The advancement and growth of institutional theory over the past seven decades has brought with it an increasing plurality in its theoretical and empirical approaches, along with a number of critiques about its coherence and impact. We address these critiques, and offer remedies for overcoming the perceived challenges. We begin by examining the intellectual history of institutional theory in management and its founding discipline, sociology, from its origins in the early 1900s to the near-present, identifying key pivot points in its trajectory as well as emerging subfields. We make three novel contributions. First, we synthesize the institutional literature over the entirety of its evolution, in its social and historical contexts, to plausibly account for its development. Second, we advance an analytic narrative that highlights those critical tensions, shifts, and key pivot points that function as inflection points in institutional theory’s evolution and generate diverse subfields within it. Third, we propose an integrative conceptual model for advancing research that explicates the elements, functions, and outcomes attending institutions and institutionalization processes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management