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Joel Gehman

The concept of institution has been used by scholars from across a number of disciplines to explain a wide variety of phenomena. However, the philosophical roots of this…

Abstract

The concept of institution has been used by scholars from across a number of disciplines to explain a wide variety of phenomena. However, the philosophical roots of this concept have not been well examined, nor have implications for contemporary institutional analysis been fully appreciated. Returning to the works of Husserl and Merleau-Ponty reveals a depth of thinking that has otherwise been overlooked by institutional theorists. In particular, the author’s analysis reveals two critical insights. First, whereas organizational scholars have closely linked the concepts of institution and taken-for-grantedness, these two concepts were originally understood to be phenomenologically distinct. Second, a detailed examination of Merleau-Ponty’s later work poses the concept of flesh – the twining of the visible and the invisible – as the basis for the interplay of institutions. In turn, the idea of flesh as the foundation of institution invites a more radical reimagining of the growing bifurcation between microfoundations and macrofoundations.

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

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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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Stine Grodal and Steven J. Kahl

Scholars have primarily focused on how language represents categories. We move beyond this conception to develop a discursive perspective of market categorization focused…

Abstract

Scholars have primarily focused on how language represents categories. We move beyond this conception to develop a discursive perspective of market categorization focused on how categories are constructed through communicative exchanges. The discursive perspective points to three under-researched mechanisms of category evolution: (1) the interaction between market participants, (2) the power dynamics among market participants and within the discourse, and (3) the cultural and material context in which categories are constructed. In this theoretical paper, we discuss how each of these mechanisms shed light on different phases of category evolution and the methods that could be used to study them.

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From Categories to Categorization: Studies in Sociology, Organizations and Strategy at the Crossroads
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-238-1

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

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Jessica Burshell and Will Mitchell

Studies of the social construction of markets have not determined which social environments, which we refer to as proximate social space, are most likely to trigger social…

Abstract

Studies of the social construction of markets have not determined which social environments, which we refer to as proximate social space, are most likely to trigger social construction processes. We find that U.S. nonprofit fiscal sponsors respond to greater potential for category emergence when proximate social space is defined by geography but not by market segment. Further, in addition to responding to potential claimants based on geographic peers, organizations also respond to actual claimants based on peers in the market segment. The pattern suggests that geographic social proximity triggers initial label claiming, which in turn triggers responses from market segment peers.

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Jan Goldenstein and Peter Walgenbach

Neo-institutional theory has been criticized for equating the macrolevel with the realm of unconsciously constraining institutions and the microlevel with the realm of…

Abstract

Neo-institutional theory has been criticized for equating the macrolevel with the realm of unconsciously constraining institutions and the microlevel with the realm of actors’ reflexive agency and the origin of change. Considering the co-constitution of the macro and micro, the authors propose that change can be explained through reflexivity at the microlevel and through unconscious processes that affect the macrolevel. This chapter contributes to neo-institutional theory’s microfoundation by distinguishing four types of institutional changes. It will help institutionalists to become more explicit about what cognitive processes and what field conditions are related to what kinds of agency and change.

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

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Grégoire Croidieu, Birthe Soppe and Walter W. Powell

We analyze how institutional persistence unfolds. Building on an historical analysis of 3,307 bottle labels in the Bordeaux wine community, France, between 1924 and 2005…

Abstract

We analyze how institutional persistence unfolds. Building on an historical analysis of 3,307 bottle labels in the Bordeaux wine community, France, between 1924 and 2005, we find that the persistence of a chateau tradition requires considerable effort at maintenance. Instead of greater compression and taken-for-grantedness, we propose that expansion along multimodal carriers provides a marker of a deepening institutionalization. We underscore the role of community organizations in enabling a wine tradition to persist. The implications of our findings for institutional theory and multimodality research are discussed.

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Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-332-8

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Article

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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Article

Charles Funk and Len J. Treviño

The purpose of this paper is to describe co-devolutionary processes of multinational enterprise (MNE)/emerging economy institutional relationships utilizing concepts from…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe co-devolutionary processes of multinational enterprise (MNE)/emerging economy institutional relationships utilizing concepts from “old” institutional theory as well as the institutional aspects of socially constructed realities.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors develop a set of propositions that explore the new concept of a co-devolutionary relationship between MNEs and emerging economy institutions. Guided by prior research, the paper investigates MNE/emerging economy institutional co-devolution at the macro-(MNE home and host countries), meso-(MNE industry/host country regulative and normative institutions) and micro-(MNE and host country institutional actors) levels.

Findings

MNE/emerging economy institutional co-devolution occurs at the macro-level via negative public communications in the MNE’s home and host countries, at the meso-level via host country corruption and MNE adaptation, and at the micro-level via pressures for individual actors to cognitively “take for granted” emerging economy corruption, leading to MNE divestment and a reduction in new MNE investment.

Research limitations/implications

By characterizing co-devolutionary processes within MNE/emerging economy institutional relationships, the research augments co-evolutionary theory. It also assists in developing more accurate specification and measurement methods for the organizational co-evolution construct by using institutional theory’s foundational processes to discuss MNE/emerging economy institutional co-devolution.

Practical implications

The research suggests the use of enhanced regulation, bilateral investment treaties and MNE/local institution partnerships to stabilize MNE/emerging economy institutional relationships, leading to more robust progress in building emerging economy institutions.

Originality/value

The research posits that using the concepts of institutional theory as a foundation provides useful insights into the “stickiness” of institutional instability and corruption in emerging economies and into the resulting co-devolutionary MNE/emerging economy institutional relationships.

Details

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5794

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Article

João A. Ribeiro and Robert W. Scapens

To explore the contributions made by two strands of institutional research that have been applied to the study of management accounting change: “old institutional…

Abstract

Purpose

To explore the contributions made by two strands of institutional research that have been applied to the study of management accounting change: “old institutional economics” and “new institutional sociology”. To propose ways of developing these theories, and in general to develop an institutional understanding of management accounting change.

Design/methodology/approach

Analysis of the literature on management accounting change, with a special emphasis on the literature drawing on institutional theory. Theoretical discussion based on the concept of the “circuits of power”. Illustration with observations made during a case study of an organisation in which attempts to promote change in management accounting were conducted in recent years.

Findings

Identification of some complementarities between these two strands of institutional theorising, and suggestions of how they can be developed by drawing on insights from the “circuits of power” framework.

Research limitations/implications

The case study analysis is limited to an illustration of the theoretical discussion. A building of bridges between the various developments in institutional approaches to management accounting change is necessary.

Originality/value

The paper is of value to researchers studying management accounting change. It clarifies the theoretical underpinnings of the institutional frameworks and suggests areas for institutional research into management accounting change.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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