Becoming hybrid: the negotiated order on the front line of public–private partnerships

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Colleges, School and Institutes


This article examines how tensions in institutional logics, created in the formation of hybrid organizations, are played out, and partially resolved, through micro-level interactions within everyday work. Drawing on the negotiated order perspective, our research examined how the ‘context’, ‘processes’ and ‘outcomes’ of micro-level negotiations reflect and mitigate tensions between institutional logics. Our ethnographic study of a public–private partnership within the English healthcare system identified tensions within the hybrid organization around organizational goals and values, work activities, hierarchies and the materials and technologies of work. We also identified processes of negotiation between actors, which contributed to negotiated settlements, at times combining elements of parent institutional logics, and at other times serving to keep parent logics distinct. The article demonstrates the relevance of negotiated order perspective to current institutional logics literature on hybrid organizations.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1937-1958
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number10
Early online date20 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016