Different marches of the machines: Institutional change and identity work of professionals

Authors: Elbardan, H. and Nordberg, D.


Start date: 3 July 2019

This study examines how the introduction of new technology had a differential effect of the work of a matched set of two workgroups of professionals. One group of internal auditors, at a major multinational corporation based in an emerging market, embraced the new methods of working, prompting new identity creation that reinforced their adherence to one of the conflicting institutional logics, and increase their professionalism. The other group, also internal auditors but working at a major domestic company in the same industry and country, resisted the change, allowing management to exploit the opportunity to undermine the professionalism of the workgroup, while engaging in symbolic management to reap the external benefits of what looked like good corporate governance. The study demonstrates, theoretically, the role that identity formation plays (or may not play) in embedding institutional change, and how a professional logic can be reconciled with organization identification. It also shows, practically, how in certain conditions resistance to technology can disrupt professional integrity.

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