When Institutional Work backfires : Organizational Control of Professional Work in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Research Seminars
Academic Areas Marketing
Professor Rama Jayanti, Professor of Marketing, Cleveland State University
May 2, 2013 | Thursday
AC 3 MLT, hyderabad, Hyderabad, India
For ISB Community

Integrating institutional and role theories, this paper develops a Logics-Roles-Action (LRA) framework for understanding how for-profit organizations structure institutional work to managerially control the work of professionals they employ. Structurally, this institutional work involves three elements: (1) internalizing pluralistic logics (logics), (2) institutionalizing distinct roles embedded in these logics (roles), and (3) scripting goal-oriented role enactment plans (action). The LRA framework posits that social knowledge of clients and publics is a critical factor in precipitating institutional change from the institutional work of organizations, whether intended or not. An empirical examination ofthe LRA framework in thepharmaceutical industryevidencesfour distinct organizational strategies thatscriptrole enactments of sales professionalsin their interactions with physicians.Each strategy is intended to reaffirm prevailing institutional logics, but eventually backfires by disruptingthe very institutional structures that it seeks to maintain and replicate.  We show that this disruptive effect is mediated by changes in the social knowledge of institutional work. We close with theoretical and managerial implications for organizational structuring of institutional work and dynamics of institutional change.

Key words: institutional work, institutional change, logics, role enactment, organization, professional work, pharmaceutical marketing