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Heterologous and Homologous Perspectives on the Relation Between Morality and Organization: Illustration of Implications for Studying the Rise of Private Military and Security Industry

Journal of Management Inquiry

Published online on


Organization studies of morality have paid scant attention to theorizing the relation between morality and organization before engaging in empirical work, which has resulted in inconsistent and incompatible theories implicitly entailed in different empirical studies. In this article, I distinguish between two theoretical perspectives regarding this relation—heterologous and homologous—based on whether morality and organization are viewed as distinct and independent from one another or orders of intertwined constitution. I discuss the implications of taking each perspective for research question and design, and show how the choice of theoretical perspective leads to starkly different conclusions about a single phenomenon. I also illustrate these arguments in the case of studying the recent rise of private military and security industry. To conclude, I highlight the theoretical and methodological contributions of the distinction between heterologous and homologous perspectives and discuss future avenues that it opens for organization research on morality.