Multi-scaled analysis

Institutional theory is a powerful tool to examine institutional environments (Paul & Feliciano-Cestero, 2020) and how they affect tourism and hospitality businesses. Because of the complexity that each layer adds to the institutional environment, it becomes more challenging to analyse it. Nevertheless, there are a number of ways in which institutional environments can be understood.

Institutional logics

Institutional complexity has been examined from the perspective of conflicting institutional logics within organisations as well as in different markets (Boone & Ozcan, 2020; Greenwood et al., 2011; Saka-Helmhout et al., 2016). Institutional logics can be characterised through organising principles by which different actors “organize time and space and provide meaning to their social reality” (Thornton & Ocasio, 1999, p. 804). This social reality can be influenced by many different factors, such as religion, industrycharacteristics, and actors involved in the formation of logics (Gümüsay et al., 2020). For example, in the banking sector, the development of the banking or financial sector is strictly governed by banks in cooperation with state institutions (Almandoz, 2014). Lack of constitutive legitimacy significantly impacts how conflicting institutional logics are (Boone & Ozcan, 2020). Religion has been conceptualised from an institutional perspective in relation to the beliefs being rooted in traditions and rituals that shape formal organisations, such as churches (Creed et al., 2010). With such institutions, market and religion logics are often in conflict because of the differences in their purpose, products, and practices (Thornton et al., 2012). For example, the payment of interest is banned in the Islamic banking system (Quran, 2, 275), which fundamentally contradicts the orthodox Western banking system (Gümüsay et al., 2020). This is a situation which can then have interesting implications for those destinations and organisations seeking to embrace Islamic-friendly business practices given that it may be that while some visible elements of what is halal (allowed) are followed, such as food, other elements that are haram (forbidden), such as loans from financial organisations that charge interest or acceptance of interest-charging credit cards, may be hidden (Hall & Prayag, 2020).

The existing literature on the institutional enviromnent focuses on how organisations deal with competing or incompatible institutional logics in different markets (Cheung et al., 2020; Faulconbridge & Muzio, 2016; Ramus et al., 2016; Thornton, 2002). For example, Thornton (2002) found that one logic usually dominates and influences the way organisations adapt and change according to institutional pressures. Faulconbridge and Muzio (2016) have found that organisations can employ several tactics to adapt their organisational practices to deal with competing institutional logics. This incompatibility makes it more challenging to analyse institutional logics and organisational responses to them.

Organisational responses to institutional logics are influenced by institutions, and their enforcement mechanisms are formed by government requirements (Peters, 2012). Organisations operate in multiple markets, and they must deal with different layers of institutional enviromnent in these markets (Luo & Zhang, 2016; Meyer & Hollerer, 2014. 2016). The government forms laws and regulations, but the government and other key actors also influence the ways these institutions and their enforcement mechanisms are implemented (Hall, 2009; Boddewyn, 2016). Therefore, the relationship with home and host governments at different levels are important. These relations are dynamic and can be risky, depending on the geopolitics of the countries involved (Dang et al., 2020). This makes the analysis of competing for institutional logics challenging because of the involvement of different actors whose interests may not align.

Ramus et al. (2016) suggest that collaboration is necessary for managing a highly unstable institutional environment, and that collaboration is achieved by formalising standard procedures. Organisations that employ collaboration tend to strictly follow established regulations because they are more visible in a market. Strong visibility encourages organisations to collaborate with different actors to balance their different interests and expectations (Scholz & Wang, 2006).

In contrast, Oliver (1991) found that manipulation is a purposeful strategy that organisations employ to influence and control institutional pressures. To control these pressures, organisations attempt to exercise power over the stakeholders who created them (Cheung et al., 2020). Manipulation is useful when the institutional environment is rather weak or when governments are unwilling or hesitant to intervene because organisations are able to change existing norms and regulations (Pache & Santos, 2010) and which can therefore allow organisations to deal with competing institutional logics (Pache & Santos, 2010). Overt examples of manipulation in tourism include greenwashing, in which businesses claim their products are environmentally friendly or otherwise manipulate their reporting in order to maintain their legitimacy (Thomas, 2014; Guix et al., 2018; Usmani et al., 2020) or the manipulation of online reviews (Gôssling et al., 2018; Gossling et al., 2019).

