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Short Paper Submission now open until January 16, 2012!!

EGOS SWG 11: Recent Developments in Institutional Theory: The Challenge
Posed by MNEs

Deadline: Please submit a short paper of not more than 3,000 words (incl.
references and all other materials) by January 16, 2012 at the EGOS website:
<> The conference takes place
in Helsinki, Finland, July 5-7, 2012.


Ayse Saka-Helmhout, University of Surrey, UK
<mailto:[log in to unmask]> [log in to unmask] Royston
Greenwood, University of Alberta, Canada
<mailto:[log in to unmask]> [log in to unmask] Suzanne
Blazejewski, Alanus University of Arts and Social Science, Germany
<mailto:[log in to unmask]> [log in to unmask]


Institutional theory has provided a rich theoretical foundation in MNE
research (e.g. Dacin et al., 2002; Djelic and Quack, 2003). However, most
international management scholars have adopted a narrow view of
institutional theory where the role of actors is to portray organisations as
legitimate to enhance the organisation's likelihood of survival.
Institutions are seen as creating constraints on strategic choice through
transaction costs, differing resource environments, and institutional
distance between home and host contexts (Jackson and Deeg, 2008). 


Recent developments in the international management literature have
questioned the nature of the relationship between MNEs and their
institutional environments (e.g. Kostova et al., 2008). Emerging views
suggest that MNE success is not necessarily explained by self-reinforcing
processes of fit between organisations and their institutional environments.
Rather, they have a lot of discretion and freedom in responding to their
environments (e.g. Beckert, 1999; Hoffman and Ventresca, 2002). MNEs offer
unique opportunities for institutional change as they have complex and
ill-defined organisational fields, are exposed to limited institutional
isomorphism, limited decoupling and ceremonial adoption, and engage in
political process of interaction and exchange to be accepted by multiple
legitimating actors (Kostova et al., 2008). Inconsistencies between
different institutional environments lead to ambiguity that can create room
for strategic responses to institutions that involve creative interpretation
and redeployment for new purposes (Jackson, 2005). Institutional change can
result as organisations use contradictions to reflect on the limits of
existing institutional arrangements and to inspire ideas for new ones (Hardy
and Maguire, 2008). The concept of institutional work (Lawrence and Suddaby,
2006) and its relationship with contradictions in organisational and
institutional fields (Seo and Creed, 2002) provide an opportunity to focus
on the micro-processes of actors in relation to organisational and societal
institutions. For instance, Scandinavian institutionalism has highlighted
how agents respond to institutional contradictions through loose coupling,
sense-making, and modification of ideas during diffusion. It has also been
argued that actors can mobilise resources such as social networks (Beckert,
1999), political, financial and organisational resources (Greenwood and
Suddaby, 2006), cultural resources (Creed et al., 2002), and discursive
resources (Maguire and Hardy, 2006) to reinterpret or reform existing
institutions (Hall and Thelen, 2009). MNEs operating in contradictory
settings may loosen complementarities between particular institutions (Deeg,
2005) and draw selectively on institutional scripts to resolve problems or
define new opportunities (Hancke and Goyer, 2005) as a result of using their
powers in particular ways at appropriate times (Djelic and Quack, 2003), or
through 'sociopolitical compromise' between key actors (Crouch, 2005). 


With the above developments in mind, we aim to explore how exposure to
multiple institutional environments can offer the flexibility to embedded
MNEs to instigate change and innovation, and how this challenges
institutional theory. We encourage conceptual and empirical contributions
that draw on different theoretical streams and disciplines, adopt diverse
research methodologies and examine multiple levels of analysis.


Some of the questions that can be addressed are:


*What are the ways in which MNEs as institutional change agents can be

*How can the MNE context contribute to resolving the 'paradox of embedded
agency'? What implications do multiple institutional environments of MNEs
have for framing agency and institutional entrepreneurship?

*How useful are the existing conceptual ideas and methodological tools in
institutional theory for studying MNEs and social agency?

*How can the 'multiple institutional logics' idea of Friedland and Alford be
extended to MNEs to inform institutional change at the national level?

*Under what conditions do institutionally-embedded MNEs engage in purposive
action towards strategic change and innovation?

*How can institutional theory, in particular institutional change, be
advanced through studies of the MNE context?



Ayse Saka-Helmhout is Reader in International Management in the Department
of International Business, Strategy, and Entrepreneurship at the University
of Surrey. Her research focuses on advancing our understanding of
organisational learning as a situated practice-based phenomenon and on
agency within institutionally-embedded multinational enterprises. She has
published on these issues in journals such as Organization Studies, British
Journal of Management, Journal of World Business, and Management
International Review. She serves as a senior editor for Organization Studies
and is on the editorial board of British Journal of Management. 


Royston Greenwood is Associate Dean, Research; and Telus Professor of
Strategic Management in the Department of Strategic Management and
Organization, School of Business, University of Alberta. His recent work has
appeared in the Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management
Review, Academy of Management Journal, Accounting, Organizations & Society,
Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, Organization Studies,
the Journal of Business Venturing, and the Journal of Management Studies. He
has published or edited six books including the recently published SAGE
Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism. Greenwood serves on the
editorial boards of several leading journals and is a founding co-editor of
Strategic Organization. 


Susanne Blazejewski is Professor for Management and Organization at Alanus
University, Germany. Her research focuses on issues of politics and conflict
in multinational organizations, the transfer of organizational practices
across institutional and cultural contexts, organizational change, and
qualitative methods in international business research. Her publications
include articles in the Journal of World Business, Competition and Change,
books on organizational change in CEE, organizational cultures in
multinationals, and institutional change in Japan as well as numerous book



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