." Journal of Management Studies, 49 (4), 743–784.
  • Ibarra-Colado, E. (2006): "Organization studies and epistemic coloniality in Latin America: thinking otherness from the margins." Organization, 13 (4), 463–488.
  • Lawrence, T.B., Suddaby, R., & Leca, B. (2009): Institutions and Institutional Work. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Mair, J., Martí, I., & Ventresca, M.J. (2012): "Building inclusive markets in rural Bangladesh: how intermediaries work institutional voids." Academy of Management Journal, 55 (4), 819–850.
  • Schneiberg, M., King, M., & Smith, T. (2008): "Social movements and organizational form: cooperative alternatives to corporations in the American insurance, dairy, and grain industries." American Sociological Review, 73 (4), 635–667.
  • Spicer, A., Alvesson, M., & Kärreman, D. (2009): "Critical performativity. The unfinished business of critical management studies." Human Relations, 62 (4), 537–560.
  • Vaara, E., & Whittington, R. (2012): "Strategy-as-Practice: taking social practices seriously." The Academy of Management Annals, 6 (1), 285–336.
  • Yunus, M., Moingean, B., & Lehmann-Ortega, L. (2010): "Building social business models: lessons from the Grameen experience." Long Range Planning, 43 (2–3), 308–325.


Luciano Barin Cruz is an Associate Professor of Management and Sustainability at HEC Montréal, Canada. His research, which investigates how management and organizational theories and practices can contribute for social and environmental inclusion, has been published in 'World Development', 'Organization, Business & Society', 'Journal of Business Ethics', 'Management Decision' and the 'Journal of Cleaner Production'.
Mário Aquino Alves is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government and Public Policy at the Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) Business Administration School (EAESP) in São Paulo, Brazil. He studies CSR and corporate political activity; and participation, professionalization and performance in non-profit and public organizations. He has published in English in 'Comparative Social Research', 'Voluntas', 'Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences' and in Portuguese journals such as 'Revista de Administração Contemporânea (RAC)', 'Revista de Administração de Empresas (RAE)' and 'Revista de Administração Pública (RAP)', among others.
Bernard Leca is a Professor in Strategy and Management Control at the University Paris-Dauphine, France. His main research focuses on institutional theory and institutional change implementation. Together with Tom Lawrence and Roy Suddaby, he co-edited "Institutional Work: Actors and Agency in Institutional Studies of Organization" (2009, Cambridge University Press).