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Philip Selznick has been a central, historical figure in the development of institutional theory. In particular his contribution in TVA and the Grass Roots and Leadership…
Philip Selznick has been a central, historical figure in the development of institutional theory. In particular his contribution in TVA and the Grass Roots and Leadership in Administration has been key. However, we put forward the relevance of Selznick’s broader portfolio of ideas, to show that they could inform institutional analysis in new ways. There are important ideas and insights that can be brought to bear on contemporary issues within institutional theory. In particular, Selznick was concerned with the ways in which organizational goals are deflected because of different interest groups. Organizations use various kinds of cooptation to deal with interest groups. Selznick’s perspective implies that institutional theorists need to be concerned with both deflection of purposes and interests. These ideas are explored further in his work, The Organizational Weapon, showing a concern with the nefarious effects of organizational practices, an avenue that institutional theory needs to explore further. Indeed, Selznick was always concerned with the consequences of institutionalization. He dealt with issues of organizational governance, purposes and interests, ideas of unanticipated as well as anticipated consequences, negative as well as positive effects of institutionalization all of which require further analysis in contemporary institutional theory. Also at the heart of Selznick’s work was an emphasis on policy and practice, coming from American pragmatist philosophy. For Selznick, knowledge is to be utilized to produce good policy and practice. Institutional theorists need to consider the applications of their knowledge.
This chapter examines the sources of variation in organizational form among accounting and law firms. We first summarize research in the organization of professional…
This chapter examines the sources of variation in organizational form among accounting and law firms. We first summarize research in the organization of professional service firms and explain its evolution. This is followed by the argument that variations around the P2 archetype have emerged in response to different market and institutional pressures faced by accounting and law firms. Drawing on contingency and institutional theory, we show how the changing balance between the influence of market and institutional factors has resulted in structural variation.
This chapter explores archetypal change in the context of professional service firms. To understand recent and ongoing changes in professional service firms, we briefly…
This chapter explores archetypal change in the context of professional service firms. To understand recent and ongoing changes in professional service firms, we briefly show how the professional archetype has evolved since the 1960s. We then present four theoretical models to describe processes by which institutionalized archetypes can change, and possibly coexist in the same field. Three professional archetypes are described, each in the context of historical development and the change model described earlier. At the one extreme is the traditional professional partnership; at the other the larger, multidisciplinary, corporate, global professional network, or GPN; in between is the “Star” form – relatively specialized, flatter structure, resisting significant growth, with fixations on excellence, and being the leader in a professional niche.
Recent research develops theory and evidence to understand how organizations come to be seen as “actors” with specified features and properties, a core concern for…
Recent research develops theory and evidence to understand how organizations come to be seen as “actors” with specified features and properties, a core concern for phenomenological institutionalism. The authors use evidence from changes in research designs in the organizational study of institutional logics as an empirical strategy to add fresh evidence to the debates about the institutional construction of organizations as actors. The case is the research literature on the institutional logics perspective, a literature in which organizational and institutional theorists grapple with long-time social theory questions about nature and context of action and more contemporary debates about the dynamics of social orders. With rapid growth since the early 1990s, this research program has elaborated and proliferated in ways meant to advance the study of societal orders, frames, and practices in diverse inter- and intra-organizational contexts. The study identifies two substantive trends over the observation period: A shift in research design from field-level studies to organization-specific contexts, where conflicts are prominent in the organization, and a shift in the conception of logic transitions, originally from one dominant logic to another, then more attention to co-existence or blending of logics. Based on this evidence, the authors identify a typology of four available research genres that mark a changed conception of organizations as actors. The case of institutional logics makes visible the link between research designs and research outcomes, and it provides new evidence for the institutional processes that construct organizational actorhood.
The authors contribute to practice-driven institutionalism by examining how the introduction of new field-level evaluation practices may facilitate encroachment of highly…
The authors contribute to practice-driven institutionalism by examining how the introduction of new field-level evaluation practices may facilitate encroachment of highly institutionalized organizational fields by new institutional logics. The authors conducted an inductive study of a trial of social impact bonds in the field of social integration services in Finland. Our analysis elaborates how new field-level evaluation practices created an experimental space that induced organizational practice experimentation, reconfigured relationships among field members, and lowered the barriers to entry for new organizations. The authors theorize how evaluation practices may create experimental spaces by suspending the carriers of established logics and legitimizing institutional innovations. The authors further elaborate how such spaces can bring about a parallel “shadow field” by inducing bottom-up experimentation aligned with a new institutional logic.
