An Institutionalisation Perspective on a Quasi-Privatisation: Theoretical Development

Kent Springdal, Martha Mador

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This research examines the process of quasi-privatisation of a U.K. organisation, Historic Royal Palaces, from an institutionalisation perspective. It evaluates the relevance and usefulness of a staged model of privatisation, previously developed in the course of research into fully privatised organisations in Sweden, in this new context.

The model identifies Initiation, Problem Solving, Consensus Building, and Consolidation phases in privatisations, each stage being influenced by different factors. Initially, regulatory and market forces are important; gradually, however, these give way to isomorphism, leadership, and increasingly positive outcomes for the organisation, overcoming resistance to change and promoting advocacy for it.
The application of the model to Historic Royal Palaces has shown that the organisation has so far progressed into the third of the four phases. However, tension remains between pursuing increasingly commercial objectives and a lack of legitimacy for the actions needed to achieve these. Challenging market conditions have complicated matters, calling into question the appropriateness of quasi-privatisation and the governance arrangements in this organisation.

The case suggests that the model is useful in the context as an analytic template, and worthy of further study and testing. It also raises interesting research questions about quasi-privatisations into the charitable sector.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish Academy of Management
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2004


  • Historical Royal Palaces
  • Public Sector
  • Privatisation
  • Institutional Theory

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