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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.

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

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 2003

Milan Zafirovski

The rediscovery and analytical reconstitution are present tendencies in much of social science, especially economics and sociology. The emergence and expansion of the…

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Abstract

The rediscovery and analytical reconstitution are present tendencies in much of social science, especially economics and sociology. The emergence and expansion of the so‐called new institutional economics exemplify these tendencies as do attempts at revival and rehabilitation of the old institutional economics. Analogous tendencies have been manifested in sociology by the further development of economic sociology, especially by various reformulations of its classical premise of institutional structuration and embeddedness of economic behavior. Nevertheless, much of mainstream economics tends to neglect or play down certain salient divergences between the latter's neoclassical or orthodox institutionalism, and heterodox or critical institutionalism advanced by the old institutional economics as well as by economic sociology. Identifies and elaborates such divergences between these seemingly homologous varieties of institutionalism. Since institutionalist varieties and tendencies in both economics and sociology are considered, represents a contribution to an interdisciplinary treatment of social institutions, a treatment originally proposed by the old institutional economics of Veblen et al., the German historical school as well as by Weberian‐Durkheimian classical economic sociology.

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International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 30 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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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: 2 December 2013

Seth Abrutyn

A synthesis of the various strands of macro-sociology that is commensurate with a more robust theory of evolutionary institutionalism.

Abstract

Purpose

A synthesis of the various strands of macro-sociology that is commensurate with a more robust theory of evolutionary institutionalism.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing from what may be conceived of as classical institutionalism and from neo-evolutionary sociology and other related traditions, this chapter endeavors to provide a general theory of evolutionary institutionalism as an overview of institutions and institutional autonomy (along with the underlying forces driving the process of autonomy), to present a theory of institutional evolution that delineates the relevant units of selection and evolution, the types of mechanisms that facilitate institutional evolution, and a typology of the sources of variation.

Findings

The chapter constitutes the attempt to provide a theoretical framework intended to engender an improved historical-comparative institutionalism inspired by the works of Max Weber and Herbert Spencer.

Research limitations/implications

The purpose of the theoretical framework presented should not be misconstrued as a general, “grand” theory for the discipline of the sociology as a whole, but rather understood as the model of a common vocabulary for sociologists interested in macro-sociology, institutions, and socio-cultural evolution designed to complement other available models.

Originality/value

As a synthesis, the originality of the theoretical framework presented lies in (1) elucidation of the idea that institutional autonomy as the “master” process of institutional evolution, (2) more precise delineation of the link between meso-level institutional entrepreneurs and institutional evolution, and (3) combination of a body of complementary – yet often loosely linked – bodies of scholarship.

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Social Theories of History and Histories of Social Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-219-6

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 1997

John L. Campbell

Interest in developing institutional explanations of political and economic behavior has blossomed among social scientists since the early 1980s. Three intellectual…

Abstract

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.

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International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 17 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 4 October 2012

Justin A. Elardo

Purpose – Inspired by “old” institutional arguments, this chapter presents the ideas of both the “old” and “new” institutional perspective as their arguments appear in the…

Abstract

Purpose – Inspired by “old” institutional arguments, this chapter presents the ideas of both the “old” and “new” institutional perspective as their arguments appear in the economic anthropology literature following the substantivist–formalist debate of the 1960s.

Design/methodology/approach – During the 1960s the substantivist–formalist debate, otherwise known as the “Great Debate,” thrust institutional thought to the forefront of economic anthropology. By the close of the 1960s, the substantivist–formalist debate passed unresolved. Institutional economic anthropology reached a crossroad – it could continue the legacy of the substantivism as represented by “old” institutionalism or follow the path of “new” institutional economics. Against the long shadow of the “Great Debate,” this chapter identifies key epistemological ideas that are present within the recent history of the institutional economic anthropology literature.

Findings – On the basis of epistemological arguments, the chapter suggests that if the substantivist–formalist debate, often times referred to as the “Great Debate,” is ever to achieve closure, then practitioners of institutional economic anthropology would benefit by moving beyond “new” institutional thought.

Originality/value – This chapter provides a unique evaluation of the institutional perspective within the history of economic anthropology. Residing within this history are clear and poignant distinctions between the “old” and “new” institutional perspectives. As a result, this chapter seeks to bring to social scientists interested in institutional economists, important insights from economic anthropology that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

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Political Economy, Neoliberalism, and the Prehistoric Economies of Latin America
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-059-8

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Book part
Publication date: 16 November 2012

Jasper J. Hotho and Torben Pedersen

Purpose – The purpose of this contribution is to clarify some of the institutional approaches in international business research and to identify opportunities to extend…

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this contribution is to clarify some of the institutional approaches in international business research and to identify opportunities to extend research on the role of institutions in international business.

