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Article
Publication date: 9 April 2021

Herman Aksom

Although drawing from neoinstitutional theoretical apparatus and ontology, management fashion theory is understood as a theory that explains the transitory nature of…

Abstract

Purpose

Although drawing from neoinstitutional theoretical apparatus and ontology, management fashion theory is understood as a theory that explains the transitory nature of popular ideas and practices while institutional theory explains their stabilization, persistence and further institutionalization. In a nutshell, it seems that being opposed to each other, these two theories describe and predict different, incommensurable diffusion trajectories and organizational behaviour patterns. The purpose of this paper is to unify these two competing perspectives.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper makes an attempt toward further unification of management fashion theory with new institutionalism by offering an alternative understanding and conceptualization of institutional change and deinstitutionalization and by distinguishing emerging concepts from already popular fashions.

Findings

Most emerging concepts never achieve popularity and disappear while few of them achieve massive media attention and diffuse widely becoming new management fashions. Once these concepts have achieved a wide popularity institutional forces would favor them and lead to further institutionalization. Institutional change is understood not as a deinstitutionalization of existing management fashion in terms of erosion, discontinuity or disappearance but as a decline in its media coverage while media attention focuses on new fashionable concept. The former management fashion gets institutionalized, institutional change occurs in terms of shifting attention toward new fashion and diffusion and institutionalization cycle restarts. Institutional prediction of isomorphism and institutionalization as irreversible tendencies thus can be unified with MF prediction about the bell-shaped curves in fashions’ popularity. Therefore, postulates and predictions of management fashion theory can be derived from new institutionalism and vice versa.

Practical implications

The paper aims to cover, generalize and explain different trajectories of various management and organizational concepts, deducing theoretical propositions from both institutional theory and management fashion theory. Theoretical and methodological ideas offered in this paper can be helpful in future research on management fashions and diffusion. Studies on the evolution of management concept can benefit from proposed categorization and causal relationships between different stages of the life cycle.

Originality/value

Unifying seemingly conflicting and disparate perspectives and views allows making organization theory more coherent in terms of both explanatory power and ontological commensurability. Following other mature sciences, we share the same notion of progress, namely, the aim of achieving unification and demonstrating that different organizational theories still describe the same reality.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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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.

Details

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

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Book part
Publication date: 29 September 2015

Yuzhuo Cai and Yohannes Mehari

Institutional theory has arguably become a popular and powerful explanatory tool for studying various organisational issues, including those in the context of higher…

Abstract

Institutional theory has arguably become a popular and powerful explanatory tool for studying various organisational issues, including those in the context of higher education. However, little is known about the efforts of higher education researchers in tracing the development of organisational institutionalism and applying the theory in their research for a better understanding of the nature of universities and colleges. The purpose of this chapter is thus to fill the gaps by analysing nine leading higher education journals. The results indicate that the application of institutional theory in higher education research is dominated by the concepts of new institutionalism developed in the 1970s and 1980s. In spite of a growing tendency to utilise the recently developed insights of institutional theory in higher education studies, the full potential of institutional theory has not been fully exploited by higher education researchers. We therefore propose some directions for further institutional analysis in higher education studies.

Details

Theory and Method in Higher Education Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-287-0

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Book part
Publication date: 12 January 2021

Joel Gehman

Drawing on close readings of Schatzki and Friedland, this paper explores the nexus of practice, logics, and values, and especially the implications of practice-driven…

Abstract

Drawing on close readings of Schatzki and Friedland, this paper explores the nexus of practice, logics, and values, and especially the implications of practice-driven institutionalism for the concept of values and vice versa. In essence, the article searches for values in practice-driven institutionalism and articulates how they might be found, deploying practice theory, institutional logics, and values work as guides. The article’s core argument is that both practice theory and institutional logics ascribe an important conceptual role to values, but neither has developed a theory of values that is wholly compatible with the onto-epistemological commitments of practice-driven institutionalism. The article introduces burgeoning scholarship on values work and argues that this approach offers a bridge between practice theory and institutional theory and, by extension, provides conceptual resources and an important research lacuna for those interested in practice-driven institutionalism.

