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The Logic of Institutional Logics: Insights From French Pragmatist Sociology


Journal of Management Inquiry

Published online on


Research on institutional logics has exploded in the last decade. Much of this work has taken its inspiration from Friedland and Alford’s call to "bring society back in" to organizational analysis. Interestingly, when Friedland and Alford published their seminal piece, another body of work with similar focus emerged in France under the banner of French Pragmatist Sociology. In this article, we discuss how French Pragmatist Sociology complements institutional logics by helping it address its main limitations or blind spots. These include (a) microfoundations and recursiveness (how institutions are formed, maintained, or changed at a micro level), (b) legitimacy struggles (how struggles are resolved on a day-to-day basis), (c) morality (as an important element underscoring institutional logics), and (d) materiality (as physical and tangible instantiations of logics). We conclude by suggesting that a rapprochement between both approaches provides an elegant means of bridging the lingering divide between "old" and "new" institutionalism.