From Idea to Organizational Practice: Institutionalizing Innovative Ideas Through Visualization

Renate E. Meyer, Dennis Jancsary, Markus A. Höllerer, Eva Boxenbaum

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


How do visualization and visual forms of communication influence the process of transforming a novel idea into established organizational practice? In this paper, we build theory with regard to the role of visuals in manifesting and giving form to an innovative idea as it proceeds through various stages of institutionalization. Ideas become institutionalized not merely through widespread diffusion in a cognitive-discursive form but eventually through their translation into concrete activities and transformation into specific patterns of organizational practice. We argue that visualization plays a pivotal and unique role in this process. Visualization bridges the ideational with the practical realm by providing representations of ideas, connecting them to existing knowledge, and illustrating the specific actions that instantiate them. Similar to verbal discourse, and often in tandem, visual representations diffuse more rapidly and further than the practices themselves. Consolidating the relationship between abstract ideas and specific practice, such visual or multi-modal representations facilitate the implementation of novel ideas, reinforce particular translations, and imbue associated organizational practice with legitimacy – and thus solidify the coupling of innovative ideas and organizational practice. Extending existing research, we develop a set of propositions linking dimensions of visuality and visualization to the different stages of institutionalization in order to explain the institutional trajectory of new ideas. Our analysis advances insight into a core dimension of institutionalization: the transformation of an idea into practice.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2014
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventThird European Theory Development Workshop. ETDW 2014 - VU University, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 27 Jun 201428 Jun 2014
Conference number: 3


WorkshopThird European Theory Development Workshop. ETDW 2014
LocationVU University
Internet address

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