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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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Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2019

Yanfei Hu and Claus Rerup

This study examines how highly disruptive issues cause profound dissonance in societal members that are cognitively and emotionally invested in existing institutions. The…

Abstract

This study examines how highly disruptive issues cause profound dissonance in societal members that are cognitively and emotionally invested in existing institutions. The authors use PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) entrepreneurial advocacy for animal rights to show how this highly disruptive issue interrupted and violated taken-for-granted interpretations of institutions and institutional life. The authors compare 30 YouTube videos of PETA’s advocacy to explore pathways to effective sensegiving and sensemaking of highly disruptive issues. The findings augment the analytical synergy that exists between sensemaking and institutional analysis by unpacking the micro-level dynamics that may facilitate transformational institutional change.

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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

Mary Ann Glynn and Benjamin D. Innis

The authors theorize the role that identity, and especially collective identity, plays in the creation of new institutions. The authors begin by reviewing the literature…

Abstract

The authors theorize the role that identity, and especially collective identity, plays in the creation of new institutions. The authors begin by reviewing the literature on social movements, focusing on identity movements; from this, the authors extract and explore the role of identity in collective action and institutional formation. The authors propose that identity and lifestyle movements create institutions that furnish the necessary cultural tools to support and enact a given identity. As an example of this process, the authors examine Martha Stewart’s cultivation of a lifestyle-driven brand. The authors discuss the implications of their work on social movement theory and institutional theory.

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

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2019

Hovig Tchalian

This chapter argues that the primary reason for the underdeveloped state of microfoundations research in language and communications studies is methodological. It asserts…

Abstract

This chapter argues that the primary reason for the underdeveloped state of microfoundations research in language and communications studies is methodological. It asserts that the long-standing methodological division between micro and macro analyses (traditionally small-scale and large-scale, respectively) has led to their continued theoretical separation. The paper draws from Giddens’ theory of structuration and newly developed computational methods to outline an alternative, mixed-methods framework for discourse analysis that the author calls Recursive Analysis (RA). The author demonstrates the application of the RA framework through a case study of the electric vehicle industry that aligns small-scale and large-scale textual analysis to generate theoretical insights.

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Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2019

Derek J. Harmon

Institutions are built upon language. Although we have a number of linguistic perspectives already in our arsenal, this chapter seeks to convince you of our need for just…

Abstract

Institutions are built upon language. Although we have a number of linguistic perspectives already in our arsenal, this chapter seeks to convince you of our need for just one more. The primary claim is that because the structure of arguments uniquely maps onto the latent structure of institutions, the use of arguments in institutional analysis may help us gain more traction on three important topics – the nature taken-for-grantedness, the macro-micro divide, and the political dynamics of institutions. This chapter thus offers a starting point for how to use an argumentation perspective when studying institutions.

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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

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: 25 November 2019

Teppo Felin and Nicolai Foss

The authors discuss the microfoundations of institutional theory, specifically as microfoundations are manifested in this volume of Research in the Sociology of…

Abstract

The authors discuss the microfoundations of institutional theory, specifically as microfoundations are manifested in this volume of Research in the Sociology of Organizations. The authors argue that the main interest seems to be in better understanding macrofoundations: top-down forces from institutions to actors. Furthermore, throughout the volume institutions themselves are definitionally layered – in problematic ways – with a large array of other macroconstructs, including fields, logics, practices, habitus, situations, routines, and so forth. The authors argue that there is an opportunity to more carefully delineate microfoundations for institutional theory, by focusing on lower-level heterogeneity, agency, as well as the aggregate and emergent social processes that animate microfoundational explanation.

Details

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

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2019

Alex Bitektine and Robert Nason

The authors explore how entrepreneurs with limited resources legitimated (or failed to legitimate) a new organizational category in different jurisdictions in Canada…

Abstract

The authors explore how entrepreneurs with limited resources legitimated (or failed to legitimate) a new organizational category in different jurisdictions in Canada despite severe resistance. The authors identify three meso-level domains of institutional action (public, administrative, and legal), where actors intervene to change their macro-institutional environment. The findings suggest that these domains mediate the relationship between micro-level agency and macro-level institutions. The authors describe how macro-level consensus about the category legitimacy emerges through a competition between judgments embedded in different discourses and how a particular discourse attains validity, forcing other actors to change their initial unfavorable legitimacy judgments and recognize the category’s legitimacy.

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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

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…

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.

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