Systematic Heterogeneity in the Adaptation Process of Management Innovations: Insights from the Italian Public Sector

Davide Nicolini, Andrea Lippi, Pedro Monteiro

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


In this chapter, the authors investigate how the best practices approach “diffused” in the Italian public sector. They show that despite the lack of a clear original model or a strong brokering agency - and the considerable changes this management innovation went through in its arrival in Italy - the result was not complete idiosyncrasy. Rather, clear adaptation patterns and systematic heterogeneity emerged. They argue that the bottom-up emergence of such patterns can be explained by paying attention to the very nature of the public-sector field. They use these findings to develop a framework that accounts for the convergence/divergence of adaptation patterns in the “diffusion” of management innovations based on power relations between innovation brokers and adopters.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInstitutions and Organizations : A Process View
EditorsTrish Reay , Tammar B. Zilber, Ann Langley, Haridimos Tsoukas
Number of pages34
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)9780198843818
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
SeriesPerspectives on Process Organization Studies


  • Diffusion
  • Translation
  • Management innovations
  • Management practices
  • Benchmarking
  • Best practices
  • Power
  • Public sector

Cite this