Resolving epistemological issues in theoretical and methodological apparatus of institutional theories of organizations

Herman Aksom, Anton Chornyi

Abstract


Agency-structure debate has become one of the central issues in modern organizational sociology and the most problematic theoretical area in institutional analysis. Since then researchers in new institutional sociology have focused on bringing agency and interests back in the theory that views rationality and motives as historically and culturally embedded and constructed by their institutional environments. To date, the most prospective theory is fashion perspective that sees interests and beliefs to be socially constructed and shaped by institutional forces. Accordingly, diffusion and adoption of administrative innovations is nothing but a result of these beliefs generated by institutional effects. Therefore the object of research is the essentiality of fashion management theory taking into account its ontological and epistemological characteristics. One of the most problematic areas is understanding the way institutions and fashions can be conceptualized upon the same mechanisms of emergence, reproduction and development.

This paper attempts to clarify and resolve these two streams of literature by attending social construction perspective and revisiting its central tenets. Specifically, the present study put forward arguments that it is not homogeneity or symbolic pragmatic conformity should be the main units of analysis but the meanings that individuals attach to technical structures and elements; not the trajectories and waves of popularity of ideas and structures but the way subjective judgments and interpretations acquire objective status and eclipse former technical foundations.

Based on logical generalization and morphological analysis, it is offered to reduce the conceptualization of institutions and organizations back from agency-centered depiction and strategic-perspective towards over-socialized picture with adequately addresses the prevalence of macro-level forces over micro-level individuals. It is concluded that neither former institutional theory nor its modern alternatives should focus exclusively on the trajectory and logic of diffusion of institutional templates.


Keywords


management fashion theory; social construction; institutional sociology; institutional statements

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References


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Sherer, P. D., Lee, K. (2002). Institutional change in large law firms: a resource dependency and institutional perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 45 (1), 102–119. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/3069287

Greenwood, R., Hinings, C. R., Suddaby, R. (2002). Theorizing change: the role of professional associations in the transformation of institutionalized fields. Academy of Management Journal, 45 (1), 58–80. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/3069285

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Schneiberg, M. (2005). Combining New Institutionalisms: Explaining Institutional Change in American Property Insurance. Sociological Forum, 20 (1), 93–137. doi: http://doi.org/10.1007/s11206-005-1899-y

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Zucker, L. G. (1977). The Role of Institutionalization in Cultural Persistence. American Sociological Review, 42 (5), 726–743. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/2094862

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Oliver, C. (1992). The Antecedents of Deinstitutionalization. Organization Studies, 13 (4), 563–588. doi: http://doi.org/10.1177/017084069201300403

Drori, G. S., Meyer, J. W., Hwang, H. (2009). Global organization: Rationalization and actorhood as dominant scripts. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 27, 17–43. doi: http://doi.org/10.1108/s0733-558x(2009)0000027003

Berger, P. L., Luckmann, T. (1967). The Social Construction of Reality. New York: Doubleday Anchor, 247.

Zbaracki, M. J. (1998). The Rhetoric and Reality of Total Quality Management. Administrative Science Quarterly, 43 (3), 602–636. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/2393677

Zilber, T. B. (2002). Institutionalization as an interplay between actions, meanings, and actors: the case of a rape crisis center in israel. Academy of Management Journal, 45 (1), 234–254. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/3069294

Aksom, H. (2016). Disentangling social constructions from technical realities: a case of Beyond Budgeting in Ukraine. Vilnius, 27–28.

Barley, S. R.; Greenwood, R., Oliver, C., Sahlin, K., Suddaby, R. (Eds.). (2008). Coalface institutionalism. The Sage handbook of organizational institutionalism. London: SAGE Publications, 338–364. doi: http://doi.org/10.4135/9781446280669.n14

Hannan, M. T., Freeman, J. (1984). Structural Inertia and Organizational Change. American Sociological Review, 49 (2), 149–164. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/2095567

Meyer, J. W. (1977). The Effects of Education as an Institution. American Journal of Sociology, 83 (1), 55–77. doi: http://doi.org/10.1086/226506

