Leading Social Change: A Multi-Level Meaning-Making Model presented at May Meaning Meeting (in April). Scott Sonenshein. Research Question and Objectives. How do individuals inside mainstream business organizations lead social change? Micro-oriented research: Issue selling
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Leading Social Change: A Multi-Level Meaning-Making Model presented atMay Meaning Meeting (in April) Scott Sonenshein
Research Question and Objectives • How do individuals inside mainstream business organizations lead social change? • Micro-oriented research: • Issue selling • Tempered radicals • Social entrepreneurship • Macro-oriented research: • Institutional theory • Social movements
Preliminary Theory External Environment (Macro Focus) Meso Focus Micro Focus
Preliminary Theory Meaning Domains Meaning Tools Leading Social Change
Complete Balance • Self • Organization • Environment Complete Balance: Self, Organizational and environmental meanings support social change Transparent with social meanings Meaning Tool: Affirming Consequences: All meanings become more legitimate, more dominant
Complete Imbalance • Self • Organization • Environment Complete Imbalance. Self meanings inconsistent with organization and environment meanings. Not Transparent with social meanings Meaning Tools: Framing, packaging, crafting Consequences: Organization and environment meanings become more legitimate and dominant; self-meanings erode (or may decide not to lead social change; strengthen self-meanings?)
Partial Imbalance (environment) • Self • Organization • Environment Partial Imbalance. Self meanings inconsistent with environment meanings but consistent with organization meanings. Semi or fully transparent with social meanings (if fully transparent, does this suggest org context matters more than environment?) Meaning Tools: Constructing the organization as distinct (in a good way) from competitors; constructing common ground between self and organization.
Partial Imbalance (organization) • Self • Organization • Environment Partial Imbalance. Self meanings inconsistent with environment meanings. Semi-transparent with social meanings Meaning Tool: Copycatting
Balanced (but different from other balance; what is this called?) • Self • Organization • Environment Self meanings inconsistent with environment and organization meanings, which are exactly opposite. Meaning Tool: ? Consequences: ?
A Potential Model Organizational Influences Meaning-Making Processes • Favorable Meaning Tools • Affirming Organization Context Favorable • Meaning Materials • Organization • Self • Issue Organization Context Unfavorable • Unfavorable Meaning Tools • Crafting • Framing • Packaging • Copycatting Environmental Influences Institutions provide legitimated meanings about social change social movements provide language to talk about social change and pressure org’s to adopt social change
Discussion and Your Help • Suggestions for improving the theory? • What do you think of the balance of meaning domains mechanism? • Suggestions for meaning tools? • Is this too obvious? How would you add complexity to the theory? Or how would you simplify it?