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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2021

Hanna Silvola and Eija Vinnari

The purpose of this paper is to enrich extant understanding of the role of both agency and context in the uptake of sustainability assurance. To this end, the authors…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to enrich extant understanding of the role of both agency and context in the uptake of sustainability assurance. To this end, the authors examine auditors' attempts to promote sustainability assurance and establish it as a practice requiring the professional involvement of auditors.

Design/methodology/approach

Applying institutional work (Lawrence and Suddaby, 2006) and institutional logics (Thornton, 2002; Thornton et al., 2012) as the method theories, the authors examine interview data and a variety of documentary evidence collected in Finland, a small society characterized by social and environmental values, beliefs in functioning institutions and public trust in companies behaving responsibly.

Findings

With this study, the authors make two main contributions to extant literature. First, the authors illustrate the limits that society-level logics related to corporate social responsibility, together with the undermining or rejected institutional work of other agents, place especially on the political and cultural work undertaken by auditors. Second, the study responds to Power's (2003) call for country-specific studies by exploring a rather unique context, Finland, where societal trust in companies is arguably stronger than in many other countries and this trust appears to affect how actors perceive the need for sustainability assurance.

Originality/value

This is one of the few accounting studies that combines institutional logics and institutional work to study the uptake of a management fashion, in this case sustainability assurance.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2017

Melodie Cartel, Sylvain Colombero and Eva Boxenbaum

This chapter examines the role of multimodal rhetoric in processes of theorization. Empirically, we investigated the theorization process of a highly disruptive innovation…

Abstract

This chapter examines the role of multimodal rhetoric in processes of theorization. Empirically, we investigated the theorization process of a highly disruptive innovation in the history of architecture: reinforced concrete. Relying on archival data from a prominent French architectural journal in the period from 1885 to 1939, we studied the rhetorical modes at play in the theorization of reinforced concrete. First, we found that theorization entailed two recursive activities: dramatization and evaluation. While dramatization relies on both verbal and visual (i.e., multimodal) means, evaluation relies on verbal means. We integrated these components into a dynamic model of theorization that explains how visual discourse contributes to theorization beyond the effects of verbal discourse.

Details

Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-330-4

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2003

Sue Llewelyn

The value of qualitative empirical research in the management and accounting disciplines lies in its “conceptual framing” of organizational actions, events, processes, and…

Abstract

The value of qualitative empirical research in the management and accounting disciplines lies in its “conceptual framing” of organizational actions, events, processes, and structures. Argues that the possibilities for conceptual framing extend beyond the highly abstract schema generally considered as “theories” by academics. In support of this argument, distinguishes five different forms of theorization. Explores the relationship between these theoretical “levels” and the different issues that empirical research explores, arguing that, as the “level” of theorizing “rises”, issues of agency give way to a focus on practice and, in turn, to a concern with structure. As this happens, research aims directed towards abstraction and explanation supersede those for contextualization and understanding. Concludes that views on “what counts as theory” are, currently, too narrow to conceptualize agency, emergence and change adequately in organizational life and, hence, the full range of significant empirical phenomena that characterize the management and accounting areas are not being researched.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 2 June 2014

Matthew Egan

The purpose of this paper is to explore how a heterogeneous range of water efficiency responses were driven across a field of seven water consuming organisations in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how a heterogeneous range of water efficiency responses were driven across a field of seven water consuming organisations in Australia at a time of acute drought conditions into the late 2000s.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a range of individuals from 2008 to 2010.

Findings

A loosely coordinated range of drivers motivated pervasive water efficiency responses in two of the seven case organisations. Would-be leaders sought to invoke a water efficiency field, and champion nascent logics and theorisation in order to gain some competitive advantage. There was little sense among others of any normative, mimetic or coercive pressure to adopt homogeneous practices. While the field lacked effective champions for change, an institutionalisation of novel water efficiency practices continued across the field into 2010.

Research limitations/implications

Further research could investigate how water efficiency responses continued to develop or decline into the 2010s, and how such practices integrate with the management of other sustainability issues (including carbon).

Practical implications –

Global water resources are subject to increasing supply constraints. This paper responds by exploring how the institutionalisation of water efficiency change can be driven across a field of organisations.

