Language and Institutionalization of Practices: Usage of White-Collar Crime, 1939-2001
Institutional theorists have recently begun to examine the role of agency in influencing institutionalization of practices. We extend this work by qualitatively investigating how institutional actors' use of a particular language can facilitate institutionalization. We find that a particular set of vocabularies enters an institutional field through bricolage and then undergoes a sensemaking process whereby institutional actors try to "make sense" of the language. Our quantitative analysis suggests that these processes of bricolage and sensemaking facilitate the institutionalization process. However, once the language, and the practice associated with it, is institutionalized, there exists a loose coupling between the language and the practice. We uncover these findings by exploring the language of "white-collar crime" and the practice of investigating white-collar crime by various law enforcement agencies.
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