Engaging in actor-specific manipulation (Kostova et al., 2008) can help organisations to handle domestic institutional complexity. The central government has the authority to change existing legislation and regulations (Wang et al., 2018, 2020). In some cases, similar legislative powers in some policy areas will also lie with regional governments. Therefore, it is in the interest of an organisation to submit to the requirements of the government or be willing to otherwise contest and influence them (see Box 3.2). By doing so, organisations inevitably seek to manipulate the government to adjust necessary regulations in their favour. Depending on the relative powers of different levels of government within countries, regional and local governments may have only limited regulatory responsibilities (Baranov et al., 2015; Gel’man & Ryzhenkov, 2011). However, regional and local government can sometimes promote a certain regulatory change by bargaining on behalf of organisations.

One response to domestic institutional complexity and issues of compliance is avoidance. Avoidance is a concept proposed by Oliver (1991) as a response to institutional pressures, and suggests that organisations hide their non-conformity to the rules and/or escape the unstable institutional environment. Further, Pache and Santos (2010) contend that when organisations are faced with conflicting institutional demands, they resort to avoidance by concealing their non-compliance and engaging in ceremonial compliance.


The platform economy is often regarded as a form of disruptive innovation (Hall & Williams, 2020). Much of the disruption is not just to competitors and industry sectors but also in terms of policy, legislation, and regulation. Policy and regulative disruption, as in the well-recognised cases of Airbnb and Uber, can result from conscious choices by businesses to exploit legal loopholes or to challenge regulatory protections for incumbents. The platform economy is only the latest in a series of “disruptive innovations” such as the advent of the new communication technologies, the growth of hospitality franchising over independent food service providers, or the emergence of the car-based suburban mall and big-box stores and their impact on high street shopping. However, many such disruptive innovations can often be accommodated within existing law, such as land use law in the case of shopping malls.

Policy and regulation, e.g. permitting, monitoring, standard setting, compliance, and enforcement, are usually related to the business model of the regulated industry. When business models change, for example, because of the application of new technologies, the result can be a disjunction between the regulatory system and the industry that is being regulated, which is therefore a policy disruption. The policy problem stems from the

Disconnect between the existing regulatory structure and the business innovation threatening the incumbent industry firms. Moreover, the relevant regulatory structure need not be confined to the regime governing the incumbent industry, as the business innovation might be so novel compared to industry incumbents that it raises policy concerns that the incumbents do not.

(Biber et al., 2017, pp. 1580-81)

Biber et al. (2017) identify four primary types of policy disruption:

  • End-runs - conscious choices by entrepreneurs to exploit ambiguous legislation and regulation;
  • Exemptions - express legislative and regulatory loopholes;
  • Gaps - innovations to which the existing regulatory regime does not apply; and
  • Solutions - solve problems that regulatory systems are designed to address.

In responding to these disruptions, policymakers have several regulatory responses: using existing regulations to block the new business; not changing the existing regulatory structure; applying existing regulations, and developing new regulations. These responses are outlined in Table 3.1 in the case of Uber and Airbnb (Hall & Williams, 2020).

Source: Hall and Williams (2020)

Table 3.1 Regulatory responses to disruptive innovation

Regulatory tool


Application to Uber

Application to Airbnb

Block new

Interpret legal

Only licensed

Only licensed


rules to block

taxis can serve



the new

this market.

providers can

business model

Uber is not

serve this market.

and preserve

permitted to

Airbnb providers


operate at all.

are not legally


permitted to

and business

operate at all.



Allow business

Uber is permitted

Airbnb providers



to serve

are permitted


to proceed

this market.

to serve this



market. Existing

changing the

legal rules

legal rules for


for taxis only



apply to taxis.


This may

Uber remains

only apply to


cheaper than

providers over

make the

taxis. The

a certain room


value of a

size or open for


taxi license

specific periods.

model and


Airbnb remains

its associated

and the taxi

cheaper than



hotels leading to



cost pressures



on formal



providers and

increased pressure

to change the




Table 3.1 Continued

Regulatory tool


Application to Uber

Application to Airbnb

Old Regulations

Allow the new

Existing safety

Existing health

firm to enter

rules for taxi

and safety

the market

vehicles and

regulations for

but apply

taxi drivers


existing legal

are designed

providers are

rules. This

to protect

designed to



protect guest


safety. Uber

safety. An Airbnb


is like a taxi.

provider is



like a licensed

costs on new




safety rules


models but

for vehicles

therefore, these

aims for

and drivers

rules will be

a “level

apply to Uber

applied to Airbnb

playing field”

just as they

hosts. This was


do for taxis,

increasing the



cost for hosts but


the cost of

does not block


Uber but

market entry.

not blocking

market entry.


