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Institutional change has been characterized as the outcome of a dialectical process whereby different constituent communities within an organizational field promote competing institutional logics (Seo and Creed 2002). However, the dynamics of this dialectical process are poorly understood. In this paper, we examine this dialectical process by drawing upon a longitudinal study of a policy intervention in the UK aimed at promoting a logic of knowledge production in genetics science (termed here as ‘Mode 2’; cf. Nowotny et al. 2001) that was co-present, and competing, with the dominant logic surrounding the production of academic science (‘Mode 1’). We highlight the tensions and interplays that occurred between these competing institutional logics by examining the rhetoric that was propounded, and the actions incurred, and their effects, amongst constituent communities of policy makers and scientists. Our findings demonstrate, first, that tensions can exist within as well as across constituent communities within the organizational field; and, second, how mobilizing a new institutional logic related to knowledge production may produce its own contradictions that can, paradoxically, lead to the simultaneous resurrection (and reinforcement) of the old logic. We discuss the implications for managing projects where these different logics are co-mingled.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Organization Studies

Publication Date

09/2010

Volume

31

Pages

1311 - 1340

Keywords

Institutional logic; Praxis; Knowledge production; Mode 2; Institutional change; Policy