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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Recent critiques of organizational institutionalism have pointed to its increasing loss of focus and coherence. Yet, this criticism has not affected ongoing efforts to integrate insights from the literature on identity and organizations into institutional theory. In this chapter the author argues that these attempts at increased theoretical integration are unlikely to be productive, as long as institutional theory continues to be treated as one coherent theoretical perspective. Through an analysis of four fundamental shifts in the (implicit) theorization of actor-hood since the late 1970s, the author identifies five alternative institutional theories that currently coexist within organizational institutionalism. It is only when we accept this internal fragmentation of institutional theory that it becomes possible to relate different theories of identity to it more congruently.

Keywords: institutional theory, identity, agency, organizational identity, institutional change, identification

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