Wicked Problems and Professional Work: Disrupting Work in a Mature Field with Incumbent Professions

  • Author / Creator
    Huq, Jo-Louise
  • The emerging institutional work perspective implicates agency and action in institutional dynamics in contrast to the traditional organizational institutional approach. In this dissertation, my objective was to explore institutional disrupting work in a mature field with incumbent professions. I developed a two-part case study of the Alberta addictions treatment field. The first part of the case study explored disrupting work at the field level, the second part at the level of professional practice. Data collection included interviews, observations, and documents. My findings show that at the field level and at the level of practice actors’ actions were disrupting to institutionalized arrangements and practices of professional work. At the field level, I identified three forms of disrupting work: complexifying work, boundary work, and temporal work. At the practice level, I also identified three forms of disrupting work: configuring work, adapting work, and boundary work. I developed three models of disrupting a field level model, a practice level model, and a multi-level model. My research sheds light on disrupting and how disrupting interrupts the institutionalized arrangements and practices of incumbent professions, both of which, despite scholars’ interest in action and agency in institutional life, remain overlooked in empirical research.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2015
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Strategic Management and Organization
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Washington, Marvin (Faculty of Business)
    • Zilber, Tamar (Organizational Behavior)
    • Karapetrovic, Stanislav (Mechanical Engineering)
    • Suddaby, Roy (Faculty of Business)