Organizations as polities: An open systems perspective

Klaus Weber, Daniel Waeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


We review recent research that employs an open polities perspective on organizations. Open polities research combines an open systems conception of organizations as intimately linked to their external environment with scholarship that treats organizations as polities—associations of groups with evolving interests and resources that operate within the constraints and opportunities afforded by a formal organizational system. In this perspective, external political environments seep into the internal political dynamics of organizations in various ways, and those internal politics in turn mediate organization-level outcomes in relation to external pressures. We use the framework of the open polity perspective to 1) connect largely parallel literatures at a meta-theoretical level and thus point to ways in which they can inform each other, 2) identify key processes through which internal and external polities are linked and single out organizational dimensions for the comparative analysis of organizations as polities, and 3) identify open questions and opportunities for future research in this perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)886-918
Number of pages33
JournalAcademy of Management Annals
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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