The communicative constitution of institutional change in expression games

Marc Krautzberger*, Emamdeen Fohim, François Cooren, Thomas Schumacher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Neo-institutional theory has recently advanced our understanding of the early phase of institutional change but presupposes contexts in which verbally and nonverbally expressing the intended institutional change within a group is already possible. We develop a process model that explains how change agents conceal and reveal their intentional work on institutional change over time to avoid painful sanctions and counteractions. The model describes how change agents proceed from the first moment of forming the intention to promote institutional change until change is sedimented through diffused taken-for-granted behavior. It advances the understanding of how individual and collective actors communicatively influence the macro-pathways of institutional change. The model offers new insights into the very first moments of institutional change processes, the ability to change institutions, the role of ambiguity in change processes, and how change agents slowly and fundamentally change institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-692
Number of pages26
JournalStrategic Organization
Issue number4
Early online date1 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • communicative constitution of institutions
  • expression games
  • Goffman
  • institutional change pathways
  • neo-institutional theory


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