Develop new

End the previous

A new set of




regulations for


system for


and legal

taxi drivers

providers is

and policy

and vehicles.



Adopt new

These address

The new

legal rules that

public and policy


address policy

concerns such

need not

concerns such

as guest safety,

be neutral

as safety,

tax rating, health



and building








competition, or

regulations, and





Source: After Biber et al., 2017; Hall & Williams, 2020.

This flexibility in interpreting laws makes the institutional environment more challenging, as formal institutions are not unified (Greenwood et al., 2011). The lack of unified institutions encourages organisations to rely on their networks (Helmke & Levitsky, 2004). Because the government can, in some circumstances, manage organisational non-compliance with regulations, reliance on informal institutions can become dysfunctional (Puffer et al., 2016; Raaijmakers et al., 2015). As a result, MNEs strive to reduce their collaboration with the government at a layer that is necessary.

Being less visible enables organisations to be more flexible in how they respond to institutional ineffectiveness (Greenwood et al., 2011; Meyer & Hôllerer, 2016). When the institutional environment is unstable, organisations adapt their processes to address external institutional pressures (Selznick, 1957). Conflicting institutional logics can make the institutional environment highly complex to operate in because organisations must meet different stakeholder demands (Ingstrup et al., 2020; Saka-Helmhout et al., 2016). The experience of dealing with conflicting institutions can serve as a learning mechanism for handling unstable institutional environments (Marano & Kostova, 2016; Ramus et al., 2016). The convergence and divergence of institutional logics can lead to aligmnent and misalignment at three levels: actor-type, relationship, and system levels. These levels will differ within and between different stakeholders such as governments and organisations (Ingstrup et al., 2020).

Effectiveness of institutions and their enforcement

The effectiveness of formal and informal institutions is an important part of the development of the institutional environment (Garrone et al., 2019; Helmke & Levitsky, 2004). Their effectiveness is measured by the extent to which formal rules and procedures are enforced and obeyed (Helmke & Levitsky, 2004). Rules and regulations are more tangible and concrete, which makes it easier to analyse their effectiveness. Informal institutions are not as concrete as formal ones (North, 1990), which makes it more challenging to analyse their enforcement and effectiveness (Tsai, 2006).

Formal institutions, such as rales and regulations, are more tangible because they are written and have boundaries (North, 1990). These boundaries are effective if the rales and regulations are properly enforced (Malesky & Taussig, 2017). The boundaries are formed as a result of creating the institutional environment, which is influenced by the relationship between key actors (Besharov & Smith, 2014). These key actors, such as government at different levels, guide the creation and enforcement of formal institutions depending on the state’s governance structure (Peters, 2012). However, enforcement mechanisms and punishment for non-compliance can be costly for the government (Malesky & Taussig, 2017), particularly in terms of public perceptions. Hence, different actors can manipulate the interpretation of these institutions and their boundaries (Brinks, 2003; Tsai, 2006) and have a guiding role in developing the institutional environment, which can be driven informally (Azari & Smith, 2012).

A combined national system of institutions helps shape and guide the strategic behaviour of different actors (Ahmadjian, 2016; Paul & Feliciano-Cestero, 2020). The interactions of formal and informal institutions are driven by the effectiveness of their implementation and enforcement (Helmke & Levitsky, 2004). Previous examinations of interactions between institutions have focused on informal institutions being complementary, accommodating, substitutive, or competing, based on their effectiveness. However, the degree of effectiveness of the institutional system is important but oversimplified when studying the institutional environment and its various elements. Yet, the different interactions can enable an understanding of the complexity of the institutional environment and how organisations handle it (Poulis & Poulis, 2016). Examining the configurations of the interaction between formal and informal institutions can help identify patterns that tourism and hospitality organisations use to navigate different institutional environments. Nevertheless, the applicability of institutional effectiveness will differ depending on organisational attributes and positioning in the field (Greenwood et al., 2011).


Legitimation is a process of gaining social acceptance and normalising acts and behaviours (Zelditch, 2001). The government can affect the legitimation process by interfering in organisational decision-making (Bitektine & Haack, 2015; Deephouse, 1996; Kujala et al., 2020), as well as investment options (Gorynia et al., 2019). The public is a stakeholder that is fundamental to the legitimation process via social judgements (Deephouse et al., 2017). Indeed, for many commentators, legitimation is equated with public legitimation, although the governmental influence on the reputations of an organisation is also an important factor that can affect the legitimacy process (Bitektine, 2011; Suchman, 1995). Organisational attributes, such as positioning in the field, performance, and institutional knowledge, can also affect how organisations deal with the institutional environment and legitimation process (Dau, 2016; Greenwood et al., 2011; Kostova et al., 2008; Luo et al., 2017) and can help organisations access financial resources and networks (Deephouse,

Institutional analysis 69 1996; Meyer & Scott, 1983; Rottig, 2016), and develop organisational capabilities (Golgeci et al., 2019). All of these attributes therefore enable organisations to strengthen their financial position in the market and establish the necessary networks to navigate the institutional environment (Rottig, 2016).

