Fields, logics and corporate governance

This source preferred by Donald Nordberg

Authors: Nordberg, D.

Start date: July 2013

The social sciences continue to confront the recurring issue of how change arises in setting with high levels of institutionalization. This shortcoming in the new institutionalism has attracted two recent and somewhat conflicting attempts at theorization, both with roots in the earlier work of the scholars involved. The first, the institutional logics perspective (Thornton, Ocasio and Lounsbury, 2012), identifies in a model of issue salience and changes in attention a mechanism where logics can shift. The second, strategic action fields (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012b), sees logics as too broad and amorphous, suggesting more consensus than usually appears in fields. Instead, it posits that the interaction between fields and the constant contestation among actors within fields keeps alive the potential for change. Using the example of the development of the UK code of corporate governance, this paper seeks to bridge the differences between these views by suggesting that the suppression of terms of logics creates potential for ambiguity, and in keeping with the theory of strategic action fields, individual actors may sit simultaneously and sequentially in different fields, creating identities that direct their attention in conflicting directions.

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