Institutional Theory of Information Technology

Wendy L. Currie

in The Oxford Handbook of Management Information Systems

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580583
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

Institutional Theory of Information Technology

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  • Business and Management
  • Knowledge Management
  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour


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This article provides an overview of institutional theory from the seminal papers of the 1970s to the more recent contributions, which consider institutional change and deinstitutionalization. Institutional theory also shows how macro-units of analysis, i.e. regulatory, legal, and policy frameworks, are also important in influencing and determining organizational and behavioural change. While institutional theory is concerned with stability and persistence, information technologies are often associated with rapid, and sometimes disruptive, societal and organizational changes. This article demonstrates the explicit and implicit points of disagreement among institutional theorists. It critically evaluates the theoretical and empirical strengths and weaknesses of this body of work, and caution against a tendency to simplify institutional concepts into one-dimensional constructs. Finally, it offers a research agenda for the IS field to embrace the institutional perspective and develop an institutional theory of IT.

Keywords: institutional theory; behavioural change; empirical strengths; research; policy framework

Article.  14966 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Knowledge Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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