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Bourdieu, strategy and the field of power

Harvey, C; Yang, R; Mueller, F; Maclean, M

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C Harvey

R Yang

M Maclean


Drawing on Bourdieu’s concept of the field of power, we examine the cross-national translation of organizational models and the strategic processes induced in recipient institutional contexts. By means of an in-depth historical case study, we demonstrate how elite strategists mobilized networks and symbolic capital to disrupt field relations and embed the US community foundation model of philanthropy in North East England. Our findings suggest that instead of simply copying alien field-level practices, strategic actors within the philanthropic field adapted and modified them to deliver fit-for-context change legitimated by support from the regional power elite. Our main contribution is to show how strategic elites drawn from different life-worlds build coalitions within the field of power to modify institutional infrastructures and embed innovative organizational models, simultaneously bolstering their legitimacy and symbolic capital. We hold that the field of power construct offers uniquely valuable insights into how strategic elites accomplish institutional change.


Harvey, C., Yang, R., Mueller, F., & Maclean, M. (2020). Bourdieu, strategy and the field of power. Critical Perspectives On Accounting, 73, Article 102199.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 2, 2020
Online Publication Date Jun 27, 2020
Publication Date 2020-12
Deposit Date Jun 22, 2020
Publicly Available Date Dec 27, 2021
Journal Critical Perspectives On Accounting
Print ISSN 1045-2354
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 73
Article Number 102199
Public URL


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