Bridging the Gap Between Organizational Institutionalism and Situated Action: A Video-Based Analysis of a Simulation-Based Device in Healthcare

  • Catherine Félix
  • Lise Arena
  • Bernard Conein
Part of the Technology, Work and Globalization book series (TWG)


This chapter bridge two intellectual traditions that often fail to be brought together in the organization studies literature, namely organizational institutionalism and situated and distributed approaches. While providing a better account of material aspects of institutions, they enhance the role of artefacts and tools as currently accounted by the situated/distributed approach. They couple a reference to materiality of institutions with a reference to the manipulation of objects and equipment in a changing environment. The ambition to establish a dialogue between these two intellectual traditions is made possible by an observation of specific “naturally occurring data”. It gives an access to recorded sequences of actions that provide a fine-grained analysis of the relation between the setting as a local workspace and the arena as a broader institutional context. This method enables to capture a disadjustment between distinct levels of activities: institutional environment (public durable framework), an external plan (defined as both an organizational programme and a scenario for acting) and situated action (real-time local interactional routines). The fieldwork is conducted in an experimental hospital and focuses on the implementation of a digital artefact—a simulation-based training device personified in a lifelike virtual mannequin—initially designed to improve teamwork skills in a health professionals’ community (doctors, physicians and nurses). In line with the tradition initiated by workplace studies, Felix et al. argue that the workspace is made of materials (cognitive artefacts and physical tools) and body movements that act as an external support for action when the environment is prepared and familiar.


