The organization needs to effectively deal with the institutional environment challenges to secure legitimacy and achieve sustainable development. Due to some problems such as holding the isomorphism hypothesis, ignoring the organizational micro-level dynamic role, underestimating the degree of institutional complexity, the explanatory power of traditional institutional theory is weak in the context of the increasingly complex institutional environment. Therefore, the research on organizational responses to institutional complexity has gradually become a hot topic of scholars’ attention. Firstly, based on the evolution of theoretical understanding, this paper puts forward the " quantity–content–time” framework of the institutional complexity connotation analysis, emphasizing the " number of institutional logics”, " the interactive pattern of institutional logics” and " the dynamics of institutional complexity” are the core content dimensions of institutional complexity. Secondly, based on the key influencing factors of the organizational response behavior, this paper presents the " structure–situation–person–time–location” framework of the institutional complexity response strategies analysis. Then, this paper analyzes the typical application scenarios of institutional complexity response research, including hybrid organizations, complex and dynamic organizational fields. This paper further points out the key differences to be considered in Chinese context application, including the overall characteristics difference of the institutional complexity, the government and the market " both strong and coexistence, both change and interaction” to bring a unique impact, the organizational response behavior rooted in the unique social and cultural environment, the complexity and dynamics of the fields are more significant in the transitional environment. Finally, based on the above analytical frameworks, this paper constructs a theoretical model of organizational responses to institutional complexity and proposes some prospects for future research. The model emphasizes that the institutional complexity research should focus on the complexity connotation, localization characteristics and typical application situations, organizational response behavior research should focus on response strategies, response heterogeneity, response levels and response ambidexterity, and organizational response outcomes research should focus on the relationship between response behaviors and organizational legitimacy, organizational changes or innovations, institutional changes or innovations, and fields changes. This research will help to deepen the theoretical understanding of the emerging concept of institutional complexity and help to systematically sort out the types of response strategies and develop new strategies. Meanwhile, it also points out the direction for the connotation analysis, feature identification and response research of institutional complexity in the context of emerging markets and transition countries represented by China.
Organizational Responses to Institutional Complexity: Analytical Frameworks and a Research Model
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 40, Issue 08, pp. 3 - 16,29 (2018) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.2018.08.001
 Cai Ning, He Jinjiang, Wang Jiexiang. Institutional pressure and entrepreneurial strategic selections of firms facing Internet Plus: A case study based on Didi Chuxing Platform[J]. China Industrial Economics, 2017, (3): 174-192.
 Deng Shaojun, Rui Mingjie. Top manager’s cognition and firm’s ambidexterity: A case study based on strategic transformation of Zhejiang Kinghing Capital Co., Ltd.[J]. China Industrial Economics, 2013, (11): 135-147.
 Du Yunzhou, You Shuyang. Analysis of the frontier of institutional logic and institutional pluralism research and prospects for further research[J]. Foreign Economies and Management, 2013, 35(12): 2-10.
 Li Xiaodan, Liu Yang. Review on institutional complexity and implications for Chinese management research[J]. Chinese Journal of Management, 2015, 12(12): 1741-1753.
 Luo Yadong. The dilemma and future of Chinese management theory research[J]. Foreign Economies and Management, 2015, 37(3): 3-15.
 Luo Yadong, Sun Jinyun, Wu Yajun. A theory of amalgamation (Hé): A new paradigm of strategic theory based on oriental culture[J]. Foreign Economies and Management, 2015, 37(6): 3-25.
 Su Jingqin, Liu Chang. External context construction of Chinese enterprises and a literature review[J]. Foreign Economies and Management, 2016, 38(3): 3-18.
 Tu Zhiping, Song Tiebo. A literature review of enterprise strategic responses to institutional pressure and prospects[J]. Foreign Economies and Management, 2016, 38(11): 101-114.
 Wei Jiang, Wang Shixiang, Yang Yang. Isomorphism to whom? The response of Chinese multinational enterprises' overseas subsidiaries to institutional duality[J]. Management World, 2016, (10): 134-149.
 Battilana J, Dorado S. Building sustainable hybrid organizations: The case of commercial microfinance organizations[J]. Academy of Management Journal，2010, 53（6）: 1419-1440.
 Binder A. For love and money: Organizations’ creative responses to multiple environmental logics[J]. Theory and Society， 2007, 36（6）: 547-571.
 Boxenbaum E, Jonsson S. Isomorphism, diffusion and decoupling[A]. Greenwood R, Oliver C, Sahlin K, et al. The SAGE handbook of organizational institutionalism[C]. London: SAGE, 2008: 78–98.
