Sub-theme 12: [SWG] Institutions, Innovation, Impact: Technology, Materiality and Networks of Interaction

Joel Gehman
University of Alberta School of Business, Canada
Candace Jones
University of Edinburgh Business School, United Kingdom
Bernard Leca
ESSEC Business School, France

Call for Papers

This sub-theme is part of the EGOS Standing Working Group (SWG 12) on “Institutions, Innovation, Impact: How Institutional Theory Matters”. For the 2019 EGOS Colloquium, we seek to foreground the role of innovation in both institutions and impact. In doing so, we define technology broadly: techné emphasizes craftsmanship and skill, while logia refers to words or principles. Thus, technology, for us, is the deployment of principles and skills for human and social benefit in more or less institutionalized settings. Accordingly, we call for papers that examine how institutional arrangements both influence and are influenced by such an understanding of technology, and how they enable and constrain the creativity necessary for innovation. Indeed, such an understanding of technologies, materials, and networks undergirds pressing challenges in areas such as climate change, agriculture, energy and transportation, and sustainability more generally.
One lens conceptualizes these challenges as evolutionary – involving the selection, retention, and adaptation of new technical arrangements. Research at this analytical level has taken a variety of theoretical and empirical approaches and offered useful concepts, frameworks, and theories such as technology evolution, the two-stage model of technological change, path dependence and lock-in, complex adaptive systems, socio-technical regimes, local search, and the multi-level perspective (e.g., Anderson & Tushman, 1990; Geels & Schot, 2007; Levinthal, 1997; Vergne & Durand, 2011).
Another lens, however, sees these challenges as relational (Garud & Gehman, 2012). Technologies can alleviate social challenges if and when they change everyday practices and networks of interaction. Here attention shifts to the relationship between materiality and institutions, such as how practices and objects are intimately related (Orlikowski, 1992), how materiality anchors institutions (Pinch, 2008), how practices and institutional logics change together over time (Jones et al., 2012), the role of material exemplars in fomenting institutional change, and how actors can creatively develop relational strategies to promote innovation (Delacour & Leca, 2017; Jones & Massa, 2013). The success of new technologies depends also on issues such as user adoption (Leonard-Barton, 1988), how analogies enable new technologies to alter relations, such as moving from the periphery to the center (Leblebici et al., 1991), or fitting within existing institutional arrangements (Hargadon & Douglas, 2001). Here again, theoretical and empirical studies have advanced a rich set of concepts, frameworks, and theories, such as the social construction of technology, the sociology of translation, institutional entrepreneurship, technology trajectories, framing, entanglement, momentum, field configuring events, and complex relational processes, among others (e.g., Ansari et al., 2013; Battilana et al., 2009; Cornelissen & Werner, 2014; Dougherty & Dunne, 2011; Lampel & Meyer, 2008; Lounsbury, 2001; Tsoukas & Chia, 2002).
A third lens considers the relationship between technology and grand challenges as intertemporal (Garud & Gehman, 2012). In many cases, alleviating a social problem involves not just shifting from one technical or institutional regime to another, but doing so at a sufficient pace and scale to ameliorate the problem. This is attributable to the tradeoffs between meeting the needs of the present and satisfying emergent needs in the future. Temporality is a nascent area of research, though a growing group of scholars is pioneering relevant theoretical and empirical work. They include research on actors’ short versus long term orientation, intergenerational generosity, chronos versus kairos, clock time versus cyclical time, temporal institutional work, and so forth (e.g., Bansal & DesJardine, 2014; Granqvist & Gustafsson, 2016; Reinecke & Ansari, 2015; Slawinski & Bansal, 2015; Wade-Benzoni, 2002).
We call for theoretical and empirical papers that explore the role of technology, materiality, networks of interaction, and their interplay in addressing our theme of institutions, innovation, and impacts. Topics for exploration include but are not restricted to technology and institutional innovation, design thinking, and the impact of everyday practices (Ansari et al., 2010; Zietsma et al., 2017).

  • What is the role of technologies and objects in enabling and constraining institutions, innovation, and impact (Dorado & Ventresca, 2013; Sine & David, 2003)?

