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How individuals cope with institutional complexity in organizations: a case study in the energy transition

Abstract : The present article examines how employees cope with an organizational setting that is institutionally complex. The empirical setting is a French energy corporation that simultaneously pursues a logic of science and a logic of market through multiple research partnerships with public and private actors engaged in the energy transition. We draw on the literature on institutional logics and hybrid organizations to examine how employees of this French energy corporation deal with this institutionally complex environment. Our findings point to three strategies that individuals use to cope with institutional complexity in their organizational setting: aggregating, selective coupling and compartmentalizing. Each individual uses only one strategy. The findings further suggest three psychological factors that seem to explain which of these strategies a given individual adopts for coping with institutional complexity: tolerance for ambiguity, preference for holism, and preference for reductionism. We integrate these findings into a two-dimensional model. These findings contribute to illuminating how individuals cope with institutional complexity in their organizational setting, an insight that can help shed light on why organizations respond somewhat differently to the same institutionally complex field.
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https://hal-mines-paristech.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01336318
Contributor : Virginie Svenningsen-Berthélem <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 11:26:39 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 23, 2020 - 4:48:14 PM

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  • HAL Id : hal-01336318, version 1

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Virginie Svenningsen, Eva Boxenbaum, Davide Ravasi. How individuals cope with institutional complexity in organizations: a case study in the energy transition . 32nd EGOS Colloquium (EGOS 2016), Jul 2016, Naples, Italy. ⟨hal-01336318⟩

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