Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management., Sociology, Organisation Theory, History

Publication Details

Connolly, John and Paddy Dolan (forthcoming) ‘Re-theorizing the “structure–agency” relationship: Figurational theory, organizational change and the Gaelic Athletic Association’, Organization.


This article illustrates how the figurational sociology associated with Norbert Elias provides an alternative theoretical framework for explaining the relationship between, ‘individualorganization- society’ and organizational change, and in so doing transverses what is conceived as a false dichotomy between structure and agency. Through an historical case study of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Ireland, the ‘individual-organization-society’ relationship is conceptualized as overlapping figurations and organizational change is explained as figurational dynamics—the shifting social interdependencies between the individuals and groups comprising an organization, between that organization and other organizations, between social groups on a higher level of integration and competition. In tandem with this, the article illustrates how changes in the sources of power and identity are connected with these figurational dynamics.