  • How do material arrangements, whether new or old, support or thwart solutions to critical social problems (Jones, Meyer, Jancsary, & Höllerer, 2017)?

  • What is the role of new organizing arrangements, such as crowd funding, crowd sourcing, open innovation, and multisided platforms (Davis, 2016)?

  • How do existing institutional arrangements impede innovation and how can opponents to innovation use them to resist such changes (Van de Ven & Hargrave, 2004)?

  • How do approaches such as hybrid organizations, B Corporations and others help or hinder work in these areas (Battilana & Dorado, 2010; Gehman & Grimes, 2017)?

  • To what extent do solutions to present and future problems reside in institutions or innovations from the past that have been forgotten or discarded (Schneiberg, 2007)?

  • What is the role of institutional memory, the capacity to go back in order to go forward (Douglas, 1986; Garud & Gehman, 2012)?

  • How do intertemporal issues affect institutions, innovation, and impact (Granqvist & Gustafsson, 2016)?



  • Anderson, P., & Tushman, M.L. (1990): “Technological discontinuities and dominant designs: A cyclical model of technological change.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 35, 604–633.
  • Ansari, S., Fiss, P.C., & Zajac, E. J. (2010): “Made to fit: How practices vary as they diffuse.” Academy of Management Review, 35, 67–92.
  • Ansari, S., Wijen, F., & Gray, B. (2013): “Constructing a climate change logic: An institutional perspective on the ‘tragedy of the commons’.” Organization Science, 24, 1014–1040.
  • Bansal, P., & DesJardine, M.R. (2014): “Business sustainability: It is about time.” Strategic Organization, 12, 70–78.
  • Battilana, J., & Dorado, S. (2010): “Building sustainable hybrid organizations: The case of commercial microfinance organizations.” Academy of Management Journal, 53, 1419–1440.
  • Battilana, J., Leca, B., & Boxenbaum, E. (2009): “How actors change institutions: Towards a theory of institutional entrepreneurship.” Academy of Management Annals, 3, 65–107.
  • Cornelissen, J.P., & Werner, M.D. (2014): “Putting framing in perspective: A review of framing and frame analysis across the management and organizational literature.” Academy of Management Annals, 8, 181–235.
  • Davis, J. (2016): The Vanishing American Corporation: Navigating the Hazards of a New Economy. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler.
  • Delacour, H., & Leca, B. (2017): “The paradox of controversial innovation: Insights from the rise of impressionism.” Organization Studies, 38, 597–618.
  • Dorado, S., & Ventresca, M.J. (2013): “Crescive entrepreneurship in complex social problems: Institutional conditions for entrepreneurial engagement.” Journal of Business Venturing, 28, 69–82.
  • Dougherty, D., & Dunne, D.D. (2011): “Organizing ecologies of complex innovation.” Organization Science, 22, 1214–1223.
  • Douglas, M. (1986): How Institutions Think. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
  • Garud, R., & Gehman, J. (2012): “Metatheoretical perspectives on sustainability journeys: Evolutionary, relational and durational.” Research Policy, 41, 980–995.
  • Geels, F.W., & Schot, J. (2007): “Typology of sociotechnical transition pathways.” Research Policy, 36, 399–417.
  • Gehman, J., & Grimes, M. (2017): “Hidden badge of honor: How contextual distinctiveness affects category promotion among Certified B Corporations.” Academy of Management Journal, 60, 2294–2320.
  • Granqvist, N., & Gustafsson, R. (2016): “Temporal institutional work.” Academy of Management Journal, 59, 1009–1035.
  • Hargadon, A.B., & Douglas, Y. (2001): “When innovations meet institutions: Edison and the design of the electric light.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 46, 476–501.
  • Jones, C., Maoret, M., Massa, F.G., & Svejenova, S. (2012): “Rebels with a cause: Formation, contestation, and expansion of the de novo category ‘modern architecture”, 1870–1975.” Organization Science, 23, 1523–1545.
  • Jones, C., & Massa, F.G. (2013): “From novel practice to consecrated exemplar: Unity Temple as a case of institutional evangelizing.” Organization Studies, 34, 1099–1136.
  • Jones, C., Meyer, R.E., Jancsary, D., & Höllerer, M A. (2017): “The material and visual basis of institutions.” In: R. Greenwood, C. Oliver, T. B. Lawrence & R.E. Meyer (eds.): The SAGE Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 621–646.
