#OSEditorPicks: Behind Smoke and Mirrors: A Political Approach to Decoupling

[We are pleased to welcome Trish Reay, Editor-in-Chief of Organization Studies.]

In the #OSEditorPicks for August, Behind Smoke and Mirrors: A Political Approach to Decoupling, Anja Kern, Aziza Laguecir, and Bernard Leca respond to calls for more attention to power and politics within institutional theory. They conducted an in-depth study of policy implementation by a Regional Health Authority (RHA) in a French Hospital, and found different patterns of response between surgeons and cardiologists. Surgeons used their sources of power to openly reject the proposed casemix approach. Cardiologists engaged in means/ends decoupling to implement casemix as a way to improve their own interests. Ultimately, the RHA acquiesced to the powerful surgeons and renounced their previous decision to base funding on casemix performance at the clinical level. The authors draw on power dependency theory to explain different types of decoupling that occurred and different ways in which power and politics played out for each group.

I am intrigued with this article for a couple of reasons. First, it is great to see an empirical article that brings power and politics back into institutional theory by revealing important aspects of decoupling. Such an approach is long overdue. Second, this article reminds me of Selznick’s detailed and fascinating account of institutional change in the Tennessee Valley Authority (1949).  Kern, Laguecir and Leca tell a similarly captivating story that holds twists and turns, highlighting the ways that people can act in pursuit of their own interests. I believe that this article holds real value, and I encourage people interested in processes of institutional change to read it.

Join the conversation on Twitter with #OSEditorPicks

You can read Behind Smoke and Mirrors: A Political Approach to Decoupling by Anja Kern, Aziza Laguecir, and Bernard Leca free for the next 30 days. 

This entry was posted in organizational change, Organizational Studies and tagged by Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, SAGE Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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