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Beyond Constraining and Enabling

Beyond Constraining and Enabling: Towards New Microfoundations for Institutional Theory

by Ivano Cardinale


from Abstract


This paper argues that the quest to establish microfoundations for institutional theory is hindered by two assumptions on which it currently rests: that structure simply constrains and enables action, and that agency is mostly associated with reflexivity. The paper unpacks these two assumptions and proposes alternative microfoundations on which i) structure does more than merely constrain and enable, and also actively orients action toward some possibilities over others; and ii) the pre-reflective dimension of agency is explicitly theorized. It thus becomes possible to bridge long-standing divides within institutional theory, opening up avenues for further developing its microfoundations.

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