  • Lampel, J., & Meyer, A D. (2008): “Field configuring events as structuring mechanisms: How conferences, ceremonies and trade shows constitute new technologies, industries, and markets.” Journal of Management Studies, 45, 1025–1035.
  • Leblebici, H., Salancik, G.R., Copay, A., & King, T. (1991): “Institutional change and the transformation of interorganizational fields: An organizational history of the U.S. radio broadcasting industry.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 36, 333–363.
  • Leonard-Barton, D. (1988): “Implementation as mutual adaptation of technology and organization.” Research Policy, 17, 251–267.
  • Levinthal, D.A. (1997): “Adaptation on rugged landscapes.” Management Science, 43, 934–950.
  • Lounsbury, M. (2001): “Institutional sources of practice variation: Staffing college and university recycling programs.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 46, 29–56.
  • Orlikowski, W.J. (1992): “The duality of technology: Rethinking the concept of technology in organizations.” Organization Science, 3, 398–427.
  • Pinch, T.J. (2008): “Technology and institutions: Living in a material world.” Theory and Society, 37, 461–483.
  • Reinecke, J., & Ansari, S. (2015): “When times collide: Temporal brokerage at the intersection of markets and developments.” Academy of Management Journal, 58, 618–648.
  • Schneiberg, M. (2007): “What’s on the path? Path dependence, organizational diversity and the problem of institutional change in the US economy, 1900–1950.” Socio-Economic Review, 5, 47–80.
  • Sine, W.D., & David, R.J. (2003): “Environmental jolts, institutional change, and the creation of entrepreneurial opportunity in the US electric power industry.” Research Policy, 32, 185–207.
  • Slawinski, N., & Bansal, P. (2015): “Short on time: Intertemporal tensions in business sustainability.” Organization Science, 26, 531–549.
  • Tsoukas, H., & Chia, R. (2002): “On organizational becoming: Rethinking organizational change.” Organization Science, 13, 567–582.
  • Van de Ven, A.H., & Hargrave, T. J. (2004): “Social, technical and institutional change: A literature review and synthesis.” In: M.S. Poole & A.H. Van de Ven (eds.): Handbook of Organizational Change and Innovation. New York: Oxford University Press, 259–303.
  • Vergne, J.-P., & Durand, R. (2011): “The path of most persistence: An evolutionary perspective on path dependence and dynamic capabilities.” Organization Studies, 32, 365–382.
  • Wade-Benzoni, K.A. (2002): “A golden rule over time: Reciprocity in intergenerational allocation decisions.” Academy of Management Journal, 45, 1011–1028.
  • Zietsma, C., Groenewegen, P., Logue, D.M., & Hinings, C.R. (2017): “Field or fields? Building the scaffolding for cumulation of research on institutional fields.” Academy of Management Annals, 11, 391–450.

Joel Gehman is Francis Winspear Associate Professor of Business at the University of Alberta School of Business, Canada. His research examines strategic, technological, and institutional responses to sustainability and values concerns. He received the Ascendant Scholar Award from the Western Academy of Management and the Roland Calori Prize from EGOS, among others.
Candace Jones is Professor and the Chair of Global Creative Enterprise at the University of Edinburgh Business School, UK. Her research focuses on institutional change and institutional logics in cultural systems of professions and creative industries. She examines relational patterns among symbolic systems, material practices and producers-audiences using network analysis to gain insight into how new ideas are created and institutionalized.
Bernard Leca is Professor in Management Control at ESSEC Business School, France. His broad interest is in the evolution of Capitalism. His main research focuses on institutional theory and the way organizations or individuals can initiate and implement institutional change. Bernard has published in ‘Organization Studies’, ‘Human Relations’, ‘Organization’, ‘Annals of the Academy of Management’. Along with Tom Lawrence and Roy Suddaby, he co-edited “Institutional Work: Actors and Agency in Institutional Studies of Organization” (Cambridge University Press, 2009).