Customization Or Conformity? An Institutional And Network Perspective On The Content And Consequences Of TQM Adoption




Westphal, J. D.
Gulati, R.
Shortell, S. M.

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This study develops a theoretical framework that integrates institutional and network perspectives on the form and consequences of administrative innovations. Hypotheses are tested with survey and archival data on the implementation of total quality management (TQM) programs and the consequences for organizational efficiency and legitimacy in a sample of over 2,700 U.S. hospitals. The results show that early adopters customize TOM practices for efficiency gains, while later adopters gain legitimacy from adopting the normative form of TQM programs. The findings suggest that institutional factors moderate the role of network membership in affecting the form of administrative innovations adopted and provide strong evidence for the importance of institutional factors in determining how innovations are defined and implemented. We discuss implications for theory and research on institutional processes and network effects and for the literatures on innovation adoption and total quality management.(.)


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James D. Westphal, Ranjay Gulati and Stephen M. Shortell. Administrative Science Quarterly Vol. 42, No. 2 (Jun., 1997), pp. 366-394. DOI: 10.2307/2393924