The Emergence of Transformative Agency in Professional Work

Tiina M. Tuominen, Mikko H. Lehtonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Even though transformative agency is widely discussed in organization studies, recent conceptualizations provide little information about the dynamics through which transformative agency emerges at the individual and collective levels, or how these levels influence one another in a particular context. We employ critical realist theories to explore transformative agency in different types of temporary service development groups in professional service organizations. Our study suggests how individuals’ transformative agency emerges from their reflexivity and bargaining power conditioned by resource distributions, and how collective agency subsequently emerges from different combinations of these individual properties in temporary agentic groups. The study clarifies the interplay between the individual and collective levels of agency, and supports further multilevel studies on transformative agency in organizational change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1601-1624
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • collective agency
  • diachronic emergence
  • morphogenesis
  • professional service firm
  • reflexivity
  • synchronic emergence
  • transformative agency


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