 Dalpiaz E, Rindova V, Ravasi D. Combining logics to transform organizational agency: Blending industry and art at Alessi[J]. Administrative Science Quarterly，2016, 61（3）: 347-392.
 DiMaggio P J, Powell W W. The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields[J]. American Sociological Review，1983, 48（2）: 147-160.
 Faulconbridge J, Muzio D. Global professional service firms and the challenge of institutional complexity: “Field relocation” as a response strategy[J]. Journal of Management Studies，2016, 53（1）: 89-124.
 Goodrick E, Salancik G R. Organizational discretion in responding to institutional practices: Hospitals and cesarean births[J]. Administrative Science Quarterly，1996, 41（1）: 1-28.
 Granqvist N, Gustafsson R. Temporal institutional work[J]. Academy of Management Journal，2016, 59（3）: 1009-1035.
 Greenwood R, Díaz A M, Li S X, et al. The multiplicity of institutional logics and the heterogeneity of organizational responses[J]. Organization Science，2010, 21（2）: 521-539.
 Greenwood R, Hinings C R, Whetten D. Rethinking institutions and organizations[J]. Journal of Management Studies，2014, 51（7）: 1206-1220.
 Greenwood R, Raynard M, Kodeih F, et al. Institutional complexity and organizational responses[J]. Academy of Management Annals，2011, 5（1）: 317-371.
 Heimer C A. Competing institutions: Law, medicine, and family in neonatal intensive care[J]. Law and Society Review，1999, 33（1）: 17-66.
 Jarzabkowski P, Smets M, Bednarek R, et al. Institutional ambidexterity: Leveraging institutional complexity in practice[A]. Lounsbury M, Boxenbaum E. Institutional logics in action[C]. Bingley: Emerald, 2013: 37–61.
 Kodeih F, Greenwood R. Responding to institutional complexity: The role of identity[J]. Organization Studies，2014, 35（1）: 7-39.
 Luo X W, Wang D Q, Zhang J J. Whose call to answer: Institutional complexity and firms’ CSR reporting[J]. Academy of Management Journal，2017, 60（1）: 321-344.
 Meyer R E, Höllerer M A. Laying a smoke screen: Ambiguity and neutralization as strategic responses to intra-institutional complexity[J]. Strategic Organization，2016, 14（4）: 373-406.
 Oliver C. Strategic responses to institutional processes[J]. Academy of Management Review，1991, 16（1）: 145-179.
 Pache A C, Santos F. When worlds collide: The internal dynamics of organizational responses to conflicting institutional demands[J]. Academy of Management Review，2010, 35（3）: 455-476.
 Raaijmakers A G M. Take care! Responding to institutional complexity in Dutch childcare[M]. Ridderkerk: Ridderprint, 2013.
 Raaijmakers A G M, Vermeulen P A M, Meeus M T H, et al. I need time! Exploring pathways to compliance under institutional complexity[J]. Academy of Management Journal，2015, 58（1）: 85-110.
 Reay T, Hinings C R. Managing the rivalry of competing institutional logics[J]. Organization Studies，2009, 30（6）: 629-652.
 Smets M, Jarzabkowski P, Burke G T, et al. Reinsurance trading in Lloyd’s of London: Balancing conflicting-yetcomplementary logics in practice[J]. Academy of Management Journal，2015, 58（3）: 932-970.
 Smets M, Morris T I M, Greenwood R. From practice to field: A multilevel model of practice-driven institutional change[J]. Academy of Management Journal，2012, 55（4）: 877-904.
 Thornton P H, Lounsbury M, Ocasio W. The institutional logics perspective: A new approach to culture, structure and process[M]. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
 Thornton P H, Ocasio W. Institutional logics[A]. Greenwood R, Oliver C, Sahlin K, et al. The SAGE handbook of organizational institutionalism[C]. London: SAGE, 2008: 99–129.
 Vermeulen P, Zietsma C, Greenwood R, et al. Special issue of strategic organization: “Strategic responses to institutional complexity”[J]. Strategic Organization，2014, 12（1）: 79-82.
 Vermeulen P, Zietsma C, Greenwood R, et al. Strategic responses to institutional complexity[J]. Strategic Organization，2016, 14（4）: 277-286.
Cite this article
Deng Shaojun, Rui Mingjie, Zhao Fuchun. Organizational Responses to Institutional Complexity: Analytical Frameworks and a Research Model[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2018, 40(8): 3-16.
Previous: A Literature Review of Top Management Team Dynamics: Based on the Process Model of Upper Echelon Theory