Increased visibility, for example, via campaigns and networking, can help organisations gain more attention at the government level. This often leads to their accessing strategic resources (Boddewyn & Brewer, 1994; Murtha & Lenway, 1994; Tost, 2011). Strategic positioning is also partly determined by an organisation’s strategic importance to a country’s or destination's economic development and the sector in which it operates.

Organisational attributes can also influence a firm's ability to gain external legitimacy (Caussat et al., 2019; Kostova & Zaheer, 1999). The attributes include an organisation’s size, performance, and reputation (Deephouse, 1996; Kostova & Zaheer, 1999; Tost, 2011). Tost (2011) argues that size is directly linked to market visibility and affects different stakeholders’ perceptions. Such perceptions can significantly impact the judgement process, which is crucial to legitimation.

Organisational performance is another factor affecting an organisation’s legitimation. Performance is commonly measured by financial metrics but can also include consumer metrics as well. Deephouse (1996), for example, found that organisational performance can be endorsed by regulators. Drori and Honig (2013) extend this perspective by suggesting that legitimacy can be endorsed by those in authority, while the public is increasingly seen as a source of endorsement of organisational activity, especially with respect to positive perception about an organisation (Deephouse et al., 2017). Regardless, the process of endorsement is a conscious act that influences organisational behaviour (Deephouse, 1996). Significantly, in a tourism context, the endorsement has become increasingly tied to various aspects of sustainability, for example, social dimensions such as human rights and treatment of minorities, economic aspects such as labour rights, and various environmental aspects such as animal rights, carbon management, and biodiversity conservation. These aspects of endorsement might be explicitly tied to third party evaluations, e.g. for credentialing purposes, as well as to campaigns from pressure groups. In such cases, actions can have implications for organisational disclosure strategies and management practices (Herold & Lee, 2019). Indeed, the significance of public endorsement as a means of legitimation for organisations means that many tourism organisations and destinations are increasingly becoming a focus for political consumerism (Seyfi & Hall, 2020).


A boycott may be defined as "the refusal and incitement to refusal to have commercial or social dealings with offending groups or individuals” (De Crespigny & McKinnel, 1960, p. 319). Boycotting acts are often tied to collective public expressions of disapproval and protest that are potentially affecting the brand, image, and even commercial viability of the boycott target - a country, destination, government, individual, or firm - and therefore function as a significant factor in legitimation. Boycotts are among the most frequent forms of consumer expression against perceived unethical or egregious acts by firms and corporations (Farah & Newman, 2010). In some circumstances, authorities or pressure groups may urge consumers not to buy specific products or the products of a particular business or destination to encourage the adoption of particular businesses practices (Farah & Newman, 2010; Seyfi & Hall, 2020). This is of growing significance given its potential repercussions on economic performance measures as well as the potential effects on market share and sales and the image of targeted organisations and destinations (Shaheer et al., 2018; Seyfi & Hall, 2020). Interestingly. Delacote (2009) distinguishes between market boycotts and media-oriented boycotts, the aim of the former being to reduce sales and the latter to signal disapproval and to increase public awareness. Clearly, media-oriented boycotts are aimed at delegitimising organisational behaviours, but this may also have the consequence of reducing sales. In a study of 1023 boycott events with 93 targeted firms in Korea during 2006-2016, Yang and Rhee (2020) found that public boycotts positively affected CSR disclosure speed. However, the disclosure speed did also vary depending on the magnitude of the potential loss resulting from failing to act and from simply responding too slowly to such boycotts. Nevertheless, CSR disclosure was found to be a significant risk-reduction mechanism against boycotts, given greater transparency with respect to business policies and actions.

Shaheer et al. (2018) identified 146 destination boycotts that were initiated between 1948 and 2015, with more than 90% of the observed boycotts emerging between 2003 and 2015. They reported four main factors for the increasing number of boycotts over the years: 1) innovation of new technology, specifically social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter; 2) the increase in social movements; 3) emphasis on ethical consumerism; and 4) the use of tourism as a vehicle for social change. Shaheer et al. (2019) examined the reasons behind tourist boycotts and showed that human rights violations (e.g. unjust treatment and policies towards the LGBT community or other discriminatory practices based on race, gender, and nationality), animal welfare concerns, and political and environmental issues are the most common reasons for destination boycotts.