Design/methodology/approach – Building on Douglas North's (1990) analogy of institutions as the rules of the game, we illustrate some of the differences between different institutional approaches in international business (IB) through a discussion of the rules and institutions surrounding the world of association football. We then briefly revisit the recent review by Hotho and Pedersen (2012) and compare and contrast three dominant institutional approaches in international business: new institutional economics, new organizational institutionalism and comparative institutionalism.

Findings – Our discussion illustrates that different institutional approaches address and explain different facets of international firm behaviour. The ways in which institutions matter for international business are therefore greatly dependent on how institutions are conceptualized and measured.

Originality/value – We highlight two recent developments in the literature on institutions which we believe offer important implications and opportunities for international business research. The first development is a move towards less deterministic approach to institutions. The second development is the recognition of institutional plurality and complexity, in the sense that organizations are often exposed to multiple logics with potentially contradictory prescriptions. These notions, we believe, offer important opportunities to advance our understanding of the relations between institutions and multinational enterprises (MNEs).

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New Policy Challenges for European Multinationals
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-020-8

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Book part
Publication date: 17 October 2018

Leopold Ringel, Petra Hiller and Charlene Zietsma

Boundaries are a popular topic among organizational researchers, many of whom argue that over the past decade we have witnessed a trend toward permeable boundaries and in…

Abstract

Boundaries are a popular topic among organizational researchers, many of whom argue that over the past decade we have witnessed a trend toward permeable boundaries and in some cases a blurring between organization and environment. Contrary to received wisdom, we argue that the question as to whether organizational boundaries have become more permeable or not cannot be decided empirically but is mainly a theoretical issue. Whether or not data indicate permeability or impermeability depends on the theoretical lens employed. Against this backdrop, we review how two prominent approaches to the study of boundaries, sociological systems theory and new institutionalism, not only arrive at different conclusions but also mandate diverging avenues of research. We focus in depth on several empirical trends: advances in information and communication technologies, increasingly dynamic fields and markets, invasive transparency regimes, and meta-organizations. We then introduce the contributions in this volume, showing how they elaborate on these and other empirical trends, drawing on different theoretical perspectives, to advance our understanding of the importance of boundaries within and around organizations.

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Toward Permeable Boundaries of Organizations?
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-829-3

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Book part
Publication date: 25 March 2010

Brian Rowan

My intent in this chapter is not to review this ever-expanding body of work, which now encompasses all sorts of “newinstitutionalisms applied to micro-, meso-, and…

Abstract

My intent in this chapter is not to review this ever-expanding body of work, which now encompasses all sorts of “newinstitutionalisms applied to micro-, meso-, and macro-levels of social analysis in a wide variety of fields. Rather, I propose to stay a narrower course, focusing on the “new” organizational institutionalism that emerged at Stanford in the 1970s. To a considerable extent, this focus excludes from sustained attention the growth of world polity theory, a body of work that is closely aligned to organizational institutionalism, but that was developed somewhat independently of Scott by Meyer and his associates (for an excellent, short overview of this line of work, see Jepperson, 2002; otherwise, see Meyer et al., 1997 or Meyer, 2000). In focusing on organizational institutionalism, I will add only marginally to what has already been written. My first task will be to describe the earliest developments of this form of analysis in the 1970s and early 1980s at Stanford, since describing how research programs in organizational studies got founded at Stanford is a major theme of the present volume. After that, I will advance some ideas about how and why this research program became so influential, in so many fields of study.

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Stanford's Organization Theory Renaissance, 1970–2000
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-930-5

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Book part
Publication date: 26 November 2020

Christopher W. J. Steele and Timothy R. Hannigan

Talk of “macrofoundations” helps foreground the constitutive and contextualizing powers of institutions – dynamics that are inadvertently obscured by the imagery of…

Abstract

Talk of “macrofoundations” helps foreground the constitutive and contextualizing powers of institutions – dynamics that are inadvertently obscured by the imagery of microfoundations. Highlighting these aspects of institutions in turn opens intriguing lines of inquiry into institutional reproduction and change, lived experience of institutions, and tectonic shifts in institutional configurations. However, there is a twist: taking these themes seriously ultimately challenges any naïve division of micro and macro, and undermines the claim of either to a genuinely foundational role in social analysis. The authors propose an alternative “optometric” imagery – positioning the micro and the macro as arrays of associated lenses, which bring certain things into focus at the cost of others. The authors argue that this imagery should not only encourage analytic reflexivity (“a more optometric institutionalism”) but also draw attention to the use of such lenses in everyday life, as an underexplored but critical phenomenon for institutional theory and research (“an institutionalist optometry”).

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

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