PhD Workshop 2018: Syllabus

Monday, September 3, 2018
Prof. Walter W. Powell, Stanford University
Foundations of Institutional Analysis


Background Readings: (If you are not familiar with these in advance of the workshop, please read them. These are classic readings in institutional theory and everyone should have good understanding of them in advance.)

  • Berger, Peter, and Thomas Luckmann. 1968 (2004). “The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise on the Sociology of Knowledge.” A short excerpt from their book. Pp. 296-317 in The New Economic Sociology: A Reader, edited by Frank Dobbin. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Meyer, John W. and Brian Rowan. 1977. “Institutionalized Organizations: Formal Structure as Myth and Ceremony.” American Journal of Sociology 83: 340-63.
  • DiMaggio, Paul J. and Walter W. Powell. 1983. “The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields.” American Sociological Review 48: 147-60.
  • Bourdieu, Pierre and L. Wacquant. 1992. “The Logic of Fields,” pp. 95-115 in An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology, University of Chicago Press.


Afternoon session 1: Theorizing Institutional Change – Many of the early statements in institutional analysis focused on the travel of organizational practices and structures, championed by the mass media and proselytized by consultants. These pressures for convergence were amplified by educational institutions, carried by salaried professionals across organizations, and reinforced by the power of states. More recent work has analyzed competing or rival influences, focusing on disputes between alternative visions of what is appropriate. The question of timing – when are social structures receptive to change or novelty - is crucial.


  • Rao, Haygareeva, Philippe Monin and Rodolphe Durand. 2003. “Institutional Change in Toque Ville: Nouvelle Cuisine as an Identity Movement in French Gastronomy.”  American Journal of Sociology 108(4): 795-843.
  • Victoria Johnson and Walter W. Powell. 2017. “Organizational Poisedness and the Transformation of Civic Order in 19th-Century New York City.” in Organizations, Civil Society, and the Roots of Development, Naomi Lamoreaux and John Wallis, editors, University of Chicago Press.
  • Skim: Brandtner, Christof, Aaron Horvath, and W.W.Powell. 2018. “From Iron Cage to Glass House: Rationalization, Receptivity, and Intercalation in the Nonprofit Sector, 2005-2015.”


Afternoon session 2: Where do novel ideas or practices come from? Can we document how competing visions play out in the creation of new identities and organizational models? This session looks at a variety of research strategies for tackling these important questions.


  • Read: Padgett, John and Walter W. Powell. 2012. “The Problem of Emergence.” Pp. 1-29 in The Emergence of Organizations and Markets, Princeton University Press.
  • Skim: Powell, Walter W. and Kurt W. Sandholtz. 2012. “Amphibious Entrepreneurs and the Emergence of Organizational Forms.” Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal 6(2): 94–115.
  • Skim: Mora, Cristina. 2014. “Cross-Field Effects and Ethnic Classification:The Institutionalization of Hispanic Panethnicity, 1965 to 1990.” American Sociological Review 79(2):183-210.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Prof. Sarah A. Soule, Stanford University
Organizations and Movements


Over the past 15 or so years, organizational and social movement scholars have borrowed heavily from one another to build a robust and exciting literature. Social movement scholars interested in the social movement organizations and fields have benefited from organizational theory and analyses. And, organizational scholars interested in understanding organizational change, power, and conflict have benefited from insights from social movement scholars. These 2 sessions will provide an overview of research at the nexus of social movement and organizational studies, with a goal of identifying novel areas for research at this nexus.

Please read all of the following articles for our sessions. 

Afternoon Session 1: Introduction and Overview

  • King, Brayden G. and Nicholas Pearce. 2010. "The contentiousness of markets: Politics, social movements and institutional change in markets." Annual Review of Sociology 36:249-67.

Afternoon Session 2: Some Recent Empirical Examples

  •  Wang, Dan and Sarah A. Soule. 2016. “Tactical Innovation in Social Movements: The Effects of Peripheral and Multi-Issue Protest.” American Sociological Review, 81(3): 517-548.
  • Carlos, Chad and Ben Lewis. 2018. “Strategic Silence: Withholding Certification Status as a Hypocrisy Avoidance Tactic” Administrative Science Quarterly 63 (1), 130-169
  • Ferguson, JP, Tom Dudley, and Sarah A. Soule. 2018. “Osmotic Mobilization and Union Support during the Long Protest Wave, 1960–1995.”  Administrative Science Quarterly, 63(2): 441-447.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Prof. Patricia Bromley, Stanford University
Macro-institutional theory

Optional Background
: Meyer, John W., John Boli, George M. Thomas and Francisco O. Ramirez. 1997. “World society and the nation-state.” American Journal of Sociology 103(1): 144–81.

Afternoon Session 1: Global institutionalism.  The goal of this session is to develop a deeper understanding macro-institutional perspectives that examine how global socio-cultural dynamics shape local settings.  We will focus on developing a deeper understanding of the following three issues: 1) Content.  What are the central features of a world society or world culture? Where do they come from?  2)  Diffusion. What are the socio-cultural mechanisms through which global diffusion is possible?  What are political and economic mechanisms?  When/where is worldwide diffusion more likely to occur, or what kinds of policies, practices or structures are likely to diffuse?  3) Critiques.  What are the challenges, conceptual and/or empirical, with the macro perspectives?  (Note on how to prepare: You will work in a randomly selected small group to develop a more detailed answer to one of the topics above and briefly present it to the class, please be prepared to answer any of them.)