Hallett, T. (2010). The Myth Incarnate: Recoupling Processes, Turmoil, and Inhabited Institutions in an Urban Elementary School. American Sociological Review, 75 (1), 52–74. doi: http://doi.org/10.1177/0003122409357044

Strang, D., Meyer, J. W. (1993). Institutional conditions for diffusion. Theory and Society, 22 (4), 487–511. doi: http://doi.org/10.1007/bf00993595

Perkmann, M., Spicer, A. (2008). How are management fashions institutionalized? The role of institutional work. Human Relations, 61 (6), 811–844. doi: http://doi.org/10.1177/0018726708092406

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Zilber, T. B. (2013). Institutional Logics and Institutional Work: Should They Be Agreed? Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 39, 77–96. doi: http://doi.org/10.1108/s0733-558x(2013)0039a007

Suddaby, R., Elsbach, K. D., Greenwood, R., Meyer, J. W., Zilber, T. B. (2010). Organizations and their institutional environments – Bringing meaning, values, and culture back in: Introduction to the special research forum. Academy of Management Journal, 53 (6), 1234–1240. doi: http://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2010.57317486

Dobbin, F. (1994). Forging industrial policy: The United States, Britain, and France in the railway age. Cambridge University Press, 262. doi: http://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9781139174183

Bartley, T., Schneiberg, M. (2002). Rationality and Institutional Contingency: The Varying Politics of Economic Regulation in the Fire Insurance Industry. Sociological Perspectives, 45 (1), 47–79. doi: http://doi.org/10.1525/sop.2002.45.1.47

Staw, B. M., Epstein, L. D. (2000). What Bandwagons Bring: Effects of Popular Management Techniques on Corporate Performance, Reputation, and CEO Pay. Administrative Science Quarterly, 45 (3), 523–556. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/2667108

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GOST Style Citations


Mizruchi M. S., Fein L. C. The Social Construction of Organizational Knowledge: A Study of the Uses of Coercive, Mimetic, and Normative Isomorphism // Administrative Science Quarterly. 1999. Vol. 44, No. 4. P. 653–683. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/2667051 

Lounsbury M. Institutional rationality and practice variation: New directions in the institutional analysis of practice // Accounting, Organizations and Society. 2008. Vol. 33, No. 4-5. P. 349–361. doi: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.aos.2007.04.001 

Modell S. Institutional research on performance measurement and management in the public sector accounting literature: a review and assessment // Financial Accountability & Management. 2009. Vol. 25, No. 3. P. 277–303. doi: http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0408.2009.00477.x 

Scott W. R. Institutions and Organizations: Ideas and Interests. Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2008. 267 p.

Oliver C. Strategic responses to institutional processes // Academy of Management Review. 1991. Vol. 16, No. 1. P. 145–179. doi: http://doi.org/10.5465/amr.1991.4279002 

Scott W. R. Unpacking institutional arguments // The new institutionalism in organizational analysis / ed. by Powell W., Dimaggio P. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991. P. 164–182.

Holm P. The Dynamics of Institutionalization: Transformation Processes in Norwegian Fisheries // Administrative Science Quarterly. 1995. Vol. 40, No. 3. P. 398–442. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/2393791 

Sherer P. D., Lee K. Institutional change in large law firms: a resource dependency and institutional perspective // Academy of Management Journal. 2002. Vol. 45, No. 1. P. 102–119. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/3069287 

Greenwood R., Hinings C. R., Suddaby R. Theorizing change: the role of professional associations in the transformation of institutionalized fields // Academy of Management Journal. 2002. Vol. 45, No. 1. P. 58–80. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/3069285 

Abrahamson E. Management fashion // Academy of Management Review. 1996. Vol. 21, No. 1. P. 254–285. doi: http://doi.org/10.5465/amr.1996.9602161572 

Kieser A. Rhetoric and Myth in Management Fashion // Organization. 1997. Vol. 4, No. 1. P. 49–74. doi: http://doi.org/10.1177/135050849741004 

Clearing A Path Through The Management Fashion Jungle: Some Preliminary Trailblazing / Carson P. P. et al. // Academy of Management Journal. 2000. Vol. 43, No. 6. P. 1143–1158. doi: http://doi.org/10.5465/1556342 

Benders J., Van Veen K. What's in a fashion? Interpretative viability and management fashions // Organization. 2001. Vol. 8, No. 1. P. 33–53. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/135050840181003 

Benders J., Nijholt J., Heusinkveld S. Using Print Media Indicators in Management Fashion Research // Quality & Quantity. 2006. Vol. 41, No. 6. P. 815–829. doi: http://doi.org/10.1007/s11135-006-9027-5 

Madsen D. O., Stenheim T. Doing research on ‘management fashions’: methodological challenges and opportunities // Problems and Perspectives in Management. 2013. Vol. 11, No. 4. P. 68–76.

