From Ritual to Reality: Demography, Ideology, and Decoupling in a Post-Communist Government Agency
Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 53, pp. 1474-1498, December 2010
25 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2009 Last revised: 27 Jun 2021
Date Written: December 1, 2010
Decoupling - the creation of gaps between formal policies and actual practices - is a ubiquitous organizational phenomenon. Yet, little research has examined how decoupling unfolds over time. This qualitative case study of a post-communist government agency develops process models of what precedes and what follows the decision to decouple. I show that the demography and ideology of powerful organizational members influence whether decoupling occurs, how it unfolds, and whether it is sustainable. Further, I suggest that decoupling may carry seeds of its own decay: under certain conditions, the decision to decouple can trigger demographic changes that eventually contribute to the erosion of decoupling.
Full paper available online.
Keywords: institutions, organizational change, decoupling, post-communist transition
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