Multi-level Analysis of Institutional Formation and Change: The Case of the Paralympic Movement

Simon Gerard, David Legg, Thierry Zintz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to explore the multi-level mechanisms of institutional formation and change and, in particular, how this occurs through the interplay of multi-level mechanisms? This is answered with a processual analysis of the International Paralympic Committee which is the international governing body of sports for people with an impairment.

This study uses a case-study approach based upon archival records, collected in relevant national and international sport organizations. More than 2,700 pages of archives were gathered, some of them being accessible to researchers for the first time. Embargo was also successfully lifted on recent and sensitive documents.

This study highlights multi-level mechanisms involved in institutional change processes triggered by a shifting institutional logic at the organizational field level. This paper also shows how field logic shifted at the moment of alignment between the societal, field and organizational levels. Moreover, it underlines how societal discourses influenced processes of institutional change by shaping the range of organizational actions available at the organizational and field levels.

This paper proposes a rare account of institutional change processes in which interplay between the societal, field, and organizational levels is analyzed. Furthermore, this paper provides a longitudinal investigation of an under-researched empirical setting, the Paralympic movement. Finally, this study integrates insights from the disability studies’ research field, which significantly deepens this analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-541
Number of pages27
JournalSport, Business and Management: An International Journal
Issue number5
Early online date20 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017
EventEuropean Academy of Management 2016: EURAM 2016 - UPEC, Paris, France
Duration: 1 Jun 20164 Jun 2016


  • Institutional change
  • institutional logic
  • archival records
  • paralympic movement
  • processual analysis


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