Towards a Practice-Based Theory of Governance Learning and Institutionalization: A Cross-Case Analysis

  • Marta Strumińska-Kutra


In this chapter an overarching interpretation of the cases is presented. It departs from pre-existent theoretical perspectives of institutional change and organizational learning. These perspectives are used to make sense out of empirical material. The author searches for significant differences between the cases. Why were public officials able to critically reflect on their practices and eventually change the way of governing in some cases, and failed to do so in other cases? How is it possible that in some cases governance ended up as an institution reduced to a quasi opinion survey, or even worse, lead to discrediting of participatory approaches, while in other cases governance was institutionalized in the form of a relatively large infrastructure of institutions enabling public engagement in various decision-making processes?


Reflextive practitioner Learning Governance void Institutional entrepreneurship Leadership Surprise 


  1. Alvesson, M., M. Blom, and S. Svenningsson. 2017. Reflexive Leadership. Organizing in an Imperfect World. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Ansell, Christopher. 2011. Pragmatist Democracy. Evolutionary Learning as Public Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barzley, M. 1992. Breaking Through Bureaucracy: A New Vision for Managing Government. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  4. Battilana, J., B. Leca, and E. Boxenbaum. 2009. How Actors Change Institutions: Towards a Theory of Institutional Entrepreneurship. The Academy of Management Annals 3 (1): 64–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Becker, H. 1995. The Power of Inertia. Qualitative Sociology 18 (3): 301–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bellah, Robert, Richard Madsen, William Sullivan, Ann Swidler, and Steve Tripton. 1985. Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  7. Binder, Amy. 2007. For Love and Money: Organizations’ Creative Responses to Multiple Environmental Logics. Theory and Society 36: 547–571. Scholar
  8. Bourdieu, P. 1990. In Other Words: Essays Towards a Reflexive Sociology. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Cooper, D., B. Hinings, R. Greenwood, and J.L. Brown. 1996. Sedimentation and Transformation in Organizational Change: The Case of Canadian Law Firms. Organization Studies 17: 623–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Denis, J.L., A. Langley, and L. Rouleau. 2009. Rethinking Leadership in Public Organizations. In The Oxford Handbook of Public Management, ed. Ewan Ferlie, Laurence E. Lynn, and Christopher Pollitt, 446–487. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Denters, Bas. 2011. Local Governance. In The Sage Handbook of Governance, ed. Marc Bevir. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  12. DiMaggio, P. 1988. Interest and Agency in Institutional Theory. In Institutional Patterns and Organizations: Culture and Environment, ed. L.G. Zucker. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.Google Scholar
  13. DiMaggio, P., and W. Powell. 1983. The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields. American Sociological Review 48: 147–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dreyfus, Hubert. 1991. Being-in-the-World. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  15. Fligstein, Neil. 2001. Social Skill and the Theory of Fields. Sociological Theory 19 (2): 105–125. Scholar
  16. Fligstein, N., and D. McAdam. 2012. A Theory of Fields. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Forester, John. 2009. Dealing with Differences. Dramas of Mediating Public Disputes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. ———. 2013. Planning in the Face of Conflict. The Surprising Possibilities of Facilitative Leadership. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. ———. 2017. Creative Improvisation and Critical Pragmatism: Three Cases of Planning in the Face of Power. Delivered as the Peter Hall Annual Lecture, University College of London, May 26 (Typescript available from author at Cornell University, Department of City and Regional Planning).Google Scholar
  20. Gawer, A., and N. Phillips. 2013. Institutional Work as Logics Shift: The Case of Intel’s Transformation to Platform Leader. Organization Studies 34 (8): 1035–1071. Scholar
  21. Gilardi, F., and C.M. Radaelli. 2012. Governance and Learning. In The Oxford Handbook of Governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Greenwood, R., and R. Suddaby. 2006. Institutional Entrepreneurship in Mature Fields: The Big Five Accounting Firms. Academy of Management Journal 49: 27–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Haas, Peter. 1992. Introduction: Epistemic Communities and International Policy Coordination. International Organization 46 (1): 1–35. Scholar
  24. Hallet, Tim, and Marc Ventresca. 2006. Inhabited Institutions: Social Interactions and Organizational Forms in Gouldner’s ‘Patterns of Industrial Bureaucracy’. Theory and Society 35 (2): 213–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hargrave, Timothy, and A. Van de Ven. 2006. A Collective Action Model of Institutional Innovation. Academy of Management Review 31 (6): 864–888.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hood, Christopher. 2000. The Art of the State: Culture, Rhetoric, and Public Management. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. ———. 2011. Public Management Research on the Road from Consilience to Experimentation? Public Management Review 13 (2): 321–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jessop, Bob. 2011. Metagovernance. In The Sage Handbook of Governance, 106–123. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kordasiewicz, Anna, and Przemysław Sadura. 2017. Clash of Public Administration Paradigms in Delegation of Education and Elderly Care Services in a Post-socialist State (Poland). Public Management Review 19 (6): 785–801. Scholar
  30. Kostova, K.C., K. Roth, and M.T. Dacin. 2008. Note: Institutional Theory in the Study of Multinational Corporations: A Critique and New Directions. Academy of Management Review 33: 994–1006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lawrence, T.B., and R. Suddaby. 2006. Institutions and Institutional Work. In The Sage Handbook of Organization Studies, ed. Stewart R. Clegg, C. Hardy, T.B. Lawrence, and W. Nord, 215–254. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lawrence, T.B., R. Suddaby, and B. Leca. 2009. Introduction: Theorizing and Studying Institutional Work. In Institutional Work: Actors and Agency in Institutional Studies of Organizations, ed. T.B. Lawrence, R. Suddaby, and B. Leca, 1–27. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Laws, David, and John Forester. 2015. Conflict, Improvisation, Governance Street Level Practices for Urban Democracy. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Louis, Meryl Reis, and Robert I. Sutton. 1991. Switching Cognitive Gears: From Habits of Mind to Active Thinking. Human Relations 44 (1): 55–76. Scholar
