Actors and Institutions

Gregory Jackson

in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Institutional Analysis

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199233762
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

 Actors and Institutions

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  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour
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A distinguishing feature of comparative institutional analysis is the emphasis on understanding actors and actor constellations. Institutional analysis is concerned with processes of isomorphism and explaining similarities among organizations within an institutional field. This article briefly examines the relation between actors and institutions in economics, political science, and sociology. It demonstrates certain points of agreement – actors and institutions are seen as being mutually constitutive of one another. One implication is the need to adopt a more historical and process-oriented approach to studying institutions. The article explores the non-identical nature of actors in greater detail. It also raises the broader issue of how institutions influence action itself. Given the mutual interdependence of actors and institutions, institutionalization may be seen as a matter of degree. Actors respond to institutions as one element within a situation, but institutional contexts never fully determine action.

Keywords: institutional analysis; actors; isomorphism; institutions; economics; political science; sociology

Article.  10722 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Research Methods

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