A discourse analysis of institutionalised logics in the field of New Zealand rugby 1985 and 2005 : a thesis presented for the partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Business and Administration at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Why do carefully considered and reasoned decisions in organisational settings so often produce unintended and sub-optimal outcomes? This is an on-going and vexing question for those charged with the governance of organisations. This research focuses on one potential contributory factor - the institutionalised logics of a particular field. Taking an historical perspective, the research examines the nature of taken-for-granted ideas and understandings that might be seen to have existed amongst the communities involved in New Zealand rugby in 1985 and in 2005. It is proposed that these taken-for-granted ideas and understandings might have an impact upon the success, or failure, of initiatives and decisions made by those charged with the governance of the game. Utilising ideas emerging from institutional theory (Freidland & Alford, 1991; Meyer & Rowan, 1977; Oliver, 1992; Thornton & Ocasio, 1999; Tolbert & Zucker, 1999), and following the work of Phillips, Lawrence and Hardy (2004), these ideas and understandings are offered, conceptually, as institutionalised logics, simultaneously facilitating and constraining action in the field. Given that these understandings might be inchoate and hidden, an interpretive model of discourse analysis is employed to examine their nature. The data comes from texts created in 1985 and 2005. and from 32 in-depth interviews that were used to develop an insider's interpretation of the context. The analysis uses data from the interviews and the texts to build an interpretation of the nature of twenty such logics that might be seen to have existed in the chosen years. The results are presented as discrete understandings, explained in the context of the environment at the time. Examples of the institutionalised logics uncovered include. "The clubs are history', 'Central control is the way to go!' and 'The coach is king'. The research presents an interpretation of evolving institutionalised logics which might impact on the way decisions of the New Zealand Rugby Union are interpreted by the communities affected. The discussion highlights the implications that these understandings might have for decisions made about the game in New Zealand. It is argued that these taken-for-granted ideas and understandings, and their changing and contradictory nature, should be explicitly considered by those charged with governance of New Zealand rugby. An analysis of the institutionalised logics might contribute towards improved organisational performance, by providing another piece in the puzzle of governance.