Abstract: The new institutionalism in sociology and organizational research is best represented as an extended family of scholars that share a broadly defined theoretical orientation. The multiple lines of thought in this tradition have a common interest in the relationship between social structure and organizations. Within this frame, researchers differ in their conceptualization of institutions (e.g. as specific legal or resource relationships versus a wider culture), the focus of causal arguments (e.g. top-down versus bottom-up), and the focal feature of organizations (e.g. formal structures versus practices and behavior). This robust theoretical tradition provides a valuable lens for understanding contemporary organizations and management.
In: James D. Wright (editor-in-chief), International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd Edition. Vol 16. Oxford: Elsevier. pp. 764–769.