Anthony Giddens’ Structuration Theory is probably one of the sociological theories more directly referenced and more widely used, in a variety of ways, in organizational research. Why is that, and what does it mean for organizational research? In this paper we explore this issue by reviewing some early, influential contributions, within the organizational field, that used Giddens’ theory as the main reference. We will show that the actual utilizations of such theory are very heterogeneous in many relevant concepts, although they are all moved by similar theoretical needs. We also propose that in order to properly answer to those needs, organizational research should focus on some key elements that, while being central in Giddens’ contribution, are not always interpreted consistently by “Giddensian” organization scholars. Finally, we will argue that it is possible for the organization reflection, even when it is not built upon Structuration Theory, to share and realize Giddens’ main “message” to the organizational discipline: the need for an organization theory truly based on an epistemological view that allows to overcome the objectivist / subjectivist dilemma.
Structuration theory, Organizational action, Organizational epistemology, Organizational change.