December 11, 2017 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Stakeholder Ideological Congruence and the Adoption of Controversial Practices
Forrest Briscoe is an associate professor of Management and Organization, and a Frank & Mary Jean Smeal Research Fellow, in the Smeal College of Business. He also holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Sociology.
New organizational practices often become yoked to particular ideological positions in society. When this happens, decision makers considering a given practice may contemplate how key stakeholders will react to it, focusing on (mis)alignment between the ideological position of the practice and the ideological positions of key organizational stakeholders. We explore the implications of this idea for the theory of inter-organizational diffusion, in which decision makers usually obtain “social proof” for a new practice’s viability from the adoptions of proximal peers. When ideological incongruence arises, we argue that decision makers will shift the basis for social proof away from their peers, instead relying on the adoptions of organizations that are most valued within that stakeholder’s ideology.
Ideological incongruence may also lead decision makers to shift their explanations for practice adoption to be more consistent with stakeholder ideology. We examine these ideas in the context of U.S. public universities adopting LGBT domestic partner benefits. From its inception in 1990, this practice was aligned with political liberalism (and against conservatism). Despite ongoing controversy, by 2013 over 70% of public universities had adopted it. Focusing on two key stakeholders, state legislatures and faculty/staff, we consider how ideological incongruence affects both the predictors of diffusion and the explanations offered for practice adoption.
Dr. Briscoe has published research articles in Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, American Sociological Review, Industrial & Labor Relations Review, Management Science, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, and many other scholarly journals. He serves as an Associate Editor for the Academy of Management Annals and Administrative Science Quarterly, and on the editorial boards of other journals including the Academy of Management Journal and the Journal of Professions and Organization. He also recently served on the executive committee of the Organization and Management Theory (OMT) division of the Academy of Management.
Dr. Briscoe’s research has also been mentioned in the media, including the Financial Times, Fortune, and The American Lawyer.