Details

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

Keywords

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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.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 29 June 2020

Herman Aksom and Inna Tymchenko

This essay raises a concern about the trajectory that new institutionalism has been following during the last decades, namely an emphasis on heterogeneity, change and…

Abstract

Purpose

This essay raises a concern about the trajectory that new institutionalism has been following during the last decades, namely an emphasis on heterogeneity, change and agentic behavior instead of isomorphism and conformist behavior. This is a crucial issue from the perspective of the philosophy and methodology of science since a theory that admits both change and stability as a norm has less scientific weight then a theory that predicts a prevalence of passivity and isomorphism over change and strategic behavior. The former provides explanations and predictions while the latter does not.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper offers an analysis of the nature, characteristics, functions and boundaries of institutional theories in the spirit of philosophy and methodology of science literature.

Findings

The power of the former institutional theory developed by Meyer, Rowan, DiMaggio and Powell lies in its generalization, explanation and prediction of observable and unobservable phenomena: as a typical organizational theory that puts forward directional predictions, it explains and predicts the tendency for organizations to become more similar to each other over time and express less strategic and interest-driven behavior, conforming to ever-increasing institutional pressures. A theory of isomorphism makes scientific predictions while its modern advancements do not. Drawing on Popper's idea of the limit of domains of explanation and limited domains of theories we present two propositions that may direct our attention towards the strength or weakness of institutional theories with regard to their explanations of organizational processes and behavior.

Practical implications

The paper draws implications for further theory building in institutional analysis by suggesting the nature of institutional explanations and the place of institutional change in the theoretical apparatus. Once institutional theory explains the tendency of the system towards equilibrium, there is no need to explain the origins and causes of radical change per se. Institutional isomorphism theory explains and predicts how even after radical changes organizational fields will move towards isomorphism, that is, institutional equilibrium. The task is, therefore, not to explain agency and change but to show that it is natural and inevitable processes that organizational field will return to isomorphic dynamics and move towards homogenization no matter how much radical change occurred in this field.

Originality/value

The paper discusses the practical problems with instrumental utility of institutional theories. In order to be useful any theory must clearly delineate its boundaries and offer explanations and predictions and it is only the former 1977/1983 institutional theory that satisfies these requirements while modern advancements merely offer ambiguous theoretical umbrellas that escape empirical tests. For researchers therefore it is important to recognize which theory can be applied in a given limited domain of research and which one has little or no value.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 33 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 27 February 2009

Wendy Currie

This paper sets out to examine the use of institutional theory in information systems research. It also seeks to consider recent debates within information systems, that…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper sets out to examine the use of institutional theory in information systems research. It also seeks to consider recent debates within information systems, that the field should develop its own social theories. The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate that IS researchers need to engage more fully with the institutional theory literature as the body of work is conceptually rich and is more appropriately used to analyse and understand complex social phenomena.

Design/methodology/approach

Reviewing the institutionalist literature from the field of IS, the paper shows that most accounts engage in empirically testing institutionalist concepts, rather than analysing the richness of these concepts to further develop and build the theory.

Findings

The paper finds that most institutionalist accounts within information systems research adopt an organisational unit of analysis as opposed to a multi‐level approach which encompasses societal and individual levels. Research further shows more studies on the “effects” of institutionalism than on the “processual” accounts.

Research limitations/implications

It is argued that information systems researchers need to become more aware of the wider debates within the institutional theory literature, particularly as the theory is conceptually ambiguous, yet not amenable to over‐simplification as a means to achieve methodological rigour.

