How are Management Fashions Institutionalized? The Role of Institutional Work
Human Relations, Vol. 61, No. 6, pp. 811-844, June 2008
34 Pages Posted: 13 May 2008 Last revised: 6 Oct 2008
We explore how transitory management fashions become institutionalized. Based on the concepts of institutional entrepreneurship and institutional work, we postulate that fashionable management practices acquire permanence when they are anchored within field-wide institutions. The building of such institutions requires various types of institutional work, including political work, technical work and cultural work. Based on a review of the empirical literature on various management fashions, we identify the actors engaging in these different types of works, and their skills. Our results suggest that the institutionalization effect is stronger if more types of institutional work are deployed and if the skill sets of the involved actors vary. We also argue that institutional construction in the case of management fashions is likely to take the form of decentralized 'partaking' rather than being led by a single dominant institutional entrepreneur. We conclude with implications for the study of management fashions and the role of agency in institutionalization.
Keywords: Management fashions, Institutional work, Institutional entrepreneurship, Institutionalization, Management practices, Management knowledge
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