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Protecting Scientists from Gordon Gekko: How organizations use hybrid spaces to engage with multiple institutional logics

Journal article
Authors Markus Perkmann
Maureen McKelvey
Nelson Phillips
Published in Organization science
Volume 30
Issue 2
Pages 298-318
ISSN 1047-7039
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE)
Pages 298-318
Language en
Keywords institutional complexity, institutional logics, hybrid organizations, institutional theory, university–industry relations.
Subject categories Economics and Business


Previous work on institutional complexity has discussed two solutions that organizations deploy internally when engaging externally with multiple institutional logics: blended hybrids where logics are combined throughout the organization, and structural hybrids where different logics dominate in different compartments within the organization. While blended hybrids have been extensively investigated, few studies have examined how structural hybrids are constructed and maintained. We address this imbalance by studying university-industry research centers as instances of distinct organizational spaces used to engage with a minority logic. We found that these spaces require three kinds of work: (a) leveraging, where dominant logic practices are drawn on to achieve minority logic objectives; (b) hybridizing, where the practices inside the space are modified to allow engagement with the minority logic; and (c) bolstering, where the space is shielded against excessive minority logic influence and anchored back into the organization. Furthermore, contrary to the existing literature we found that the spaces were hybrid, rather than being dominated by a single logic. Our finding is likely generalizable across many instances of structural hybrids given the integration problems that organizations with pure single logic spaces would face, combined with the usefulness of hybrid spaces. Our study is novel in revealing the work needed to sustain hybrid spaces and questioning the previously held conceptualization of structural hybrids as made up of single-logic compartments.

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