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Book cover: Advances in Strategic Management

Advances in Strategic Management

ISSN: 0742-3322
Series editor(s): Professor Brian Silverman

Subject Area: Strategy

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Informal and formal organization in new institutional economics

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Title:Informal and formal organization in new institutional economics
Author(s):Todd R. Zenger, Sergio G. Lazzarini, Laura Poppo
Volume:19 Editor(s): Paul Ingram and Brian S. Silverman ISBN: 978-0-7623-0903-0 eISBN: 978-1-84950-164-4
Citation:Todd R. Zenger, Sergio G. Lazzarini, Laura Poppo (2002), Informal and formal organization in new institutional economics, in Paul Ingram and Brian S. Silverman (ed.) The New Institutionalism in Strategic Management (Advances in Strategic Management, Volume 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.277-305
DOI:10.1016/S0742-3322(02)19009-7 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article type:Full length article
Abstract:Exchanges are governed by a set of formal institutions (contracts, incentives, authority) and informal institutions (norms, routines, political processes) that we argue are deeply intertwined.However, for the most part, informal institutions are treated as exogenous forces changing the benefits to using in an alternative formal structures, and formal institutions are treated as mere functional substitutes for informal elements governing exchanges. As a result, scholars have not sufficiently explored the interactions between formal and informal institutions. We contend that the failure to integrate these concepts into a common theory has led to faulty reasoning and incomplete theories of economic organizations. In this paper, we highlight three potential areas of research exploring the interplay between formal and informal institutions: first, whether formal institutions support (complement) or undermine (substitute for) the contributions of informal institutions; second, how vacillation in formal organizational modes allows managers to efficiently alter the trajectory of informal institutions; and third, how certain informal institutions can lead to hierarchical failure, thereby requiring managers to constrain the boundaries of the firm.

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