Resolving contradictions in institutional demands through loose coupling

Joshua D. Newton, Michael T. Ewing, Paul M. Collier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Organizational units are often required to satisfy institutional demands from internal or external stakeholders that, when examined in their totality, are contradictory. Drawing on interviews with the leadership teams from four national offices of a multinational professional marketing services firm, we develop a framework to explain how an organizational unit can locally resolve these contradictions by becoming loosely coupled with their institutional environment. The framework describes how the organizational unit leverages trust from organizational superiors to develop a space that receives minimal organizational oversight, allowing them to locally implement strategies for resolving contradicting institutional demands. The framework also demonstrates how alliance building is integral to this process of resolving contradictory institutional demands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-753
Number of pages7
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Institutional theory
  • Loose coupling
  • Power
  • Trust

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