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Patchwork LeviathanPockets of Bureaucratic Effectiveness in Developing States$
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Erin Metz McDonnell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691197364

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691197364.001.0001

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Dual Habitus and Founding Cadres: The Sociological Foundations of How Discretion Is Oriented to Organizational Achievement

Dual Habitus and Founding Cadres: The Sociological Foundations of How Discretion Is Oriented to Organizational Achievement

Chapter:
(p.165) 7 Dual Habitus and Founding Cadres: The Sociological Foundations of How Discretion Is Oriented to Organizational Achievement
Source:
Patchwork Leviathan
Author(s):

Erin Metz McDonnell

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691197364.003.0007

This chapter considers why organizations use the potential for difference afforded by operational discretion to pursue abstract public goals of organizational achievement, in the process bucking prevailing neopatrimonial patterns. It develops the idea of actors with dual habitus. Appreciating how institutionally fruitful innovations can emerge from dual habitus helps make sense of an important empirical observation: most Ghanaian niches became centers of excellence when they were populated by a critical mass of Ghanaians who had local first degrees that endowed them with valuable social and cultural capital, coupled with lived experience abroad of a medium duration, often through advanced foreign education. These Ghanaians had acquired implicit skills of, and taste for, formal organizational practice while still remaining connected to local Ghanaian cultural practices and networks. The same pattern holds true for the international comparison cases. The chapter concludes by observing that these organizations were not so much transformed by singular leaders but rather by clustered cadres: small and tightly knit corps of senior staff with strong proto-bureaucratic habitus who were hand-picked for their commitment to the organizational mission.

Keywords:   dual habitus, cultural practices, organizational practices, international comparison cases, proto-bureaucratic habitus, organizational goals, social niches

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