Jill Purdy, Shaz Ansari, and Barbara Gray


Understanding institutions requires attending both to their social fact qualities and to the bidirectional nature of institutional processes as they influence and are influenced by actors. We advocate for frames and framing as tools to elucidate meaning making activities, and to explain whether and how meanings subsequently spread, scale up, and perhaps become widely institutionalized. Frames as cognitive structures provide resources for actors and shape what they see as possible, while framing as an interaction process is a source of agency that is embedded in the everyday activities of individuals, groups, and organizations. In making the case for the framing approach, we consider how the extensive use of the logics approach in organization theory research has created confusion about what logics are and how they accommodate both structure and agency. We conclude with a discussion of the phenomenological and ontological potential of frames and framing.


institutional theory, communication, cognitive perspectives


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