Institutional entrepreneurship, as a concept, has recently gained popularity within business studies. Broadly speaking it denotes change activities that challenge prevailing institutions at various levels of analysis (Battilana, Boxenbaum and Leca, 2009). Given that business-as-usual is underpinned by strong institutions, e.g., markets, property rights, etc., institutional entrepreneurship could potentially be used to theorize changes in relation to those institutions, paving the way for sustainable business activities. Here I understand sustainable business activities as activities that respect eco-system boundaries (Rockstrom et al., 2009). Subsequently, the purpose of this paper is to discuss the concept institutional entrepreneurship and relate it to sustainable business activities.
In order to provide a base for discussing institutional entrepreneurship a review of the literature covering the concept was conducted. The review covered three top-tier management journals, i.e. Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal and Organization Studies. Articles from 1988 (when DiMaggio (1988) first introduced the concept) until 2012 were chosen and analyzed.
The results from the review indicate that institutional entrepreneurship is mainly used to encircle change at the level of the organizational field, e.g., industry, and as such do not describe changes in those institutions that embed fields. However, the concept as such does not designate this usage, rather this is how it has been applied in business studies. Given that institutions are defined in relation to the particular levels of analysis in focus, the concept could be used to describe changes more fundamental than those taking place within industries or communities of organizations. Hence, for those interested in what drives or hinders change, I suggest that there could be much to learn from the institutional entrepreneurship literature.
2013. 218- p.
the 22nd Nordic Academy of Management Conference (NFF), Reykjavik, Island, August 21-23, 2013