Tag Archives: institutional theory

Organizing Literature for Writing Reviews and Theory

I feel like I need one stop shopping for my institutional theory, fields, emergence, and logics chapter.

How do other people do this?

Traditionally, I suppose I would have taken reading notes or annotations on each item.  Then a draft would be written using quotations from those sources.

Now I have notes and annotations scattered across many sources.  There are

  • Reading notes by item
  • Synthetic notes where I assemble quotes and my thoughts from multiple sources around a common theme.
  • Digital annotations and underlining in pdfs of articles and books.
  • Hard copy annotations in books (and maybe a few articles that are older)
  • Lists of possible resources

I am feeling stymied by how best to proceed.  As this is a topic I will come back to, I am interested not just in finishing this draft, but also in having a tool or resource.  I can keep adding to for future writing.  A secondary benefit is using it for teaching or for collaborating.


  1. Just write, no resource.  Here I would continue to edit the draft as is and add literature as I need to based on the need in the draft and relying on memory or searching the PC for items.  I could also go through known good sources systematically and leave a few quotes around paper as needed.

Pros: Seems most direct.  No worries about other tools.

Cons: each search may lead me down rabbit holes.  Relying on memory or other ways to access lit may bias me in a direction.  Has been aggravating in the past.

2. Use Excel.  I would make a spreadsheet with all the resources.  They are ranked by essentiality.  I could add some rough summaries of some resources I have.  I can then add fields as necessary.  One issue is what to do with quotes.  If I put them in a field, or in new columns, each record could get really LONG (down the screen) or WIDE (across).  A variation is to add a hyperlink to a file of good quotes from each one.

Pros: Easy to add and manipulate records.

Cons:  Not easy to get material from spreadsheet into a paper.  If the spreadsheet is very big, cumbersome to find things.  If I use hyperlinks, I still have to hunt in that file for quotes.

3. Use Word.  Like Excel.  I would use Word and have it as a table.  Easier to edit text in Word.  Still not sure what to do with quotations.  If I try to go “wide” as in extra columns for quotations, then it can get very wide quickly.  Like Excel, not sure how to organize quotations anyway.

Pros: Better word editing than excel.

Cons: Table may have upper limit of rows and columns

4. Use Nvivo.  Nvivo can code in PDFs AND in word documents.  So, if one starts from scratch, one can build many possible searchable nodes into a library of documents.  This is very good for supporting multiple projects with same or similar literature.  It also has analytical features, like searching for words and using that as the basis for coding.  It can output what is collected.  It can also support theory building through queries.

Pros: Building multi-use, multi-project tool.  Searching PDFs AND documents.  Search and query functions for theory building. With reports, can extract the references with their quotes.

Cons: can not edit tables/databases in Nvivo.  Time intensive right now.

5. Use a wiki-like tool such as google sites.  I have already done this some in compiling some synthetic notes about Institutional theory or operating definitions for this project.

Pros: With hyperlinks, somewhat easier to get from one topic to another.

Cons: Would have to cut and paste all content.  No obvious way to include pdfs.

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Filed under Research, writing

This NWN post, Rosedale leaving, does not surprise me. It seems a major management shift in parallel with a strategy shift was underway. I have been meaning to see more about the content policy, the class-action lawsuit against LL by content creators, and anything about new strategy.

All of these actions seem like mid-level, world-based responses/ How it will play out in terms of field dynamics and communities of users may be a great data slice for our papers.

I like Au’s two theories. I wonder if the physical interaction interface (the rig) is the more likely.

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Filed under organization theory, technology, virtual worlds

Fields in Institutional Theory

Every time I write about fields from an institutional theory perspective, I get hung up on what they mean.   I suppose that means I should write more about them.  Or that there are underlying tensions in how different scholars use them?

Somewhere in the various Virtual Worlds paper drafts that litter my “My Documents” like the broken and sunken galleons rising out of the Carribean Sea are probably the various definitions.  Maybe I should pull them all together and have that as my own reference file.

This post also represents the level of musing, free writing, and beginnings of conversations that I imagine I might use this blog for.  Sometimes I look at what I put here and it seems so NOT representational of the scholarship I am doing or currently working through.  It ends up looking more like my miscellaneous folder.  This is partly due to a concern  about not wanting to expose the messy writing process.  It is party because somehow I worry about giving away good ideas.  It is partly because fuller treatments of core ideas or puzzles I am working on require more time to write well and then it seems like the blog is time wasting instead of useful scholarly communication.


Filed under organization theory, sociology, writing

Discussion of governance at TN blog

Here is an interesting discussion of governance over at TN blog.

The premise is to compare Internet to VW governance and see how VWs differ.  Sensible approach (! one I am using!).

Reading it did make me wonder if we are using governance More broadly than it is usually used.  The post author, Ren Reynolds, is looking at very “normal” governance issues; taxation and criminal enforcement. And those are fine and good to look at.  I have just thinking about governance as not only government control, but the production of order especially from a phenomenological perspective.  How do people feel or experience a VW as regularized or ordered?  The basis for that experience of order (or ordering) includes the code written by programmers working for firms constrianed by national governments. But it also includes the more normative and cogntive sources of patterning and order (look, NOT being surprosed by non human avatars is a certain kind of order.  A libertarian one, i suppose).

That is why I keep looping back to neo-institutional theory.

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Filed under Information and Communication Technology, Politics, Power, Activism, Research, virtual worlds

Politics inside or outside the magic circle?

The magic circle seems a key concept in virtual worlds and gaming.  For origin of the term from Huzinga, see here.

The wikipedia article, in summarizing Castronova’s arguments, states:

Even though there are political activities inside synthetic worlds, it is interesting to note that “debates, which really do involve legitimate political interests, almost always occur outside the membrane rather than inside it.”[16

How about for SL?  Do these discussions happen inside or out?  What about other VWs?  Isn’t the story in Second Life Herald all about sparking these types of discussions in-world?  In TSO and also in SL?  And the apocryphal account of LambdaMOO discussion about the cyber rape was also in that world.

And is the point whether the discussion is between self-identified people or avatars?

Lastly, ignoring above distinction for the time, one of the lessons I draw from how discussions happen outside the membrane is that it is further proof of how users of VWs and MMOs are part of a broader institutional field.

“The organizational field isolates for analysis a system of organizations operating in the same realm as defined by relational linkages and shared cultural rules and meaning systems(118)”

(from: Scott, W. R., Davis, G. F., & Scott, W. R. (2007). Organizations and organizing : Rational, natural, and open systems perspectives (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.)

So, in the out-of-membrane discussions about politics, we see a network of players, or a community, instead of an organization formally, but nonetheless engaging in joint enterprise.  THis network is defined by its relation to the virtual world and also to other networks of players/users and also worlds.  They discuss and strategize about political questions pertaining to the synthetic world in ways that reveal shared (or contested) cultural rules and meaning systems,  What makes for  a good game?  What is fair?  What should different parties do?  These are questions relevant only in the context of a field.

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Filed under Gaming, organization theory, Research, social theory, technology, virtual worlds