Reflection on Historical Studies of Institutional Change: Small Steps Are Not Necessarily Missteps. A Rejoinder to Daudigeos, Boutinot And Jaumier.

Abstract : The study of institutional change over a period of history involves several theoretical and methodological issues. In proposing a commentary on our article published in Vol. 17 n°3 of M@n@gement (Peton and Pezé, 2014), Daudigeos, Boutinot and Jaumier have provided an opportunity to open up the debate, and we thank them for that. Their commentary concerns two major points: a methodological question concerning the choice of data in a historical research context, and a resulting reflection on the consideration given to collective representations in analysis of institutional work. Before replying in concrete terms to the points raised by Daudigeos et al., we wish to return to the objective of our article and clear up one matter they raise. Our study starts with reflection on the different institutional pillars. While Scott (2008) stresses the importance of all three pillars (normative, cognitive and regulative), the regulative pillar is rarely studied in the literature on change. It finds itself relegated to the role of a ratifier of changes driven by the cognitive and normative pillars, and has generally been considered static and treated as the same thing as the rule produced by the State (Scott, 2008; McCann, 1994). The case of Faute Inexcusable, an institutionalized practice introduced in 1898 and still in force today, reveals the complexity of a regulative pillar that has a real, and very specific, institutional dynamic. We can only agree with Daudigeos et al. when they stress the importance of paying attention to interaction between institutional pillars in institutional change. Our article focused mainly on the regulative pillar, such that we do not propose any contribution regarding interactions between pillars and their mutual effects – that was not our research project. However, our contribution to the understanding – and a form of intellectual rehabilitation – of the regulative pillar paves the way for a broader research agenda explicitly aimed at exploring the interaction dynamic between the pillars, without claiming to answer it comprehensively.
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Hélène Peton, Stéphan Pezé. Reflection on Historical Studies of Institutional Change: Small Steps Are Not Necessarily Missteps. A Rejoinder to Daudigeos, Boutinot And Jaumier.. M@n@gement, AIMS (Association internationale de management stratégique), 2015. ⟨hal-01211377⟩

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