The form of the relationship between different actors affects the actions organisations take to gain and maintain legitimacy. The relationship is influenced by the interests of these actors. The relationship has a temporal dimension - it develops as a result of the past and has consequences for the future. Temporality is a dynamic process of change and can facilitate examining different stages of change and outcomes (Langley, 1999). The changes in interests between different stakeholders influence their evolving relationship. This relationship is not linear, because, to a degree, the actors involved can change. As a result, the legitimation process also has a significant temporal dimension (Zapata Campos et al., 2018).

The temporality of the relationship between the key stakeholders can influence the legitimation process. The past and future shape an organisation's present actions. Past events and projected future events may thus shape temporal experiences (Deleuze, 1994). Organisations use connections established in the past to develop present relationships with government, non-government organisations, the public, and other relevant actors that can predict the outcomes of their relationships and legitimation processes in the future. The temporal experience is, thus, whether their relationships facilitate or obstruct their ability to gain and maintain legitimacy.

The interests between different actors, change as a result of increasing institutional pressures (Oliver, 1991). Further, different government levels pursue different interests, which makes it more challenging for MNEs to achieve their goals (Hall & Jenkins. 1995; Wang et al., 2018). When the governments' and organisations' interests converge, operating in the complex institutional environment is less challenging for the different actors.

Organisations should submit to existing regulations to receive privileges from the government (Bitektine & Haack, 2015; Deephouse, 1996). Non-compliance with existing regulations can largely affect organisations’ legitimation process. They can also try to hide their non-compliance with existing regulations to avoid jeopardising their ability to gain legitimacy. By demonstrating that they submit to regulations, organisations ensure that they still gain privileges, such as financial benefits and tax cuts from the central government, and access to networks in foreign markets from the regional government (Luo et al., 2017; Wang et al., 2020).

Another reason for diverging interests is because MNEs decrease their government dependency by learning how to operate in a highly unstable institutional environment (Zhang & Merchant, 2020). The political science literature emphasises the importance of legitimacy at the macro level because it influences different actors’ perceptions of a government and a country (Allee & Huth, 2006; Crook, 1987; McDonough et al., 1986). External stakeholders’ negative perceptions are likely to weaken a country’s legitimacy (Gilley, 2006). This literature provides evidence that a government's political legitimacy can affect the external legitimacy of MNEs from that country.

Deephouse (1996) and Elsbach and Sutton (1992) state that to gain legitimacy, organisations must satisfy and prioritise the actor whose perception most strongly affects their operations. This is a simplistic assumption, because, while organisations may prioritise whom to satisfy, they do not always have a choice.

When the interest gap between the parties increases. MNEs focus on their core goals of organisational development, and the government focuses on its core goals of economic development of the country and its regions. The government can influence an MNE’s image and reputation, which can shape foreign partners’ perceptions and judgements - both important factors that affect organisational legitimacy (Bitektine & Haack, 2015).

Networks with different actors can create obstacles for MNEs to gain external legitimacy. An adversarial relationship can do this in the form of sudden institutional changes being introduced that influence the organisational legitimation process. The relationships between organisations and the government at different levels are dynamic, and these companies have the knowledge and experience of managing these relationships. This enables them to capitalise on different relationships with governments at different levels and to engage in a positive legitimation process. Understanding why and how the multi-layered institutional environment evolves can help us to analyse it more rigorously.


In their pursuit of legitimacy, organisations modify themselves to be compatible with the characteristics (structures, beliefs, and discourses) of their institutional environments. As a consequence, organisations from the same field will often be structurally and strategically similar as they respond to similar institutional pressures (cognitive, normative, and coercive), resulting in a process known as isomorphism (Deephouse, 1996; Scott, 2008). Soares et al. (2020), for example, in a study of technology adoption in hotels identified signs of isomorphism across a number of technology adoption practices and uses. The found that hoteliers adopted similar standards, felt the need to mimic competition, and strove to be positively evaluated on sites such as TripAdvisor in order to achieve legitimacy in the marketplace. Consumers were perceived as powerful agents driving technology adoption in the sector, although trade associations or other governing bodies appeared to have little influence on technology adoption decisions, with certification from third parties being perceived as a more important source of legitimation than recognition from government bodies or industry associations.

