On the plasticity of institutions

Containing and restoring practice breakdowns at the Cambridge University Boat Club

Jaco Lok, Mark De Rond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

106 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Using a 199-day ethnography of Cambridge's 2007 season preparations for the annual University Boat Race, we explore the microprocesses through which highly institutionalized practices are maintained by examining how institutional inhabitants collectively restore breakdowns in institutionalized practice. Our analysis reveals how institutions can be inoculated against such breakdowns through maintenance work. We find that the salience and importance of different forms of maintenance work vary with the nature and process history of practice breakdowns. This lends institutions the plasticity through which ever-changing practice performances can be accommodated without necessarily effecting permanent structural change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-207
Number of pages23
JournalAcademy of Management Journal
Volume56
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ethnography
  • Qualitative Orientation
  • Institutional theory
  • Theoretical Perspectives
  • Group/team processes
  • Organizational Behavior

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'On the plasticity of institutions: Containing and restoring practice breakdowns at the Cambridge University Boat Club'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this