Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Bridging Structure and Agency: Processes of Institutional Change

Contents:

Author Info

  • Dolfsma, W.A.
  • Verburg, R.M.

Abstract

The tension between (social) order and change, or, alternatively formulated, between structure and agency, has a long history in the social sciences (e.g. Verburg 1991). The discussion has substantial philosophical overtones. In this article we recount the history of the discussion. We both acknowledge the more recent admonition that the agent may have been given short shrift in previous eras (Davis 2003), but at the same time argue that one should not negate the reality of social structure or institutions (Hodgson 1999, 2004). In this article we argue, however, that these recent contributions, from the fields of economics, sociology, political science and management, do not provide a much needed account of how the tension between structure and agency may be resolved conceptually. Accounts seem to emphasize either structure or agency, and fail to capture their interrelationships. We submit that that the process of institutionalization does resolve the tension conceptually, focusing on the role of the agent in reproducing institutional setting, but also in instigating institutional change. We provide a theoretical account of the conditions under which institutions change, and the likely direction of such change. In doing so we emphasize the relation between socio-cultural values subscribed to in a society or community and institutional settings and practices (Dolfsma 2004). As institutions should be conceptualized to have both structural as well as ‘cultural’ aspects (Neale 1987), in many but not all cases irrevocably related, agents can re-interpret or re-define a given institutional structure in the light of a differing perspective, giving rise to tensions felt and possilbly setting in motion a process of institutional change.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://repub.eur.nl/pub/7014/ERS%202005%20064%20ORG.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam in its series ERIM Report Series Research in Management with number ERS-2005-064-ORG.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ems:eureri:7014

Contact details of provider:
Postal: RSM Erasmus University & Erasmus School of Economics, PoBox 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam
Phone: 31-10-408 1182
Fax: 31-10-408 9020
Email:
Web page: http://www.erim.eur.nl/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Agency; Institutional change; Institutions; Process; Structure; Tensions;

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. William Jackson, 2005. "Capabilities, Culture and Social Structure," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(1), pages 101-124.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Wolfram Elsner, 2010. "The process and a simple logic of ‘meso’. Emergence and the co-evolution of institutions and group size," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 445-477, June.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ems:eureri:7014. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (RePub).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.