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Organizational Imprinting and Response to Institutional Complexity: Evidence from Publicly-Traded Chinese State-Owned Firms in Hong Kong

  • Yifan Wei (a1)

This study seeks to answer the following question: What are the organizational attributes that influence organizational responses to institutional complexity? Building on core ideas of organizational imprinting, I argue that organizational response is influenced by the imprint from the dominant logic of organizing during the founding period and from the institutional position an organization possessed at founding. Empirically, I examine the variation in board composition of Chinese state-owned firms listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange market. It is found that state-owned firms founded in the market logic dominant period tend to have more non-state directors on the board in that they were organized around the prescription of the market logic and more responsive to shareholders’ demands for legitimacy reasons. Besides, state-owned firms founded by central government agencies tend to have fewer non-state directors because they were born at the center of the socialist system to accomplish strategic goals of the central government and non-state directors may challenge the vested interests. This study contributes to the organizational imprinting and institutional literature and resonates with the contemporary call for a more systematic examination of organizational attributes that influence organizational responses to institutional complexity.

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