Antecedents, mechanisms and processes of deinstitutionalization and institutional change
: a case study approach to understanding enterprise under duress

  • Andrea Thorpe

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Adopting a grounded theory methodology, the study describes how an event and pressure impact upon a process of deinstitutionalization and institutional change. Three case studies were theoretically sampled in relation to each other. They yielded mainly qualitative data from methods that included interviews, observations, participant observations, and document reviews. Each case consisted of a boundaried cluster of small enterprises that were not industry specific and were geographically dispersed. Overall findings describe how an event, i.e. a stimulus, causes disruption, which in turn may cause pressure. Pressure is then translated as a tension within the institutional environment, which is characterized by opposing forces that encourage institutional breakdown and institutional maintenance. Several contributions are made: Deinstitutionalization as a process is inextricable from the formation of institutions – both are needed to make sense of institutional change on a conceptual level but are also inseparable experientially in the field; stimuli are conceptually different to pressures; the historical basis of a stimulus may impact on whether pressure and institutional change occurs; pressure exists in a more dynamic capacity rather than only as a catalyst; institutional breakdown is a non-linear irregular process; ethical and survival pressures as new types were identified; institutional current, as an underpinning mechanism, influences how the tension between institutional breakdown and maintenance plays out.
Date of Award14 Apr 2014
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMark Hart (Supervisor)


  • institutional theory
  • entrepreneurship
  • institutional maintenance
  • pressure
  • rural enterprise

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