The Value of Values for Institutional Theory
Though values were once the central focus of institutional theory, they are now a latent, marginalized and dimly understood element of a much larger and more complex perspective. The present paper is a response to this curious and ironic situation. In the effort to refocalize values and foment a new wave of value-centric institutional scholarship, our review addresses three more specific questions. The first concerns the nature, origin and functions of values themselves. The second concerns values’ relationship to other institutional elements and their place within the broader institutional landscape. The third concerns “the value of values” and the particular ways in which they can inform and enrich institutional research. Our review addresses these questions both by “reaching back” into the institutional tradition and by “reaching across” into the broader and recently resurgent sociological literature on values. We close by discussing a number of promising directions for future research.
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