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Coping with the unintended consequences of institutional work

Topics and Issues from European Research

Mikołaj Pawlak and Adriana Mica

Mikołaj Pawlak and Adriana Mica connect the insights from the traditional sociology of unintended consequences with more recent developments in institutional theory. For the authors, the discussions on institutional work are of particular relevance here. Both individuals and organizations frequently generate unintended consequences as a result of their institutional work. In their stimulating conceptual paper, Pawlak and Mica not only distinguish different types of unintended consequences within a neo-institutional framework, they also identify a variety of coping mechanisms related to unintended consequences that result from different outcomes of institutional work. Interestingly, not only success or failure is discussed as an outcome, but also institutional compromise, institutional mid-course shift, and constant reinstitutionalization.