Institutionalization and Its Many Facets

  • Stéphanie GagnonEmail author
Living reference work entry



Institutionalization is a process. It involves the sequential steps required for a model to achieve an institutional status. Institutions simultaneously prescribe ways of acting and exist as a solution to collective problems.


The process of institutionalization has been documented in a variety of disciplines, namely, in political science, economics, and sociology. Although the focus of attention on the institution is not the same, these three disciplines recognize that institution plays a role in collective action and in response to basic needs. Also, institutions serve to regulate behavior, to guide them. It is a source of stability. That being said, institutions change regularly. Therefore, for new institutions to gain legitimacy, the process of institutionalization must be perpetually repeated.

In public administration, numerous models have been considered as institutions in the last 40 years,...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.École nationale d’administration publiqueMontréalCanada