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Beam me up, Scott(ie)! institutional theorists’ struggles with the emergent nature of entrepreneurship

Institutions and Entrepreneurship

ISBN: 978-0-85724-239-6, eISBN: 978-0-85724-240-2

Publication date: 8 November 2010


Institutional theories of organizations in sociology have focused on exteriority and constraint over the past three decades, in keeping with their roots in macrosocial theory (Parsons, 1956). These theories have mostly examined the macrocontext for organization- and field-level activities, rather than the microprocesses through which humans accomplish particular actions. However, with the widespread diffusion and adoption of neo-institutional theory (hereafter NIT) as the default framework within organizational sociology, some authors have been unable to resist extending it to encompass microlevel change processes. In particular, people studying entrepreneurship, broadly defined, have created a new category of actors, called institutional entrepreneurs (hereafter IEs), along with associated new concepts, such as embedded autonomy. Organization studies journals now routinely publish papers on the topic of institutional entrepreneurship (Leca & Naccache, 2006), and special sections of mainstream management journals also regularly feature such papers.


Aldrich, H.E. (2010), "Beam me up, Scott(ie)! institutional theorists’ struggles with the emergent nature of entrepreneurship", Sine, W.D. and David, R.J. (Ed.) Institutions and Entrepreneurship (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 21), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 329-364.



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