Originality/value

Relatively little is understood about “institutionalization” as an unfinished process. This paper responds by contributing an understanding of how institutional logics developed, and how theorisation for water efficiency progressed in the context of water scarcity in Australia in the late 2000s.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 27 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 15 February 2021

Leonardo Augusto de Vasconcelos Gomes, Aline Mariane de Faria, Felipe Mendes Borini, Ximena Alejandra Flechas Chaparro, Matheus Graciani Dos Santos and Guilherme Soares Gurgel Amaral

Accessing and sharing dispersed knowledge in ecosystems is neither easy nor automatic. In ecosystems, focal firms should purposely create the right conditions and act to…

Abstract

Purpose

Accessing and sharing dispersed knowledge in ecosystems is neither easy nor automatic. In ecosystems, focal firms should purposely create the right conditions and act to deal with dispersed knowledge. This study aims to investigate how focal firms manage dispersed knowledge in ecosystems characterized by a set of autonomous, heterogeneous, yet interdependent actors involved in experimentation under uncertainty.

Design/methodology/approach

Following a conceptual framework based on preceding literature, this study conducted a broad qualitative case study of 6 firms and 12 projects, with 43 semi-structured interviews to identify the patterns of actions associated with dispersed knowledge management (KM) in ecosystems. This paper combines coding and multiple case comparisons to examine the processes and strategies used by the firms to strategically manage dispersed knowledge in ecosystems.

Findings

This paper proposes a framework that articulates a new type of orchestration (dispersed knowledge orchestration) and offers a new set of dispersed knowledge strategies (transfer, modularity and circular) for ecosystems.

Practical implications

Innovation and knowledge managers play the roles of dispersed knowledge orchestrators. The study offers guidance on how focal firms should carefully use a particular set of approaches (e.g. integrative theorization) including a portfolio of dispersed knowledge strategies in ecosystems.

Originality/value

Current literature on KM and ecosystem management offers a limited understanding of how organizations manage dispersed knowledge in ecosystems. The research provides three major original contributions. First, the framework contributes to broadening the current understanding of ecosystem orchestration by identifying the micro-foundations of dispersed knowledge orchestration: integrative theorization, nurturing distributed sensemaking and a new chapter for ecosystem governance (i.e. dispersed knowledge governance). Moreover, the framework proposes a new type of strategy, the dispersed knowledge strategy. Finally, by exploring the interplay between the micro-foundations of dispersed knowledge orchestration and dispersed knowledge strategy, the results contribute to a multi-level approach in the field.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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Article
Publication date: 9 December 2020

Aušrinė Šilenskytė and Adam Smale

This paper aims to illustrate why an understanding of how levels of analysis interact is an essential part of multilevel research in the field of international business…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to illustrate why an understanding of how levels of analysis interact is an essential part of multilevel research in the field of international business (IB). Using research on strategy implementation (SI) in multinational corporations (MNCs) as an example, this paper develops a taxonomy and research agenda that demonstrates the key role critical scholars can play in advancing multilevel theorization.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on the assumptions of methodological collectivism and individualism, the paper presents a four-step framework: defining the theoretical boundaries of the selected subject; juxtaposing theoretical arguments with empirical work; identifying single- and multi-level theories; and developing a research agenda.

Findings

Research on SI in MNCs has been dominated by one type of theorizing that focuses on the designs of organizational systems or the power of institutions. Multilevel theorization grounded in methodological individualism would offer new knowledge by including the views of under-represented stakeholders, questioning the justice of established systems and overall implications of MNC operations.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed four-step framework encourages scholars to adopt a systematic approach to multilevel theorizing and draw upon the untapped potential of IB theories.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the IB field by introducing an approach to assessing IB research from a multilevel theorizing perspective. The actionable research agenda on SI and the taxonomy of SI research can assist scholars in making aligned choices on study design and envisioning research questions that yield meaningful contributions to theory and practice.

Details

critical perspectives on international business, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1742-2043

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Book part
Publication date: 30 September 2010

Joseph Maslen

Despite the theoretical shortcomings of recent historical work on social processes, the historical discipline has a role to play in the theorization of social dynamics. As…

Abstract

Despite the theoretical shortcomings of recent historical work on social processes, the historical discipline has a role to play in the theorization of social dynamics. As the work of the late sociologist Charles Tilly (2008, p. 9) has emphasized, the larger-scale theoretical type of social-process analysis may benefit from a more small-scale historical awareness of “the influence of particular times and places.” In Tilly's view, the sociological accounts of social processes that lack the sense of temporal transitions which characterizes historical analysis will “rarely identify the component mechanisms, much less their combinations and sequences.” By contrast, a historical approach to the “big structures, large processes, huge comparisons” (see Tilly, 1984) of social processes may put forward an analytical program that “couples a search for mechanisms of very general scope with arguments that […] lend themselves to ‘local theory,’ in which the explanatory mechanisms and processes operate quite broadly but combine locally as a function of initial conditions and adjacent processes to produce distinctive trajectories and outcomes.” These local elements of history may aggregate together into a more general pattern of theory: “Mechanisms compound into processes: combinations and sequences of mechanisms that produce some specified outcome at a larger scale than any single mechanism.” The temporal dimension of a historical analysis has a capacity to theorize social processes by telling a story of beginnings that carry forward into points of culmination.

