This chapter seeks to understand how new practices that challenge established norms and values become institutionalized by studying the development of corporate philanthropy in France over three decades (1979–2011). Our inductive qualitative study uncovers the processes that enable actors at both field- and organizational-levels to enhance a new practice’s internal and external legitimacy, ultimately leading to its institutionalization. In particular, we identify the central role of a community of practice as a bridge between the field-level, purposive interventions (theorizing, influencing policy) of an institutional entrepreneur and the organizational-level, emergent interventions (mobilizing, embedding) of frontline practitioners experimenting with the new divergent practice, thereby enabling its legitimation and, ultimately, its institutionalization. As such, our findings contribute to refining our understanding of institutionalization processes as inherently distributed and to uncovering communities of practice as the missing link between “heroic” entrepreneurs’ interventions and the hidden work of frontline practitioners implementing the new practice. Link to the article
GAUTIER, A., PACHE, A.C., CHOWDHURY, I. and LIGONIE, M. (2021). The Missing Link: Communities of Practice as Bridges Between Institutional Entrepreneurs and Frontline Practitioners in Institutionalizing a Divergent Practice. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 71, pp. 199-230.