  1. Agre, P. (1985). Routines, MIT Memo 828.Google Scholar
  2. Agre, P. (1997). Computation and human experience. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benner, P. E., & Tanner, C. A. (1987). Clinical judgment: How expert nurses use intuition. The American Journal of Nursing, 87(1), 23–31.Google Scholar
  4. Berger, T., & Luckmann, P. (1967). The social construction of reality. New York: Doubleday Anchor.Google Scholar
  5. Boxenbaum E., Huault, I., & Leca B. (2016), Le tournant matériel dans la théorie néo-institutionnaliste. In F. X. de Vaujany, A. Hussenot, & J. F. Chanlat (Eds.), Théorie des Organisations: Nouveaux Tournants (pp. 227–238). Paris, France: Economica.Google Scholar
  6. Cameron, K. S., Whetten, D. A., & Kim, M. U. (1987). Organizational dysfunctions of decline. Academy of Management Journal, 30(1), 126–138.Google Scholar
  7. Clark, A. (1996). Being there: Putting brain, body and world together again. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  8. Clot, Y., Faïta, D., Fernandez, G., & Scheller, L. (2000). Entretiens en auto-confrontation croisée : une méthode en clinique de l’activité. Perspectives interdisciplinaires sur le travail et la santé, 2(1), 1–20.Google Scholar
  9. de Vaujany, F.-X., & Mitev, N. N. (Eds.). (2013). Materiality and space: Organizations, artifacts and practices. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  10. Dieckman, P., Gaba, D., & Rall, M. (2007). Deepening the theoretical foundations of patient simulation as social practice. Simulation in Healthcare: Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, 2(3), 183–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dourish, P. (2001). Seeking a foundation for context-aware computing. Human Computer Interaction, 16, 239–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Faita, D. (1997). La conduite du TGV, exercice de styles. Champs visuels, 6, 75–86.Google Scholar
  13. Gherardi, S. (2000). Practice-based theorizing on learning and knowing in organizations: An introduction. Organization, 7(2), 211–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gibson, J. J. (1986). The ecological approach to perception. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  15. Goodwin, C. (1981). Conversational organization, interaction between speakers and hearers (pp. Xii+195). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  16. Gray, B., Purdy, J. M., & Ansari, S. S. (2015). From interactions to institutions: Microprocesses of framing and mechanisms for the structuring of institutional fields. Academy of Management Review, 40, 115–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Greenwood, R., Oliver, C., Sahlin, K., & Suddaby, R. (2008). Introduction. In R. Greenwood, C. Oliver, K. Sahlin, & R. Suddaby (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of organizational institutionalism (pp. 1–46). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  18. Gylfe, P., Franck, H., Lebaron, C., & Mantere, S. (2016). Video methods in strategy research: Focusing on embodied cognition. Strategic Management Journal, 37, 137–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Harmon, D. J., Green, S. E., & Goodnight, G. T. (2015). A model of rhetorical legitimation: The structure of communication and cognition underlying institutional maintenance and change. Academy of Management Review, 40, 76–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Heath, C., & Luff, P. (2000). Technology in action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hollan, J., Hutchins, E., & Kirsh, D. (2000). Distributed cognition: Toward a new foundation for human-computer interaction research. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 7(2), 174–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hutchins, E. (1995). Cognition in the wild. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  23. Kirsh, D. (1995). The intelligent use of space. Artificial Intelligence, 73(1–2), 31–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kontos, P. C., & Naglie, G. (2009). Tacit knowledge of caring and embodied selfhood. Sociology of Health & Illness, 31(5), 668–704.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lave, J. (1988). Cognition in practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mead, G. H. (1932). Philosophy of the present. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Meyer, J., & Rowan, B. (1977). Institutionalized organizations: Formal structure as myths and ceremony. American Journal of Sociology, 83, 340–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mondada, L. (2006). Video recording as the preservation of fundamental features for analysis. In H. Knoblauch, J. Raab, H.-G. Soeffner, & B. Schnettler (Eds.), Video analysis. Bern: Lang.Google Scholar
  29. Monteiro, P., & Nicolini, D. (2014). Recovering materiality in institutional work: Prizes as an assemblage of human of material entities. Journal of Management Inquiry, 24(1), 1–21.Google Scholar
  30. Norman, D. (1988). The psychology of everyday things. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  31. Norman, D. (1991). Cognitive artifacts. In J. M. Carroll (Ed.), Designing interaction: Psychology at the human-computer interface (pp. 17–38). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Ostrom, E. (2005). Understanding institutional diversity. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Ostrom, E. (2007). Institutional rational choice: An assessment of the institutional analysis and development framework. In P. A. Sabatier (Ed.), Theories of the policy process (2nd ed., pp. 21–64). Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  34. Ostrom, E., & Basurto, X. (2011). Crafting analytical tools to study institutional change. Journal of Institutional Economics, 7(3), 317–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Philips, N., & Lawrence, T. B. (2012). The turn to work in organization and management theory: Some implications for strategic organization. Strategic Organization, 10(3), 223–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Phillips, N., & Malhotra, N. (2008). Taking social construction seriously: Extending the discursive approach in institutional theory. In R. Greenwood, C. Oliver, K. Sahlin, & R. Suddaby (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of organizational institutionalism (pp. 702–720). Thousand Oaks: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Phillips, N., Lawrence, T. B., & Hardy, C. (2004). Discourse and institutions. Academy of Management Review, 29, 635–652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pope, C., Smith, A., Goodwin, D., & Mort, M. (2003). Passing on tacit knowledge in anaesthesia: A qualitative study. Medical Education, 37, 650–655.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Powell, W. W., & Colyvas, J. A. (2008). Microfoundations of institutional theory. In C. Oliver, K. Sahlin, & R. Suddaby (Eds.), The Sage handbook of organizational institutionalism (pp. 276–298). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rao, H., Monin, P., & Durand, R. (2003). Institutional change in Toqueville: Nouvelle cuisine as an identity movement in French gastronomy. American Journal of Sociology, 180(4), 795–843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Relieu, M. (2006). Remarques sur l’analyse conversationnelle et les technologies médiatisées. Revue Française de Linguistique Appliquée, XI(2), 17–32.Google Scholar
  42. Sacks, H. (1984). Notes on methodology. In M. Atkinson & J. Heritage (Eds.), Structures of social action: Studies in conversation analysis (pp. 21–27). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Suchman, L. (2009). Human-machine reconfigurations: Plans and situated actions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Suddaby, R., & Greenwood, R. (2009). Methodological issues in researching institutional change. In D. Buchanan & A. Bryman (Eds.), The Sage handbook of organizational research methods (pp. 176–195). Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar
  45. Zucker, L. G. (1977). The role of institutionalization in cultural persistence. American Sociological Review, 42, 726–743.Google Scholar
  46. Zucker, L. G. (1991). Postscript: Microfoundations of institutional thought. In W. W. Powell & P. J. DiMaggio (Eds.), The new institutionalism in organizational analysis (pp. 103–107). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Félix
    • 1
  • Lise Arena
    • 1
  • Bernard Conein
    • 1
  1. 1.Université Côte d’Azur, CNRSGREDEGFrance

Personalised recommendations