Coercive isomorphism refers to the conformity to certain practices as a result of rules, legislation, or other coercive mechanisms, and economic and regulatory sanctions. Yet, under conditions of uncertainty in a relatively unregulated organisational field, as in the case of sustainability in the tourism industry (Zapata Campos et al., 2018), normative and cognitive aspects of the institutional environment become more salient. Normative isomorphism comes, for example, from unquestioned adherence to industry standards but also prevalent values and preferences in a market or a community. While cognitive isomorphism (or mimesis) refers to the unconscious reproduction of standards, practices, or structures following those who appear to be successfill in the organisational field. Nevertheless, organisations within the same field do not always show similar sustainability strategies and practices (Hall et al., 2016; Peters et al., 2020) despite being exposed to common institutional pressures.

Developments in institutional theory show how institutional forces can also lead to heterogeneity in a sector rather than isomorphic homogeneity, given that organisations differ in their receptivity to pressures (Hoffman, 2001). For example, in the case of tourism businesses the power of the department or individual promoting CSR and sustainability practices is an internal aspect that may explain different responses. Delmas and Toffel (2008) also showed how organisations channel institutional pressures through different sub-units, which frame pressures according to their routines. For example, legal departments frame them in terms of risk and liability, while financial departments do it in terms of costs and revenue. The consequence is that sustainability can be differentially framed within the same organisation as a competitiveness strategy, as regulatory pressure, or as an ethical responsibility depending on the section responsible (Bansal & Roth, 2000). Other internal organisational features such as the role of leadership values (Egri & Herman, 2000), managerial attitudes (Cordano & Frieze, 2000; Sharma, 2000), and historical environmental performance can also influence how managers perceive stakeholder pressures and their responses (Prakash, 2000), and the visibility of the firm. In addition, Zapata Campos et al. (2018) noted the differentials between public pressure on company environmental performance in the destination and tourist generating countries as being a potential factor in firm actions. Therefore, differences in the adoption of sustainable tourism practices reflect not only different levels of institutional pressures but also differences in organisational characteristics, since internal organisational dynamics, including for those that operate internationally, act as moderating factors that magnify or diminish the influence of institutional pressures.

Oliver (1991) highlights that organisations respond to their institutional environments in different ways, varying from compliance, compromise, and avoidance, to defiance and manipulation (Table 3.2). One of the possible responses is what has been termed “decoupling” (Meyer & Rowan, 1977), which refers to the process whereby organisations “that adopt particular structures or procedures may opt to respond in a ceremonial manner, making changes in their formal structures to signal conformity but then buffering internal units, allowing them to operate independent of these pressures” (Scott, 2008, p. 171). The term has also been used to refer to implementation gaps in sustainability standards (Bromley & Powell, 2012; Jamah, 2010; Zapata Campos et al., 2018). Yet, beyond the decoupling explanation, CSR and sustainability reports and codes of conduct, although taken initially as ceremonial conformity, can turn performative and become effective over time with real consequences (Bartley & Zhang, 2012), especially as external stakeholders start to use the data in such reports opening it to greater scrutiny. For example, in their case study of the Swedish travel operator Apollo, Zapata Campos et al. (2018, p. 15) suggest,

Since the risk for buffering is high in a lowly regulated sector with few specific resources allocated to monitoring gaps between

Table 3.2 Strategic responses to institutional pressures








Follow taken-for-granted institutional norms and practices

Copy and mimic institutional models

Obey rules and accept norms and practices





Balance the expectations of multiple actors and stakeholders

Placate and accommodate institutional actors and elements

Negotiate with institutional constituents and stakeholders





Disguise non-conformity

Loosen institutional attachments

Change goals, activities or domains



Challenge Attack

Ignore explicit institutional norms, mores, and values

Contest institutional rules and requirements

Assault the sources of institutional pressure





Cooperate with influential agencies, constituents, and stakeholders

Seek to shape institutional values, rules, and criteria

Seek to dominate institutional constituents, stakeholders and processes

Source: After Oliver (1991), Zapta Campos et al., 2018.

voluntary standards and practices, the role of NGOs and the media in exposing non-implementation or fulfilment of standards is crucial.

Ceremonially adopted rules can therefore lead to change over time and recouple formal and informal structures as a consequence of reflexivity and negotiations that convince internal organisational actors of their appropriateness independent of instrumental considerations (Dashwood, 2012). Internal and external debates of sustainability and responsibility may, therefore, also create conditions for future change through organisational learning (Dashwood, 2012, 2014), an issue that may be critical for the inclusion of various factors such as sustainability data in CSR discourses (Parker & Chung, 2018).

