The Interplay of Conflicting and Complementing Institutional Logics in Sustainability Practices

Ivana Milosevic, A. Erin Bass, Ben Schulte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The impact of institutional environments on sustainability is well documented in the international business literature. However, how multiple and occasionally conflicting institutional logics shape sustainability as it is practiced by individuals across countries remains undertheorized. Our study contributes to this line of research by examining how multiple institutional logics inform the comprehension of sustainability practices in two high-hazard organizations in the Republic of Serbia and Canada. In doing so, our findings explicate three multi-level mechanisms – pulling down (1st level), relating (2nd level), and aligning (2nd level) – through which individuals in these organizations across two countries construct a localized understanding of sustainability. In both countries, individuals pull down elements of the state and organizational logics to construct meso-level logics they use to comprehend sustainability practices, albeit differently. In Serbia, due to the conflict between the current state logic and dominant high-hazard organizational logic, individuals pull down elements of the high-hazard organizational logic and the enduring legacy state logic to construct a community logic and align sustainability practices with it. In Canada, the state logic complements the high-hazard organizational logic, resulting in individuals pulling down elements of both logics to construct the professional logic and aligning their practice with it. In both countries, due to the dominance of the high-hazard organizational logic, individuals relate their practices to the well-being of others. Based on our comparative case analysis, we create a general model and a country-specific model depicting how individuals embed multiple institutional logics into their sustainability practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-506
Number of pages38
JournalManagement International Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Cross-country comparison
  • High-hazard organization
  • Institutional logics
  • Qualitative
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management


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