Institutional entrepreneurship in North American lightning protection standards: Rhetorical history and unintended consequences of failure
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This article examines a historical case study of failed institutional entrepreneurship in the context of a mature lightning protection standard developed under the auspices of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in the United States. Particular emphasis is placed on events post-1989 when entrepreneurs who had continuously supported the conventional standard sought to establish a competing standard in parallel. When unsuccessful, they sought to entirely remove the existing standard of almost 100 years. The study shows how failure of institutional work may in fact lead to a strengthening and reproduction of existing institutions and their underlying logics, contrary to the institutional entrepreneurs' intent. It also underscores the potential value of history as an interpretive device and strategic resource for both challengers and custodians of institutions, and moves beyond heroic conceptions of institutional entrepreneurship to recognise the discontinuous, non-linear, collective processes that take place in institutional work. Keywords: institutional entrepreneurship; institutional work; institutional logics; rhetorical history; standards; lightning protection
Copyright 2012 Routledge, Taylor & Francis. This is an electronic version of an article published in Business History, Volume 55, Issue 1, 2013, Pages 73-97. Business History is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com with the open URL of your article.