The Innovative Capacity of Institutional Entrepreneurs

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The Innovative Capacity of Institutional Entrepreneurs

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Title: The Innovative Capacity of Institutional Entrepreneurs
A Reconstruction of Corporate Social Responsibility
Author: Boxenbaum, Eva; Battilana, Julie
Abstract: The notion of institutional entrepreneur (DiMaggio, 1988) has given rise to a controversy in neo-institutional theory around the ability of actors to distance themselves from institutional pressures, envision alternative institutional patterns, and act strategically to change institutions in which they are embedded. This paper empirically examines the ability of embedded actors to envision alternative institutional patterns, that is, their innovative capacity. We analyze the role that an individual played in the development of a new institutional logic of corporate social responsibility in Denmark between 2001 and 2002. Based on our empirical findings on the innovative capacity of this individual, we propose a new definition of institutional entrepreneurs that is more compatible with the premises of neo-institutional theory than the one proposed by DiMaggio (1988). We propose that institutional entrepreneurs are institutionally bounded agents who a) transpose an institutional logic across fields and introduce it as a deliberate alternative to the institutional logic in the focal field, or b) deliberately seek to diffuse an alternative logic within a field.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/6719
Date: 2006-09-26
Notes: For symposium: Perspectives on Institutional Entrepreneurship Academy of Management Annual Conference New Orleans, August 6-11, 2004

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