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New Themes in Institutional Analysis

Topics and Issues from European Research

Edited by Georg Krücken, Carmelo Mazza, Renate E. Meyer and Peter Walgenbach

Institutional theory has become one of the dominant organizational approaches in recent decades. Its roots can be traced to Europe, and an important intellectual objective of this book is to examine North American theory strands and reconnect them with European research traditions. In addition, this book focuses on how organizations and individuals handle heterogeneous and challenging social conditions which are subsequently reflected in various forms of change.
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Stephan Bohn, Anne Galander and Peter Walgenbach

It is a challenge for companies to simultaneously follow corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the profit maximization premise as principles guiding their activities. Handling conflicting demands is a topic of increasing interest in institutional literature. We use the case of CSR implementation to develop a model of the organizational implementation and handling of emerging conflicting institutional demands. We build on and differentiate between the well-established theoretical concepts of isomorphism, translation and decoupling on different implementation levels. We argue that it is necessary to distinguish between a rhetorical and a structural handling. We further show that companies apply a strategy that creates tolerance for ambivalence.
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Georg Krücken, Renate E. Meyer and Peter Walgenbach

In the introduction to the volume, Georg Krücken, Renate Meyer and Peter Walgenbach sketch the origins and the development of the European network of scholars interested in new institutionalism. Further, they provide an overview of the content of the volume at hand.

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Stephan Bohn and Peter Walgenbach

Stephan Bohn and Peter Walgenbach address institutional complexity and organizational strategies dealing with conflicting institutional demands. By using a politically highly sensitive case – nuclear power – and analyzing media articles over a 15-year period, they bring attention to the contradicting and dynamic nature of the multiple institutional demands that organizations have to cope with. They show how German atomic power plant organizations played off different contradicting demands against each other, thereby negotiating the requirements with institutional stakeholders. This not only presents organizations as active agents in defining institutional demands, it also stresses that such demands are interwoven with broader political issues (in their case, climate change, safety of nuclear power, state’s dependence/independence from politically unstable regions, etc.) and can be highly controversial and dynamic.