This study considers how organisation-level and field-level meaning systems affect when firms adopt administrative innovations. We use a sample of over 1200 manufacturing sites to test hypotheses regarding the timing of adoption of Manufacturing Best Practice Programs. The results indicate that compatibility of the diffusing practice with the organisation’s internal meaning system is an important predictor of when firms adopt such Programs. However, the influence of such compatibility declines for later adopters - consistent with institutional pressures in the form of field-level meaning systems playing an increasing role over time. We also find that this decline occurs for sites with high exposure to institutional pressures, but not for sites with lower exposure. The findings suggest that internal meaning systems and differential exposure moderate the role of institutional pressures in the diffusion of administrative innovations. We discuss implications for theory and research on institutionalization and the diffusion of innovations.
- Meaning systems,
- institutional fields,
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