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BIP Research Cluster seminar 'Institutional Change and Government-Driven Disruption'

Research Cluster

Speaker:Thomas Roulet, King's College, London
Date: Tuesday 25 April 2017
Time: 2.30 pm
Location: Constantine Leventis Teaching Room, Building: one

Further details


Institutional work plays a key role in the transformation of institutional fields and has become central to understand how the struggle between those who disrupt and those who defend institutions lead to institutional change. Yet research has overlooked the institutional struggles that exhibit significant power imbalance between contending actors, one typical case being when field-level actors are pressurized by a government. This study aims at understanding the strategies through which defensive actors survive political pressure and the forms of institutional change that can bring settlement in those conditions. We draw on an in-depth longitudinal analysis of the changes faced by the Venezuelan arts market, facing the disruption effort of the Chávez government. To maintain its place within the global art world, Venezuelan actors had to circumvent external forces and engage in the creation of an institutional niche - a “Bubble of Freedom” – in which their activity is made acceptable to both the disruptive and the maintaining actors. Our study enables a better understanding of governments as disruptive institutional actors, and fleshes out forging a parallel field as a form of defensive institutional work that can lead to the consolidation of key preexisting values, because of the need for contradictory forces to settle on a common understanding of the institutional field.


Thomas Roulet is Senior Lecturer in the School of Management & Business at King's College, London. His work uses institutional and stakeholder theories lenses to study social evaluations (in particular the negative ones such as stigma and disapproval) and ethics in professional service firms and cultural fields. He is a Research Fellow at the Center for Professional Service Firms at the University of Oxford, and at the Society & Organization (SnO) Center at HEC Paris. He has papers recently published or forthcoming in the Academy of Management Review, the Academy of Management Journal, Work Employment & Society, Organizational Research Methods, Journal of Business Ethics and Harvard Business Review.