Dynamics of Institutional Logics in a Cross-Sector Social Partnership: The Case of Refugee Integration in Germany

  • Andreas Hesse
  • Karin Kreutzer
  • Marjo-Riitta DiehlEmail author
Original Paper


This study examines how institutional logics interplay in a cross-sector social partnership that manages refugee integration in a rural district in Germany. In an inductive 15-month case study that drew on interviews and observations, we observe the dynamic materialization of institutional logics in day-to-day practices and an increasing contradiction and even rivalry between community- and market-based institutional logics over time. As a result, we delineate a model explaining the interplay of institutional logics along two dimensions: the dominance of one salient logic and whether conflicts arise among logics. Our analysis also addresses the unifying properties of community as an institutional logic, especially in the context of urgency conditions. In addition, we show the influence of exogenous events and their media coverage on the interplay and conflicts of institutional logics. By unfolding the complexity of refugee integration—one of the global grand challenges of the present—we deepen the current understanding of the specific challenges addressed by cross-sector social partnerships.


Institutional theory Institutional logics perspective Cross-sector social partnerships Refugee integration 



We are thankful to the coordinator of the “Refugee Integration Network” and the District Administrator of the county for their support and for granting us data access. We are grateful to Associate Editor Antonio Vaccaro for his guidance throughout the review process as well as to the three anonymous reviewers for their constructive and helpful comments. We also wish to acknowledge the feedback we received on earlier versions of this work from the members of the EBS Business School’s writing workshop.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Each author declares that he/she has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Hesse
    • 1
  • Karin Kreutzer
    • 1
  • Marjo-Riitta Diehl
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Management and EconomicsEBS Business SchoolOestrich-WinkelGermany
  2. 2.Pori Unit, Turku School of EconomicsUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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