How do institutions adapt and reform themselves in response to new challenges? This article considers the role of ideas and posits that the concept of ‘dilemma’ — clashes of beliefs played out through power relations and practices — offers a complementary tool to understand institutional change. It draws on the 2014 appointment of a new Clerk to the UK House of Commons — in which conflicting beliefs about the House of Commons administration opened a dilemma for key parliamentary actors — as a token case study to highlight the value of the concepts of beliefs, practices and dilemmas. It further broadens out these findings to consider the value of a wider interpretive approach for understanding how institutions may adapt and change. In doing so, it makes (i) a theoretical contribution by exploring the role of ideas in causing institutional change and (ii) an empirical contribution through its analysis of parliamentary administration, an under-studied area.
- interpretive parliamentary studies
- parliamentary reform
- managerial reform
- British politics