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Institutions and Organizations

Institutions and Organizations
Ideas, Interests, and Identities

Fourth Edition

The best and most comprehensive analysis of the relationship between institutional theory and the study of organizations!

July 2013 | 360 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Creating a clear, analytical framework, this comprehensive exploration of the relationship between institutional theory and the study of organizations continues to reflect the richness and diversity of institutional thought—viewed both historically and as a contemporary, ongoing field of study. Drawing on the insights of cultural and organizational sociologists, institutional economists, social and cognitive psychologists, political scientists, and management theorists, the book reviews and integrates the most important recent developments in this rapidly evolving field, and strengthens and elaborates the author’s widely accepted “pillars” framework, which supports research and theory construction. By exploring the differences as well as the underlying commonalities of institutional theories, the book presents a cohesive view of the many flavors and colors of institutionalism. Finally, the book evaluates and clarifies developments in both theory and research while identifying future research directions.

1. Early Institutionalists
2. Institutional Theory Meets Organizations
3. Crafting an Analytic Framework I: Three Pillars of Institutions
4. Crafting an Analytic Framework II: Logics, Agency, Carriers, and Level
5. Institutional Construction
6. Institutionalization
7. Institutional Processes and Organizations
8. Institutional Processes and Organization Fields
9. An Overview, an Observation, a Caution, and a Sermon
About the Author

“This book offers a comprehensive synthesis of previously divergent theoretical perspectives in the study of institutions and organizations. Concise, clear, and insightful, the book is the best short introduction to institutional theory in general and the contributions made particularly by sociologists. This book also contributes to the construction of general tools for studying institutions and organizations by providing comprehensive analytic concepts and frameworks. . . . It will be one essential tool for my research and also my coursework.”

Junmin Wang
Sociology, University of Memphis

“Very well organized and logical flow of the chapters. . . . The author is very knowledgeable about the literature and does an effective job of integrating it into a framework for analysis. . . . I think it is one of the most comprehensive books on institutional theory.”

Colleen Casey
School of Urban and Public Affairs, University of Texas at Arlington

“This text is an excellent example of how a theoretical framework can be used to bring order to a complex field of study. The framework is supported with theory and can be used by students and practitioners to better understand their organizations.”

Spencer S. Stober
Leadership Studies, Alvernia University

“. . . [I]t is the key overview text in the institutional field.”

David Chandler
Management, University of Colorado Denver

“. . . [G]ood literature on institutional theory. . . . Keep up with the good work.”

Ali Farazmand
Public Administration, Florida Atlantic University

The book offers readers a thought-provoking discussion of the relationship between institutions and organizations and how this impacts studies of the emergence of agency-driven strategies based on creative ideas, changing interests and multilayered identities. Perhaps one of the greatest contributions of the book, however, is that it pays homage to a holistic approach in international business studies, thus identifying the way forward for the next generation of theoretical enquiries in this area. This reviewer can recommend this book in the strongest terms possible. It provides a highly rewarding and provocative journey into new roads within international business studies as well as within social science in general.

Michael Jakobsen, Copenhagen Business School
Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies

this will be one of the recommended books for comparative business and management course. thanks

Dr Umair Choksy
Business Administration , Manchester Business School
May 6, 2016

The book offers a good insight on the new institutionalism, albeit of a specific, Scott's version. I am satisfied to see some introduction of institutional work - new-institutionalism - arguments that nicely introduces the topic of agency. In my view, this is a good start and more discussion of institutional entrepreneurship and institutional work - something that my students were privy to and would be expected to develop knowledge of - would be highly warranted.

Mr Dimitry Jacob
Department of Management, Queen's University Belfast
December 15, 2015

I very good book which is well written. This book sets out a great foundation in understanding Organizations and Institutions. For our students who are looking at Institutional Theory and organizations, we highly recommend this as essential reading, however, for other students who are not so interested in the topic, we recommended it but categorize it as supplemental to our course.

Mr Gavin Brown
Business School, Dublin City University (DCU)
October 31, 2014

Currently reviewing a wide set of literature in order restructure the entire course. Scott is a well know scholar and I have heard several positive reviews on this book.

Magnus Hansson
Centre for Emprical Research on Organizational Control (CEROC), School of Business
April 8, 2014
Key features


  • Thoroughly updated content reflects new theory and research.
  • Easy-to-follow, well organized chapter format offers improved readability and enhanced clarity to make teaching and learning easier and more effective.
  • Expanded focus on institutional work allows for more robust exploration of the activities involved in constructing, maintaining, and reconfiguring institutional structures.
  • Greater emphasis on institutional logics offers a more complete picture of the ideas that underlie and govern institutional processes.
  • Expanded coverage of the nature and components of organization fields features detailed reviews of recent seminal studies.
  • New commentary insightfully explores the challenges posed by employing institutional theory.
  • Greater focus on the intermingling of social movement and institutional scholarship as well as on the importance of cross-level analysis allow for a more comprehensive approach.
  • Greater attention to early theorists, including Tocqueville, W. I. Thomas, and Hughes, offers a solid historical and analytical context.


  • Each chapter emphasizes the best and most recent theoretical and empirical contributions.
  • An elaboration of the author’s influential three pillars of institutions as part of a larger framework sheds light on the interplay between institutions and social systems.
  • Three differing explanations and approaches of institutionalization—economic, sociological, and neo-institutional scholars in organizational studies—are expertly covered.
  • The way that symbols, relations, routines, artifacts, and other carriers transmit institutional arrangements across time and space is explored.
  •  A chapter is devoted to the theoretical and practical significance of organization fields.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3

Chapter 8

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