Sub-theme 44: Advancing the Institutional Logics Perspective

William Ocasio
Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, USA
Marie-Laure Salles
ESSEC Business School, France
Patricia H. Thornton
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, USA

Call for Papers

Building on the seminal work by Friedland and Alford (1991) the institutional logics perspective has developed into a rapidly growing research area in organization studies. The perspective has developed in North America and in Europe providing theories and methods to analyze how individual and organizational actors are a product of multiple social locations in an inter-institutional system. Each institutional order can be conceptualized as having an ideal-typical constellation of institutional elements that influence individual and group cognition and organizational structure and processes. Empirical research indicates that institutional logics shape the rules by which reasoning takes place and how rationality is perceived and experienced.

Despite significant progress in the last two decades of research, significant questions remain for future research and elaboration on the perspective.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • An elaboration of global and cross-national perspectives on institutional logics. Prior research has established that societal logics exert effects cross-nationally, with a particular emphasis on mechanisms of translation. Overall a focus on transnational dynamics opens up new avenues for the institutional logics perspective. Institutional logics research and the comparative analysis of incremental and complex societal-level changes are also bound to interact in a theoretically fruitful manner. As of now, there are relatively few institutional logics studies in the international context, highlighting an opportunity to link the institutional logics perspective to the comparative analysis of institutions and to the transnational dynamics literature. Of particular interest is the effects of institutional logics on the development of transnational and non-government organizations in a global context.
  • Expanding research on pluralism, multiplicity, and complexity in institutional logics, one of the more active areas of recent research within the institutional logics perspective. We are interested in exploring a variety of topics in this area including the determinants of pluralism vs. dominance in institutional logics, the enabling and constraining effects of multiplicity of logics on stability and change in institutional fields, their effects on intra-organizational processes and structures, and the effects of pluralism and multiplicity on competition and cooperation at both the level of organizations and institutional fields.
  • Research that integrates the work on institutional logics with other perspectives. Given the cross-level processes and structures that generate, sustain, and transform institutional logics the work on institutional logics can both benefit from and contribute to work on organizational and social identity, attention, cognition, and sensemaking, knowledge, routines, and practices, discourse and vocabularies, among many others. We seek contributions that explore a variety of ways for linking institutional logics to what may otherwise be viewed as distinct theoretical frameworks. We also seek work that is interdisciplinary, including anthropology, economics, history, linguistics, management studies, political science, and psychology.

This sub-theme seeks to build on and advance work presented at the highly successful track on Institutional Logics at the 27th EGOS Colloquium in Gothenburg, Sweden. We seek empirical papers applying a variety of methods. We particularly seek research that applies new uses of quantitative and qualitative methodologies to the perspective, ranging from the micro to the cross-national level of analysis. We also welcome theoretical work that advances prior understanding on institutional logics. In addition, we encourage doctoral students who are interested in exploring new areas within the institutional logics perspective to submit their work.



Friedland, Roger & Robert Alford (1991): 'Bringing Society Back In: Symbols, Practices and Institutional Contradictions.' In: Walter W. Powell and Paul J. DiMaggio (eds.): The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 232–263.


William Ocasio is the John L. and Helen Kellogg Distinguished Professor of Management and Organizations, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. His research focuses on the interplay between institutions, culture, attention, and decision making in organizations and organizational fields. In 2011, he received the Schendel Prize from the Strategic Management Association for the Best Paper published in 'SMJ' based on long term impact and contribution to the field. He is currently a Senior Editor at 'Organization Science'.
Marie-Laure Salles is Professor in the Management Department at ESSEC Business School, France. Her research interests range from the role of professions and social networks in the transnational diffusion of rules and practices to the historical transformation of capitalism and national institutions. She is the author of "Exporting the American Model" (Oxford University Press, 1998), which obtained the 2000 Max Weber Award for the Best Book in Organizational Sociology from the American Sociological Association.
Patricia H. Thornton is Adjunct Professor of Management at the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University and Affiliated faculty and Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Stanford University. Her research and teaching focus on institutional change and entrepreneurship. Her article with William Ocasio "Institutional Logics and the Historical Contingency of Power" won the W. Richard Scott award for the best research paper at the American Sociological Association.