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Institutional Frame Switching: How Institutional Logics Shape Individual Action

How Institutions Matter!

ISBN: 978-1-78635-430-3, eISBN: 978-1-78635-429-7

Publication date: 15 December 2016


Although scholars increasingly use institutional logics to explain macro-level phenomena, we still know little about the micro-level psychological mechanisms by which institutional logics shape individual action. In this paper, we propose that individuals internalize institutional logics as an associative network of schemas that shapes individual actions through a process we call institutional frame switching. Specifically, we conduct two novel experiments that demonstrate how one particularly important schema associated with institutional logics – the implicit theory – can drive individual action. This work further develops the psychological underpinnings of the institutional logics perspective by connecting macro-level cultural understandings with micro-level situational behavior.




The authors would like to thank Peer Fiss, Jane Le, Sarah Bonner, Patricia Thornton, Cheryl Wakslak, Mark Kennedy, Mia Raynard, Tyler Wry, Oliver Schilke, Jean-Phillipe Vergne, Lianne Lefsrud, Brett Crawford, Patrick Haack, the participants at the 2011 EGOS Colloquium on Institutional Logics, the 2013 Academy of Management PDW on Institutions and Experiments, and the Organization and Strategy workshop at the University of Southern California for their comments on the ideas expressed here. The USC Provost’s PhD Fellowship supported this work.


Glaser, V.L., Fast, N.J., Harmon, D.J. and Green, S.E. (2016), "Institutional Frame Switching: How Institutional Logics Shape Individual Action", How Institutions Matter! (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 48A), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 35-69.



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