From organizational to institutional change

Sohail Inayatullah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - To provide a futures-oriented perspective on institutional change. Design/methodology/approach - Presents methods and case studies of attempts to engage in institutional change. An international authority on future studies draws on his field to provide a futures-oriented perspective on institutional change. This perspective includes the use of futures tools, strategy, capacity building, the central role of memes, emergence of self-organization, and the underlying role of meaning and symbols. Five case studies are used to illustrate these principles. Findings - One company was struggling over its governing choice of institutional metaphor: the tortoise versus the hare. Another was caught up in treating hackers as good versus evil, but realized that they needed new concepts to grasp the frontier of cyberspace. A third case involved moving from developing a monolithic plan to forming self-organizing groups of stakeholders that actually created a collective new vision. A city council was able to recognize the need to shift toward an innovative organizational structure. The final case challenged a group of mayors to adopt a "rainforest" model of cities that is inclusive, green, human-centered. Originality/value - Mapping, understanding and transforming the "myths" discussed in this paper are crucial for the move from individual to organization to institutional change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-53
Number of pages8
JournalOn the Horizon
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Futures markets
  • Organizational change
  • Symbolism
  • Transformational leadership


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