The Combination of Strategic Games and Moral Community in the Functioning of Firms

Philippe d’Iribarne, Organization Studies, 24 (8), Octobre 2003, p. 1283-1307.

In order to describe the functioning of business firms, two different models of collective action are currently mobilized. The first represents the firm as an arena for the different strategies of actors who want to maximize their interests. The second model focuses on the existence of shared values, of a common culture. In order to contribute to synthesis between these two approaches, two opposite situations are compared: the running of a firm in Morocco, which appears to be a community like enterprise, and the running of a firm in the USA, where on the contrary, the community elements seem to be markedly absent. We analyze how the strategies of actors are combined with a collective adherence to a moral community. This enables us to propose a theoretical approach combining these two facets of the firms’ functioning. In the two cases, we have found a common perception of the good and the bad which enables us to talk about a moral community.

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