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Victor Ray

Research Findings

What is a racialized organization?

June 26, 2019

Scholars of race and scholars of organizational theory have long lamented the lack of a structural theory of race and organizations. Acker’s classic work, which argued that gender is a constitutive element of organizations, concluded with a series of questions about how race shaped organizational formation and continuity. Similarly, Nkomo called for a structural theory of organizations that moved beyond understanding race as a simple demographic characteristic. More recently, scholars such as Eduardo Bonilla-Silva and Melissa Wooten have repeatedly called for a theory that integrates the sociology of race and organizational theory.

In an article recently published in the American Sociological Review, I outline a theory of racialized organizations with the aim of bridging the sub-fields of race and organizational theory. To make my case, I draw on Sewell and Bonilla-Silva, scholars who are concerned with how social structures arise, how structures become stable, and how they constrain or enable human agency in oftentimes in taken-for-granted ways.

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