ECO9000 Contemporary strands of institutional theory and its application to management research

ECTS credits: 7,5
Level of course: PhD
Type of course: Elective
Duration: 1 week
Study start: August 27-31, 2018
Application deadline: June 1, 2018
Year of study: It is relevant for PhD students at all stages of their PhD project
Study place:  Nord University, Bodø, Norway
Faculty responsible: HHN
Language of instruction: English
Course responsible person: Professor Anatoli Bourmistrov, Professor Giuseppe Grossi

Costs: The course itself is free of charge (including lunches and dinners). The course participants must themselves cover the costs for travel and their accommodation during the course. However, for participants from the Nordic countries the accommodation will be covered by organizers.

Course evaluation: Students evaluate the course annually by final evaluation. These evaluations are included in the university's quality assurance system.

Course contents:

An increasing number of research communities in social science acknowledge the need for inter-disciplinary approach in conventional studies. In such conditions, the understanding the 'theoretical lenses' repertoire and its potential to extend previous knowledge becomes crucial under the quest for contribution to the literature.

The overall aim of this course is to learn and reflect upon the contemporary streams of institutional theory and their application to management research. Specifically, the course ambition is to equip PhD students with ideas of institutional logics, institutional entrepreneurship and institutional work and understanding its connection to their own research projects. These streams of institutional theory become increasingly valuable in management research but at the same time challenging to use under theoretical pluralism agenda. In this regard, the opportunities and challenges of these streams will be examined during the course. In a long-term perspective, the course seeks to contribute to the development of PhD students' analytical skills, and therefore facilitate the number of individual and joint international publications by researchers from Nordic countries.

The course will consist of several parts:

Day 1. General presentation and discussion of contemporary development of management research with institutional theory use as theoretical lenses:

  • the value of institutional theory for conceptualizing management research;
  • institutional theory and the structure-agency issue;
  • the value of domain and method theory distinction;

Day 2. Institutional logics and its application to management research:

  • presentation of theory and its analytical tools;
  • discussion of examples of theory use in management and accounting literature;
  • presentation and discussion of student papers;

Day 3. Institutional entrepreneurship and its application to management research:

  • presentation of theory and its analytical tools;
  • discussion of examples of theory use in management and accounting literature;
  • presentation and discussion of student papers;

Day 4. Institutional work and its application to management research:

  • presentation of theory and its analytical tools;
  • discussion of examples of theory use in management and accounting literature;
  • presentation and discussion of student papers;

Day 5. Combining theories and theoretical pluralism:

  • possible paradigmatic issues and justifications for theories combinations;
  • discussion of examples from management and accounting studies, personal reflection of the faculty and PhD students;
  • presentation and discussion of student papers.

The course will be arranged through combining the competencies of Nord University Business School and its partners from other Scandinavian universities, therefore, enhancing the Nordic research cooperation. Faculty will be represented by:

  • Professor Anatoli Bourmistrov (Nord University Business School, Norway)
  • Professor II Giuseppe Grossi (Nord University Business School, Norway)
  • Professor Gustav Kastberg (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
  • Professor Jarmo Vakkuri (University of Tampere, Finland)
  • Professor Katarina Kaarbøe (Norwegian School of Economics, Norway)
  • Senior Lecturer, PhD, Daniela Argento (Kristianstad University, Sweden)
  • Senior Lecturer, PhD, Sabina Du Rietz (Örebro University School of Business, Sweden)

Learning outcomes:


On completion of the course, the candidate:

  • have advanced knowledge and understanding of institutional theory and its current streams;
  • can contribute to the development of studied theories in management research;
  • can evaluate and analyze the distinction between studied theoretical streams and challenges connected with their applications and combinations.


On completion of the course, the candidate:

  • can critically assess the analytical value of studied theories and formulate the relevant problem statements;
  • can deal with and connect own research projects with analytical tools presented in the PhD course by internationally recognized faculty;
  • can critically examine the work of others and deal with possible challenges during theories application in own research and examine the work of others.


On completion of the course, the candidate:

  • can identify the new relevant ethical problem statements, their applicability and potential contribution to the literature with the use of current institutional theory streams;
  • can manage interdisciplinary research projects and apply current institutional theory streams;
  • can discuss and give feedback to research related to institutional theory use.

Especially recommended elective courses:


Offered as a free-standing course:



To take this course, the student has to be enrolled in PhD program at his/her institution.

Recommended previous knowledge:

The course is offered on a PhD-level from various fields (e.g. management studies, innovation, entrepreneurship, accounting, public administration, political science, resource management, social science etc.). It is relevant for students at any stage of their PhD project who are dealing (or expecting to deal) with the use of institutional theory in their research.