  35. Lynn, Laurence E. 2001. The Myth of the Bureaucratic Paradigm: What Traditional Public Administration Really Stood For. Public Administration Review 61: 144–160. Scholar
  36. Maguire, S., C. Hardy, and T.B. Lawrence. 2004. Institutional Entrepreneurship in Emerging Fields: HIV/AIDS Treatment Advocacy in Canada. Academy of Management Review 47 (5): 657–679.Google Scholar
  37. Mahoney, James, and Kathleen Thelen. 2010. Explaining Institutional Change Ambiguity, Agency, and Power. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Mair, J., and I. Marti. 2009. Entrepreneurship in and around Institutional Voids: A Case Study from Bangladesh. Journal of Business Venturing 24: 419–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mair, J., M. Marti, and M. Ventresca. 2012. Building Inclusive Markets in Rural Bangladesh: How Intermediaries Work Institutional Voids. Academy of Management Journal 55 (4): 819–850. Scholar
  40. McLaverty, P. 2011. Participation. In The Sage Handbook of Governance, 402–418. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Osborne, Stephen, and T. Gaebler. 1992. Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit Is Transforming Public Sector. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  42. Ostrom, Elinor. 1990. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pierre, Jon, and B. Guy Peters. 2000. Governance, Politics and the State. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  44. Powell, W. 1991. Expanding the Scope of Institutional Analysis. In The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis, 183–203. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  45. Putnam, Robert, Robert Leonardi, and Rafaella Nonetti. 1993. Making Democracy Work. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Rhodes, R.A.W. 2012. Waves of Governance. In The Oxford Handbook of Governance, 33–49. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Rommetveit, K., N. van Dijk, K. Gunnarsdottír, K. O’Riordan, S. Gutwirth, R. Strand, and B. Wynne. 2018. Working Responsibly Across Boundaries? Some Practical and Theoretical Lessons. In Handbook – Responsible Innovation: A Global Resource, ed. R. von Schomberg and J. Hankins. Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
  48. Rządca, Robert, and Marta Strumińska-Kutra. 2016. Local Governance and Learning: In Search of a Conceptual Framework. Local Government Studies 42 (6): 916–937. Scholar
  49. Sabel, Charles. 1999. Constitutional Orders: Trust Building and Response to Change. In Contemporary Capitalism: The Embeddedness of Institutions, ed. J.R. Hollingsworth and Robert Boyer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Sandberg, Jörgen, and H. Tsoukas. 2011. Grasping the Logic of Practice: Theorizing Through Practical Rationality. Academy of Management Review 36 (2): 338–360.Google Scholar
  51. Schön, D. 1983. The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  52. ———. 1987. Educating the Reflective Practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  53. Schreyögg, Georg, Jörg Sydow, and Philip Holtmann. 2011. How History Matters in Organisations: The Case of Path Dependence. Management & Organizational History 6 (81): 81–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Scott, R. 1967. The Selection of Clients by Social Welfare Agencies. Social Problems 14: 248–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Selznick, Philipp. 1957. Leadership in Administration: A Sociological Interpretation. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  56. Seo, Myeong-gu, and W.E. Douglas Creed. 2002. Institutional Contradictions, Praxis, and Institutional Change: A Dialectical Perspective. Academy of Management Review 27 (2): 222–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Sørensen, Eva, and J. Torfing. 2015. Enhancing Public Innovation Through Collaboration, Leadership and New Public Governance. In New Frontiers in Social Innovation Research, ed. A. Nicholls, Julie Simon, and M. Gabriel, 220–256. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  58. Surachaikulwattana, Panita, and Nelson Philipps. 2017. Institutions as Process. In The Sage Handbook of Process Organization Studies, ed. Ann Langley and Haridimos Tsoukas. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  59. Svenningsson, S., and M. Alvesson. 2003. Managing Managerial Identities: Organizational Fragmentation, Discourse and Identity Struggle. Human Relations 56 (10): 1163–1193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Tolbert, Pamela, and Lynn Zucker. 1996. The Institutionalization of Institutional Theory. In Handbook of Organization Studies, ed. Stewart R. Clegg, C. Hardy, and W. Nord. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  61. Washington, M., K. Boal, and J. Davis. 2008. Institutional Leadership: Past, Present, and Future. In The SAGE Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism, ed. R. Greenwood, C. Oliver, and R. Suddaby, 721–736. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  62. Weick, K.E. 2003. Theory and Practice in the Real World. In The Oxford Handbook of Organization Theory, ed. H. Tsoukas and C. Knudsen, 453–475. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Yanow, Dvora. 2009. Ways of Knowing: Passionate Humility and Reflective Practice in Research and Management. The American Review of Public Administration 39 (6): 579–601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Yanow, Dvora, and H. Tsoukas. 2009. What Is Reflection-in-Action? A Phenomenological Account. Journal of Management Studies 46 (8): 1339–1364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Zietsma, C., and T.B. Lawrence. 2010. Institutional Work in the Transformation of an Organizational Field: The Interplay of Boundary Work and Practice Work. Administrative Science Quarterly 55 (2): 189–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marta Strumińska-Kutra
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Kozminski UniversityWarsawPoland
  2. 2.VID Specialized UniversityOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations