The state, power, and agency: Missing in action in institutional theory?

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Journal Article
Journal of Management Inquiry, 2010, 19 (1), pp. 4 - 13
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Issue is taken with the relative absence of the analysis of power from many leading institutional theory accounts of organizations. The category of institutional entrepreneurs is seen as a functionalist theory-saving device. The stress on norms, myths, and legitimacy is questioned. The importance of a consideration of explicitly political organization is illustrated with an account of the deinstitutionalization of the Bjelke-Peterson government in Queensland. As well as institutionalization the importance of deinstitutionalization is suggested as is the centrality of translation. Recent work that has brought power and agency back into focus is discussed. The centrality of power as the main concept of the social sciences is promoted. The central importance of the state for early institutional accounts, its relative absence from more current ones, and its role in the creation of an "audit society" that would seem most likely to expand significantly in the wake of the global financial crisis is noted. © The Author(s) 2010.
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