Source: Adapted from Zapata Campos et al. (2018)


Governance is the act of governing (Hall. 2011a). Governance has emerged as a significant theme in tourism studies, especially in the planning and policy-related literature, and is often used interchangeably with the study of government and the state. There is no single, accepted definition of governance. This is reflected in Kooiman’s (2003, p. 4) concept of governance as “the totality of theoretical conceptions on governing”. Definitions tend to suggest recognition of a change in political practices involving, amongst other things, increasing globalisation, the rise of networks that cross the public-private divide, the marketisation of the state, and increasing institutional fragmentation (Pierre, 2000, 2009a; Pierre & Peters, 2000, 2005; Amore & Hall, 2016,2017). Three broad, and often overlapping, meanings of governance can now be identified in the tourism and wider social science literature (Figure 3.2). First, it is used to describe contemporary state

The meanings of governance

Figure 3.2 The meanings of governance.

Institutional analysis 'll adaptation to its economic and political environment with respect to how it operates. This is often referred to as ’new governance’, and although this categorisation is justifiably criticised (Treib et al., 2007), it has become a widely used term. Yee (2004, p. 487) provided a very basic definition of this approach by describing new modes of governance as “new governing activities that do not occur solely through governments”. This approach to governance includes private actors being heavily involved in policy formulation, something which is very common in tourism, for example, and/or public actors being only marginally based on regulative powers or not based on regulation at all. Deriving mainly from the European and Antipodean experience. Hall (2011a) identified six main elements of the new modes of governance approach: participation and power-sharing, multi-level integration, diversity and decentralisation, deliberation, flexibility and revisability, and experimentation and knowledge creation and transfer.

The second broad meaning of governance is that it is used to denote a conceptual and theoretical representation of the role of the state in the coordination of socio-economic systems. However, it should be noted that the two approaches to governance are not mutually exclusive as the use of the term “governance” as a form of shorthand for new forms of governance in Western societies is itself predicated on particular conceptions of what the role of the state should be in contemporary society and of the desirability and nature of state intervention. This second meaning can therefore, in turn, be divided into two further categories (Pierre & Peters, 2000). The first focuses on the capacity of the central state to “steer” the socio-economic system and therefore the relationships between the central state and other policy actors (Pierre & Peters, 2000). This notion of steering has come to reflect increasingly complex institutional and actor environment that the central state finds itself in as a result of globalisation and (pre-COVID-19) shifts in politics and political administration thinking (new public management) that served to reduce or “hollow out” the role of the central state. The second focuses on coordination and self-government, especially with respect to network relationships and publicprivate partnerships (Rhodes, 1997).

Meta-governance is simultaneously both a critical approach to the study of governance and a way of thinking about how governance is structured and applied (Amore & Hall, 2016, 2017). As a result, meta-governance reflects the idea that government interventions and policies are reflections of theories (Pierre & Peters, 2000). In the case of governance, such often implicit theories usually cover both theories of the role of the state and the proper actions of government and theories of social interaction and change in social, economic, and political systems. Conceptualised as “the governance of governance” (Jessop, 2011, p. 106), meta-governanceexplicitly questions the values, norms, principles, and paradigms/ideologies that underpin governance systems and governing approaches (Kooiman & Jentoft, 2009). This includes the assumptions that shape the application and promotion of different forms of intervention (Hall, 2016b), and how political authorities promote and guide the “self-organisation of governance systems through the ‘rules of the game’, organizational knowledge, institutional tactics and other political strategies” (Jessop, 1997, p. 575).

In terms of different approaches to interventions and policies, a typology of governance can help illustrate the relationship between substance and process. Drawing on the work of Pierre and Peters (2000), among others, Hall (2011a) developed a typology of four governance types applied in a tourism context. Each of the conceptualisations of governance structures is related to the use of particular sets of policy instruments and their implementation (Figure 3.3). Critical to the different modes of governance are the relationships that exist between public and private policy actors and the steering modes that range from hierarchical top-down steering to non-hier-archical approaches. The main elements of the four models or frameworks of governance are outlined in Table 3.3, which identifies their main characteristics, the policy instruments associated with each concept of governance, and various dimensions with respect to policymaking and implementation. These were subsequently applied by Hall (2016b) to help explain the application of different types of behavioural interventions in a sustainability and tourism context. However, it should be emphasised that such a typology is


Public actors

Private actors



Steering mode






Figure 3.3 Frameworks of governance typology.

