Micro Processes and Isomorphic Adaptation: Insights from the Struggle for the Soul of Economics at the University of the Holy Spirit

38 Pages Posted: 24 May 2014

See all articles by Hamid Bouchikhi

Hamid Bouchikhi

ESSEC Business School

John Kimberly

University of Pennsylvania - Management Department

Date Written: May 2014

Abstract

As of July 1, 2010, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of the Holy Spirit (UHS) has a single Department of Economics. However, in the seven prior years, there were two economics departments, one that was resolutely mainstream and the other that was just as resolutely heterodox. What accounts for this unusual organizational arrangement?

We show that this arrangement was part of a protracted conflict about the kind of economics that befits the Catholic identity of UHS that resulted, ultimately, in a full embrace of mainstream economics in July 2010. We draw on and amend Oliver’s (1991) typology of organizational responses to institutional processes and investigate why and how UHS went from deliberate avoidance to full acquiescence to mainstream economics. Our analysis suggests that while organizations may be compelled to adapt to dominant norms, as institutional theorists contend, the process of adaptation involves a variety of conflicting moves and counter moves that engage identity and power and that require forceful leadership to resolve.

Keywords: Institutional Isomorphism, Micro-processes, Organizational Adaptation

Suggested Citation

Bouchikhi, Hamid and Kimberly, John, Micro Processes and Isomorphic Adaptation: Insights from the Struggle for the Soul of Economics at the University of the Holy Spirit (May 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2441138 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2441138

Hamid Bouchikhi (Contact Author)

ESSEC Business School ( email )

3 Avenue Bernard Hirsch
CS 50105 CERGY
CERGY, CERGY PONTOISE CEDEX 95021
France

John Kimberly

University of Pennsylvania - Management Department ( email )

The Wharton School
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States

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