Actors, institutional work and the institutionalization of diversification strategy in an agribusiness cooperative

Ronei da Silva Leonel Junior, Cleverson Renan da Cunha


Currently, the institutional theory is one of the dominant approaches in organizational studies. One of the main critics suffered by institutional theory is the little emphasis on actions and interests of social actors, which is reflected, several times, on a deterministic attitude. In the last decade, a series of studies sought to understand the influence of social actors in the creation of new institutions. To explore the human agency study about the institution, Lawrence and Suddaby (2006) proposed the institutional work concept that enables the explanation about the influence of social actors in the institutions without focus on voluntarism. The goal of this paper is to analyze which institutional work performed by social actors has influenced the institutionalization of diversification inside an agribusiness cooperative. The investigation strategy was the documental analyzes and the data analyzes was based on narrative analysis and content. The beginning of the institutionalization of diversity has unfolded only after its entry into the soybean market. In the period from 1974 to 1989, a widespread diversification in cooperative was observed in a horizontal, vertical and unrelated way. In the period from 1989 to 2003 a restructuring of the practice and meaning of diversification occurred. Finally, it was established that the process of institutionalization was influenced by social actors inside and outside the cooperative, both in terms of persistence and the institution changes, so that its shape and its meaning were the result of those institutional works.


institutional work, cooperative, diversification

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