Creation and evolution: the processes and strategies of institutional entrepreneurs in alternative medicine, 1896-2005



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Texas Tech University


Though research has begun to emerge on the individual actors and organizations that drive institutional change, common strategies that they employ have still gone relatively unexamined. Specifically, the supporting mechanisms necessary for institutions to exist have not been explicated upon. Such research is especially important in contested fields where moves for change are met with significant opposition. This research examines three methods of institutional support constructed by institutional entrepreneurs. Theoretical propositions regarding the importance of institutional entrepreneurs and the types of institutional strategies they employ are established. Specifically, I examine the importance of addressing legislative, educational and normative considerations in order to achieve acceptance for an industry. Hypotheses are developed with regard to the growth and development of chiropractic from a highly contested practice, to a level of modern recognition and acceptance. The findings suggest that the construction of supporting mechanisms is an important factor in achieving acceptance within a contested field.