Sub-theme 18: Marxist Organization Studies: Institutional Forms of Power and their Legitimacy

Paul S. Adler
Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, USA
Rick Delbridge
Cardiff University Business School, UK
Matt Vidal
King's College London, UK

Call for Papers

In 2016, we will build on the success of the six previous EGOS Marxist studies sub-themes in bringing together people who share an interest in drawing on Marx's ideas to advance organization studies. The organizers of the EGOS 2016 Colloquium have called for papers on the interaction of overt and hidden forms of power, on the legitimacy and illegitimacy of institutions, and how these contours of power shape the process of organizing and organization.

This sub-theme takes up this invitation by providing the space for reflection on the current contributions and future prospects of Marxist-inspired organization studies in examining the operation of power, institutions and organizing in shaping organizational life. With its dual emphasis on human agency ("praxis") and class struggle on the one hand, and on the role of institutions and deep structures on the other, Marxist work is particularly well placed to contribute to the examination of these phenomena.

We particularly welcome papers that address the following:

  • Class analyses of institutional power structures, organizational identities and organizing
  • Marxist analyses of institutional fields, institutional identities and institutional legitimacy
  • Institutions, structures and economic crises, including the 2007–8 financial crisis
  • Globalization, neoliberalism and cross-national organizing
  • Dynamics of power in the labour process and the labour market

We are not dogmatic in an attachment to any specific kind of Marxism – all kinds are welcome. In previous years our sub-theme has enjoyed lively debate spanning a wide range of Marxist approaches. Some scholars have sought to integrate insights from organization studies into a Marxist framework, while others have examined how Marxist insights may fruitfully add analytical value to other research traditions.

We invite contributions that either (a) enrich our understanding of the empirical world of organizations based on Marxist theoretical foundations, or (b) enrich Marxist theory in a way that promises deeper understanding of that world.


Paul S. Adler teaches at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, USA. His research currently focuses on complex organizations and on environmental sustainability.
Rick Delbridge is Dean of Research, Innovation and Enterprise and Professor of Organizational Analysis at Cardiff University, UK. His research interests include work and workplace relations, the management of innovation, and critical human resource management.
Matt Vidal is Senior Lecturer in Work and Organizations at King's College London, UK. He has published on lean production, temporary work, bad jobs, fordism, postfordism, comparative political economy, marxist theory and institutional theory.