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Escape from the iron cage? Organizational change and isomorphic pressures in the public sector

Ashworth, Rachel Elizabeth, Boyne, George Alexander and Delbridge, Rick 2009. Escape from the iron cage? Organizational change and isomorphic pressures in the public sector. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 19 (1) , pp. 165-187. 10.1093/jopart/mum038

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Abstract

Institutional theory suggests that organizations pursue legitimacy by conforming to isomorphic pressures in their environment. We extend previous research on institutional theory by distinguishing between two definitions of conformity (compliance and convergence) and by taking a comprehensive view of the organizational characteristics that might be subject to isomorphic pressures. This framework is applied to change between 2001 and 2004 in the internal characteristics of 101 public organizations in England. We find substantial evidence of compliance but more limited support for convergence. Furthermore, the impact of isomorphic pressures was stronger on organizational strategies and culture than on structures and processes. Thus, the relevance of institutional theory to change in the public sector depends on the definition of conformity that is used and the organizational characteristics that are examined.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Publisher: Oxford Journals
ISSN: 1053-1858
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2019 00:19
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/22824

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