Mode of delivery:


Learning activities and teaching methods:

Lectures, assignments, individual presentations and comments on written work.

Assessment methods and criteria:

It is an intensive course which consists of pre-assignment, 5 days of class work and final assignment. The individual study requires the development of course paper based on course literature reading before meeting in Bodø. The course foresees obligatory participation and integrates lectures by the course faculty, discussions of the course literature and presentations of own work by the participants. The participants will need to submit the final individual assignment (course paper, approx. 7 000 words) within one month of the conclusion of the course. There will be a passed/not passed for all papers.

Work placement:

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading (updates will be provided 2 months before PhD course starts):

Compulsory reading:

Battilana, J. (2006). "Agency and institutions: The 'enabling role of individuals' social position", Organization, Vol. 13 No. 5, pp. 653-676.

Battilana, J., & D'Aunno, T. (2009). "Institutional work and the paradox of embedded agency", in Lawrence, T., Suddaby, R., and Leca, B. (Eds.), Institutional Work: Actors and Agency in Institutional Studies of Organizations, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp.31-58.

Battilana, J., Leca, B., & Boxenbaum, E. (2009), "How actors change institutions: towards a theory of institutional entrepreneurship", The Academy of Management Annals, Vol. 3 No.1, pp. 65-107.

Czarniawska, B. (2009), "Emerging institutions: pyramids or anthills?", Organization Studies, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 423-441.

DiMaggio, P. J. (1988), "Interest and agency in institutional theory", Institutional patterns and organizations: Culture and environment, Vol. 1, pp. 3-22.

Friedland, R. and Alford, R. R. (1991). "Bringing Society Back In: Symbols, Practices and Institutional Contradictions," in Walter W. Powell and Paul DiMaggio (Eds.), The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 232-263.

Greenwood, R., & Suddaby, R. (2006), "Institutional entrepreneurship in mature fields: The big five accounting firms", Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 49 No.1, pp. 27-48.

Johansen, C. B., & Waldorff, S. B. (2017), "What are Institutional Logics - and Where is the Perspective Taking Us?", In Mazza, C., Meyer, R., Krucken, G. & Walgenbach, P. (Eds.), New Themes in Institutional Analysis: Topics and Issues from European Research, Chelterham: Edward Elgar.

Hampel, Christian, Lawrence, Thomas B. and Tracey, P. (2015), "Institutional work: Taking stock and making it matter", In: Greenwood, Royston, Oliver, Christine, Lawrence, Thomas B. and Meyer, Renate, (eds.) SAGE Handbook of organizational institutionalism (2nd ed.). UK SAGE, London, pp. 557-590.

Lawrence, T., & Suddaby, R. (2006). "Institutions and Institutional Work", in Clegg, S. R., Hardy, C., Lawrence, T., & Nord, W. R.  (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Organization Studies, Sage, London, pp.215-254.

Lawrence, T., Leca, B., & Zilber, T. (2013). "Institutional work: Current research, new directions and overlooked issues", Organization Studies, Vol.34 No.8, pp.1023-1033.

Lawrence, T., Suddaby, R. and Leca, B. (2009), "Introduction: Theorizing and studying institutional work",  in Lawrence, T., Suddaby, R., and Leca, B. (Eds.), Institutional Work: Actors and Agency in Institutional Studies of Organizations, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp.1-27

Lawrence, T., Suddaby, R., & Leca, B. (2011). "Institutional work: Refocusing institutional studies of organization", Journal of Management Inquiry, Vol.20 No.1, pp.52-58.

Lukka, K. and Vinnari, E. (2014), "Domain theory and method theory in management accounting research", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 27 No. 8, pp. 1308-1338.

Modell, S., Vinnari, E. and Lukka, K. (2017), "On the virtues and vices of combining theories: The case of institutional and actor-network theories in accounting research", Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 60, pp. 62-78.

Seo, M.-G., & Creed, W. D. (2002), "Institutional contradictions, praxis, and institutional change: A dialectical perspective", Academy of Management Review, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 222-247.

Thornton, P. H., Ocasio, W. and Lounsbury, M. (2012), The Institutional Logics Perspective. A new approach to culture, structure, and process, Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 50-74.

Zilber, T. B. (2013). "Institutional logics and institutional work: Should they be agreed?", Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol.39, pp.77-96.

Additional reading: the additional field specific reading list should be developed by the course participants on their own and approved by the course coordinators 2 months before the course starts. During the course, the faculty will use accounting field as example of institutional theories' application, but students will read articles in their own field and reflect on them during the course group discussions and in their courses papers articles.

