New Directions in the Study of Institutional Logics: From Tools to Phenomena

Michael Lounsbury, Christopher W.J. Steele, Milo Shaoqing Wang, Madeline Toubiana

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


In this article, we take stock of the institutional logics perspective and highlight opportunities for new scholarship. While we celebrate the growth and generativity of the literature on institutional logics, we also note that there has been a troubling tendency in recent work to use logics as analytical tools, feeding disquiet about reification and reductionism. Seeding a broader scholarly agenda that addresses such weaknesses in the literature, we highlight nascent efforts that aim to more systematically understand institutional logics as complex, dynamic phenomena in their own right. In doing so, we argue for more research that probes how logics cohere and endure by unpacking the role of values, the centrality of practice, and the governance dynamics of institutional logics and their orders. Furthermore, we encourage bridging the study of institutional logics with various literatures, including ethnomethodology, phenomenology, professions, elites, world society, and the old institutionalism, to enhance progress in these directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-280
Number of pages20
JournalAnnual Review of Sociology
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • culture
  • governance
  • institution
  • institutional logics
  • institutional theory
  • practice
  • value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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