How Individuals Cope with Institutional Complexity in Organizations: A Case Study in the Energy Transition

Virginie Svenningsen, Eva Boxenbaum, Davide Ravasi

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The present article examines how employees cope with an organizational setting that is institutionally complex. The empirical setting is a French energy corporation that simultaneously pursues a logic of science and a logic of market through multiple research partnerships with public and private actors engaged in the energy transition. We draw on the literature on institutional logics and hybrid organizations to examine how employees of this French energy corporation deal with this institutionally complex environment. Our findings point to three strategies that individuals use to cope with institutional complexity in their organizational setting: aggregating, selective coupling and compartmentalizing. Each individual uses only one strategy. The findings further suggest three psychological factors that seem to explain which of these strategies a given individual adopts for coping with institutional complexity: tolerance for ambiguity, preference for holism, and preference for reductionism. We integrate these findings into a two-dimensional model. These findings contribute to illuminating how individuals cope with institutional complexity in their organizational setting, an insight that can help shed light on why organizations respond somewhat differently to the same institutionally complex field.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2016
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventThe 32nd EGOS Colloquium 2016: Organizing in the Shadow of Power - Napoli, Italy
Duration: 7 Jul 20169 Jul 2016
Conference number: 32
http://www.egosnet.org/2016_naples/general_theme

Conference

ConferenceThe 32nd EGOS Colloquium 2016
Number32
CountryItaly
CityNapoli
Period07/07/201609/07/2016
Internet address

Keywords

  • Institutional complexity
  • Multiple institutional logics
  • Hybrid organizations
  • Energy transition

Cite this

Svenningsen, V., Boxenbaum, E., & Ravasi, D. (2016). How Individuals Cope with Institutional Complexity in Organizations: A Case Study in the Energy Transition. Paper presented at The 32nd EGOS Colloquium 2016, Napoli, Italy.
Svenningsen, Virginie ; Boxenbaum, Eva ; Ravasi, Davide. / How Individuals Cope with Institutional Complexity in Organizations : A Case Study in the Energy Transition. Paper presented at The 32nd EGOS Colloquium 2016, Napoli, Italy.29 p.
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Svenningsen, V, Boxenbaum, E & Ravasi, D 2016, 'How Individuals Cope with Institutional Complexity in Organizations: A Case Study in the Energy Transition' Paper presented at, Napoli, Italy, 07/07/2016 - 09/07/2016, .

How Individuals Cope with Institutional Complexity in Organizations : A Case Study in the Energy Transition. / Svenningsen, Virginie; Boxenbaum, Eva; Ravasi, Davide.

2016. Paper presented at The 32nd EGOS Colloquium 2016, Napoli, Italy.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

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T1 - How Individuals Cope with Institutional Complexity in Organizations

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AB - The present article examines how employees cope with an organizational setting that is institutionally complex. The empirical setting is a French energy corporation that simultaneously pursues a logic of science and a logic of market through multiple research partnerships with public and private actors engaged in the energy transition. We draw on the literature on institutional logics and hybrid organizations to examine how employees of this French energy corporation deal with this institutionally complex environment. Our findings point to three strategies that individuals use to cope with institutional complexity in their organizational setting: aggregating, selective coupling and compartmentalizing. Each individual uses only one strategy. The findings further suggest three psychological factors that seem to explain which of these strategies a given individual adopts for coping with institutional complexity: tolerance for ambiguity, preference for holism, and preference for reductionism. We integrate these findings into a two-dimensional model. These findings contribute to illuminating how individuals cope with institutional complexity in their organizational setting, an insight that can help shed light on why organizations respond somewhat differently to the same institutionally complex field.

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KW - Multiple institutional logics

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Svenningsen V, Boxenbaum E, Ravasi D. How Individuals Cope with Institutional Complexity in Organizations: A Case Study in the Energy Transition. 2016. Paper presented at The 32nd EGOS Colloquium 2016, Napoli, Italy.