Institutional fields as linked arenas: Inter-field resource dependence, institutional work and institutional change

Furnari, S. (2016). Institutional fields as linked arenas: Inter-field resource dependence, institutional work and institutional change. Human Relations, 69(3), pp. 551-580. doi: 10.1177/0018726715605555

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Abstract

Theories of institutional change have paid limited attention to the ways in which relations between institutional fields might facilitate or hinder institutional change. I introduce inter-field resource dependence as an important condition explaining institutional change between fields. Building on resource dependence theory, I conceptualize two dimensions of inter-field resource dependence: mutual dependence and power imbalance. I argue that these two dimensions have opposite effects on the likelihood of institutional change between fields. Mutual dependence between two fields increases the chances of institutional change by inducing actors in both the fields to work at creating new shared institutions in order to regulate their mutual dependence. Power imbalance between two fields decreases the chances of institutional change by inducing actors in the dominant field to work at maintaining existing institutions in order to preserve their power. Thus, different types of inter-field resource dependence motivate actors to undertake different forms of institutional work, which in turn shape the likelihood of institutional change between fields. Developing this core argument, I theorize that whether the institutional change occurring between two fields is radical or incremental is a function of the type of resource dependence linking the two fields; for example, when power imbalance is high, institutional change is unlikely but when it occurs it tends to be radical.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright Sage, 2016.
Uncontrolled Keywords: institutional change, institutional field, institutional theory, institutional work, power imbalance, resource dependence theory
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Divisions: Cass Business School
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/15322

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