Practical implications

The use of institutional theory offers practitioners conceptual tools and techniques for understanding complex change management scenarios relating to IS work.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the IS literature through reviewing the range of studies using institutional theory. It illustrates the narrow use of the theory adopted by the IS community and suggests that a more fruitful approach is to use a wider multi‐level and multi‐method approach. The paper suggests that institutional theory offers a conceptually rich lens for analysing IS themes and issues and encourages further use of the theory for IS and management research.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Article
Publication date: 11 March 2019

Qinghua Zhai and Jing Su

This paper aims to evaluate the progress made in understanding the impact of multi-level institutions on entrepreneurship.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to evaluate the progress made in understanding the impact of multi-level institutions on entrepreneurship.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on scientific articles published between 1992 and 2017, the authors take a unique focus on both institutional theory applied and research topics of this area. Bibliometric method and systematic literature review method are used.

Findings

The results demonstrate that although institutional theory is well prepared for entrepreneurship context operating at different levels, the major knowledge foundation used predominantly focuses on macro and meso level. When it comes to research topics, entrepreneurship is often simplified as the founding of new venture, and the unique venture founding process has rarely been explored.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to provide a full picture of the multi-level institutions and their consequences on different kinds of entrepreneurial activities. The authors’evaluation of this research area also points out directions for future study.

Details

Chinese Management Studies, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-614X

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2004

Jesse F. Dillard, John T. Rigsby and Carrie Goodman

Institutional theory is becoming one of the dominant theoretical perspectives in organization theory and is increasingly being applied in accounting research to study the…

Abstract

Institutional theory is becoming one of the dominant theoretical perspectives in organization theory and is increasingly being applied in accounting research to study the practice of accounting in organizations. However, most institutional theory research has adequately theorized neither the institutionalization process through which change takes place nor the socio‐political context of the institutional formations. We propose a social theory based framework for grounding and expanding institutional theory to more fully articulate institutionalization processes. Specifically, we incorporate institutional theory and structuration theory and draw on the work of Max Weber in developing a framework of the context and the processes associated with creating, adopting and discarding institutional practices. We propose that the expanded framework depicts the socio‐economic and political context better and more directly addresses the dynamics of enacting, embedding and changing organizational features and processes. Expanding the focus of the institutional theory based accounting research can facilitate a more comprehensive representation of accounting as the object of institutional practices as well as provide a better articulation of the role of accounting in the institutionalization process.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 19 September 2019

Herman Aksom, Oksana Zhylinska and Tetiana Gaidai

This paper aims to demonstrating that the former new institutional theory of isomorphism and decoupling cannot be extended, modified or refuted as it is a closed theory

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to demonstrating that the former new institutional theory of isomorphism and decoupling cannot be extended, modified or refuted as it is a closed theory. By analyzing the structure of this former version of institutional theory and its numerous modern competitors (institutional entrepreneurship, institutional work and institutional logics theories) it is argued that these alternative theories demonstrate even less explanatory and predictive power and do not refute or extend their predecessor. The rise of new organizational theories can have no other effect on classic institutional theory than to limit the domain of its applicability. In turn, there are a number of principles and conditions that future theories should meet to be accepted as progressive advancements.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides a review of relevant organizational and philosophical literature on theory construction and scientific progress in organizational research and offers a set of principles and demands for those new theories that seek to challenge new institutionalism.

Findings

The authors show that the former institutional theory satisfies two main criteria that any scientific theory should conform with following it is useful and falsifiable in term of giving explanations and predictions while, at the same time, clearly specifying what can be observed and what cannot; what can happen and what is not likely to occur. Modern institutional theories cannot demonstrate this quality and they do not satisfy these criteria. Moreover, institutional isomorphism theory is a closed theory, which means it cannot be intervened with changes and modifications and all future theories should develop their theoretical propositions for other domains of applications while they should account for all empirical phenomena that institutional theory successfully explains.

Originality/value

Adopting instrumental view on organizational theories allowed reconstructing the logic and trajectory of organizational research evolution and defends its rationality and progressive nature. It is also outlined how existing dominant theory should be treated and how new theories should challenge its limitations and blind spots and which philosophical and methodological criteria should be met.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

Keywords

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