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Discourse and institutional change in mass retail – the case of an institutional entrepreneur in France: The weblog of Leclerc

Karim Messeghem (MRM Laboratory/Labex Entreprendre/UFR AES, University of Montpellier 1, Montpellier, France)
Marie-Pierre Fourquet-Courbet (Equipe Culture & Communication/Centre Norbert Elias, UMR 8562 (CNRS, EHESS, Avignon University)/IUT, University of Avignon, Avignon, France)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 28 January 2013




Mass retail in France, as an organizational field, experienced an institutional change when the Dutreil Law was promulgated on August 2, 2005. This new text is the result of a long process through which different groups of opposing logics faced one another. Michel-Edouard Leclerc actively took part in the debate launched about the Galland Law reform. His institutional activism has contributed to this change and he can be qualified, on that account, as an institutional entrepreneur. Anchored in neo-institutional theory, this article contributes to understanding the part played by the institutional entrepreneur in the process of institutional change. Design/methodology/approach


The authors analyze Michel-Edouard Leclerc's discourse on his weblog to characterize the rhetorical strategies he adopts to legitimize change. The analysis is based on the works of the pragmatics of communication and on a detailed semantic analysis of reference fields (Tropes


This contribution has enabled the author to stress the part of the institutional entrepreneur in the transformation of an organizational field. The rhetorical strategies implemented here contribute to modifying institutional logic. From a theoretical point of view, this contribution links the neo-institutional approach with entrepreneurship by proposing to define the institutional entrepreneur as an actor pursuing political opportunities.


One important advantage of this work is that the authors have offered a methodological framework for studying the discourse of institutional entrepreneurs. The paper proposes empirical operationalization of rhetorical strategies. This contributes to improving the validity of the research because the identification of rhetorical strategies is no longer exclusively related to the researcher's subjective interpretation. The work also has practical implications for the actors: how can their discourse play a part in the institutionalization process?



The authors would like to thank Sarah Hillon for her help in the translation of the article. The authors also want to thank the reviewers and the editor for their notices and suggestions that allowed the authors to improve the paper.


Messeghem, K. and Fourquet-Courbet, M.-P. (2013), "Discourse and institutional change in mass retail – the case of an institutional entrepreneur in France: The weblog of Leclerc", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 41 No. 1, pp. 61-79.



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