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Bringing Institutional Logics into Effect through Interactions: Negotiating the Relevant Story in Decision-making

By Prof. Tamar Zilber
Location Bloomfield 527
Academic Program: BS
Wednesday 04 December 2019, 11:30 - 12:30

Drawing on an ethnographic study of decision-making in a rape crisis center characterized by institutional complexity, I follow the work of institutional logics in interactions. While decision-making interactions were structured by logics that dominate the organization, decisionmaking

does not merely reflect given institutional logics, but rather serves as occasions for their reconstruction. Participants translated institutional logics into concrete stories that define problems, roles, and solutions. These stories were co-authors by participants, while negotiating which institutional logic is relevant to the issue, and how this logic implicates how to understand, evaluate and react to it. While narrators were creative in translating institutional logics into stories, they were also limited by an expectation of coherence between logics, the subject positions and interests of narrators, and the role the stories assign to narrator and recipients. Acknowledging the way institutional logics come to life through interactions necessitate a new

conceptualization thereof, one that emphasizes their emergence, and complements current understandings of institutional logics as either deterministic or strategic resource easily manipulated by actors. It also highlights the role of storytelling, translation, and power relations in bringing institutional logics into effect.

Tammar B. Zilber (Ph.D., the Jerusalem School of Business, the Hebrew University) is interested in how organizations operate in light of their embeddedness within shared meaning systems (institutions), and how people negotiate these meanings on the ground, as part of their daily work—or as they strive to create, maintain, and change institutions. By inquiring into the microfoundations of organizational, field, and societal level institutional dynamics—such as change, maintenance, translation, and the work of logics—Tammar highlights the role of meanings, emotions, and power relations in institutionalization processes. She uses qualitative research methods, and has written on narrative research, field level ethnography, and multimodality. Tammar serves as an Associate Editor at Academy of Management Journal. She also serves on the EGOS board, and has been a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, MIT, Boston College, and UC San Diego, and a research fellow at Gothenburg University.