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Institutional dysmorphia: when the institutions become ill

Jefferson Marlon Monticelli (Business and Management, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, Sao Leopoldo, Brazil)
Ivan Lapuente Garrido (PPGA, Unisinos, São Leopoldo, Brazil)
Marcelo Curth (Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos, Sao Leopoldo, Brazil)
Luciana Marques Vieira (PPGA, Unisinos, São Leopoldo, Brazil)
Fábio Dal-Soto (Centro de Ciências Humanas e Sociais – CCHS, Universidade de Cruz Alta, Cruz Alta, Brazil)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 16 July 2018




The purpose of this paper is to discuss the influence of SOEs on institutions. The authors argue that in some cases there are differences in institutional shape between the shape that is actually demanded by an institution’s institutional environment and the shape that the institution itself believes is demanded of its institutional framework. The authors observed a behavior specific to institutions that change their institutional shape in response to demands, irrespective of whether these demands are legitimate, and this behavior was primarily in response to demands from governments and SOEs. The authors call this situation institutional dysmorphia and contrast it with institutional isomorphism.


This study is characterized by the qualitative approach and descriptive form. It is also a documentary study employing the systematic review technique and critical appreciation in a research group. The case of the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES) is analyzed to examine the different relationships between Brazilian SOEs and BNDES. It used secondary data provided by reports, papers and relevant magazines. The authors compare them with the conceptual purpose originated in the Medicine field.


The study is illustrated by the case of the BNDES and the various different relationships between Brazilian SOEs and BNDES are examined. This is a qualitative and descriptive documentary study, employing the systematic review technique. Specific behavior is observed in institutions that change their institutional shape in response to demands, irrespective of whether these demands are legitimate, and these demands mainly come from the government and from SOEs.

Research limitations/implications

The authors use of secondary data from only one country that was used to present these arguments. The focus was restricted to the institutional framework comprising one institution and SOEs. Private firms were not considered in this institutional framework, but they must be included in a macro-environment. Institutional pressures are dynamic and asymmetric. The dynamism of institutional change was not evaluated, and neither was the evolution of the relationships between government, SOEs and institutions. Finally, researchers need to understand not only top-down models of institutional effects but also the institutional process that incorporates both institutional influence and firm responses.


The term institutional dysmorphia is proposed through the contrast with concepts such institutional isomorphism, with reference to the institutional logics and institutional complexity of these institutions’ and SOEs’ environment. The situation described institutional dysmorphia happening in emerging countries context and might open new avenues for research.



Monticelli, J.M., Garrido, I.L., Curth, M., Vieira, L.M. and Dal-Soto, F. (2018), "Institutional dysmorphia: when the institutions become ill", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 478-498.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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