Backpedalling to stay ahead of the game: Discursive Institutional Work in the Deployment of Digital Terrestrial Television in France
The present paper studies the discursive institutional work of actors in their attempt to influence the institutions in place. Institutional change is often described as an interpretative struggle in which the actors argue about the meaning of reality. Discursive institutional work is based on discourse and enables actors to influence and act on the institutions in question. In this article, we use an analytical framework of interpretative struggles inspired by Hardy and Maguire (2008). The latter authors identify three forms of leverage used to shape the environment: i.e., justification, social relations and resources. Based on the case of the introduction of digital terrestrial television in France, we highlight the discursive institutional work developed by the actors, who configured justifications, social relations and resources in accordance with various scenarios. On a first level, the article contributes to neo-institutional theory by presenting a typology of four types of discursive institutional work that actors can use in order to shape institutions in their favour. This involves creating, countering, shifting and deflecting opportunities for institutional change. On a second level, we show that the actors adapt their discursive institutional work over the course of the process of institutional change. This leads us to formulate a second contribution which underscores the emergent nature of the actors’ discursive institutional work and their capacity for creativity in the deployment of their strategies.
Copyright (c) 2012 Karim Ben Slimane
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