This article explores how hybrid organizations, which incorporate competing institutional logics, internally manage the logics that they embody. Relying on an inductive comparative case study of four work integration social enterprises embedded in competing social welfare and commercial logics, we show that, instead of adopting strategies of decoupling or compromising, as the literature typically suggests, these organizations selectively coupled intact elements prescribed by each logic. This strategy allowed them to project legitimacy to external stakeholders without having to engage in costly deceptions or negotiations. We further identify a specific hybridization pattern that we refer to as “Trojan horse,” whereby organizations that entered the work integration field with low legitimacy because of their embeddedness in the commercial logic strategically incorporated elements from the social welfare logic in an attempt to gain legitimacy and acceptance. Surprisingly, they did so more than comparable organizations originating from the social welfare logic. These findings suggest that, when lacking legitimacy in a given field, hybrids may manipulate the templates provided by the multiple logics in which they are embedded in an attempt to gain acceptance. Overall, our findings contribute to a better understanding of how organizations can survive and thrive when embedded in pluralistic institutional environments. Link to the article
PACHE, A.C. and SANTOS, F. (2013). Inside the Hybrid Organization: Selective Coupling as a Response to Competing Institutional Logics. Academy of Management Journal, 56(4), pp. 972-1001.