Structure from Chaos: The Creation of Libyan Civil Society

We explore the resources, actors and processes involved in the rapid emergence of civil society in Libya after the fall of a dictator regime. We conceptualize this context as one of institutional chaos, where political oppression suppressed civil society institutions, and the revolution then created an upheaval, a moment of instability and unpredictability. A multi-level process framework emerged from the findings, highlighting the important role of institutional brokers, actors embedded in multiple established institutions and the emerging field. These institutional brokers link actors and also transform ideas from other fields. We found that brokers engaged in a process of creative translation, recombining, transposing, and recasting institutional resources from other fields. However, once the resources were at play in the emerging field, brokers faced resistance, a not-invented-here syndrome. To overcome this barrier, brokers engaged in collaborative transmission, creating spaces to develop shared meanings and practices with grassroots organizations. This research contributes to our understanding of institutional work required in different contexts, and addresses a grand challenge of our time-creation of civil society after extreme political oppression.

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Academy of Management Proceedings
nada basir
ellen auster
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