Address correspondence to: Jeannette A. Colyvas, 2120 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are grateful for comments from Andrei Marcovits, Woody Powell, James Rosenbaum, Marc Schneiberg, James Spillane, Reed Stevens, Arthur Stinchcombe, two anonymous reviewers, and the audience at the Scancor Seminar on Institutional Theory at IESE, Barcelona, Spain. We would also like to thank Paul Zolkind for his research assistance. Support for this project came from the National Science Foundation (SES 0849036) and from the Swedish Research Council.
Ubiquity and Legitimacy: Disentangling Diffusion and Institutionalization*
Article first published online: 21 FEB 2011
© 2011 American Sociological Association
Volume 29, Issue 1, pages 27–53, March 2011
How to Cite
Colyvas, . J. A. and Jonsson, S. (2011), Ubiquity and Legitimacy: Disentangling Diffusion and Institutionalization. Sociological Theory, 29: 27–53. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9558.2010.01386.x
- Issue published online: 21 FEB 2011
- Article first published online: 21 FEB 2011
Diffusion and institutionalization are of prime sociological importance, as both processes unfold at the intersections of relations and structures, as well as persistence and change. Yet they are often confounded, leading to theoretical and methodological biases that hinder the development of generalizable arguments. We look at diffusion and institutionalization distinctively, each as both a process and an outcome in terms of three dimensions: the objects that flow or stick; the subjects who adopt or influence; and the social settings through which an innovation travels. We offer examples to flesh out these dimensions, and formulate testable propositions from our analytic framework that could lead to further theoretical refinement and progress.