Institutional Work Amidst the Financial Crisis: Emerging Positions of Elite Actors
University of Massachusetts
York University - Schulich School of Business
University of Manitoba - Department of Business Administration
October 15, 2010
Organization: The Critical Journal of Organization, Theory and Society, Special issue on 'Capitalism in Crisis: Organizational Perspectives', 2011
We draw on the institutional work literature to analyze the rhetoric in mainstream media spawned by the global financial crisis. We identify the emerging positions (status quo, neutral and change) of actors on major themes (policy, practices, recovery and regulation) related to the crisis and the rhetorical processes used (appeals to expert authority, finding someone to blame, use of scenarios, and avoidance of critical discussion) to communicate these positions. We find that academics lead the charge for change in policy, relying mostly on rhetorical processes that involve the use of past scenarios and blame, but also often avoid critical discussion through over-generalization. In contrast, banks focus on changes in practices, mostly using future scenarios, finding specific others to blame, and also appealing to expert authority. The U.S. Federal Reserve takes the lead on maintaining the status quo on regulation-related issues, largely through using various scenarios and appeals to expert authority. We also find a large number of neutral positions and interpret this as tacit support for existing institutions. We conclude by charting out a broader research agenda for further investigation of the actors-institutions interplay, particularly within the context of the financial crisis.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 52
Keywords: global financial crisis, institutions, institutional work, rhetoric, content analysis
JEL Classification: P12, N20, O16, P45Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 17, 2010
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