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A Patchwork of Fields: Legal and Organizational Form Variation in the Organic Food Industry

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Abstract:

The present study examines the legal variation that occurs in the construction of an organizational field. Rather than concentrating solely on the impact of legal and regulatory change on the organizational field, this study demonstrates how organizations directly participate in the production and structuration of the legal architecture that governs their field. The empirical context of this study is the organic food industry. In the early stages of this industry, both market mechanisms and extant institutional structures failed to provide organic farmers with the stability and support necessary to grow beyond localized and specialized niche markets. Consequently, organic farmers through collective action created organic standards and third party certification organizations that allowed them to increase their market presence. Using event history analyses, I demonstrate how variation in existing organic certification organizations across US states led to variation in organic food legislation. I find that organized interests manifest in the form of local nonprofit certification organizations effectively lobbied the state for recognition and protection of the nascent industry while still maintaining autonomy and control over the local organizational field. In states where such organized interests were absent, state governments took a more active role in regulating and participating in the industry. This study contributes to a growing body of knowledge in organization theory that examines the sources of variation in the institutional infrastructure of young industries. The theoretical implications of this study overlap multiple areas of inquiry including economic sociology, law and society and institutional theories of field construction.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

organ (188), state (129), law (76), field (56), certif (53), local (49), organiz (48), variabl (44), structur (40), legal (38), industri (37), food (35), legisl (34), institut (33), model (30), standard (30), nonprofit (30), 1 (27), govern (27), 2 (27), market (26),

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organizational fields, law and organizations, industry emergence
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Name: American Sociological Association
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MLA Citation:

Lee, Brandon. "A Patchwork of Fields: Legal and Organizational Form Variation in the Organic Food Industry" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Hilton San Francisco & Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel, San Francisco, CA,, Aug 14, 2004 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p110641_index.html>

APA Citation:

Lee, B. H. , 2004-08-14 "A Patchwork of Fields: Legal and Organizational Form Variation in the Organic Food Industry" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Hilton San Francisco & Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel, San Francisco, CA, Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p110641_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: The present study examines the legal variation that occurs in the construction of an organizational field. Rather than concentrating solely on the impact of legal and regulatory change on the organizational field, this study demonstrates how organizations directly participate in the production and structuration of the legal architecture that governs their field. The empirical context of this study is the organic food industry. In the early stages of this industry, both market mechanisms and extant institutional structures failed to provide organic farmers with the stability and support necessary to grow beyond localized and specialized niche markets. Consequently, organic farmers through collective action created organic standards and third party certification organizations that allowed them to increase their market presence. Using event history analyses, I demonstrate how variation in existing organic certification organizations across US states led to variation in organic food legislation. I find that organized interests manifest in the form of local nonprofit certification organizations effectively lobbied the state for recognition and protection of the nascent industry while still maintaining autonomy and control over the local organizational field. In states where such organized interests were absent, state governments took a more active role in regulating and participating in the industry. This study contributes to a growing body of knowledge in organization theory that examines the sources of variation in the institutional infrastructure of young industries. The theoretical implications of this study overlap multiple areas of inquiry including economic sociology, law and society and institutional theories of field construction.

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Document Type: .PDF
Page count: 26
Word count: 7098
Text sample:
A Patchwork of Fields: Legal and Organizational Form Variation in the Organic Food Industry ABSTRACT The present study examines the legal variation that occurs in the construction of an organizational field. Rather than concentrating solely on the impact of legal and regulatory change on the organizational field this study demonstrates how organizations directly participate in the production and structuration of the legal architecture that governs their field. The empirical context of this study is the organic food industry. In
-0.88 (1.07) Adjacent states w/law 0.96 (1.00) 0.65 (1.10) Percent states with law 3.21* (1.60) 4.10* (1.65) Cumulative local nonprofits -1.63*(0.83) Cumulative OCIA -0.05 (0.42) Log-Likelihood -64.68 -61.99 2 X compared with model 1 5.38† df 2 † p<.10 *p<.05 **p<.01 Standard errors in parentheses. Two-tailed tests are used for all variables 26


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