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Symbolic Management – Governance, Strategy, and Institutions - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Symbolic Management: Governance, Strategy, and Institutions

James Westphal and Sun Hyun Park


This book presents the symbolic management perspective as a comprehensive, behavioral theory of corporate governance. It describes a pervasive pattern of symbolic decoupling, or separation between appearances and reality, at each level of the governance system. The processes of governance are less efficient or effective than they appear, at every level: from interpersonal relations within organizations, such as relations between chief executive officers and directors and between top managers and lower-level employees, between firm leaders and external stakeholders, and between communities of l ... More

Keywords: symbolic management, corporate governance, boards, leadership, institutions, institutional logics, power, social influence, strategy, social networks

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780198792055
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198792055.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

James Westphal, author
Harvey C. Fruehauf Professor of Business Administration, University of Michigan

Sun Hyun Park, author
Associate Professor of Strategy and International Management, Seoul National University