Sober Intoxication: Institutional Contradictions and Identity Work in the Everyday Life of Four Religious Communities in Italy

Simona Giorgi, Stefania Palmisano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study explores how organization members manage institutional contradictions in their everyday life without aiming at change-oriented agency. Drawing on interviews, observations, and archival data from four religious communities in Italy, we find that when organization members experience institutional contradictions between two logics that provide conflicting identity prescriptions but to which they are emotionally attached, they engage in identity work that helps them ameliorate – but not eliminate – tensions that surface when identity elements do not align. More specifically, identity work proved integral to reaching a temporary identity truce, or reconciliation of experienced contradictions, through distancing from illegitimate others and embedding of one’s identity within an established tradition. These findings draw attention to the role of contradictions in institutional maintenance, extending theory that has tended to focus on the experience of contradictions as a source of institutional change. We discuss implications for managing institutional contradictions in everyday organizational life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-819
Number of pages25
JournalOrganization Studies
Volume38
Issue number6
Early online date2 Feb 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

Keywords

  • culture
  • data analysis
  • grounded theory
  • identity
  • institutional theory
  • religion
  • theoretical perspectives
  • topics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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