Hybrid organizations face particular challenges and opportunities due to combining different logics within one organizational structure. While research on hybrid…
Hybrid organizations face particular challenges and opportunities due to combining different logics within one organizational structure. While research on hybrid organizing has advanced considerably our understanding of how these organizations can cope with such tensions, institutional theory suggests that organizational legitimacy and success will also depend on processes that take place at the field level. We connect these two perspectives to examine how field hybridity influences organizational legitimacy. Specifically, we consider both a field’s maturity and its degree of hybridity as two important variables that determine the effects that field hybridity has on organizational legitimacy. Drawing from extant research and leveraging our empirical work in the fields of microfinance, social entrepreneurship and impact investing to provide illustrative examples, we propose a framework that considers both positive and negative effects of field hybridity on organizational legitimacy. We contribute to the literature on hybrid organizing in two ways. First, we show that hybrid organizations face different challenges and opportunities depending on the stage of development and degree of hybridity of the field they operate in. Second, we suggest that the effects of field hybridity on organizational legitimacy can be understood as trade-offs that organizations need to understand and approach strategically to leverage opportunities and mitigate challenges.
Physicians are instrumental in healthcare reform and their capacity to employ both leadership and management skills can affect change at all levels. This paper aims to…
Physicians are instrumental in healthcare reform and their capacity to employ both leadership and management skills can affect change at all levels. This paper aims to present the challenges and opportunities for physicians in influencing system change and discuss how the two different but complementary skill sets may enable them to contribute to transformation of healthcare.
This is a conceptual paper and represents the viewpoints of both authors while incorporating current evidence through the literature.
Healthcare reform is important and underway in many Canadian provinces, yet it is difficult to achieve change. Leadership and management skills differ although these differences are often subtle in language. Physicians both lead and manage in the healthcare system; their capacity to do both is an advantage for healthcare reform.
This paper represents the opinions of both authors and is considered original as a conceptual paper.
The concept of institution has been used by scholars from across a number of disciplines to explain a wide variety of phenomena. However, the philosophical roots of this…
The concept of institution has been used by scholars from across a number of disciplines to explain a wide variety of phenomena. However, the philosophical roots of this concept have not been well examined, nor have implications for contemporary institutional analysis been fully appreciated. Returning to the works of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty reveals a depth of thinking that has otherwise been overlooked by institutional theorists. In particular, the author’s analysis reveals two critical insights. First, whereas organizational scholars have closely linked the concepts of institution and taken-for-grantedness, these two concepts were originally understood to be phenomenologically distinct. Second, a detailed examination of Merleau-Ponty’s later work poses the concept of flesh – the twining of the visible and the invisible – as the basis for the interplay of institutions. In turn, the idea of flesh as the foundation of institution invites a more radical reimagining of the growing bifurcation between microfoundations and macrofoundations.
As complex, intractable social problems continue to intensify, organizations increasingly respond with novel approaches that bridge multiple institutional spheres and…
As complex, intractable social problems continue to intensify, organizations increasingly respond with novel approaches that bridge multiple institutional spheres and combine forms, identities, and logics that would conventionally not go together, creating hybridity. Scholarly research on this phenomenon has expanded in tandem, raising questions about how the concept of organizational hybridity can maintain analytical clarity while accommodating a diverse range of empirical manifestations. Reviewing and integrating extant literature, the authors argue that to achieve both analytical rigor and real-world relevance, research must account for variation in how hybridity is organizationally configured, temporally situated, and institutionally embedded. The authors develop a framework that captures this heterogeneity and discuss three key implications for hybridity research: drawing on multiple theoretical lenses, examining varied empirical contexts, and adopting multi-level and dynamic perspectives.
This paper seeks to understand how new practices that challenge established norms and values become institutionalized by studying the development of corporate philanthropy…
This paper seeks to understand how new practices that challenge established norms and values become institutionalized by studying the development of corporate philanthropy in France over three decades (1979–2011). Our inductive qualitative study uncovers the processes that enable actors at both field- and organizational-levels to enhance a new practice’s internal and external legitimacy, ultimately leading to its institutionalization. In particular, we identify the central role of a community of practice as a bridge between the field-level, purposive interventions (theorizing, influencing policy) of an institutional entrepreneur and the organizational-level, emergent interventions (mobilizing, embedding) of frontline practitioners experimenting with the new divergent practice, thereby enabling its legitimation and, ultimately, its institutionalization. As such, our findings contribute to refining our understanding of institutionalization processes as inherently distributed and to uncovering communities of practice as the missing link between “heroic” entrepreneurs’ interventions and the hidden work of frontline practitioners implementing the new practice.