Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jennifer Bair

Second Advisor

Isaac Reed

Third Advisor

Kathleen Tierney


Institutional theorists have recently turned to the concept of institutional work to explain how the behavior of actors in organizational fields can establish, maintain, and transform the institutional logic that prevails in the field. In this paper I focus on the role of key actors in the process of changing field-level logics. Acknowledging that prior research efforts commonly study change `in the moment' and leave relatively ignored the ongoing nature of the change process, I study the institutional work of key actors in the United States Army during a period of relative stability that follows the transition from a Cold War to a post-Cold War institutional logic. Analyzing a set of official stories provided by key actors in the U.S. Army, I expose the complex and contradictory nature of the institutional work that takes place after the logic that prevails in a given field is successfully replaced with a new logic. My findings support the contention that institutional work, and not the institutional logic that prevails, is responsible for the periods of relative stability that often follow successful change processes.

Included in

Sociology Commons