Change in the Cage
Today Christopher Nicol defended his thesis, “Change in the Cage”. Congratulations!
This Ph.D. thesis seeks to better understand how change occurs within a group of organisations. Aiming to make a contribution to institutional theory, it brings together three main schools, namely: old, new and neoinstitutionalism, in an integrative approach for understanding organisational field change. The study seeks to examine and explore a community of organisations who have come together to form an organisational field. More specifically, the object is to better understand how an organisational field is formed and developed and how change is driven, at an organisational and organisational field level, as a consequence of this field formation. Moreover, the study investigates the impact of triggers for change upon the field, and the role that institutional forces and individuals play in the process of organisational field change.The theoretical chapters, as discussed, integrate the concepts of change from three schools developing a comprehensive framework of organisational field change with which the empirical material can be analysed, in order to make the theoretical contribution. The empirical work is based on a case study, incorporating two rounds of interviews and secondary data collection, undertaken from 2007 – 2011. The case study examines the development of the Biofuel Region, a collection of organisations based, principally, in Ornskoldsvik, Northern Sweden, that have worked together to develop a public and private biofuel transportation infrastructure. Besides being a fascinating case of regional development and having the reassuring object of creating an eco-efficient fuel the Biofuel Region, regarded as an organisational field, provided good access to respondents and useful insights into the way that fields form and change.The contributions of this thesis offer an insight into the manner with which the formation of an organisational field can begin with a drive for a legitimisation of the field’s endeavours.Underscored is how the field can restructure continuously as a consequence of triggers for change, and that consequently fields are dynamic and not static and are thus changing frequently. Furthermore, it highlights that given the correct conditions individuals can play a key role in the management of an organisational field. The overarching contribution is that change occurs in a plethora of different ways within a field as a consequence of its formation,development, triggers for change, individual’s contributions and institutional forces.
The full thesis can be downloaded here.