"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 5: The Work of Meanings in Institutional Processes and Thinking
The Work of Meanings in Institutional Processes and Thinking
The interest in the role of meanings in institutional theory is both old and new. While meanings were at the heart of early neo-institutional thinking (e.g. Meyer & Rowan, 1977; Zucker, 1977; DiMaggio & Powell, 1983), and while they constitute much of its unique contribution vis-á-vis other open-system theories (Scott, 2007), the very exploration of meaning was somewhat neglected later on, especially in the empirical inquiry of institutions. Thus, our understanding of the work of meaning in institutional processes had been limited (Dobbin, 1994a; Friedland & Alford, 1991; Hasselbladh & Kallinilos, 2000).[Page 151]
Lately, however, we have seen a renewed empirical and theoretical interest in the ideational aspects of ...