Have You Tried This? Field-Configuring Spaces and Implementing Moral Mandates

Tae-Ung Choi, Grace Augustine, Brayden G. King

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section

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Organizational theorists and strategy scholars are both interested in how organizations deal with ambiguity, especially in relation to implementation. This chapter examines one source of ambiguity that organizations face, which is based on their efforts to implement moral mandates. These mandates, which are related to areas such as environmental sustainability and diversity, are inherently ambiguous, as they lack a shared understanding regarding their scope and associated practices. They are also often broad and systemic and may be unclearly aligned with an organization’s strategy. Due to these challenges, in this chapter, we theorize that collective action at the field level is necessary for organizations to advance and concretize moral mandates. We examine this theorizing through the case of the implementation of sustainability in higher education. We hypothesize and find support for the idea that when an organization’s members engage in collective action at the field level, those organizations have an increased likelihood of achieving sustainability implementation. To gain insight into this field-to-organization relationship, we qualitatively examine 18 years of conversations from an online forum to develop a process model of moral mandate implementation. We theorize that collective action functions as a field-configuring space, in which actors from a variety of organizations come together to (1) refine the scope of the mandate and (2) create an implementation repertoire that actors can draw on when seeking to bring sustainability to their own organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Strategic Management
Number of pages43
ISBN (Electronic)9781837538683
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2023

Publication series

NameAdvances in Strategic Management
ISSN (Print)0742-3322

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Giada Di Stefano and Filippo Carlo Wezel Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited.


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