BOTHELLO, J., NASON, R.S. and SCHNYDER, G., 2019. Institutional voids and organization studies: Towards an epistemological rupture. Organization Studies, doi:10.1177/0170840618819037.
In this essay, we critique the usage of the term ‘institutional void’ to characterize nonWestern contexts in organizational studies. We explore how ‘conceptual stretching’ of
institutional voids – specifically, the theoretical and geographic expansion of the concept –
has led not only to poor construct clarity, but also pejorative labeling of non-Western
countries. We argue that research using this term perpetuates an ethnocentric bias by deifying
market development and overlooking the richness and power of informal and non-market
institutions in shaping local economic activity. We call for an ‘epistemological rupture’ to
decolonize organizational scholarship in non-Western settings and facilitate contextually
grounded research approaches that allow for more indigenous theorization.
This paper was published in the journal Organization Studies and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840618819037.