Mike Zundel and Robin Holt of the University of Liverpool Management School and Joep Cornelissen of VU University Amsterdam published “Institutional Work in The Wire: An Ethological Investigation of Flexibility in Organizational Adaptation” in the Journal of Management Inquiry’s January 2013 issue. The abstract:
Analysis of institutional work is habitually complicated by the need to combine agentic and structural features. Drawing on the work of Gregory Bateson, the authors suggest that such complications emerge from an error in epistemology whereby the stability and “it-ness” of things is presupposed. As an alternative, they develop a processual analysis that considers the flexibility of adaptation in relational patterns. Here, institutional phenomena are not stable but characterized by regenerative and degenerative cycles of influence that afford or restrict room for maneuver without classifying them “as” something. The authors explicate this by drawing on empirical material covered in the HBO TV series The Wire.