Home Sweet Home? The multiple logics of homeownership and the politics of conflict in a hybrid organization
Feldscher, Courtney L.
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This dissertation explains the existence, sources, and variability of intra-organizational conflict in a hybrid organization. It assesses the usefulness of "structural" and "cultural" explanations of conflict and ultimately advances an alternative explanation for the presence of and variability in conflict in a hybrid organization. Homeowners' associations are used as a case for understanding the development of multiple institutional logics and the relationship between institutional pluralism and complexity and the presence of and variability in conflict in a hybrid organization. Drawing from quantitative and qualitative research conducted on homeowners' associations in the Greater-Boston area, including 250 surveys and 56 in-depth interviews with board members of homeowners' associations, I show how the American history and ideology of homeownership has generated two multiple, permanent, and functionally contradictory institutional logics--one based on the market and the other based on the community--in homeowners' associations. Using institutional theory and the concepts of institutional work and ambidexterity, I argue that organizational actor's responses to the presence of institutional pluralism and complexity, as evidenced in their perceptions and practices, determine whether a hybrid organization is subject to more or less conflict. My findings lead to three general conclusions. First, many homeowners' associations experience significant conflict. Second, structural and cultural explanations of conflict only partially explain the presence of conflict in homeowners' associations. They do not explain the variability of conflict in homeowners' associations. Third, and most significantly, the micro-actions of organizational actors matter in situations of institutional pluralism and complexity. I propose that organizational actors' responses to institutional pluralism and complexity explain variability in conflict; organizational actors either "don't do" or "do" logics. Organizational actors who "don't do" logics respond to institutional pluralism and complexity by eliminating and compartmentalizing logics. They perceive multiplicity as novel and problematic and enact disruptive practices to contest and separate logics. This results in more conflict. Organizational actors who "do" logics respond to institutional pluralism and complexity ambidextrously. They perceive multiplicity as routine, and even beneficial, and enact practices to maintain multiple institutional logics via context-specific and purposeful practices including adjustment, improvisation, and switching. This results in less conflict.