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Title: Enterprise unleashed? : exercising power through isomorphism in the passive fire protection industry
Author: Russell, Stephanie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 023X
Awarding Body: Keele University
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis focuses on the passive fire protection industry which is a sector of construction that has previously been neglected by researchers. I use insights from ethnographic research to present the challenges and daily struggles individuals experience as they contend with working in a deregulated environment. My analysis contributes to the scholarship on Institutional Theory (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983), which has been traditionally used to discuss how organizations become homogenised (similar) through isomorphic pressures (coercive, normative, mimetic) as they seek to enhance their legitimacy and reduce uncertainty. In contrast to previous accounts of Institutional Theory which have ignored a critical understanding of power, I draw on Foucault (1977) to argue that isomorphic pressures exercise disciplinary power by spreading an 'enterprise discourse' (du Gay and Salaman, 1992). Enterprise endeavours to reinvent employees as autonomous, responsible and self-regulating subjects. Although the enterprise discourse encourages self-regulation, in the passive fire industry, it became a counter-discourse as individuals call for more government regulation. In a 'lighter touch' environment (UKAS, 2004: 1), the principles of enterprise (choice, autonomy) were both endorsed and turned back on to the government as employees used it to engage in non-conformance. Consideration of these issues enables a contribution to be made by highlighting the limitations of conventional accounts of Institutional Theory. I suggest that gaps in scholarship can be filled by critically examining the role of isomorphic pressures in homogenising and normalising conduct; this also points to the impact such regimes can have on an industry whose main objective is to enhance life and building safety.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD28 Management. Industrial Management