Article | Organization Science | July – August 2011

The Enabling Role of Social Position in Diverging from the Institutional Status Quo: Evidence from the U.K. National Health Service

by Julie Battilana

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between social position, both within the field and within the organization, and the likelihood of individual actors initiating organizational changes that diverge from the institutional status quo. I explore this relationship using data from 93 change projects conducted by clinical managers at the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. The results show social position, both within the field and within the organization, influences actors' likelihood to initiate two types of organizational change that diverge from the institutional status quo, namely, (1) changes that diverge from the institutionalized template of role division among organizations and (2) changes that diverge from the institutionalized template of role division among professional groups in a field. The findings indicate that these two types of divergent organizational change are likely to be undertaken by individual actors with different profiles in terms of social position within the field and the organization.

Keywords: Status and Position; Transformation; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Projects; Leading Change; Managerial Roles; Relationships; Power and Influence; Health Industry; United Kingdom;

Citation:

Battilana, Julie. "The Enabling Role of Social Position in Diverging from the Institutional Status Quo: Evidence from the U.K. National Health Service." Organization Science 22, no. 4 (July–August 2011): 817–834.