Madsen D., Slatten K. The Role of the Management Fashion Arena in the  Cross-National Diffusion of Management Concepts: The Case of the Balanced Scorecard in the Scandinavian Countries // Administrative Sciences. 2013. Vol. 3, No. 3. P. 110–142. doi: http://doi.org/10.3390/admsci3030110 

Abrahamson E., Chang S., Katic I. Institutional Transience and Fashion Persistence: Outlines of an Evolutionary Theory of Fashions and Institutions: proceedings. Montreal: EGOS, 2013.

Suddaby R. Can Institutional Theory Be Critical? // Journal of Management Inquiry. 2014. Vol. 24, No. 1. P. 93–95. doi: http://doi.org/10.1177/1056492614545304 

Meyer J. W., Rowan B. Institutionalized Organizations: Formal Structure as Myth and Ceremony // American Journal of Sociology. 1977. Vol. 83, No. 2. P. 340–363. doi: http://doi.org/10.1086/226550 

Zucker L. Institutional Theories Of Organization // Annual Review of Sociology. 1987. Vol. 13, No. 1. P. 443–464. doi: http://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.soc.13.1.443 

Scott W. R. The Adolescence of Institutional Theory // Administrative Science Quarterly. 1987. Vol. 32, No. 4. P. 493–511. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/2392880 

Jepperson R. The development and application of sociological institutionalism // Contemporary sociological theory: New directions / ed. by Berger P., Zelditch M. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. 232 p.

Meyer J. W. Reflections on institutional theories of organizations // Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism / ed. by Greenwood R. et al. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2008. P. 790–811.

Meyer J. W. World Society, Institutional Theories, and the Actor // Annual Review of Sociology. 2010. Vol. 36, No. 1. P. 1–20. doi: http://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.soc.012809.102506 

Schneiberg M., Bartley T. Regulating American Industries: Markets, Politics, and the Institutional Determinants of Fire Insurance Regulation // American Journal of Sociology. 2001. Vol. 107, No. 1. P. 101–146. doi: http://doi.org/10.1086/323574 

Meyer J. W., Jepperson R. L. The «Actors» of Modern Society: The Cultural Construction of Social Agency // Sociological Theory. 2000. Vol. 18, No. 1. P. 100–120. doi: http://doi.org/10.1111/0735-2751.00090 

Schneiberg M. Combining New Institutionalisms: Explaining Institutional Change in American Property Insurance // Sociological Forum. 2005. Vol. 20, No. 1. P. 93–137. doi: http://doi.org/10.1007/s11206-005-1899-y 

Friedland R., Alford R. R. Bringing society back in: Symbols, practices, and institutional contradictions. The new institutionalism in organizational analysis / ed. by Powell W. W., Dimaggio P. J. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991. P. 232–267.

Suddaby R. Challenges for Institutional Theory // Journal of Management Inquiry. 2010. Vol. 19, No. 1. P. 14–20. doi: http://doi.org/10.1177/1056492609347564 

Zucker L. G. The Role of Institutionalization in Cultural Persistence // American Sociological Review. 1977. Vol. 42, No. 5. P. 726–743. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/2094862 

Taking social construction seriously: Extending the discursive approach in institutional theory / Phillips N., Malhotra N.; ed. by Greenwood R. et al. // The Sage Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism. London: Sage, 2008. P. 702–720.

