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Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2019

Tim Hallett and Amelia Hawbaker

The “micro” turn in institutional research is a welcome development in a field that has commonly adopted a macro approach to the study of institutions. Nevertheless…

Abstract

The “micro” turn in institutional research is a welcome development in a field that has commonly adopted a macro approach to the study of institutions. Nevertheless, research in the emergent “microinstitutional” tradition often ignores a fundamental social form: social interaction. The goal of this chapter is to bring this form of society back into institutional analysis, as a key mesocomponent of an “inhabited institutional” approach. The authors argue that social interactions are vital to the understandings of institutions, how they operate, and their impact on society. The authors advance inhabited institutionalism as a mesosociological approach that is consistent with key premises of institutional theory.

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Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2019

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

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Book part
Publication date: 20 May 2019

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Race, Organizations, and the Organizing Process
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-492-3

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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.

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Book part
Publication date: 20 May 2019

Christi M. Smith

How do racial meanings structure the institution of higher education and the organizations and networks it encompasses? This chapter develops a theory of racial activation…

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How do racial meanings structure the institution of higher education and the organizations and networks it encompasses? This chapter develops a theory of racial activation to usefully link conceptualizations of race and organizations. This theory examines how racial meanings shape organizational fields, forms or types of organizations, and the strategic use of racial meanings by actors in organizations to create a more robust understanding of the processes by which organizations are themselves made racialized. Predominant scholarship on race can largely be characterized as theorizing the mechanisms by which race is constructed or uncovering the patterns and consequences of inequality along racial lines. Much existing research hovers above at a macro level where national, state, and global powers are understood to impose racial categories, symbols, meanings, and rules onto daily life while higher education has largely been studied as a site where we see the effects of broader social disparities play out. This chapter draws on insights from inhabited institutionalism to develop a theory of racial activation that usefully links conceptualizations of race and organizations to provide an intersectional and interactional approach to the study of fields.

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Race, Organizations, and the Organizing Process
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-492-3

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Book part
Publication date: 12 January 2021

Christopher W. J. Steele

This paper is based on a presentation at a conference in 2019, which called on participants to explore the merits of more practice-theoretical conceptualizations of…

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This paper is based on a presentation at a conference in 2019, which called on participants to explore the merits of more practice-theoretical conceptualizations of institutions and institutional logics. The main body of the paper is a lightly edited version of the presentation, which explores three interwoven topics: First, why an avowedly practice-theoretic institutionalism might be analytically fertile; second, what horizons might be generated for institutional logicians by an intensified embrace of practice theory; and third, what these analytic potentialities might entail for the “peopling” of institutional theory. The tone and purpose of the paper are exploratory; though provisional conclusions are elaborated in an analytic epilogue. Purposefully provocative claims include that institutional logics may possess some form of intentionality, or a distinctive orientation toward the world, and that such orientations may differentially encourage jurisdictional expansion.

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

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Book part
Publication date: 15 December 2016

Tammar B. Zilber

Joining recent calls to focus our attention on how institutional logics work on the ground, I offer a critique of current studies of institutional logics that often offer…

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Joining recent calls to focus our attention on how institutional logics work on the ground, I offer a critique of current studies of institutional logics that often offer a macro and reified depictions thereof. I suggest that to fully appreciate how institutions matter, we need to complement these studies with a research program that is based on a constructivist ontology, ethnographic methods of inquiry, and use of theories of action. I exemplify this emerging research agenda, and discuss its broader analytical and empirical implications.

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How Institutions Matter!
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-429-7

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Book part
Publication date: 12 January 2021

Tammar B. Zilber

Borrowing from practice theory to enhance institutional theory has much potential. It may help institutional scholars reconnect with its constructivist, processual…

Abstract

Borrowing from practice theory to enhance institutional theory has much potential. It may help institutional scholars reconnect with its constructivist, processual origins. Yet previous attempts of borrowing across paradigmatic boundaries – both in organization studies and in institutional theory – teach us that borrowing is not a straightforward adoption. Instead, theories that cross known paradigmatic boundaries go through a process of translation, and may well get lost in the way. In this paper, the author focuses on methodology and points to impediments to the fruitful adoption of a practice-driven approach to institutionalization, and offers ways to overcome them. In particular, the author points to the need to change the focus from process as an outcome to the inner life of the process; capturing action in vivo and in situ; and finding ways to focus on practice yet not lose connection to its institutional context and implications.

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

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Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2019

Omar Lizardo

The author distinguishes between state, process, and object perspectives on institutions and institutionalization. While all-purpose process approaches dominate the…

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The author distinguishes between state, process, and object perspectives on institutions and institutionalization. While all-purpose process approaches dominate the literature, the author argues that these are analytically insufficient without theorizing the nature of “institutional objects.” Building on recently developed analytic disaggregations of the culture concept in cultural sociology, the author argues that doings, sayings, codes, and artifacts exhaust the broad classes of potential objects subject to institutionalization processes. The proposed approach provides a coherent ontology for future empirical work, features robust microfoundations, places institutional routines and practices in a material context, and acknowledges the importance of semiotic codes and vocabularies in organizational fields.

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Microfoundations of Institutions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-123-0

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Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2019

Patrick Haack, Jost Sieweke and Lauri Wessel

This double volume presents the state of the art in research on the microfoundations of institutions. In this introductory chapter, we develop an overview of where the…

Abstract

This double volume presents the state of the art in research on the microfoundations of institutions. In this introductory chapter, we develop an overview of where the emerging microfoundational agenda in institutional theory stands and in which direction it is moving. We discuss the questions of what microfoundations of institutions are, what the “micro” in microfoundations represents, why we use the plural form (microfoundations vs microfoundation), why microfoundations of institutions are needed, and how microfoundations can be studied. Specifically, we highlight that there are several traditions of microfoundational research, and we outline a cognitive, a communicative and a behavioral perspective. In addition, we explain that scholars tend to think of microfoundations in terms of an agency, levels, or mechanisms argument. We delineate key challenges and opportunities for future research and explain why we believe that the debate on microfoundations will become a defining element in the further development of institutional theory.

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Microfoundations of Institutions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-123-0

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