Long a fruitful area of scrutiny for students of organizations, the study of institutions is undergoing a renaissance in contemporary social science. This volume offers, for the first time, both often-cited foundation works and the latest writings of scholars associated with the "institutional" approach to organization analysis. In their introduction, the editors discuss points of convergence and disagreement with institutionally oriented research in economics and political science, and locate the "institutional" approach in relation to major developments in contemporary sociological theory. Several chapters consolidate the theoretical advances of the past decade, identify and clarify the paradigm's key ambiguities, and push the theoretical agenda in novel ways by developing sophisticated arguments about the linkage between institutional patterns and forms of social structure. The empirical studies that follow--involving such diverse topics as mental health clinics, art museums, large corporations, civil-service systems, and national polities--illustrate the explanatory power of institutional theory in the analysis of organizational change.
Required reading for anyone interested in the sociology of organizations, the volume should appeal to scholars concerned with culture, political institutions, and social change.