Network-Domains in Combat and Fashion Organizations



mars 2009, vol. 17, n°2, pp.283-304

Mots clés : culture, fashion, identity, military, social networks

This article adapts and extends the ‘network-domain’ concept from Harrison White’s Identity and Control in order to consider how social ties are interwoven with domains of meaning in organizations. Our interpretation claims that modalities of behaviour in organizations are consequences of identities’ persistent movements among positions in network-domains as well as organizational efforts to manage these movements. This idea is outlined through discussion of two organizational antipodes: combat operations and fashion design. While combat operations require internal group cohesion and constrained individuality, the fashion industry is based on the distinctiveness of designs and the display of personal tastes. Despite clear differences, however, we trace how attempts at managing movements among network-domains are central to identities in both contexts. This effort builds on the generally accepted understanding of identities in organizations as labile and socially constituted and thereby contributes to bridging micro/macro and structural/cultural gaps in organizational theorizing