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Book part
Publication date: 26 November 2020

Christopher W. J. Steele and Timothy R. Hannigan

Talk of “macrofoundations” helps foreground the constitutive and contextualizing powers of institutions – dynamics that are inadvertently obscured by the imagery of…

Abstract

Talk of “macrofoundations” helps foreground the constitutive and contextualizing powers of institutions – dynamics that are inadvertently obscured by the imagery of microfoundations. Highlighting these aspects of institutions in turn opens intriguing lines of inquiry into institutional reproduction and change, lived experience of institutions, and tectonic shifts in institutional configurations. However, there is a twist: taking these themes seriously ultimately challenges any naïve division of micro and macro, and undermines the claim of either to a genuinely foundational role in social analysis. The authors propose an alternative “optometric” imagery – positioning the micro and the macro as arrays of associated lenses, which bring certain things into focus at the cost of others. The authors argue that this imagery should not only encourage analytic reflexivity (“a more optometric institutionalism”) but also draw attention to the use of such lenses in everyday life, as an underexplored but critical phenomenon for institutional theory and research (“an institutionalist optometry”).

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Macrofoundations: Exploring the Institutionally Situated Nature of Activity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-160-5

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Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2019

Christopher W. J. Steele, Madeline Toubiana and Royston Greenwood

The core goal of the “micro-foundational” agenda appears to be less an institutionalism founded in the micro, or reduced to the micro, and more some form of integrative…

Abstract

The core goal of the “micro-foundational” agenda appears to be less an institutionalism founded in the micro, or reduced to the micro, and more some form of integrative institutionalism: that is, an institutionalism that does justice to the perpetual, co-constitutive interplay of local activities (the micro) and trans-local patterns (the macro). In this chapter, thus, the authors argue for a conscious, explicit embrace of integrative institutionalism; and of the broader agenda that this terminology opens up. Based on this overdue rewording the authors highlight additional problems and possibilities – providing a constructive reformulation and elaboration of the “micro-foundational” agenda as it currently stands.

Book part
Publication date: 12 January 2021

Michael Lounsbury, Deborah A. Anderson and Paul Spee

Volumes 70 and 71 of Research in the Sociology of Organizations combine to comprise cutting edge theory and empirical scholarship at the interface of practice and institution in…

Abstract

Volumes 70 and 71 of Research in the Sociology of Organizations combine to comprise cutting edge theory and empirical scholarship at the interface of practice and institution in organization studies. As we highlight, this interface has spurred particularly generative conversations with many open questions, and much to explore. We provide a review of scholarly developments in practice theory and organizational institutionalism that have given rise to this interest in building a bridge between scholarly communities. As signaled by recent efforts to construct a practice-driven institutionalism, we highlight how connecting practice theory with the institutional logics perspective provides a particularly attractive focal point for scholarship at this interface due to a variety of shared ontological and epistemological commitments, including the constitution of actors and their behavior. Collectively, the papers assembled unlock exciting opportunities to connect distinct, but related scholarly communities on practice and institution, seeding scholarship that can advance our understanding of organizational and societal dynamics.

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On Practice and Institution: New Empirical Directions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-416-5

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Book part
Publication date: 12 January 2021

Michael Lounsbury, Deborah A. Anderson and Paul Spee

Volumes 70 and 71 of Research in the Sociology of Organizations combine to comprise cutting edge theory and empirical scholarship at the interface of practice and institution in…

Abstract

Volumes 70 and 71 of Research in the Sociology of Organizations combine to comprise cutting edge theory and empirical scholarship at the interface of practice and institution in organization studies. As we highlight, this interface has spurred particularly generative conversations with many open questions, and much to explore. We provide a review of scholarly developments in practice theory and organizational institutionalism that have given rise to this interest in building a bridge between scholarly communities. As signaled by recent efforts to construct a practice-driven institutionalism, we highlight how connecting practice theory with the institutional logics perspective provides a particularly attractive focal point for scholarship at this interface due to a variety of shared ontological and epistemological commitments, including the constitution of actors and their behavior. Collectively, the papers assembled unlock exciting opportunities to connect distinct, but related scholarly communities on practice and institution, seeding scholarship that can advance our understanding of organizational and societal dynamics.

Details

On Practice and Institution: Theorizing the Interface
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-413-4

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Book part
Publication date: 23 September 2022

Thomas Gegenhuber, Danielle Logue, C.R. (Bob) Hinings and Michael Barrett

Undoubtedly, digital transformation is permeating all domains of business and society. We envisage this volume as an opportunity to explore how manifestations of digital…

Abstract

Undoubtedly, digital transformation is permeating all domains of business and society. We envisage this volume as an opportunity to explore how manifestations of digital transformation require rethinking of our understanding and theorization of institutional processes. To achieve this goal, a collaborative forum of organization and management theory scholars and information systems researchers was developed to enrich and advance institutional theory approaches in understanding digital transformation. This volume’s contributions advance the three institutional perspectives. The first perspective, institutional logics, technological affordances and digital transformation, seeks to deepen our understanding of the pervasive and increasingly important relationship between technology and institutions. The second perspective, digital transformation, professional projects and new institutional agents, explores how existing professions respond to the introduction of digital technologies as well as the emergence of new professional projects and institutional agents in the wake of digital transformation. The third perspective, institutional infrastructure, field governance and digital transformation, inquires how new digital organizational forms, such as platforms, affect institutional fields, their infrastructure and thus their governance. For each of these perspectives, we outline an agenda for future research, complemented by a brief discussion of new research frontiers (i.e., digital work and sites of technological (re-)production; artificial intelligence (AI) and actorhood; digital transformation and grand challenges) and methodological reflections.

