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This paper investigates how Information Systems (IS) researchers apply institutional theoretical frameworks. The purpose of this paper is to explore the operationalization…
This paper investigates how Information Systems (IS) researchers apply institutional theoretical frameworks. The purpose of this paper is to explore the operationalization of meta-theoretical frameworks for empirical research which can often present difficulties in IS research. The authors include theoretical, methodological and empirical aspects to explore modalities of use and suggest further avenues.
After an overview of institutional concepts, the authors carry out a thematic analysis of journal papers on IS and institutional frameworks indexed in EBSCO and ABI databases from 1999 to 2009. This consists of descriptive, thematic coding and cluster analysis of this textual database, this combined qualitative and quantitative method offers a unique way of analyzing how operationalization is carried out.
The findings suggest three groups of publications which represent different methodological approaches and empirical foci: “descriptive exploratory approaches,” “generalizing approaches,” and “sociological approaches.” The authors suggest that these three groups represent possible patterns of the use of “meta” social theories in IS research, reflecting a search for disciplinary legitimacy. This helps us analyze papers according to how they use and apply theories. The authors identify the “organizing vision” and the regulatory approach as two institutionalist “intermediary” concepts developed by IS researchers. Furthermore, the authors find that institutional theoretical frameworks have been used in “direct,” “intermediary” or “combined” conceptualizations. The authors also confirm the dynamism of the IS institutional research stream, as evidenced by the increase in number of articles between 1999 and 2009, and identify a maturation process of the IS field in investigating a social theory.
The evolution the authors identify in the application of institutional theoretical frameworks in the IS field reveals conformity in methodological, theoretical and empirical terms. By identifying these patterns, it becomes possible to understand institutional reasons for their existence and legitimacy; and to propose other avenues of exploration in future IS research, such as combining different theoretical lenses in institutional frameworks. The methodological contribution is to provide an innovative methodology which helps describe categories and levels of institutional theoretical frameworks used, leading to the identification of gaps and proposing further avenues of research.
The purpose of this paper is to provide a theoretically informed analysis of social and environmental reporting (SER) evolution, i.e. how and why the SER evolved over time…
The purpose of this paper is to provide a theoretically informed analysis of social and environmental reporting (SER) evolution, i.e. how and why the SER evolved over time in a cooperative bank in Italy.
The paper is based on a qualitative fieldwork case study conducted from 2011 to 2015. Information and data were collected through several methods including: interviews with managers involved in the SER’s process; analysis of the SER-related documents; analysis of the website; and observations in the field. The analysis of the empirical evidence draws on the institutional logic (IL) perspective, which provides theoretical insights to interpret the role of the contrasting institutional forces in the evolution of SER.
The empirical analysis unveils three different stages in the evolution of SER: the “birth” whereby a new form of social reporting was initiated; the “development” through which SER was implemented to become a formal component of the organizational management; and the “de-structuring” when the SER was gradually de-composed. This gradual de-structuring, as well as the initiation and implementation processes, was influenced by different institutionally infused rationalities and logics. These institutionally infused rationalities and logics, along with the specific organizational and contextual events, provided the resources, and created the space and opportunity, for the SER-related changes to occur.
The analysis offers theoretical insights to understand “how” (i.e. processes) and “why” (i.e. the conditions under which) SER gradually evolved, i.e. emerged, was constructed and developed during the phases of implementation and post-implementation. Furthermore, it is shown that SER is multifunctional in nature and unveils how and why these multiple functions change over time. Finally, the analysis provides a theoretical contribution by illuminating the role that different and contrasting ILs play in driving the adoption of organizational practices.
An important part of the Northwest Forest Plan was 1.2 billion dollars of community development assistance made available to northern California, Oregon, and Washington…
An important part of the Northwest Forest Plan was 1.2 billion dollars of community development assistance made available to northern California, Oregon, and Washington through the Northwest Economic Adjustment Initiative (NEAI). The NEAI developed a complex institutional structure to eliminate regional administrative gridlock and enable workers and families, businesses, communities, and tribes that depended on forest product-based economies to regain or improve their economic and social well-being. As part of an evaluation of NEAI that included 31 community case studies, institutional analysis gauged how the initiativeʼs institutional and organizational structure affected program implementation. This paper examines how the institutional analysis complemented the community case studies, the use of Schneider and Ingramʼs policy design framework as a tool for describing and assessing the initiativeʼs institutional design, and the lessons learned from the overall evaluation.
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 analyze how conflicting institutional demands become deployed in organizational storytelling in the context of wildlife documentaries. Documentary producers…
The authors analyze how conflicting institutional demands become deployed in organizational storytelling in the context of wildlife documentaries. Documentary producers increasingly feel the pressure to entertain the audience, while simultaneously addressing serious environmental issues. Using a mixed-method analysis of BBC wildlife documentaries produced between 2009 and 2017, the authors identify two narrative strategies, alternation and amplification, to balance demands for entertainment and environmental conservation. Alternation switches entertaining and serious content to offset conservation concerns, while amplification uses entertainment to accentuate conservation. Emotions play a significant role in both ways of storytelling. The findings of this chapter contribute to the literatures on institutional microfoundations, storytelling, and emotions.
Interest in developing institutional explanations of political and economic behavior has blossomed among social scientists since the early 1980s. Three intellectual…
Interest in developing institutional explanations of political and economic behavior has blossomed among social scientists since the early 1980s. Three intellectual perspectives are now prevalent: rational choice theory, historical institutionalism and a new school of organizational analysis. This paper summarizes, compares and contrasts these views and suggests ways in which cross‐fertilization may be achieved. Particular attention is paid to how the insights of organizational analysis and historical institutionalism can be blended to provide fruitful avenues of research and theorizing, especially with regard to the production, adoption, and mobilization of ideas by decision makers.
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…
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.