Organizational Imprints under Pressure: The Role of Value Systems in Engaging with External Institutional Demands [thesis]

Sebastian Seidel
Organizations are under constant pressure from changing institutions (such as laws, public opinion, or societal norms) to react and perform in certain ways. However, these external institutional demands can sometimes run contrary to the organization's declared value system. Between 1949 and 2016, successive changes in Germany's social sector transformed the institutional external environment for German welfare associations, calling into question the legitimacy of their dominance in civil
more » ... nce in civil society in general and especially in the context of welfare provision. This comparative case study traces the development of the respective value systems of two of the main German welfare associations during that period. The two cases – Deutscher Caritas-verband (Caritas) and Deutscher Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband Gesamtverband (the Paritätischer) – were selected for their contrasting value systems within the spectrum of German welfare associations. For the purposes of this study, value systems are understood as consistent imprinted perceptual frameworks that normatively shape and influence behavior, and external institutional demands are defined as implicit or explicit requests made from outside an organization towards the organizations by integrated systems of formal and informal rules and patterns, which structure social interactions and constitute the social environment an organization operates in. The analysis explores how such seemingly persistent value systems change over time, and how the demands made by external institutions increase or diminish explicit reference to that value system. Drawing on the membership magazines and newspapers (or "corpus") of the two selected associations, the analysis indicates that the value system of Catholicism initially shielded Caritas from external institutional demands until the observed level of Catholic and religious language diminished and the organization became more ex-posed to episodic change within the sector. In contrast, pluralism enabled the Paritätischer to engage more rea [...]
doi:10.48462/opus4-3110 fatcat:z3o6shvk7vh3houlyers452gty