How Institutions Matter!: Volume 48B

Cover of How Institutions Matter!
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Table of contents

(13 chapters)

Prelims

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Abstract

We investigated how an institutional settlement concerning Native Indian gaming (the operation of gambling establishments such as casinos or bingo halls by Native Indian tribes) was preserved over time in spite of three significant challenges. Building on previous literature on settlements and institutional logics, we see settlements as institutional arrangements that manage power dynamics and competing institutional logics. Based on our analyses of the settlement and three challenges in the Native gaming field, we suggest that even seemingly volatile institutional settlements can be maintained when powerful actors balance each other’s ability to modify the settlement and different actors invoke alternative institutional logic(s). We also find that these processes can be facilitated by the embeddedness and formality of the settlement. We contribute to the settlement literature by showing how settlements can be maintained when actors draw on equally strong sources of power and different logics to counter the actions of other actors. Furthermore, we shed light on “how institutions matter” by demonstrating how institutional settlements can facilitate field stability.

Abstract

While scholars have developed increasingly well-developed accounts of institutional change, little attention has been paid to how change is resisted and, in particular, how efforts to marketize fail. We draw on the institutional logics perspective to guide analysis of an empirical case of the failed attempt by the Dutch state to marketize childcare organizations and create a market for childcare. We document that even though the existence of logics that were antithetical to the market logic did not catalyze organized collective resistance to marketization, the market logic never took root, and marketization has even been rolled back. We argue that the failure to create a childcare market in the Netherlands was caused by individual-level cognitive dissonance that cumulated into profound field-level ambivalence that undermined efforts to implement market practices. We develop several propositions that could usefully guide future research on how cognitive dissonance might underlie the failure to construct markets. By theorizing failure to change a field, we contribute to the limited body of work that has looked at failed attempts to change institutions, arguing for more attention to individual-field cross-level dynamics.

Abstract

Despite an abundance of studies on hybridization and hybrid forms of organizing, scholarly work has failed to distinguish consistently between specific types of hybridity. As a consequence, the analytical category has become blurred and lacks conceptual clarity. Our paper discusses hybridity as the simultaneous appearance of institutional logics in organizational contexts, and differentiates the parallel co-existence of logics from transitional combinations (eventually leading to the replacement of a logic) and more robust combinations in the form of layering and blending. While blending refers to hybridity as an “amalgamate” with original components that are no longer discernible, the notion of layering conceptualizes hybridity in a way that the various elements, or clusters thereof, are added on top of, or alongside, each other, similar to sediment layers in geology. We illustrate and substantiate such conceptual differentiation with an empirical study of the dynamics of public sector reform. In more detail, we examine the parliamentary discourse around two major reforms of the Austrian Federal Budget Law in 1986 and in 2007/2009 in order to trace administrative (reform) paradigms. Each of the three identified paradigms manifests a specific field-level logic with implications for the state and its administration: bureaucracy in Weberian-style Public Administration, market-capitalism in New Public Management, and democracy in New Public Governance. We find no indication of a parallel co-existence or transitional combination of logics, but hybridity in the form of robust combinations. We explore how new ideas fundamentally build on – and are made resonant with – the central bureaucratic logic in a way that suggests layering rather than blending. The conceptual findings presented in our paper have implications for the literature on institutional analysis and institutional hybridity.

Abstract

Organizations are increasingly confronted with legitimacy threats related to the perceived social costs of their business activities. Despite a significant amount of research on the responses of individual organizations, surprisingly limited attention has been paid to the collective activities firms may engage to address such issues. In this paper, we use institutional theory as a lens for an exploratory case study of Issue-Based Industry Collective (IBIC) action in the alcohol industry. Our findings identify a new organizational form, the IBIC and inspire new research avenues at the intersection of business collective action, social issues, and institutional theory.

Abstract

During industry emergence, what we call the proto-industry phase, the lack of agreement about legitimate organizational forms between audiences and firms is a key problem. We develop an ecological model of emerging institutional pressures among audiences and firms during the emergence of new industries to understand these challenges. We develop a theoretical framework that includes mimetic, normative, and coercive pressures, deriving propositions linking them with survival and growth. We use simulation methodology to test these propositions, finding strong support for these predictions. We close by exploring some conclusions and implications of our model for both theory and practice.

