Institutional work

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Created by Thomas Lawrence and Roy Suddaby (2006, pp. 217), the concept of institutional work refers to “the broad category of purposive action aimed at creating, maintaining, and disrupting institutions and businesses .”[1] The focus of institutional work shifts away from more traditional institutional scholarship that offers strong accounts of the processes through which institutions govern action and, instead, examines how individuals’ active agency affects institutions.[2] More recently the added value of the concept is explored in the context of environmental governance, where it offers novel opportunities for analysing the interactions between actors and institutional structures that produce stability and flexibility in governance systems.[3]

In later work, Lawrence et al. (2011, pp. 52–53) specified the interest of institutional work in “the myriad, day-to-day equivocal instances of agency that, although aimed at affecting the institutional order, represent a complex mélange of forms of agency—successful and not, simultaneously radical and conservative, strategic and emotional, full of compromises, and rife with unintended consequences.[4]


  1. ^ Lawrence, T. B.; Suddaby, R. (2006). "Institutions and Institutional work". In Clegg, S; Hardy, C; Lawrence, T (eds.). Handbook of Organization Studies (2nd ed.). London: Sage. pp. 215–254.
  2. ^ Lawrence, T.B.; Suddaby, R.; Leca, B. (2009). "Introduction: Theorizing and studying institutional work". In Lawrence, T.B.; Suddaby, R.; Leca, B (eds.). Institutional work: Actors and agency in institutional studies of organizations. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–27.
  3. ^ Beunen, R.; Patterson, J.J. (2016-11-25). "Analysing institutional change in environmental governance: exploring the concept of 'institutional work'". Journal of Environmental Planning and Management: 1–18. doi:10.1080/09640568.2016.1257423. ISSN 0964-0568.
  4. ^ Lawrence, T. B.; Suddaby, R.; Leca, B. (2011). "Institutional Work: Refocusing Institutional Studies of Organization". Journal of Management Inquiry. 20 (1): 52–58. doi:10.1177/1056492610387222.