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The Recursive Nature of Institutional Change: An Annales School Perspective

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Journal of Management Inquiry

Published online on


In this essay, we propose a recursive model of institutional change building on the Annales School, one of the 20th century’s most influential streams of historical research. Our model builds upon three concepts from the Annales—mentalities, levels of time, and critical events—to explore how critical events affect different dimensions of institutional logics and exert short- or long-range influences. On these bases, organizations make choices, from decoupling to radical shifts in logics, leading to severe institutional changes that become the matter of history. As much as organizations are influenced by events and the prevalent institutional logics, their choices trigger macro-level changes in a recursive manner. More broadly, we comment on how fruitful is our approach to historicize organization studies.