Institutional theory

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Cultures are not made from free-floating values. They are rooted in institutions and organizations
- Manuel Castells, 2001

Institutional theory is theory on the deeper and more resilient aspects of social structure.

CONTENT : A - F , G - L , M - R , S - Z , See also , External links


Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author

A - F

  • Cultures are not made from free-floating values. They are rooted in institutions and organizations.
    • Manuel Castells, The Internet Galaxy - Reflections on the Internet, Business, and Society (2001). p. 48
  • In advanced capitalist society the state helps shape the institutional organization of the economy. We show, how the state shapes the economy through the manipulation of property rights. The state's actions create pressures for change that lead actors to look for new forms of economic organization. The state also assists, leads, or constrains the process of selecting new forms of economic organization that emerge in response to these pressures, and it may or may not ratify these new forms. In contrast to the conventional literature on state economy relations that characterizes the U.S. state as having a weak capacity for successful economic intervention, we argue that property rights actions afford the U.S. state a previously unrecognized source of strength. Data come primarily from historical case studies of organizational transformation in the steel, automobile, commercial nuclear energy, telecommunications, dairy, meat-packing, and railroad sectors.
    • John L. Campbell and Leon N. Lindberg. "Property rights and the organization of economic activity by the state." American sociological review (1990): 634-647. p. 634, abstract
  • An institution is defined as collective action in control, liberation and expansion of individual action.
    • John R. Commons. "Institutional Economics" American Economic Review, vol. 21 (December 1931), pp. 648–657.
  • Institutional theory presents a paradox. Institutional analysis is as old as Emile Durkheim's exhortation to study 'social facts as things', yet sufficiently novel to be preceded by new in much of the contemporary literature.
    • Paul J. DiMaggio and Walter W. Powell (1991) "Introduction," In P. J. DiMaggio and W. Powell (eds.) The New Institutionalism and Organizational Analysis, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 1
  • Modern institutions are transparently purposive and that we are in the midst of an evolutionary progression toward more efficient forms.
    • Frank Dobbin (1994), "Organizational Models of Culture: The social construction of rational organizing principles," in: Diana Crane (ed) The Sociology of Culture: Emerging theoretical perspectives. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 138
  • During the last fifty years, society in every developed country has become a society of institutions. Every major social task, whether economic performance or health care, education or the protection of the environment, the pursuit of new knowledge or defense, is today being entrusted to big organizations, designed for perpetuity and managed by their own managements.
    • Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, (1974), p. 3.

G - L

  • Institutions is a verbal symbol which for want of a better describes a cluster of social usages. It connotes a way of thought or action of some prevalence and permanence, which is embedded in the habits of a group or the customs of a people.
    • Walton H. Hamilton, (1932), "Institution," in Edwin R. A. Seligman and Alvin Johnson (eds), Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, Vol. VIII, New York: Macmillan, pp. 84–89.

M - R

  • Social, political and economic institutions have become larger, considerably more complex and resourceful, and prima facie more important to collective life. Many of the major actors in modern economic and political systems are formal organizations, and the institutions of law and bureaucracy occupy a dominant role in contemporary life.
    • James G. March and Johan Olsen, (1989) Rediscovering Institutions: The Organizational Basis of Politics. New York: Free Press. p. 1-2
  • Contemporary institutional theorizing in the field of organizations dates back thirty-odd years. This particularly describes what are called new or neo-institutionalisms. These terms evoke contrasts with earlier theories of the embeddedness of organizations in social and cultural contexts, now retrospectively called the ‘old institutionalism’ (Hirsch & Lounsbury, 1997; Stinchcombe, 1997). They went through a period of inattention, so that when institutional thinking came back in force after the 1960s, it seemed quite new.
    Institutional theories, as they emerged in the 1970s, received much attention in the field, along with other lines of thought emphasizing the dependence of modern organizations on their environments. Perhaps surprisingly, they continue to receive attention, and seem to retain substantial measures of vigor.
    • John W. Meyer. "Reflections on institutional theories of organizations." The Sage handbook of organizational institutionalism (2008): 790-811.
  • Institutions are the humanly devised constraints that structure political, economic, and social interaction. They consist of both informal constraints (sanctions, taboos, customs, traditions, and codes of conduct), and formal rules (constitutions, laws, property rights). Throughout history, institutions have been devised by human beings to create order and reduce uncertainty in exchange.
    • Douglass North. 1991. "Institutions." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5(1): 97-112; Abstract

S - Z

  • Institutions are social structures that have attained a high degree of resilience. [They] are composed of cultural-cognitive, normative, and regulative elements that, together with associated activities and resources, provide stability and meaning to social life. Institutions are transmitted by various types of carriers, including symbolic systems, relational systems, routines, and artifacts. Institutions operate at different levels of jurisdiction, from the world system to localized interpersonal relationships. Institutions by definition connote stability but are subject to change processes, both incremental and discontinuous.
    • W. Richard Scott (1995/2001). Institutions and Organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. p. 33 (2001:48)
  • If political institutions do not meet the needs of the people, if the people finally believe that those institutions do not express their own values, then those institutions must be discarded. It is wasteful and inefficient, not to mention unjust, to continue imposing old forms and ways of doing things on a people who no longer view those forms and ways as functional.
  • Institutional theories of organization provide a rich, complex view of organizations. In these theories, organizations are influenced by normative pressures, sometimes arising from external sources such as the state, other times arising from within the organization itself. Under some conditions, these pressures lead the organization to be guided by legitimated elements, from standard operating procedures to professional certification and state requirement, which often have the effect of directing attention away from task performance... Institutional theories of organization have spread rapidly, a testimony to the power of the imaginative ideas developed in theoretical and empirical work.
    • Lynne G. Zucker (‎1987). "Institutional Theories of Organization," In: Annual Review of Sociology Vol. 13: 443-464

See also

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