Clashing Fashions and Institutions: Mid-Life Uncertainty in Diffusing Organizational Techniques
Organizational techniques are labels, such as Reengineering, denoting linguistic prescriptions, which organizations can implement to transform organizational inputs into organizational outputs. The theory of fashions in organizational techniques tends to explain the causes of the relative transience of certain organization techniques, whereas the theory of institutions in these techniques tends to explain the causes of other techniques' relative persistence. We use both the theories of fashions and institutions together to examine whether, why, and when over five-hundred organizational techniques persisted relatively permanently or disappeared relatively transiently. We do so by examining how the forces causing fashion transience, institutional persistence, or a combination of both, would affect these techniques' "hazard rates of disappearance"; that is, the risk that organizational techniques disappear, depending on how long they had endured. The paper concludes with a tripartite theoretical, methodological, and practical conclusion. It first points to the benefits of using theories of fashions and institutions together. Second, it highlights the advantages of a multi-innovation strategy involving the study of hundreds of diffusing innovations and their hazard rate. Third, it presents practical managerial implications of being capable of estimating the likelihood that a new organizational technique will become a short-lived fashion or will persist.
Abrahamson, Eric, S. Chang, Y. Choi, and Ivana Katic. "Clashing Fashions and Institutions: Mid-Life Uncertainty in Diffusing Organizational Techniques." Academy of Management Proceedings 2015, no. 1 (2015): 15660-15660.
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