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Types of mindsets: A framework for understanding the translation of institutional inconsistencies into meaninglessness

Shahzad Khurram (School of Management, AIR University, Islamabad, Pakistan)
Anjeela Khurram (Faculty of Law, Economics and Management, Université Paris-Sud XI, Sceaux, France and Department of Business Management, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad, Pakistan)
Nyela Ashraf (School of Management, AIR University, Islamabad, Pakistan)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 4 January 2019

Issue publication date: 8 July 2019




This study aims to adopt the institutional theory perspective to understand how institutional inconsistencies experienced by individuals translate into meaninglessness. Moreover, using the constructive development theory, it provides a plausible explanation to the enigma – why do some organizational members develop meaninglessness, while others do not?


This conceptual paper is based on a critical evaluation of extant literature that helped to develop the empirically testable propositions.


Grounded in the three types of mindsets as proposed in the constructive development theory, this paper suggests that, for socialized knowers, the degree of meaninglessness is directly related to the extent to which valued others perceive meaninglessness with respect to the institutional prescription creating a certain degree of inconsistency. The self-authoring knowers experience a higher degree of meaninglessness, if the alternative institutional prescriptions challenge the ones attached to their desired identity. While, the self-transforming knowers feel a higher level of meaninglessness, when they realize that the institutional inconsistency is strongly related to the experiences of others impacted by it.


This study adds a significant value to the streams of institutional and constructive development theories literature. It theorizes the variations in organizational members’ feeling of meaninglessness in the face of institutional inconsistencies while considering the shaping effects of field pressure and disposition. These propositions integrate the institutional theory and constructive development theory and present more socially acceptable justifications of the organizational members’ reaction of meaninglessness to institutional inconsistencies.



Khurram, S., Khurram, A. and Ashraf, N. (2019), "Types of mindsets: A framework for understanding the translation of institutional inconsistencies into meaninglessness", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 812-832.



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