What is institutional autonomy? Why does Abrutyn feel his theory is important? He discusses
institutional entrepreneurs extensively, and it is clear that he has borrowed some ideas from
Eisenstadt. What does Eisenstadt have to say about entrepreneurship and how has Abrutyn
integrated these ideas?
Seth brings forth a general theory of institutional autonomy; autonomy is a function of the degree
to which specialized corporate units are structurally and symbolically independent of other
corporate units. It is argued that the process by which these ‘institutional entrepreneurs’ become
independent can explain how institutions become differentiated from the ‘inside out’.
about five dimensions that can be operationalized, measuring the degree to which institutions are
autonomous. As the population of a society grows, they all argued, institutional systems
differentiate in order to sustain and integrate "the larger social mass. Differentiation is a more
pervasive phenomenon occurring at many levels of social reality—for example, at the level of
roles positions, identities, groups and subcultures, organizations and resource niches.
Institutions are built from various types of corporate units, and so, an emphasis of organizations
in their environments offers real potential for understanding how institutions become
autonomous through the strategic actions of core organizations. Though Seth’s paper, he offers
some generalizations on the dynamics increasing or decreasing institutional autonomy. For, in
the end, institutional differentiation cannot occur without the processes increasing institutional
autonomy. Institutional differentiation is, therefore, a function of the number of distinctive
institutional systems and their degree of autonomy from each other. Autonomy, then, is a
function of the degree to which sets of specialized corporate actors are structurally and
symbolically independent of other sets of corporate actors.
Institutions are one of the basic building blocks of all societies, and as societies
have grown in scale and complexity, they have done so by differentiating institutional
subsystems—e.g., kinship, religion, polity, law, economy, education, medicine, media,
art, and perhaps sports. Institutions are macro-structures because they generally affect all
individual and collective actors in a society and resolve fundamental problems of
adaptation. For example, law is a useful case because its emergence as an autonomous
institutional system is comparatively recent in human evolutionary history and because its degree
of autonomy varies considerably across societies.
exists: what types of historical exigencies lead to the emergence and growth
of a legal institution that is an adaptation to these environmental problems? Based on
anthropological, archaeological, and sociological evidence, law appears to, in its most complex
forms, deal with problems of conflict resolution and notions of justice. It is proposed, then, that