Institutional Work & Individual Competence: The role of interactions in creating maintaining and disrupting institutions.

Sabini, Luca and Muzio, Daniel (2012) Institutional Work & Individual Competence: The role of interactions in creating maintaining and disrupting institutions. In: Workshop di Organizzazione Aziendale, 28-29 May 2012, Verona.

PDF - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader

Official URL:


This work is a research proposal on microfoundations of neo-institutional theory. This proposal suggests to analyze, through the lens of neo-institutional theory, the role of individual competences in creating, maintaining, and disrupting institutions. Individuals exercise influence on the type of processes and operations that the organization carries on [1]. When these influences enable organizational innovation through the introduction of new practices, the underpinning mechanisms assume importance as premises for organizational design. In this study we propose to analyze a case of successful design and implementation of a service platform in the Italian public sector, supporting the interaction among Public Administrations (PA), Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and citizens. This platform has been successfully adopted through software re-use projects in more than 140 local PAs in the Toscana Region, resulting in an interesting case-study to understand the influence of individual competence and their interactions in fostering innovation.


[1] P. J. Di Maggio and W. W. Powell, The new institutionalism in organizational analysis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991. [2] W. W. Powell and J. A. Colyvas, “Microfoundations of institutional theory,” in Handbook of organizational institutionalism, R. Greenwood, C. Oliver, K. Sahlin, and R. Suddaby, Eds. London: Sage Publications, Inc, 2008, pp. 276-298. [3] T. B. Lawrence, R. Suddaby, and B. Leca, Institutional work: actors and agency in institutional studies of organizations. Cambridge university press, 2009, p. 324. [4] M. D. Cohen, “Individual learning and organizational routine: Emerging connections,” Organization Science, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 135-139, 1991. [5] A. Stinchcombe, Information and organizations. University of California Press, 1990. [6] K. E. Weick and K. Roberts, “Collective mind in organizations: Heedful interrelating on Flight Decks,” Administrative science quarterly, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 357-381, 1993. [7] H. Russell, Collective action. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982, p. 248. [8] C. R. Hinings and R. Greenwood, The dynamics of strategic change. Oxford: Basin Blackwell, 1988. [9] J. W. Meyer and B. Rowan, “Institutionalized organizations: Formal structure as myth and ceremony,” American journal of sociology, vol. 83, no. 2, pp. 340-363, 1977. [10] T. B. Lawrence and R. Suddaby, “Institutions and Institutional Work,” in The handbook of organization studies, S. Clegg, Ed. Sage Publications, Inc, 2006, pp. 215-254. [11] W. R. Scott, Institutions and organizations. Sage Publications, Inc, 2001. [12] S. Maguire, C. Hardy, and T. B. Lawrence, “Institutional entrepreneurship in emerging fields: HIV/AIDS treatment advocacy in Canada,” The Academy of Management Journal, pp. 657–679, 2004. [13] P. Berger and T. Luckman, The Social Construction Of Reality. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company Inc, 1967. [14] J. Battilana and T. D’aunno, “Institutional work and the paradox of embedded agency,” in Institutional work: Actors and agency in institutional studies of organization, T. B. Lawrence, R. Suddaby, and B. Leca, Eds. Cambridge University Press Cambridge,, UK, 2009, pp. 31–58. [15] D. Teece, “Explicating dynamic capabilities: the nature and microfoundations of (sustainable) enterprise performance,” Strategic Management Journal, vol. 28, no. 13, pp. 1319–1350, 2007. [16] A. Lewin, S. Massini, and C. Peeters, “Microfoundations of Internal and External Absorptive Capacity Routines,” Organization Science, vol. 22, no. 1, p. 81.98, 2011. [17] T. Felin and W. Hesterly, “The knowledge-based view, nested heterogeneity, and new value creation: Philosophical considerations on the locus of knowledge,” Academy of Management Review, vol. 32, pp. 195-118, 2007. [18] P. Abell, T. Felin, and N. Foss, “Building micro-foundations for the routines, capabilities, and performance links,” Managerial and Decision Economics, vol. 29, pp. 489-502, 2008. [19] J. Barney, “Is the resource-based ‘view’ a useful perspective for strategic management research? Yes,” Academy of Management Review, vol. 26, pp. 41-56, 2001. [20] T. Felin and N. Foss, “Strategic organization: a field in search of micro-foundations,” Strategic Organization, vol. 3, pp. 441-455, 2005. [21] E. Ellstrom, “The many meanings of occupational competence and qualification,” Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 21, no. 6/7, pp. 266-273, 1997. [22] D. Robotham and R. Jubb, “Competences: measuring the unmeasurable,” Management Development Review, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 25-29, 1996. [23] C. Woodruffe, “What is meant by a competency?,” Leadership & Organization Development …, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 29 - 36, 1993. [24] M. Muffato, “Corporate and Individual Competencies: How do they Match the Innovation Process?,” International Journal of Technology Management, vol. 15, no. 8, pp. 836-853, 1998. [25] A. Camuffo, “Competenze: la gestione delle risorse umane tra conoscenza individuale e conoscenza organizzativa,” Economia e Management, 1996. [26] L. Spencer and S. Spencer, Competence at work: Models forsuperior performance. John Wiley& Sons, Inc, 1993, p. 372. [27] R. Boyatzis, The competent manager: a model for effective performance. New York: Wiley Interscience, 1982. [28] N. Herrmann, The creative brain. Lake Lure, NC: Brain Books, 1990. [29] L. Hirschhorn, “Automation and Competency Requirements in Manufacturing: a case study,” in Technology and the Future, P. Adler, Ed. Oxford, USA: Oxford University Press, 1992. [30] R. Nelson and S. Winter, An evolutionary theory of economic change. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982. [31] R. Torraco and R. Swanson, “The Strategic Roles of Human Resource Development.,” Human Resource Planning, vol. 18, pp. 10-21, 1995. [32] R. Herling, “Operational definitions of expertise and competence,” Advances in developing human resources, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 8-21, 2000. [33] D. C. McClelland, Assessing human motivation. General Learning Press, 1971. [34] J. Bessant and R. Howard, “Building bridges for innovation: the role of consultants in technology transfer,” Research Policy, vol. 24, pp. 97-114, 1995. [35] C. Prahalad and G. Hamel, “The core competence of the corporation,” Harvard Business Review, pp. 79-91, 1990. [36] Lipparini, Le competenze organizzative. Sviluppo, condivisione, trasferimento. 1998. [37] C. Barnard, “Thefunctions ofthe executive,” Cambridge, MA: HarvardUniversityPress, 1938. [38] B. Kogut and U. Zander, “Knowledge of the firm, combinative capabilities, and the replication of technology,” Organization Science, vol. 3, no. 3, 1992. [39] W. Ouchi, “Markets, bureaucracies, and clans,” Administrative science quarterly, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 129-141, 1980. [40] G. McCall, “Interaction,” in Handbook of Symbolic Interactionism, H. T. Reynolds and N. J. Herman-Kinney, Eds. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2003, pp. 327-348.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Research documents and activity classification:Conference Items > National Conferences > Uninvited Submissions
Divisions:Department of Business and Management > CeRSI (Information Systems Research Centre)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Institutional Work, individual competence, individual interactions.
MIUR Scientific Area:Area 13 - Economics and Statistics > SECS-P/10 Business Organisation
Deposited By:Luca Sabini
Deposited On:11 Oct 2012 11:23
Last Modified:08 Mar 2014 10:58

Repository Staff Only: item control page