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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…

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…

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: Theorizing the Interface
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-413-4

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Book part
Publication date: 1 January 2013

Paula Jarzabkowski, Michael Smets, Rebecca Bednarek, Gary Burke and Paul Spee

This paper develops a practice approach to institutional ambidexterity. In doing so, it first explores the ‘promise’ of institutional ambidexterity as a concept to address…

Abstract

This paper develops a practice approach to institutional ambidexterity. In doing so, it first explores the ‘promise’ of institutional ambidexterity as a concept to address shortcomings with the treatment of complexity in institutional theory. However, we argue that this is an empty promise because ambidexterity remains an organizational level construct that neither connects to the institutional level, or to the practical actions and interactions within which individuals enact institutions. We therefore suggest a practice approach that we develop into a conceptual framework for fulfilling the promise of institutional ambidexterity. The second part of the paper outlines what a practice approach is and the variation in practice-based insights into institutional ambidexterity that we might expect in contexts of novel or routine institutional complexity. Finally, the paper concludes with a research agenda that highlights the potential of practice to extend institutional theory through new research approaches to well-established institutional theory questions, interests and established-understandings.

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Institutional Logics in Action, Part B
Type: Book
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Book part
Publication date: 12 January 2021

Arthur Gautier, Anne-Claire Pache, Imran Chowdhury and Marion Ligonie

This paper seeks to understand how new practices that challenge established norms and values become institutionalized by studying the development of corporate philanthropy…

Abstract

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.

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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

Roger Friedland

In this paper, I compare Theodore Schatzki’s practice theory, the existential phenomenology of Martin Heidegger upon whom Schatzki drew in its formation, and my own theory…

Abstract

In this paper, I compare Theodore Schatzki’s practice theory, the existential phenomenology of Martin Heidegger upon whom Schatzki drew in its formation, and my own theory of institutional logics which I have sought to develop as a religious sociology of institution. I examine how Schatzki and I both differently locate our thinking at the level of practice. In this essay I also explore the possibility of appropriating Heidegger’s religious ontology of worldhood, which Schatzki rejects, in that project. My institutional logical position is an atheological religious one, poly-onto-teleological. Institutional logics are grounded in ultimate goods which are praiseworthy “objects” of striving and practice, signifieds to which elements of an institutional logic have a non-arbitrary relation, sources of and references for practical norms about how one should have, make, do or be that good, and a basis of knowing the world of practice as ordered around such goods. Institutional logics are constellations co-constituted by substances, not fields animated by values, interests or powers.

Because we are speaking against “values,” people are horrified at a philosophy that ostensibly dares to despise humanity’s best qualities. For what is more “logical” than that a thinking that denies values must necessarily pronounce everything valueless? Martin Heidegger, “Letter on Humanism” (2008a, p. 249).

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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: 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: 7 December 2020

Ali Aslan Gümüsay and Michael Smets

Much recent work on hybrids has focused on the strategies and practices these organizations develop to manage the institutional contradictions associated with straddling…

Abstract

Much recent work on hybrids has focused on the strategies and practices these organizations develop to manage the institutional contradictions associated with straddling competing logics. Less attention has been paid to what we call the liability of novelty, defined as the heightened institutional challenges new hybrid forms face both internally and externally. These, we argue, go beyond the liability of newness commonly associated with new venture formation. In this chapter, we use the case of Incubate, a Muslim social incubator in Germany. This case is particularly instructive insofar as Incubate is a hybrid in both substance and mode of organizing: Its mission integrated domains of religion, commerce, and community, and its mode of organizing straddled the digital–analog divide. Neither Incubate’s members, nor its external stakeholders could rely on existing institutional templates to make sense of it. It was not only organizationally new, but also institutionally novel. As a consequence, it experienced what we distinguish as descriptive and evaluative challenges. It was both “not understood” and “not accepted.” This chapter outlines four practices to address these challenges: codifying, crafting, conforming, and configuring, and categorizes them along internal versus external as well as forming versus transforming dimensions.

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Organizational Hybridity: Perspectives, Processes, Promises
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-355-5

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Article
Publication date: 14 April 2014

Michael Smets, Gary Burke, Paula Jarzabkowski and Paul Spee

Increasing complexity, fragmentation, mobility, pace, and technological intermediation of organizational life make “being there” increasingly difficult. Where do…

Abstract

Purpose

Increasing complexity, fragmentation, mobility, pace, and technological intermediation of organizational life make “being there” increasingly difficult. Where do ethnographers have to be, when, for how long, and with whom to “be there” and grasp the practices, norms, and values that make the situation meaningful to natives? These novel complexities call for new forms of organizational ethnography. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the above issues.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, the authors respond to these calls for innovative ethnographic methods in two ways. First, the paper reports on the practices and ethnographic experiences of conducting a year-long team-based video ethnography of reinsurance trading in London.

Findings

Second, drawing on these experiences, the paper proposes a framework for systematizing new approaches to organizational ethnography and visualizing the ways in which they are “expanding” ethnography as it was traditionally practiced.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the ethnographic literature in three ways: first, the paper develops a framework for charting new approaches to ethnography and highlight its different dimensions – site, instrument, and fieldworker. Second, the paper outlines the opportunities and challenges associated with these expansions, specifically with regard to research design, analytical rigour, and communication of results. Third, drawing on the previous two contributions, the paper highlights configurations of methodological expansions on the aforementioned dimensions that are more promising than others in leveraging new technologies and approaches to claim new territory for organizational ethnography and enhance its relevance for understanding today's multifarious organizational realities.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Book part
Publication date: 12 January 2021

Brian T. Pentland, Peng Liu, Waldemar Kremser and Thorvald Hærem

Using a routine dynamics perspective, the authors address a central question in a practice-driven institutional theory: where does change come from? In particular, the…

Abstract

Using a routine dynamics perspective, the authors address a central question in a practice-driven institutional theory: where does change come from? In particular, the authors focus on the possibility that small variations in routines can accumulate into big changes in institutions. The analysis is limited strictly to endogenous change. The authors use narrative networks to formalize and operationalize key concepts, such as variation and change. The authors reinterpret results from a published simulation model (Pentland, Liu, Kremser, & Hærem, 2020) that examined endogenous change in organizational routines. The simulation suggests that over a wide range of conditions, minor variations can lead to irreversible structural changes in routines. In the absence of exogenous shocks and institutional entrepreneurs, patterns of action that were previously possible can become impossible. The mechanism underlying these changes requires both accumulation and forgetting. Without forgetting, small variations may pile up (like dirty laundry), but they will not result in big changes.

Details

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

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 7 December 2020

Abstract

Details

Organizational Hybridity: Perspectives, Processes, Promises
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-355-5

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