Concertive resistance: how overlapping team identifications enable collective organizational resistance*

Alaina Zanin, Ryan S. Bisel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This study describes how overlapping sources of identification allow organizational members to resist managerial influence collectively in the absence of overt talk or leadership communication–labeled here concertive resistance. Concertive resistance is exercised by organizational members according to a set of core group-level values which challenge, invert, or disrupt top-down control. Concertive resistance extends Barker’s [1993. “Tightening the Iron Cage: Concertive Control in Self-managing Teams.” Administrative Science Quarterly 38 (3): 408–437] concept of concertive control by explaining how team-level resistance is also attributable to team-level control. Through an ethnography of an American university football team, this study reveals how multiple and overlapping sources of identification produced a team’s spontaneously and collective resistance, without the aid of overt resistance leadership. The essay contributes to the resistance literature by using Unobtrusive Control Theory to explain how group-level resistance is accomplished through control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCulture and Organization
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • concertive control
  • identification
  • Resistance
  • sensemaking
  • unobtrusive control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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