Institutional Work Amidst the Financial Crisis: Emerging Positions of Elite Actors

Organization: The Critical Journal of Organization, Theory and Society, Special issue on 'Capitalism in Crisis: Organizational Perspectives', 2011

52 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2010

See all articles by Suhaib Riaz

Suhaib Riaz

University of Massachusetts Boston - College of Management

Sean Buchanan

York University - Schulich School of Business

Hari Bapuji

University of Manitoba - Department of Business Administration

Date Written: October 15, 2010

Abstract

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.

Keywords: global financial crisis, institutions, institutional work, rhetoric, content analysis

JEL Classification: P12, N20, O16, P45

Suggested Citation

Riaz, Suhaib and Buchanan, Sean and Bapuji, Hari, Institutional Work Amidst the Financial Crisis: Emerging Positions of Elite Actors (October 15, 2010). Organization: The Critical Journal of Organization, Theory and Society, Special issue on 'Capitalism in Crisis: Organizational Perspectives', 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1692787

Suhaib Riaz (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts Boston - College of Management ( email )

Boston, MA
United States

Sean Buchanan

York University - Schulich School of Business ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

Hari Bapuji

University of Manitoba - Department of Business Administration ( email )

Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 5V4
Canada

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