Mandated RFID and institutional responses: Cases of decentralized business units

Mark Barratt, Thomas Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Using a theory-building approach based on case studies, this research explores the responses of four decentralized business units to institutional pressure to adopt Radiofrequency Identification (RFID) technology. The institutional pressure emanates from the Department of Defense, and the affected decentralized business units operate in a large defense contractor. Institutional theory explains how organizations respond to external pressures to adopt new procedures, policies, and technologies. The case studies show how business units vary in their response to the RFID mandate and how different internal dynamics manifest. The responses range from complying faithfully, primarily concerned with satisfying the external constituent, to completely ignoring the mandate and focusing on internal efficiency initiative utilizing RFID. A number of propositions are developed to better understand the organizational responses to exogenous pressure to implement RFID. The paper concludes by proposing future research directions and issues that must be considered further.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-585
Number of pages17
JournalProduction and Operations Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2007


  • Case studies
  • Organizational behavior
  • RFID
  • Technology adoption
  • Theory development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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