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Journal of Management and Business Research, 2021
38( 4 ):411-443
DOI: 10.6504/JMBR.202112_38(4).0001
Delaying Change: How Incumbents’ Defensive Institutional Work Avoids Radical Change in Sustainability Transitions
Although institutionalists have verified that institutions do change, how and why the scope and pace of change vary are less explored. Rather than focusing on institutional entrepreneurs, this study highlights the incumbents’ reaction to institutional change. By studying the case of the failed sustainability transition involving the phasing out of gasoline- and diesel-powered scooters in Taiwan, this study examines incumbents’ defensive institutional work to avoid radical change when deinstitutionalization occurs. The study reveals that this defensive work is devoted to intersubjectively interpreting how change should proceed temporally. The study identifies temporal work characterized as involving following shared beliefs: “more haste, less speed,” “now is not the time,” and “coexistence.” The study further proposes the mechanism underlying the delays in the transition to enhance the understanding of the social construction of institutional change.
Key Words
defensive institutional work, temporal structuring, institutional change, sustainability transition, gasoline-powered scooter phase-out
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