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The search for legitimacy and organizational change: The agency of subordinated actors

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  • Robson Sø Rocha
  • Lise Granerud, Institut for Interkulturel Kommunikation og Ledelse, Denmark
This article investigates the organizational changes triggered by the implementation of certified management systems (CMS) in Denmark and explores how institutionalized organizational practices change over time. The study shows that improvements in performance were not significant in the implementation of CMS, though in most cases its adoption implied organizational changes. The study also shows that the search for external legitimacy was appropriated by various internal organizational actors, other than management. When internal actors share the institutionalized beliefs and norms of the wider society, they implicitly strive to reduce decoupling. We argue that understanding the social dynamics of legitimacy in organisations requires paying attention to the agency of superordinated as well as subordinate actors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Management
Pages (from-to)261-272
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Research areas

  • Institutional theory, Certified management systems, Legitimacy, Organisational change, Health and safety, Self-regulation, Standard

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