Responding to Institutional Complexity: The Role of Identity
Organization Studies, Forthcoming
53 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 1, 2012
How organizations cope with multiple and sometimes conflicting institutional demands is an increasingly familiar yet little understood question. This paper examines how four French business schools responded to demands that they internationalize their management education whilst retaining their traditional identities. We trace the role played by field-level actors in pushing and articulating competing logics and the importance of institutional and organizational identity in how organizations respond. By highlighting the role of identity aspirations we show that what matters is not how an organization sees itself – i.e., what it is – but how it wants to see itself – i.e., what it wishes to become. Finally, we unpack and explain why status differences across organizations affect the nature of the opportunities that are perceived and the scale and format of the responses that are implemented.
Keywords: Institutional complexity, Institutional logics, Organizational identity, Status
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