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Article Dans Une Revue Journal of Organizational Change Management Année : 2015

Quiet unintended transitions? Neo-Durkheimian explanation of institutional change


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to resolve a puzzle in the explanation of organisational change, where change appears to be within-form but results unintendedly in a transition between forms, yet first appearances suggest the absence of “noise” of the kind expected during shifts between forms. Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses qualitative analysis of primary archival and secondary sources on an historical case, analysing the data by coding using categories derived from neo-Durkheimian institutional theory. It examines the case of the cabinet, treated as an organisation, in the British government led by premier Harold Macmillan between 1959 and 1963, when a strategy for increasing hierarchy resulted unintendedly in an isolation dynamic. Findings – It demonstrates that the neo-Durkheimian institutional approach can explain such puzzling cases. Appropriately for a special issue in honour of Mars’ work, it shows that his method of following rule violation and an adapted version of his concept of capture can provide a method of causal process tracing and a causal mechanism for resolving the puzzle. Research limitations/implications – The argument is presented for purposes of theory development, not testing. It examines a single case study in depth. Social implications – The findings demonstrate some of the risks which arise in changing informal institutional ordering, especially within decision-making executives, from the process by which informal institutions shape styles of judgement and decisions driven by those styles then feed back upon those executive bodies. Originality/value – This is the first examination of puzzling unintended between-form transitions, the first to propose an adaptation of Mars’ concept of capture to resolve such puzzles and the first detailed causal process tracing analysis of such a case using neo-Durkheimian institutional theoretic tools. It therefore offers a significant advance in institutional explanation of organisational change.
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Dates et versions

hal-03421579 , version 1 (09-11-2021)



Perri 6. Quiet unintended transitions? Neo-Durkheimian explanation of institutional change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 2015, 28 (5), pp.770-790. ⟨10.1108/JOCM-03-2015-0050⟩. ⟨hal-03421579⟩


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