Table 3.3 Frameworks of governance and then characteristics

Classificatory type characteristics

Governance/policy themes

Policy standpoint


  • -Idealised model of democratic government and public administration
  • - Distinguishes between

public and private policy space

- Focus on the public or

common good

  • - Command and control
  • (i.e. “top-down” decision-making)
  • - Hierarchical relations

between different levels of the state

Hierarchy, control, compliance

Top: policymakers; legislators; central government


- Notion that

communities should resolve their common problems with a minimum of state involvement

- Builds on a consensual

miage of the community and the positive involvement of its members in collective concerns

- Governance without


- Fostering of civic spirit

Complexity, local autonomy, devolved power, decentralised problem-solving

Bottom: implementers, “street-level bureaucrats” and local officials


- Facilitate coordination of

public and private interests and resource allocation and therefore enhance the efficiency of policy implementation

- Range from coherent

policy communities/policy triangles through to singleissue coalitions

  • -Regulate and coordinate policy areas according to the preferences of network actors than public policy considerations
  • - Mutual dependence between

network and state

Networks, multi-level governance, steering, bargaining, exchange and negotiation

Where negotiation and bargaining take place


- Belief in the market as

the most efficient and just resource allocative mechanism

  • -Belief in the empowerment of citizens via then- role as consumers
  • - Employment of monetary

criteria to measure the efficiency

- Policy arena for economic

actors where they cooperate to resolve common problems

Markets, bargaining, exchange and negotiation

Where bargaining takes place between consumers and producers


Institutional analysis 79

Table 3.3 Continued


Underlying model of democracy

Primary focus

View of non-central

(initiating) actors


Effectiveness: to what extent are policy goals actually met?

Passive agents or potential imped iments

Distinction between policy formulation and implementation

Criterion of success

Actually and conceptually distinct; policy is made by the top and implemented by the bottom

Implementation gap s/d elicits

When outputs/outcomes are consistent with a prion objectives

Occur when outputs/ outcomes fall short of a prioii objectives




What influences action in an issue area?

Potentially policy innovators or problem shooters

Blurred distinction: policy is often made and then re-made by individual and institutional policy actors

Achievement of actor (often local) goals.

“Deficits” are a sign of policy change, not a failure. They are inevitable

Hybrid/stakeholder, a significant role given to interest groups

Bargained interplay between goals set centrally and actor (often local) innovations and constraints

Tries to account for the behaviour of all those who interact in the development and implementation of policy

Policy-action continuum: policymaking and implementation seen as a series of intentions around which bargaining takes place

Difficult to assess objectively, success depends on actorperspectives

All policies are modified as a result of negotiation (there is no benchmark)


Consumer determined; citizen empowerment

Efficiency: markets will provide the most efficient outcome

Market participants are best suited to “solve” policy problems

Policy-action continuum

80 Institutional analysis

Market efficiency

Occur when markets are not able to function

Reason for

Good ideas poorly

Bad ideas faithfully

“Deficits” are inevitable as

Market failure;

implementation gap s/d elicits



abstract policy ideas are made more concrete

inappropriate indicatorselection

Solution to implementation gap s/d elicits

Simplify the implementation structure; apply inducements and sanctions

“Deficits” are inevitable

“Deficits” are inevitable

Increase the capacity of the market

Primary policy


- Self-regulation

- Self-regulation and

- Corporatisation and/or


  • - Regulation
  • - Clear allocation and

transfers of power between different levels of the state

- Development of a clear

set of institutional arrangements

- Licensing, permits.

consents, and standards

- Removal of property


- Development guidelines

and strategies that reinforce planning law

- Public meetings/town

hall meetings

  • - Public participation
  • - Non-intervention
  • - voluntary instruments
  • - Information and


  • -Volunteer associations
  • - Direct democracy
  • (citizens initiated referenda)
  • - Community opinion


- Capacity building of

social capital


  • -Accreditation schemes
  • - Codes of practice
  • - Industry associations
  • - Non-government


privatisation of state bodies

- Use of pricing, subsidies

and tax incentives to encourage desired behaviours

- Use of regulatory and

legal instruments to encourage market efficiencies

  • - Voluntary instruments
  • - Non-intervention
  • - Education and training to

influence behaviour

Source: After Haft, 2011a, 2016b.

Institutional analysis

only a means of simplifying an otherwise complex reality and that the four types of governance identified here should not be regarded as “ideal types”.

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