Institutional and Organizational Unconscious Theories – An Alternative Way for Explaining Challenges in Inter-Agency Cooperation


  1. Lanteigne, P-M.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Centre for Security Science, Ottawa ONT (CAN);Royal Military Coll of Canada, Kingston ONT (CAN)
It is now well accepted in organizational theory that pure rationality does not exist. Other factors beyond the realm of the rational, deeply embedded in organizational life, contribute also to the decision-making process. But what are they? To this question, sociological institutionalism provides some answers that have been underused in the study of organizations. Whereas rational-choice institutionalism theory strictly emphasizes the role of structures for explaining the behaviour of organizations, sociological institutionalism adopts a much more holistic approach. Despite the fact that sociological institutionalism is well established in the academic community and its literature is very rich, there are few attempts by scholars to understand military organizations and collaboration with military organizations with this theory. Yet, sociological institutionalism (and its derivatives) suggests many paths to resolve and understand the repetitive mistakes and the internal inertia in many organizations. This paper is not an attempt to develop an exhaustive theory for organizational failures, but rather a review of literature in sociological institutionalism which might provide us with some useful elements for understanding this phenomenon.

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Organizations;whole of government;comprehensive approach;institutional analysis;decision making;collaboration
Report Number
DRDC-CSS-CR-2012-019 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
01 Oct 2012
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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