• 3 recollections from the last lecture: Critical
• Introduction to Institutional Theories
– More very unfamiliar terminology; again as
“currency” ie short-hand to name ideas.
– Understand some of the drivers and
• Next week: Neo-institutional theory
Foundations for Institutional Theory
• Institutional theory seeks to understand how organisations
create stable environments in which to operate
– Why? What’s the big deal about stability?
• It is related to ideas of bureaucracy, control,
accountability, efficient use of resources and effective
processes to achieve organisational goals.
– Essential for many public needs: Hospitals, schools, universities,
numerous government services and agencies (eg Police,
Ambulance, Fire-fighters, transport).
• But before we get started we need to see what we will be
investigating - all of it!!
View the whole elephant
• Husserl used to argue that you had to know the
whole before you could understand the
particular; and particulars are only useful if they
lead you to better understanding of the whole.
– Read that again and think of examples.
• Over the next two lectures we examine the
elephant that is the institutional approach to
understanding organisations and management.
• Being recognised as warranting power/
• Legitimacy is sought
– Regulatively (meeting laws, regulations)
– Cognitively (makes sense, logical)
– Normatively (to acceptable moral and ethical standards)
– Economically (at acceptable/competitive costs) (drawing
on Scott 2008).
Broad description of the elephant
• Institutions are observed in these stages:
– Objectification (we name them),
– Habituation (developing routines)
– Institutionalisation (we intrinsically value them),
• This is a big, powerful, ill controlled and messy
Feeling the messy details: terms
• In the first lecture we will cover how
institutionalism explains stability.
• In doing so we will select several of the following
characteristics of institutional theory
– institutional logic,
– contextual constraints,
– provinces of meaning,
– archetypes and
The smelly details: more smells later
• In the second lecture we will cover how
institutionalism explains change and how a CEO
can use this.
• In doing so we will explain reflexivity, interests,
value commitments, power dependencies,
capability, institutional work and examine an
empirical analysis of an institutional change
• Before all that it's important to recognise what
we are looking for .