Institutional Explanations for the Emergence of Organizational Forms
Institutional theorists emphasize how reality is a social construction.
"Technology and bureaucracy...are new states of consciousness"
(Scott p. 163).
This consciousness states that in technical production:
* work process has machine-like functionality
* all actions within the process are reproduceable
* productive activity entails participation in a large organization
* work being performed is measurable
In bureaucracy there are:
* distinctive spheres of influence
* importance of proper procedures
* attitide of "moralized anonymity" (above from Berger, Berger,
& Kellner, 1973)
These attitudes are continually enacted and reinforced by the media, education,
law, professional societies, etc. Hannan and Freeman (1989) note that "A
(organizational) form is institutionalized when no question arises in the
minds of actors that a certain form is the natural way to effect some kind
of collective action". The capacity to collectively start organizations
becomes much bigger when the form is taken for granted among the founding
Meyer and Rowan (1977) also note that "the growth of rationalized institutional
structures make formal organizations more common and more elaborate".
Zucker (1983) states that the societal form called "organization"
is the defining institution itself and is now required of any group trying
to achieve some goal as a symbol of commitment. Initially the form is adopted
because it improves efficiency and productivity, later it's adopted primarily
for legitimacy purposes.
Creighton (1990) adds that the legal environment (i.e., incorporation laws)
also helps define the presiding institutional form and has become more standardized
over time. (in Scott p. 165)
Combining Institutional and Other Arguments
Zucker (1983) has argued that there is a temporal dimension to environmental
effects, early adoptions are dominated by technical processes (concerned
with efficiency) and later by institutional processes (concerned with legitimacy).
"Emerging first in the manufacturing sector, organizations spread over
time to bceome the dominant form for structuring local government, social
services, and even social movements. " (Scott, p. 212). Tolbert and
Zucker offer some limited support for this in a study of civil service organizations
(Tolbert and Zucker, 1983).