Oliver C. The Antecedents of Deinstitutionalization // Organization Studies. 1992. Vol. 13, No. 4. P. 563–588. doi: http://doi.org/10.1177/017084069201300403 

Drori G. S., Meyer J. W., Hwang H. Global organization: Rationalization and actorhood as dominant scripts // Research in the Sociology of Organizations. 2009. Vol. 27. P. 17–43. doi: https://doi.org/10.1108/s0733-558x(2009)0000027003 

Berger P. L., Luckmann T. The Social Construction of Reality. New York: Doubleday Anchor, 1967. 247 p.

Zbaracki M. J. The Rhetoric and Reality of Total Quality Management // Administrative Science Quarterly. 1998. Vol. 43, No. 3. P. 602–636. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/2393677 

Zilber T. B. Institutionalization as an interplay between actions, meanings, and actors: the case of a rape crisis center in Israel // Academy of Management Journal. 2002. Vol. 45, No. 1. P. 234–254. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/3069294 

Aksom H. Disentangling social constructions from technical realities: a case of Beyond Budgeting in Ukraine: proceedings. Vilnius, 2016. P. 27–28.

Coalface institutionalism // The Sage handbook of organizational institutionalism / Barley S. R.; ed. by Greenwood R. et al. London: SAGE Publications, 2008. P. 338–364. doi: http://doi.org/10.4135/9781446280669.n14 

Hannan M. T., Freeman J. Structural Inertia and Organizational Change // American Sociological Review. 1984. Vol. 49, No. 2. P. 149–164. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/2095567 

Meyer J. W. The Effects of Education as an Institution // American Journal of Sociology. 1977. Vol. 83, No. 1. P. 55–77. doi: http://doi.org/10.1086/226506 

Hallett T. The Myth Incarnate: Recoupling Processes, Turmoil, and Inhabited Institutions in an Urban Elementary School // American Sociological Review. 2010. Vol. 75, No. 1. P. 52–74. doi: http://doi.org/10.1177/0003122409357044 

Strang D., Meyer J. W. Institutional conditions for diffusion // Theory and Society. 1993. Vol. 22, No. 4. P. 487–511. doi: http://doi.org/10.1007/bf00993595 

Perkmann M., Spicer A. How are management fashions institutionalized? The role of institutional work // Human Relations. 2008. Vol. 61, No. 6. P. 811–844. doi: http://doi.org/10.1177/0018726708092406 

Friedland R. Institution, practice, and ontology: Toward a religious sociology // Research in the Sociology of Organizations. 2009. Vol. 27. P. 45–83. doi: http://doi.org/10.1108/s0733-558x(2009)0000027004 

Lounsbury M., Boxenbaum E. Institutional Logics in Action // Research in the Sociology of Organizations. 2013. Vol. 39. P. 3–22. doi: http://doi.org/10.1108/s0733-558x(2013)0039a004 

Zilber T. B. Institutional Logics and Institutional Work: Should They Be Agreed? // Research in the Sociology of Organizations. 2013. Vol. 39. P. 77–96. doi: http://doi.org/10.1108/s0733-558x(2013)0039a007 

Organizations and their institutional environments – Bringing meaning, values, and culture back in: Introduction to the special research forum / Suddaby R. et al. // Academy of Management Journal. 2010. Vol. 53, No. 6. P. 1234–1240. doi: http://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2010.57317486 

Dobbin F. Forging industrial policy: The United States, Britain, and France in the railway age: monograph. Cambridge University Press, 1994. 262 p. doi: http://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9781139174183 

Bartley T., Schneiberg M. Rationality and Institutional Contingency: The Varying Politics of Economic Regulation in the Fire Insurance Industry // Sociological Perspectives. 2002. Vol. 45, No. 1. P. 47–79. doi: http://doi.org/10.1525/sop.2002.45.1.47 

Staw B. M., Epstein L. D. What Bandwagons Bring: Effects of Popular Management Techniques on Corporate Performance, Reputation, and CEO Pay // Administrative Science Quarterly. 2000. Vol. 45, No. 3. P. 523–556. doi: http://doi.org/10.2307/2667108 

Selznick P. Leadership in administration. Evanston: Row, Peterson, 1957. 162 p.





DOI: https://doi.org/10.15587/2312-8372.2018.134902

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ISSN (print) 2226-3780, ISSN (on-line) 2312-8372