The Institutional Logics Perspective: A New Approach to Culture, Structure and Process

ISBN : 9780199601943

Patricia H. Thornton; William Ocasio; Michael Lounsbury
248 Pages
155 x 234 mm
Pub date
Feb 2012
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How do institutions influence and shape cognition and action in individuals and organizations, and how are they in turn shaped by them? Various social science disciplines have offered a range of theories and perspectives to provide answers to this question. Within organization studies in recent years, several scholars have developed the institutional logics perspective. An institutional logic is the set of material practices and symbolic systems including assumptions, values, and beliefs by which individuals and organizations provide meaning to their daily activity, organize time and space, and reproduce their lives and experiences. This approach affords significant insights, methodologies, and research tools, to analyze the multiple combinations of factors that may determine cognition, behaviour, and rationalities. In tracing the development of the institutional logics perspective from earlier institutional theory, the book analyzes seminal research, illustrating how and why influential works on institutional theory motivated a distinct new approach to scholarship on institutional logics. The book shows how the institutional logics perspective transforms institutional theory. It presents novel theory, further elaborates the institutional logics perspective, and forges new linkages to key literatures on practice, identity, and social and cognitive psychology. It develops the microfoundations of institutional logics and institutional entrepreneurship, proposing a set of mechanisms that go beyond meta-theory, integrating this work with macro theory on institutional logics into a cross-levels model of cultural heterogeneity. By incorporating current psychological understanding of human behaviour and linking it to sociological perspectives, it aims to provide an encompassing framework for institutional analysis, and to be an essential and accessible reference for scholars and advanced students of organizational behaviour, organization and management theory, business strategy, and cultural sociology.


1. Introduction to the Institutional Logics Perspective
2. Precursors to the Institutional Logics Perspective
3. Defining the Inter-institutional System
4. The Emergence, Stability and Change of the Inter-institutional System
5. Micro-Foundations of Institutional Logics
6. The Dynamics of Organizational Practices and Identities
7. The Emergence and Evolution of Field-Level Logics
8. Implications for Future Research

About the author: 

Patricia Thornton is Adjunct Professor affiliated with the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Duke University Fuqua School of Business and affiliated faculty to the Program on Organizations, Business, and the Economy, Department of Sociology, Stanford University. Her research focuses on institutional and organizational change, innovation and entrepreneurship, and institutional logics and strategic management. Her book, Markets from Culture: Institutional Logics and Organizational Decisions, (Stanford University Press) was published in 2004. She received her Ph.D. in 1993 in Sociology from Stanford University.; William Ocasio is the John L. and Helen Kellogg Distinguished Professor of Management and Organizations at the Kellogg School of Management, and Professor of Sociology, by Courtesy, Northwestern University. In addition to institutional logics, his research focuses on attention, vocabularies, and strategy processes in organizations and institutional fields. Currently he is Senior Editor at Organization Science. He received his Ph.D. in 1992 in Organizational Behavior from Stanford University.; Michael Lounsbury is a Professor, Thornton A. Graham Chair, and Associate Dean of Research at the University of Alberta School of Business. He is also a Principal Investigator at the National Institute of Nanotechnology. His research focuses on institutional emergence and change, entrepreneurship, and the cultural dynamics of organizations and practice. He serves on a number of editorial boards and is the Series Editor of Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Associate Editor of Academy of Management Annals, as well as Co-Editor of Organization Studies. He received his Ph.D. in 1999 from Northwestern University in Sociology and Organizational Behavior.

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