Details

Theorizing the Dynamics of Social Processes
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-223-5

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Book part
Publication date: 26 November 2020

Mary Ann Glynn

In this reflective piece, the author engages with several themes that are oriented to the past, present, and future of institutional theory, to offer fresh insights for…

Abstract

In this reflective piece, the author engages with several themes that are oriented to the past, present, and future of institutional theory, to offer fresh insights for the next generation of theorizing. The author looks backward, tracing prevailing assumptions by investigating the language of theorization over the last eight decades, focusing on the frequency of use of nouns, adjectives, and verbs. What the author finds is a continuing emphasis on relatively static views of institutions and their permanence, indicated by the abundant use of nouns, but a relative neglect of more dynamic processes of institutionalization, reflected in verbs. Leveraging these observations, the author looks ahead, to identify fertile areas for theorization, including a consideration of the antithesis and/or synthesis between relating macrofoundations and microfoundations as antithesis or synthesis; examining the characteristics of institutional fields as contingencies of institutionization; and exploring the language of institutional theorization.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 4 October 2019

Alison Hicks

Information literacy has been consistently undertheorised. The purpose of this paper is to contribute in the ongoing theorisation of information literacy by exploring the…

Abstract

Purpose

Information literacy has been consistently undertheorised. The purpose of this paper is to contribute in the ongoing theorisation of information literacy by exploring the meaning and implications of the emergent grounded theory of mitigating risk for information literacy research and practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The grounded theory was produced through a qualitative study that was framed by practice theory and the theoretical constructs of cognitive authority and affordance, and employed constructivist grounded theory, semi-structured interviews and photo-elicitation methods to explore the information literacy practices of language-learners overseas.

Findings

This paper provides a theoretically rich exploration of language-learner information literacy practices while further identifying the importance of time, affect and information creation within information literacy research and practice as well as the need for the continued theorisation of information literacy concepts.

Research limitations/implications

The paper’s constructivist grounded theorisation of information literacy remains localised and contextualised rather than generalisable.

Practical implications

The paper raises questions and points of reflection that may be used to inform the continued development of information literacy instruction and teaching practices.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to an increasingly sophisticated theoretical conceptualisation of information literacy as well as forming a basis for ongoing theoretical development in the field.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 76 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2012

Colin C. Williams, Sara Nadin and Peter Rodgers

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate critically the competing theories of informal entrepreneurship that variously represent such endeavour as a residue from a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate critically the competing theories of informal entrepreneurship that variously represent such endeavour as a residue from a previous mode of accumulation (modernisation theory), a direct by‐product of contemporary capitalism and survival strategy for those marginalised from the circuits of the modern economy (structuralism), an endeavour voluntarily pursued due to over‐regulation in the formal economy (neo‐liberalism) or a practice chosen for social, redistributive, political or identity reasons (post‐structuralism).

Design/methodology/approach

To evaluate these competing theories, a 2005/2006 survey involving face‐to‐face interviews with 298 informal entrepreneurs in Ukraine is analysed.

Findings

Contrary to previous studies which assert that one single theorisation is universally applicable, this study finds that each theory is valid for different types of informal entrepreneurship, and therefore proposes a typology of informal entrepreneurship that joins together the contrasting theorisations in order to achieve a more accurate and finer‐grained explanation of the complex and heterogeneous configuration of informal entrepreneurship in contemporary Ukraine.

Research limitations/implications

This paper reveals the need to move beyond treating the competing explanations as mutually exclusive by outlining a typology that combines the contrasting theorisations in order to more fully understand the heterogeneity of informal entrepreneurship.

Practical implications

By unravelling the heterogeneity of informal entrepreneurship, a more nuanced policy approach is shown to be required which does not seek to simply either eradicate such endeavour, pursue a laissez‐faire approach or harness such entrepreneurship but instead pursues all these approaches to varying extents in relation to different kinds of informal entrepreneur.

Originality/value

This is one of the first papers to identify and empirically evaluate the competing theories of informal entrepreneurship.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

Keywords

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