Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences

Integration and Differentiation in Institutional Values: An Empirical Investigation in the Field of Canadian National Sport Organizations

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences

Integration and Differentiation in Institutional Values: An Empirical Investigation in the Field of Canadian National Sport Organizations

Article excerpt


Integrating institutional theory's institutional isomorphism with integration and differentiation cultural views, the study examines the sources of variation in institutionally prescribed values in the field of Canadian National Sport Organizations. The results indicate support for the adaptation of institutional based values and norms among individual actors from both integration and differentiation perspectives. Specifically, results demonstrate institutionally prescribed values to be mostly monolithically adapted at the organizational level. However, in spite of uniformity in most organizations as well as institution-wide strength, these values are also prone to be manifested distinctively around functional subgroups across the field. Implications of results for research on both institutional theory and culture are discussed.

JEL Classification: M14

Keywords: Institutional values; cultural differentiation; institutional theory; sport management


La présente étude examine, grâce à une synthèse harmonieuse entre la théorie institutionnelle de l'isomorphisme et les vues culturelles sur la différenciation et l'intégration, les sources de variation dans les valeurs prescrites par les institutions dans le domaine du Canadian National Sport Organizations. Les résultats indiquent la nécessité d'adapter les normes et les valeurs institutionnelles aux acteurs individuels. Plus spécifique, les résultats montrent que les valeurs prescrites par les institutions sont, pour la plupart, adaptées de façon monolithique au niveau organisationnel. Mais en dépit de cette uniformité dans la plupart des organisations, ces valeurs ont tendance à se manifester différemment dans tous les sous-groupes fonctionnels du domaine étudié. L'étude s'achève par un examen des implications des résultats pour la recherche sur la théorie et la culture institutionnelles.

Mots-clés: valeurs institutionnelles, différenciation culturelle, théorie institutionnelle, gestion du sport

In recent years, research has pointed to the existence of broad cognitive and interpretive schemes that characterize the understandings and perceptions of individuals across organizations in a given environment (Abrahamson & Fombrun, 1994; Gordon, 1991; Philips, 1994; Scott, 2001). Research on this theme has indicated certain patterns of beliefs and assumptions shared homogenously by individuals of different organizations operating in similar environments (Chatman & Jehn, 1994; Christensen & Gordon, 1999; Dastmalchian, Lee, & Ng 2000; Hambrick; 1982; Huff, 1982; Meyer & Scott, 1992; Philips; Spender, 1989). Institutional theorists have emphasized the normative and regulative pressures exerted by institutional forces such as the state, or other large and powerful organizations, as a basis for shared values and beliefs across organizations (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983; Meyer & Rowan, 1977; Ritti & Silver, 1986). They argue that organizations have to conform to institutionally prescribed values and beliefs in order to receive and maintain legitimacy. Conformity to these values and beliefs creates cultural homogeneity among individual actors across organizations through an institutional environment that results in institution-wide shared cultural values and practices (Abrahamson & Fombrun; Dacin, 1997; Hinings, Thibault, Slack, & Kikulis, 1996; Meyer & Rowan; Scott).

However, there is no clarity on how these values and norms are carried and manifested by organizational actors in a given institutional environment. While some scholars such as Selznick (1957) argued institutional influences apply in the same way to all organizational actors within an organization, highlighting the role of leaders in particular, others (Meyer & Rowan, 1977; Seo & Creed, 2002; Thornton, 2002) have tended to consider differing and conflicting cultural viewpoints among actors within an institution. …

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