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Digital Transformation and Institutional Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80262-222-5

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Book part
Publication date: 5 April 2019

Guillermo Casasnovas and Marc Ventresca

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…

Abstract

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.

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Agents, Actors, Actorhood: Institutional Perspectives on the Nature of Agency, Action, and Authority
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-081-9

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Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2019

Namrata Malhotra and Trish Reay

In this chapter the authors focus on the role of power associated with microfoundations of organizational hybridity. They develop a framework that illuminates how key sources of…

Abstract

In this chapter the authors focus on the role of power associated with microfoundations of organizational hybridity. They develop a framework that illuminates how key sources of power based on Buchanan and Badham (2008) and French and Raven (1959) manifest at the level of everyday work practices. Using this framework, they draw on existing studies concerning hybridity in professional organizations to illustrate how different forms of power come into play when actors guided by different logics engage in day-to-day professional work. Overall, the authors suggest that more attention to how micro-level actors use different forms of power to support, hamper, or alter different mechanisms to manage tensions among competing logics in everyday work is critical to improving our understanding about the microfoundations of institutionalism.

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Microfoundations of Institutions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-127-8

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Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2019

Hokyu Hwang and Jeannette Colyvas

The growing interest in the microfoundations of institutions is a significant, yet surprising development given that the theoretical tradition’s original insight was to account…

Abstract

The growing interest in the microfoundations of institutions is a significant, yet surprising development given that the theoretical tradition’s original insight was to account for macro, institutional influences on lower-level units. The call for microfoundations has gone on without really clarifying what institutionalists mean by microfoundations. Some reflections on the usefulness or purpose of establishing the microfoundations of institutional theory are in order. The authors advocate for treating the micro as part of pluralistic and multi-level accounts of institutional processes. Central is the conceptualization of actors as more or less institutionalized identities and roles.

Book part
Publication date: 23 September 2022

Lee C. Jarvis, Rebekah Eden, April L. Wright and Andrew Burton-Jones

Digital transformations represent an increasingly salient empirical phenomena for institutionalists studying the processes by which institutions evolve, erode, or otherwise…

Abstract

Digital transformations represent an increasingly salient empirical phenomena for institutionalists studying the processes by which institutions evolve, erode, or otherwise change. Yet, there have been few meaningful attempts to engage with insights from the information systems (IS) literature, despite digital innovation and diffusion falling squarely within its domain. This essay makes an initial attempt at integration by offering a two-by-two framework which crosses salient theoretical categories within the IS and institutional literatures. From the former, we draw on concepts of system acceptance and resistance, and from the latter, we draw on concepts of institutional maintenance and change. Each quadrant in our framework represents user responses happening because of, in reaction to, or toward various institutional dynamics. We illustrate each quadrant with data collected as part of a study of digital transformation in the field of public healthcare in Australia. We use our illustrative case to open up research questions which researchers might use to frame their own studies of digital transformations as a form of institutional change. We conclude with a discussion of what other theoretical advances or insights might be yielded from greater collaboration between institutionalists and IS scholars. This essay contributes to the nascent study of digital transformations as a form of institutional change through examining how complementary concepts of the IS and institutional literatures might be used simultaneously to understand the intersection of digital innovation and diffusion and the institutional arrangements governing the fields which they change.

Details

Digital Transformation and Institutional Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80262-222-5

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Book part
Publication date: 12 January 2021

Milo Shaoqing Wang and Michael Lounsbury

Narrow, managerially centered notions of organizational culture remain hegemonic, marginalizing richer, anthropological approaches as well as efforts to understand how the beliefs…

Abstract

Narrow, managerially centered notions of organizational culture remain hegemonic, marginalizing richer, anthropological approaches as well as efforts to understand how the beliefs and practices of organizations are fundamentally shaped by the wider societal dynamics within which they are embedded. In this paper, the authors draw upon recent efforts to explore the interface of scholarship on practice and the institutional logics perspective to highlight the utility of a practice-driven institutional approach to the study of organizational culture that brings society back in. Empirically, the authors present a longitudinal case study of a Chinese private enterprise, and analyze how the unfolding dynamics of a strong community logic increasingly affected by a rising market logic, shaped the formation of political coalitions internally and externally as organizational members aimed to maintain truces between the push and pull of logics over a period of 22 years. Through an analysis of seven episodes that we conceptualize as “cultural encounters,” the authors find that a combination of compartmentalization and overall integration of logics contributes to provisional truces, and that people in the same cohort who share common geographic socialization are more likely to form allies. Our aim is to encourage future scholars to study how societal beliefs and practices work their way into organizations in a variety of explicit as well as more mundane, hidden ways.

Details

On Practice and Institution: New Empirical Directions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-416-5

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