Morning Knowledge /10. MafiaGIULIA CAPPELLARO AND AMELIA COMPAGNI SHED LIGHT ON THE STRATEGIES USED BY THE MAFIA TO SHY FROM PUBLIC SCRUTINY, ALERTING US ON HOW TO RECOGNIZE SUCH STRATEGIES
In 2016, the Italian National Anti-Mafia Prosecutor claimed that, in understanding Mafia, «we are back to a state of paralyzing confusion». We’ve come full circle after a 55-year war between Cosa Nostra (the Sicilian Mafia) and the State, in which both actors have been deploying discursive and non-discursive strategies in order, the first, to keep secrecy and, the latter, to dissipate ambiguity.
Giulia Cappellaro and Amelia Compagni, along with Oxford’s Eero Vaara, study the extreme case of Cosa Nostra in order to understand how ambiguity can be strategically employed by organizations vis-à-vis relevant stakeholders. . Ambiguity has, in fact, always been considered problematic for organizations as it leads to immobility and a weak positioning in the market, but recent evidence shows that managers and organizations can also benefit from keeping ambiguous both for strategy-making and to protect themselves from outside negative evaluations and public scrutiny.
The scholars find that as soon as audiences construct a plausible interpretation of the organization, it shifts to a different type of ambiguity and the game starts over, but with increasing difficulties from the side of audiences.
by Fabio Todesco