Old Ideas in New Organizations – Gender in the Gates Foundation

In a new article in Journal of Development Studies, Adam Moe Fejerskov explores how ideas and practices find their way into and entail significant changes in organisations.

Drawing on sociological institutional perspectives, he conceptualises three analytical processes occurring as ideas are institutionalised and translated in development organisations:

  • Emergence
  • International negotiation and consensus production
  • External negotiation and appropriation

These three processes are then explored through an empirical case study of how ideas and practices on gender equality and women’s empowerment have entered into and been made workable in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The article argues that what transpire as ideas find their way into development organisations and are institutionalised, are not only grand narratives or scripted translations, but rather messy processes of agency from multiple sides, coincidence and unintended consequences.

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