School of Management

The Centre for Public Services Organisations

“Guerilla-mode Organization Field Dynamics: a Theory Elaboration”

Speaker: Martin Kitchener, Cardiff Business School


This paper presents an analysis of dynamics at the level of organizational fields that arise from attempts of less powerful actors to overthrow a prevailing institutional order. To develop conceptual and empirical understanding of this phenomenon, we follow the approach of elaborating general theory from case studies (Vaughan 1992).

The paper begins by introducing a conceptual framework that combines insights form institutional theory and social movement studies to derive a set of research propositions concerning the precursors, processes and outcomes of ‘bottom-up’ attempts at field transformation.

The framework is then assessed using a combination of qualitative and quantitative evidence from an historical analysis of the field of long-term care providers in the United States. The emergent mode of field dynamics is termed guerilla-mode to emphasize its highly contested and lengthy nature and the iterative attempts of a loose network of actors to frame issues and mobilize resources. 

Speaker Profile:

Martin Kitchener MBA PhD is Professor of Healthcare Management and Policy at Cardiff Business School, and Adjunct Professor of Health Policy at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). His research and teaching concentrate on organization theory and public sector management and policy.

In 1999, Martin was awarded a Harkness Research Fellowship at the University of California Berkeley to analyse systems of professional work control. Between 2000 and 2007, Dr Kitchener worked on the faculty at UCSF where he taught organizational analysis of healthcare and health policy. Martin’s research in the USA focused on change and performance in the long-term care industry. He directed an annual Kaiser Family Foundation study of home care services and a five-year program of long-term care policy research funded by the federal government.

From his research studies, Martin has published widely in the fields of organization theory, public management, health policy, and research methods. Recent papers appear in leading journals including: Organization Studies, Organization, Health Services Research, Medical Care Research and Review, Healthcare Management Science, Health Affairs, Inquiry, and Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Kitchener is the co-editor of a special edition of the Journal of Aging and Social Policy concerning personal care (2007), and is co-author of Managing Residential Children’s Care: A Managed Service (Macmillan, 2005).

Time and Location

Date: 7th May 2008

Venue: MX01, Moore Annexe