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Changing institutions: An experimental study of micro-level mechanisms

Programme group Institutions, Inequalities and Life Courses

Funded by an Aspasia Grant, Klarita Gërxhani will investigate how individuals, wishing to change institutions in the organization to which they belong, set about doing so. And what determines their likelihood of success.

Aspasia Grant for a NWO-VIDI research proposal

Period: 2011-2014

This project aims to investigate how individuals wishing to change institutions in the organization to which they belong set about doing so and what determines their likelihood of success. As examples of such institutions, think of policies related to gender, age discrimination (including retirement), or environmental measures.

The project will first address this question theoretically. Following the tradition in analytical sociology the theory will search for and focus on mechanisms underlying relations between micro-level individual decisions and meso-level organizational processes. Mechanisms to be studied include social norms, trust & reciprocity, bargaining power, and emotions.

The theory will subsequently be submitted to an empirical test using data generated in a controlled laboratory setting. For this purpose, experimental designs will be developed that allow one to isolate the mechanisms deemed by the theory to be important.

More in particular, the project will address the following research questions:

  • What mechanisms determine whether individuals with a wish to change their organization’s institutions will attempt to do so? 
  • What determines the approach used by individuals when attempting to change an institution and how does the likelihood of success depend on this choice? 
  • What mechanisms determine whether and how organizations respond to individual attempts at institutional change? Experiments Laboratory experiments will be used for the empirical validation of the causal processes described by the theory. 

The original NWO-VIDI research proposal was named: CITEwomen: Changing Institutions - Theory and Empirics applied to women in the top