Merger as field transformation: Nurses’ positioning and metaphoric journeys

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The integration perspective on culture that has its base in the intellectual tradition of functionalism seems to be institutionalized in the literature on healthcare mergers. In our analysis of a merger between two hospital departments, we approach culture from a different perspective, when we analyse the merger as a cultural practice developing in the intersection between Bourdieusian habitus, field and capital. We believe this framework facilitates deeper insights into the complexities of these processes. We show how the metaphors and stories told by the two groups of merging nurses are used as cultural resources in the nurses’ battles to establish distinctive group identities and positions in the new setting. Our results demonstrate that the difficulties of the merger can be explained by the field’s unsuccessful attempt at re-defining the capital that structures the work place, rather than in commonplace explanations of cultural clashes or inflexible employee attitudes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCulture and Organization
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)14-32
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Bourdieu
  • culture
  • hospital
  • merger
  • metaphors and stories
  • nursing

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