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Customization or Conformity? An Institutional and Network Perspective on the Content and Consequences of TQM Adoption

James D. Westphal, Ranjay Gulati and Stephen M. Shortell
Administrative Science Quarterly
Vol. 42, No. 2 (Jun., 1997), pp. 366-394
DOI: 10.2307/2393924
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2393924
Page Count: 29
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Customization or Conformity? An Institutional and Network Perspective on the Content and Consequences of TQM Adoption
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Abstract

This study develops a theoretical framework that integrates institutional and network perspectives on the form and consequences of administrative innovations. Hypotheses are tested with survey and archival data on the implementation of total quality management (TQM) programs and the consequences for organizational efficiency and legitimacy in a sample of over 2,700 U.S. hospitals. The results show that early adopters customize TQM practices for efficiency gains, while later adopters gain legitimacy from adopting the normative form of TQM programs. The findings suggest that institutional factors moderate the role of network membership in affecting the form of administrative innovations adopted and provide strong evidence for the importance of institutional factors in determining how innovations are defined and implemented. We discuss implications for theory and research on institutional processes and network effects and for the literatures on innovation adoption and total quality management.

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