CiteWeb id: 19910000047

CiteWeb score: 6295

DOI: 10.5465/AMR.1991.4279002

This article applies the convergent insights of institutional and resource dependence perspectives to the prediction of strategic responses to institutional processes. The article offers a typology of strategic responses that vary in active organizational resistance from passive conformity to proactive manipulation. Ten institutional factors are hypothesized to predict the occurrence of the alternative proposed strategies and the degree of organizational conformity or resistance to institutional pressures. Theory and research on institutionalization have generated valuable insights into the processes that define and explain institutionalization in organizational environments and their influence on organizational conformity to the environment. Early versions of institutional theory placed particular emphasis on the taken-for-granted character of institutional rules, myths, and beliefs as shared social reality and on the processes by which organizations tend to become instilled with value and social meaning (Berger & Luckmann, 1967; Selznick, 1949, 1957). More recent treatments of institutionalization have elaborated the nature and variety of these institutional processes (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983; Meyer & Rowan, 1977; Zucker, 1977, 1988) and the range of influences that these processes exert on structural characteristics of organizations (Meyer, Scott, & Deal, 1983; Meyer, Scott, & Strang, 1987; Scott, 1987a; Scott & Meyer, 1987; Singh, Tucker, & House, 1986) and organizational change (Hinings & Greenwood, 1988; Tolbert & Zucker, 1983). Notably lacking from this literature, however, is explicit attention to the strategic behaviors that organizations employ in direct response to the institutional processes that affect them. The purpose of this article is to identify the different strategic responses that organizations enact as a result of the institutional pressures toward conformity that are exerted on them and to develop a preliminary conceptual framework for predicting the occurrence of the alternative strategies. In the absence of prior efforts to determine the strategic reactions of organizations to institutional influence, this article attempts to contribute to our understanding of the behavior of organizations in institutional contexts and the conditions under which organizations will resist institutionalization. The institutional perspective also has been increasingly criticized for its lack of attention to the role of organizational self-interests and active agency in organizational responses to institutional pressures and expectations (Co

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