Sociological Institutionalism

Links » Historical Institutionalism | Rational Choice Institutionalism | Notes on: Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms (Hall & Taylor 1996)


1970s organizational literature

(Thick) Definition

Institutions as social structures composed of cultural-cognitive, normative, and regulative elements that provide stability and meaning to social life.


  • Explaining isomorphism, i.e. the process of different organisations becoming more similar over time, and decoupling, i.e. the difference between formal policies and actual organizational practices


  • Why do organisations become more similar over time (and not necessarily more efficient)?
    • organisations strive for legitimacy. Institutional pressures make organisations adopt the “rationalised myths” (design prescriptions) of their environments through coercive, mimetic, and normative pressures.



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