Organizational actors, character, and Selznick's theory of organizations

Brayden G. King*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Selznick's theory of organizations offers a starting point to understand how organizations cohere as social actors. Each organization has a specific character that reflects its commitments to particular constituencies and that embodies certain values. Selznick's theory explained how character evolves in relation to the formal structure of the organization, stamping an organization with a personality that guides its leaders' future decision-making and deliberation. This paper traces Selznick's development of this theory and suggests that his theory is useful for contemporary scholars who are interested in understanding how organizations relate and respond to and potentially shape their environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-174
Number of pages26
JournalResearch in the Sociology of Organizations
StatePublished - 2015


  • Institutional theory
  • Organizational actor
  • Organizational character

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Organizational actors, character, and Selznick's theory of organizations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this