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No 934:
Prestigious organizations and heterodox choice in institutionally plural contexts

Rodolphe Durand () and Berangere Szostak

Abstract: In unsettled fields with multiple ideal-typical institutional logics, why do organizations tend to weaken or conform to prevalent logic order? The authors argue that prestige, defined as a tribute paid by field members to a select few with valued distinctive traits, plays a determinant role in explaining institutional heterodoxy (i.e., the choice to stop instantiating dominant logics or start instantiating less prevalent logics). In unsettled fields, prestigious organizations adopt institutional heterodoxy to maintain their distinctiveness because they consider logics as means rather than constraining ends and because awarding bodies cannot impose strict obedience rules. Controlling for alternative explanations, a study of 165 French industrial design agencies (1989 to 2003) provides evidence that prestige favors the decision to undertake heterodox choices. This relationship is weakened when organizations diversify their expertise, is marginally reinforced when organizations have high-status clients, and is influenced by peers’ heterodox choices. The authors discuss contributions to the neo-institutional theory of organizational choices, the socio-cultural analysis of field’s evolution, and the strategic perspective of the firm.

Keywords: strategy; organizational choices logistics; industrial design; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: L10; L60; (follow links to similar papers)

45 pages, October 15, 2010

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