  • Dobbin, F., Simmons, B., & Garrett, G. (2007). The global diffusion of public policies: Social construction, coercion, competition, or learning?. Annu. Rev. Sociol., 33, 449-472
  • Meyer, J. W. (2010). World society, institutional theories, and the actor. Annual review of sociology, 36, 1-20.
  • Sahlin, K., & Wedlin, L. (2008). Circulating ideas: Imitation, translation and editing. The Sage handbook of organizational institutionalism, 218, 242.
  • Schofer, E., Hironaka, A., Frank, D. J., & W. Longhofer. (2012) “Sociological Institutionalism and World Society.” In E. Amenta, K. Nash,  & A. Scott (eds) The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Political Sociology.  Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. Available at:


Afternoon Session 2:  Applications & the Future.  In this session we will consider an empirical application of macro-institutional theory using the example of global organizational expansion, and discuss possible applications to your research projects.  We will consider the following:  What does macro-institutional theory predict in terms of the nature and extent of formal organization under the liberal/neoliberal world order of recent history?  What settings are likely to diverge or be buffered and why?  If global socio-cultural foundations are currently changing, what does the theory predict will happen?

  • SKIM.  Boli, J., & Thomas, G. M. (1997). World culture in the world polity: A century of international non-governmental organization. American sociological review, 171-190.
  • SKIM.  Meyer, J. W., & Bromley, P. (2013). The worldwide expansion of “organization”. Sociological Theory, 31(4), 366-389.


Thursday, September 6, 2018
Prof. Bruce G. Carruthers, Northwestern University
The institutions of a market economy


Afternoon Session 1: Many argue that modern market economies require predictability and transparency. So we consider two institutions that uphold these two features: contract law (which allows for predictable binding agreements) and accounting information (which allows for measurement of economic performance), and explore their sociological complexity.


  • Carruthers, Bruce G. and Wendy Nelson Espeland. 1991. “Accounting for Rationality: Double-Entry Bookkeeping and the Rhetoric of Economic Rationality,” American Journal of Sociology, 97(1): 31-69.
  •  Macaulay, Stuart. 1963. “Non-Contractual Relations in Business: A Preliminary Study,” American Sociological Review, 28: 55-67.


Afternoon Session 2: Commentators and policymakers have focused on the formal institutions that undergird market economies. But informal institutions matter as well. This session considers the challenge of studying formal and informal institutions empirically, particularly when they intermingle or are transitioning from one to the other.


  • Carruthers, Bruce G. 2013. “From Uncertainty Toward Risk: The Case of Credit Ratings,” Socio-Economic Review, 11(3): 525-551.
  • Fauchart, Emmanuelle and Eric von Hippel. 2008. “Norms-Based Intellectual Property Systems: The Case of French Chefs,” Organization Science, 19(2): 187-201.
  • Skim: MacKenzie, Donald. 2011. “The Credit Crisis as a Problem in the Sociology of Knowledge,” American Journal of Sociology, 116(6): 1778-1841.


Friday, September 7, 2018
Prof. Grégoire Croidieu, Grenoble Ecole de Management
Historical Methods in Institutional Analysis


Background Readings: (If you are not familiar with these in advance of the workshop, please look at them. They review key ideas to understand the role of historical methods in institutional analysis).

  • SKIM: Aldrich H. and M. Ruef. 2006. Organizations and social change. In Organizations Evolving, pp. 159-178. Thousand Oaks: Sage. 
  • SKIM: Kieser, A. (1994). Why organization theory needs historical analyses—and how this should be performed. Organization Science, 5(4), 608-620.
  • FOR THE TRULY OBSESED: Schneiberg, M., & Clemens, E. S. (2006). The typical tools for the job: Research strategies in institutional analysis. Sociological Theory, 24(3), 195-227.

Afternoon Session 1:

We will study a set of papers that highlights different theoretical explanations of the historical sources of institutional change. As these papers rely on a variety of methods to analyze multiple kinds of archival materials, we will discuss different ways theoretical arguments build on historical cases to inform institutional analysis.  

  • Erikson, E., & Bearman, P. (2006). Malfeasance and the foundations for global trade: The structure of English trade in the East Indies, 1601–1833. American Journal of Sociology, 112(1), 195-230.
  • Greve, H. R., & Rao, H. (2012). Echoes of the past: Organizational foundings as sources of an institutional legacy of mutualism. American Journal of Sociology, 118(3), 635-675.
  • Sewell, W. H. (1996). Historical events as transformations of structures: Inventing revolution at the Bastille. Theory and Society, 25(6), 841-881.

Afternoon Session 2:

This second session focuses on the relationships between historical sources, meanings and institutions. We will run a workshop using different kinds of archives from an existing project and we will discuss the methodological and theoretical implications for institutional analysis.

  • SKIM : Croidieu, G., Soppe, B., & Powell, W. W. (2017). CRU, GLUE, and Status: How Wine Labels Helped Ennoble Bordeaux. In Multimodality, Meaning, and Institutions (pp. 37-69). Emerald Publishing.