Chapter | Institutions and Ideals: Philip Selznick's Legacy for Organizational Studies | 2015

What's So Institutional about Leadership?: Leadership Mechanisms of Value Infusion

by Ryan Raffaelli and Mary Ann Glynn


Leaders are important social actors in organizations, centrally involved in establishing and maintaining institutional values, a view that was articulated by Philip Selznick (1957) nearly a half-century ago, but often overlooked in institutionalists' accounts. Our objective is to build on Selznick's seminal work to investigate the value proposition of leadership consistent with institutional theory. We examine public interview transcripts from 52 senior executives and discover that leaders' conceptualizations of their entities align with the archetypes of organization (i.e., economic, hierarchical, and power oriented) and institution (i.e., ideological, creative and collectivist) and cohere around a set of relevant values. Extrapolating from this, we advance a theoretical framework of the process whereby leaders' claims function as transformational mechanisms of value infusion in the institutionalization of organizations.


Raffaelli, Ryan, and Mary Ann Glynn. "What's So Institutional about Leadership? Leadership Mechanisms of Value Infusion." In Institutions and Ideals: Philip Selznick's Legacy for Organizational Studies. Vol. 44, edited by Matthew S. Kraatz. Research in the Sociology of Organizations. Emerald Group Publishing, 2015.