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date: 06 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the processes by which new management ideas become institutionalized as widely-used management practices in different kinds of profession. It argues that these processes vary according to a profession’s structural degree of social closure, as enforced for instance by tight regulations and strict qualification requirements. Closure also has implications for the relevance of different strands of institutional theory. In closed professions such as accounting, institutionalization processes resemble those predicted by institutional entrepreneurship theory: the emphasis is on the roles of regulators and professional bodies; collaboration amongst change agents; episodic innovation; front-loaded change activity; and isomorphic outcomes. In open professions such as strategy, management fashion theory suggests the importance of prestigious clients and competition, while institutional work theory predicts continuous innovation; intense investment in maintenance activities; and pluralistic outcomes. The chapter argues for the value of comparative studies of professions for future research on the institutionalization of management ideas.

Keywords: institutionalization, professions, structures, practice change, management ideas

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