The wizards of Oz: Towards an institutional approach to elites, expertise and command posts

  • Zald M
  • Lounsbury M
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Abstract

Over the past half century, organizational studies scholarship has increasingly drifted away from addressing broader societal and political issues, as well as an interest in developing policy-relevant recommendations. In this paper, we argue that the time is ripe for a systematic re-engagement with how the dynamics of economy and society are funda- mentally shaped by various elites, new forms of expertise, and their command posts – centers of societal power that regulate, oversee, and aimtomaintain social order. Recalling early efforts by C.Wright Mills and his contemporaries, we call for the development of an institutional approach to the study of elites and command posts that draws on contemporary theories of power and culture to informthe creation of a newbody of knowledge to inform our understanding of policy making and implementation. Drawing on a diverse array of sociological literatures and examples, the institutionalist agendawe lay out requires research that goes beyond a focus on any particular nation-state; a cumulative research program that embraces cross-national comparative studies and the study of international elites and command posts that operate across nation-states is crucial.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Command posts of organizations and institutions
  • Expertise
  • Institutional theory
  • Power
  • Power elites
  • Public policy

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Authors

  • Mayer N. Zald

  • Michael Lounsbury

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