SWG 07: Institutions and Knowledge



Michael Lounsbury, University of Alberta School of Business and National Institute for Nanotechnology, Canada


Renate Meyer, Institute for Public Management, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration (WU), Austria


Tammar B. Zilber, School of Business Administration, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel


Markus A. Höllerer, Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales, Australia


Institutions reside in intersubjectively shared knowledge about the world. This fundamental link between institutions and social knowledge is highlighted by many different strands of institutional thinking: It has been the central point of departure for cognitive institutionalism in Northern America; it is the core contribution of the sociology of knowledge that has its origins in the continental European sociology and of American pragmatism; it is a central characteristic in the so called Scandinavian institutionalism with its emphasis on meaning, interpretation and transmission of knowledge, and is also inherent in many other theoretical traditions and lines of thought

The relationship between institutions and knowledge addresses a number of key themes that will be at the centre of the SWG's program:

  • The re-establishment of the link between knowledge and institutions and probe the common ground between the traditions dealing with both, as well as the differences between them
  • The analysis of various forms of sedimentation of institutionalized knowledge and a focus on various "containers": language/discourse, categories/typifications, but also architecture, design, fashion, other artefacts or rituals, etc. and their relevance for institutional dynamics or stability
  • The creation of new knowledge/innovation and the mobilization of legitimacy
  • The processes and dynamics of the production, circulation, transformation and manifestation of collective knowledge and the role actors have in these processes
  • Linkage to the study of practice from both structural and micro-processual lenses
  • The relationship between taken for grantedness and reflexive agency including entrepreneurship, social movements and other kinds of institutional work
  • Institutional logics, belief systems within, and across, organizational fields; the role of knowledge in the constitution of fields
  • Conceptual, methodological and empirical challenges
  • The stratified distribution of knowledge and the power/domination dimension of institutions as well as a discussion of links to approaches working with the power/knowledge concept


The relationship between institutions and knowledge touches a number of key themes that will be addressed in the four-year program of this SWG.