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Field Theory

Field theory is a conceptual framework used to clarify the regularities in organizational behavior by situating groups within a field of action. A field is a structured social space that comprises a network of relationships among actors with more or less power. A field is relatively coherent because the actors operating in it are oriented toward a particular value or prize (e.g., profit making) and agree on the “rules of the game” (e.g., competing with one another for consumer dollars) by which these values are accumulated. A key analytic benefit of field theory is that it identifies the factors internal to a field (e.g., competition, networks, and professional norms) and external to a field (e.g., actors from other fields as well as political and economic ...

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