Induction and institutions may have followed the same tracks for a long period of time, but their interaction is scarcely analyzed. On the one hand, induction prepares newcomers to work in an organization that is completely new to them. On the other hand, institutions apparently need induction processes to maintain themselves in the same time they renew their members. The purpose of the present paper is to analyze induction as a practice, and to show how this practice turns itself into an institution, in spite of the embeddedness of action scripts into rational schemes.
The paper introduces the case of a retail bank and a consulting company in France. Both have formalized induction systems, but they show enough differences to be considered as offering two complementary approaches of a same practice. The same method is applied to both fields. It consists of analyzing induction as an aggregate of ostensive (action scripts), performative (actions themselves) elements, and artefacts (material productions).
The successive steps of selections and integration of induction process appear as ways of testing the compatibility of newcomers with the immunity system of the organization. Moreover, throughout both case studies, the ostensive aspect of induction has remained stable for years, although markets and business models have changed a lot. Induction seems to be frozen as far as practicing (i.e. the implementation of action scripts) is concerned. The study of practising (i.e. the dialectic interaction of ostensive, performative elements, and artefacts) shows that constant and individually lead adaptive moves preserve the institutionalized practice without any shape of rigidity.
Stability vs change, uniformity vs diversity depends on the lens by which the paper it looks at practices. If it takes into consideration the ocean of actions that are performed day after day inside the firm, diversity and change appear. However, if it adopts a longer range look at what happens and correlate it to appropriate institutional factors, stability, and uniformity emerge from permanent change. That disqualifies both technocratic attempts to standardize performance from abstract patterns and naive designs of spontaneous emergence of “not embedded” behaviors.
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