Strategic renewal in institutional contexts: The paradox of embedded agency
This dissertation uses mixed methods to increase academic and managerial understanding of the drivers and performance effects of institutional entrepreneurship at micro- and macro-levels of analysis.
Study 1 is a macro-level study containing a review and typology of different streams of institutional theory. Study 2 is a quantitative macro-level study, examining the conformity between Dutch firms’ internal and external regulatory environment (fit), and linking this to firm performance. The U-shaped relationship between regulatory mis-fit and substantive performance that is found, suggests that for firms that strive for success, deviation rather than conformation may be the key to success. Study 3 examines the framing mechanisms used to maintain a cross-sector partnership (XSP). We carry out a qualitative case study focusing on the use of different frames by diverse actors in an XSP. We find that collaboration in a partnership does not have to result in a unanimous agreement around a single or convergent frame. This implies that resources need not be focused on reaching unanimous agreement among all partners on a single mega frame, but rather be used to enkindle unity in diversity, where several frames are maintained simultaneously. Study 4 uses a macro-level quantitative approach to demonstrate that the existence of individual-level institutional entrepreneurship initiatives within firms is related to the type of exhibited firm-wide innovative behavior. In sum, this dissertation illustrates that the institutions that managers come across in their professional environments can be influenced by individual institutional work carried out to create, maintain, transform or disrupt these institutions.