"It is now three decades since the "new"institutionalism burst on the intellectual scene and a most appropriate time to take stock of missteps, accomplishments, and future directions. This theoretical thrust has revitalized many scholarly arenas across the social sciences, but none more so then organization studies. Royston Greenwood and his co-editors have assembled a stellar stable of scholars who collectively provide a comprehensive assessment if this vibrant field."—W. Richard Scott, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University"Institutional theory has become the dominant conversation in organization theory. In this volume many of its leading exponents show where it is going, what it can do and how it engages with related fields."—Stewart Clegg, Aston Business School and University of Technology, Sydney"This Handbook is "must reading" for any organization and management scholar. It provides a timely and comprehensive update of institutional theory and its relationships with other organization theories."—Andrew H. Van de Ven, Vernon Heath Professor of Organizational Innovation and Change, Carlson School of Management, University of MinnesotaInstitutional theory lies at the heart of organizational theory, yet until now, no book has successfully taken stock of this important and wide ranging theoretical perspective. With insight and clarity, the editors of this handbook have collected and arranged papers so the readers are provided with a map of the field and pointed in the direction of new and emerging themes. The academics who have contributed to this handbook are respected internationally and represent a cross section of expert organization theorists, sociologists and political scientists. Chapters are a rich mix of theory, how to conduct institutional organizational analysis and empirical work.
Chapter 2: Isomorphism, Diffusion and Decoupling
Isomorphism, Diffusion and Decoupling
A longstanding question in organization research is what makes organizations more or less similar to each other. Early organization theorists pointed out that organizations that share the same environment tend to take on similar forms as efficiency-seeking organizations seek the optimal ‘fit’ with their environment. Institutional theories of organization have added two related claims. First, organizations adapt not only to technical pressures but also to what they believe society expects of them, which leads to institutional isomorphism. Organizations need a societal mandate, or legitimacy, to operate and this is gained by conforming to societal expectations. Second, when adaptations to institutional pressures contradict internal efficiency needs, organizations sometimes claim to adapt when they in reality do not; they decouple ...