Inside the iron cage: Organizational political dynamics and institutional changes in presidential selection systems in Korean universities, 1985-2002

Tai Young Kim, Dongyoub Shin, Hongseok Oh, Young Chul Jeong

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

39 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores why and how organizations respond to external pressures for institutional change in terms of organizational political dynamics. The focus on organizational political dynamics is important in understanding a period of institutional change when multiple groups of actors are involved in the dynamic political processes of promoting each group's goals, interests, ideologies, and institutional logic. We propose a social movement frame-work of organizational political dynamics that focuses on political interactions between two sets of actors-incumbents and challengers-in an organization to explain the micro-foundation underlying the decline and emergence of organizational practices in an organizational field. A longitudinal study of changes in the presidential selection systems of Korean universities illustrates how organizational political dynamics between incumbents (a board of trustees at a private university or government agents at a public university) and challengers (faculty councils) shaped the process of replacing the conventional appointment system with a new system of direct voting during the period 1985 to 2002. The general implications for organizational political dynamics, institutional change, differences in organizational responses to external pressures, and micro foundations of macro institutional phenomena are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-323
Number of pages38
JournalAdministrative Science Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Jun


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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