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date: 17 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article provides an overview of institutional theory from the seminal papers of the 1970s to the more recent contributions, which consider institutional change and deinstitutionalization. Institutional theory also shows how macro-units of analysis, i.e. regulatory, legal, and policy frameworks, are also important in influencing and determining organizational and behavioural change. While institutional theory is concerned with stability and persistence, information technologies are often associated with rapid, and sometimes disruptive, societal and organizational changes. This article demonstrates the explicit and implicit points of disagreement among institutional theorists. It critically evaluates the theoretical and empirical strengths and weaknesses of this body of work, and caution against a tendency to simplify institutional concepts into one-dimensional constructs. Finally, it offers a research agenda for the IS field to embrace the institutional perspective and develop an institutional theory of IT.

Keywords: institutional theory, behavioural change, empirical strengths, research, policy framework

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