amj is orgtheorytastic!!!
If you love organization theory and institutional analysis, you’ll find the most recent edition of the Academy of Management Journal very interesting. December 2010 is dedicated to exploring new directions in the study of organizational environments. Here’s the table of contents.
Changing Landscapes: The Construction of Meaning and Value in a New Market Category—Modern Indian Art
Stable category meanings act as institutions that facilitate market exchange by providing bases for comparison and valuation. Yet little is known about meaning construction in new categories or how meaning translates into valuation criteria. We address this gap in a descriptive study of these processes in an emerging category: modern Indian art. Discourse analysis revealed how market actors shaped the construction of meaning in the new category by reinterpreting historical constructs in ways that enhanced commensurability and enabled aesthetic comparisons and valuation. Analysis of auction transactions indicated greater intersubjective agreement about valuation over time as the new category institutionalized.
Precarious Values and Mundane Innovations: Enrollment Management in American Liberal Arts Colleges
Drawing primarily from Selznick’s institutionalism, we make a general case for renewed attention to the “mundane administrative arrangements” that underlie the organizational capacity for value realization and a particular case for the study of value-subverting management innovations. An empirical study of “enrollment management” in liberal arts colleges reveals this ostensibly innocuous innovation’s value-undermining effects and identifies the organizational and environmental factors that have made these venerable organizations more or less susceptible to its adoption.
Lots of other goodies: Lok on organizational identity; Battilana and Dorado address organizational identity with a study of micro-finance groups; Marquis and Huang discuss founding conditions and path dependence in the banking industry; McClean and Benham discuss corporate misconduct. And there’s tons more!
Finally, if you’d like to read my latest thinking on institutions, movements and organizational change, I have an article about how organizational leaders can expand their power through manipulating institutions (“Power Through Institutional Work”). I explain how one college president used the institutional disruption associated with the Black Student movement to redefine his powers and repress the movement (sort of!).