Behind Smoke and Mirrors. A Political Approach to Decoupling

Organisation Studies, Forthcoming

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 Last revised: 9 Feb 2017

See all articles by Anja Kern

Anja Kern

Imperial College London

Aziza Laguecir

KEDGE Business School

Bernard Leca

University of Lille II

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

In this paper, we examine neglected dimensions of decoupling, i.e. its power and political aspects. We draw on an empirical study of the reaction of two hospital subunits and an external agency (the Regional Health Agency) to a policy implementation, to contribute to the recent renewed interest in decoupling. We first reconsider the distinction between internal and external actors, by investigating how they interact in their responses to the new policy implementation. Observing different decoupling forms, we show how power and politics allow to understand how these forms are articulated and related. Furthermore, we highlight that contexts characterised by institutional complexity are especially propitious for decoupling. Finally, we outline that how actors use logics to justify their claims might differ significantly from how they enact those logics. More broadly, this paper contributes by bringing back power and politics into the analysis of institutional processes.

Keywords: decoupling, healthcare management, power dependence theory, institutional theory, agency

JEL Classification: M49

Suggested Citation

Kern, Anja and Laguecir, Aziza and Leca, Bernard, Behind Smoke and Mirrors. A Political Approach to Decoupling (2017). Organisation Studies, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2197816 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2197816

Anja Kern

Imperial College London ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, Greater London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Aziza Laguecir (Contact Author)

KEDGE Business School ( email )

Bordeaux
BP 921
Talence, 33405
France

Bernard Leca

University of Lille II ( email )

Lille Cedex, 59020
France

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