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Table 1 Comparison of Agency, Institutional, and Situated Change Theoriesa

From: What can organisational theory offer knowledge translation in healthcare? A thematic and lexical analysis

  Agency Theory Institutional Theory Situated Change Theory
Key idea Organisational practices arise from efficient organisation of information and risk-bearing Organisational practices arise from imitative forces and firm traditions Change occurs through frequent, emergent, and sometimes imperceptible variation
Basis of organisation Efficiency Legitimacy Subtlety
View of people Self-interested rationalists Legitimacy-seeking satisficers Trialists
Role of environment Organisational practices should fit environment A source of practices to which organisation conforms Organisational practices should negotiate with environmental conditions
Role of technology Organisational practices should fit technology employed Technology moderates the impact of institutional factors or can be determined institutionally Technology is appropriated to organisational conditions
Problem domain Control problems (vertical integration, compensation, regulation) Organisational practices, in general The dynamic interplay between innovation, people, and their organisational context
Independent variables Outcome uncertainty, span of control, programmability Industry traditions, legislation, social and political beliefs, founding conditions that comprise the institutional context Organisational context, individual interests and capacities
Assumptions People are self-interested, rational, and risk-averse People satisfice and conform to external norms People are innovative, and perseverant
  1. a Adapted from Eisenhardt [22] and Orlikowski [9]