The hegemonic ambiguity of big concepts in organisation studies

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9 Citations (SciVal)


The use of concepts is a vital part of the research process. Many researchers overexploit popular concepts by adding more and more vague and poorly defined meanings to them, thereby making their boundaries unclear and the concepts increasingly unwieldy. We will refer to these types of concepts as hembigs – an acronym for hegemonic, ambiguous, big concepts. The article demonstrates the problem in three domains: leadership, strategy and institution. It suggests ways to mitigate the problems with dominant scientific concepts, overloaded with more or less incoherent meanings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-86
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Business Administration


  • institutional theory
  • leadership
  • method
  • organization studies
  • reflexivity
  • strategy


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