How residues of deinstitutionalised practices persist over time: World Bank boundary work in development projects in Pakistan from the 1970s to the mid-2000s

Amer Khan, Kyle Bruce*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Most institutional theoretical research has focussed on organisations strategically incorporating different elements of multiple, contested logics. Less attention has been paid to the historically contingent complexities that allow residues of past deinstitutionalised practices to persist over time. We trace changes in World Bank rural development finance policy and practices in Pakistan over four decades and demonstrate how they performed boundary work, introducing new practices, players, and social relations. Doing so, we advance institutional theory by providing a fine-grained, practice-centred account of agency, illuminating how institutional detritus resurfaces and mingles with new practices to stymie the efforts of powerful change agents like the World Bank to completely discard deinstitutionalised past practices and compel them to accommodate (by decoupling and dilution) and merge them with new ones. We identify structural factors such as WB’s organisational mission and contextual factors such as the underdeveloped rural financial markets as explanatory factors for why residues of deinstitutionalised practices persisted over time. We also argue that it was the enduring goals of the field–to achieve poverty alleviation and socioeconomic development in the developing countries–which remained the same across space and time and were supported or hindered by the structural and contextual factors, that necessitated the persistence of the remnants of deinstitutionalised ideas and practices.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
JournalBusiness History
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • boundary work
  • Historical institutionalism
  • institutional work
  • Pakistan
  • World Bank

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'How residues of deinstitutionalised practices persist over time: World Bank boundary work in development projects in Pakistan from the 1970s to the mid-2000s'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this