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Sociol Q. 2012;53(1):44-67.

"Keeping our mission, changing our system": translation and organizational change in natural foods co-ops.

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Drake University.


Institutional theory has played a central role in the study of organizations for over half a century, but it often overlooks the actions of the people who bring organizations to life. This article advances an inhabited approach to institutional analysis that foregrounds the creativity of organizational members. It argues that people use local cultures to translate and respond to institutional pressures. The article analyzes qualitative data from countercultural co-op stores that have been pushed to conform to mainstream forms of business organization by a competitive market and demonstrates that translation explains why outcomes that institutional theory would not predict have come to pass.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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