Zones of meaning, Leitideen, institutional logics – and practices: A phenomenological institutional perspective on shared meaning structures

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


We review and discuss theoretical approaches from both within and outside of institutional organization theory with regard to their specific insights on what we call “regionalized zones of meaning” – that is, clusters of social meaning that can be distinguished from one another, but at the same time interact and, in specific configurations, form distinct societies. We suggest that bringing meaning structures back into focus is important and may counter-balance the increasing preoccupation of institutional scholars with micro-foundations and the related emphasis on micro-level activities. We bring together central ideas from research on institutional logics with some foundational insights by Max Weber, Alfred Schütz, and German sociologists Rainer Lepsius and Karl-Siegbert Rehberg. In doing so, we also take a cautious look at “practices” by discussing their potential place and role in an institutional framework as well as by exploring generative conversations with proponents of practice theory. We wish to provide inspiration for institutional research interested in shared meaning structures, their relationships to one another, and how they translate into institutional orders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161 - 186
JournalResearch in the Sociology of Organizations
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502052 Business administration
  • 506009 Organisation theory

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