Example of additional reading for accounting field:

Modell, S. (2015), "Making institutional accounting research critical: dead end or new beginning?", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 28 No. 5, pp.773-808

Burns, J., & Scapens, R. S. (2000), "Conceptualising Management Accounting Change: An Institutional Framework",  Management Accounting Research, Vol. 11, pp. 3-25.

Lounsbury, M. (2008), "Institutional rationality and practice variation: new directions in the institutional analysis and practice. Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 33, pp. 349-361.

Institutional logics:

Argento, D., Culasso, F. and Truant, E. (2016), "Competing logics in the expansion of public service corporations", Utilities Policy, Vol. 40, pp. 125-133.

Waldorff, S. B. (2013), "Accounting for Organizational Innovations: Mobilizing Institutional Logics in Translation", Scandinavian Journal of Management, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp 219-234

Dai, N. T., Tan, Z. S., Tang, G. and Xiao, J. Z. (2017), "IPOs, institutional complexity, and management accounting in hybrid organisations: A field study in a state-owned enterprise in China", Management Accounting Research, Vol. 36, pp. 2-23.

Amans, P., Mazars-Chapelon, A. and Villesèque-Dubus, F. (2015), "Budgeting in institutional complexity: The case of performing arts organizations", Management Accounting Research, Vol. 27, pp. 47-66.

Carlsson-Wall, M., Kraus, K. and Messner, M. (2016), "Performance measurement systems and the enactment of different institutional logics: Insights from a football organization", Management Accounting Research, Vol. 32, pp. 45-61.

Ezzamel, M., Robson, K. and Stapleton, P. (2012), "The logics of budgeting: Theorization and practice variation in the educational field", Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 37 No. 5, pp. 281-303.

Le Theule, M.-A. and Lupu, I. (2016), "Publishing without editors or authors? Competing logics, circulation, and cultural creation in a publishing firm", Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Vol. 38, pp. 14-33.

Rautiainen, A., Urquía-Grande, E. and Muñoz-Colomina, C. (2017), "Institutional Logics in Police Performance Indicator Development: A Comparative Case Study of Spain and Finland", European Accounting Review, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 165-191.

Institutional entrepreneurship:

Ahrens, T., & Ferry, L. (2016), "Institutional entrepreneurship, practice memory, and cultural memory: Choice and creativity in the pursuit of endogenous change of local authority budgeting", Management Accounting Research, in Press.

Covaleski, M. A., Dirsmith, M. W. and Weiss, J. M. (2013), "The social construction, challenge and transformation of a budgetary regime: The endogenization of welfare regulation by institutional entrepreneurs", Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 38 No. 5, pp. 333-364.

Elliot, V. H. (2016), "Institutional entrepreneurship and change: A contemporary history of the Swedish banking industry and its performance management systems", Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 223-251.

Guerreiro, M. S., Rodrigues, L. L. and Craig, R. (2015), "Institutional change of accounting systems: The adoption of a regime of adapted International Financial Reporting Standards", European Accounting Review, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 379-409.

Hyvönen, T., Järvinen, J., Oulasvirta, L. and Pellinen, J. (2012), "Contracting out municipal accounting: the role of institutional entrepreneurship", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 25 No. 6, pp. 944-963.

Yang, C. and Modell, S. (2015), "Shareholder orientation and the framing of management control practices: A field study in a Chinese state-owned enterprise", Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 45, pp. 1-23.

Institutional work:

Canning, M. and O'Dwyer, B. (2016), "Institutional work and regulatory change in the accounting profession", Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 54, pp. 1-21.

Gibassier, D. (2017), "From écobilan to LCA: The elite's institutional work in the creation of an environmental management accounting tool", Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Vol. 42, pp. 36-58.

Hayne, C. and Free, C. (2014), "Hybridized professional groups and institutional work: COSO and the rise of enterprise risk management", Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 39 No. 5, pp. 309-330.

Järvinen, J. T. (2016), "Role of management accounting in applying new institutional logics: A comparative case study in the non-profit sector", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 29 No. 5, pp. 861-886.

Kettunen, J. (2017), "Interlingual translation of the International Financial Reporting Standards as institutional work", Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 56, pp. 38-54.

Mouritsen, J. (2014), "The role of Accounting in New Public Management", in Bourmistrov, A. and Olson, O. (Eds.), Accounting, Management Control and Institutional Development. Capellen Damm Academisk, Oslo, pp. pp. 97-109.

Suddaby, R., Saxton, G. D. and Gunz, S. (2015), "Twittering change: The institutional work of domain change in accounting expertise", Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 45, pp. 52-68.

Overlapping courses:

Not applicable.

Deadline: June 1st, 2018