Abstract

Socially responsible investing (SRI) funds depart from mainstream finance by incorporating environmental, social, and governance considerations, but their success varies across regions. By using a historical comparative case design, we identify an empirically puzzling phenomenon in China: despite an initially favorable resource environment and the presence of socially skilled institutional entrepreneurs, SRI wanes over time in Hong Kong but survives in Mainland China where initial resource endowments and actors’ social skills were inferior. By comparing four periods of SRI development, we reveal how state sustainable development policies, a change in the institutional context, led unintentionally to a shared orientation and a public pool of resources, which sustained the SRI niche. Our paper contributes to research on market emergence, institutional change, and cultural entrepreneurship.

Abstract

The Scottish civil justice system is undergoing its most substantive transformation in over 150 years. This reformation will create new judicial bodies, alter the jurisdictional reach of courts, and drastically unsettle what has been, up to now, a highly stable institutional field. These changes have caused pronounced threats to the status of different groups of actors in the field. Our work examines the impact of these threats, and the varying responses among groups of professional actors. In so doing, we detail how intra-professional status differences and uncertainty hindered attempts to maintain threatened institutions.

Abstract

Institutional arrangements, while constituting subject positions, also relegate others to inhabit unlivable abject positions. Such a perspective on identity begs the question on the possibilities of institutional reform given that abjects must seek recourse, if any, from the very institutions that marginalized them. One source for reform can be found in the functioning of institutional forums vested with performative powers, such as the Supreme Court. But how do these institutional forums legitimately bring about social transformation given that precedents bind them? To address this puzzle, we analyzed two Supreme Court rulings that showcase the performativity of institutions in materializing subject/abject positions, and the reforms that are possible. One is the 2015 US Supreme Court ruling providing marriage rights to same-sex couples. The other is the 2014 Indian Supreme Court ruling that legalized a third gender. An analysis of these two rulings and a comparison across them highlights the historical yet contingent nature of identity. The analysis also highlights “citational grafting” as a key mechanism underlying institutional reform, i.e., citations to earlier instances of social transformation serving as precedents for bringing about additional changes given new circumstances.

Abstract

Institutions have the capacity to constrain and regulate behavior. Social problems and their remedies are not exempt from this reality. Consequently, actors attempting to ameliorate pressing problems must do so within the existing frameworks of acceptable and unacceptable paths toward justice. The current study combines the institutional theory and social movement literatures to highlight how this dilemma affects the resource mobilization process. Elites control resources critical to solving social problems. Yet, they often benefit from the very institutional arrangements that have led to a social problem’s emergence. This contradiction then requires those seeking to alleviate social problems to construct a narrative that will simultaneously entice elites to give without challenging elites’ institutional position. The paper empirically investigates the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) efforts to gain support from the Rockefeller family and its foundations between 1928 and 1954. A comparative historical analysis of correspondence records identifies the critical differences that led to the UNCF receiving millions in support from Rockefeller interests while the NAACP was routinely denied funding.

Abstract

Private foundations in the United States are powerful actors in contemporary society. Their influence stems in part from their lack of accountability – they operate free from market pressures or finding sources of funding, and they are not subject to formal democratic systems of checks and balances such as elections or mandatory community oversight. In recent decades, foundations have become increasingly influential in shaping public policy governing core social services. In US education policy, for example, the influence of private foundations has reached an unprecedented scope and scale. Although economic and electoral accountability mechanisms are absent, foundations are aware that their elite status is rooted in a wider acceptance of their image as promoters of the public good. They are incentivized to maintain their role as “white hat” actors and, in balancing their policy goals with the desire to avoid social sanctions, the ways in which they exert influence are shaped and limited by institutional processes. Drawing on rare elite interview data and archival analyses from five leading education funders, we observe that foundations seek to sustain their credibility by complying with legal regulations and by drawing on cultural norms of participation and science to legitimize their policy activities.

Abstract

Ubiquitous information and communication technologies are radically changing what organizations look like, and in many cases rendering formal organizations unsustainable. As ongoing organizations are replaced by supply chains and pop-up enterprises, we face renewed philosophical questions around ontology (what counts as a “firm?”), epistemology (can organizations know things?), and ethics (who can and should be held responsible in a world of dispersed enterprise?). Organization theorists have a number of advantages in helping construct both new theories and new institutions to help channel the economic forces unleased by ICTs for human benefit.

About the Authors

Pages 323-329
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Cover of How Institutions Matter!
DOI
10.1108/S0733-558X201748B
Publication date
2016-12-16
Book series
Research in the Sociology of Organizations
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78635-432-7
eISBN
978-1-78635-431-0
Book series ISSN
0733-558X