Microfoundations of Institutions

Over the last three decades, organizational institutionalism has become one of the leading theories in the fields of management, organization, and information systems. Even though earlier formulations predominantly highlighted how social surroundings influenced the actions of organizations, more recent research has called for elaborating on the micro‐foundations of institutional theory in more depth.

In particular, there have been calls to study how phenomena on the individual, group and organizational level affect the emergence, persistence, and decline of institutions. These multi‐level dynamics are of imminent importance for gaining a better understanding of the multi‐faceted and complex nature of institutional processes. Although recent developments in organizational institutionalism have made promising progress in this regard, this research has developed in somewhat different streams such as institutional entrepreneurship, institutional work as well as more practice‐oriented approaches to the study of logics and complexity.

Against this background, the aim of the Research Network is to systematically take stock of the growing, yet fragmented, scholarship that attends to the micro level in order to critically reflect on whether these developments can provide the basis for development of a general theory of the micro‐foundations of institutions.

We are indebted to the "Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft" (DFG) for providing the generous funding of our network.

Project duration:2017-2019
Funding Agency:

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
(Grant SI 2040/2-1)

Primary contact at Universität Bremen:Prof. Dr. Lauri Wessel
Principal Investigators:

HEC Lausanne
Prof. Dr. Patrick Haack
Assistant Professor of Business Ethics

VU Amsterdam
Prof. Dr. Jost Sieweke
Assistant Professor of Management

Universität Bremen
Prof. Dr. Lauri Wessel
Professor of Management and Organization

Network News

Group photo of our workshop at WU Vienna

Recap of fourth meeting in Vienna (September 20th & 21st)

We felt very welcomed and thank WU Vienna for the generous support of the workshop!


New research on the microfoundations of institutions in the Academy of Management Review!

Derek Harmon, Thomas Roulet, and network member Patrick Haack are commenting on the microfoundations paper by Ivano Cardinale and suggest that advancing our understanding of the microfoundations of institutions requires an explicit focus on how social action operates across multiple levels of…