Oct 2 2019

DPA Research Seminar: Federica Fusi

October 2, 2019

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


Lower Level, Conference room 1, CUPPA Hall


412 S Peoria Street, Chicago, IL 60607

DPA Research Seminar with Prof. Federica Fusi from the Department of Public Administration at UIC.


Organizational Adaptation to Extreme Weather Events: Cognitive Perceptions Leading to Institutional Work among Public Managers
Federica Fusi (coauthors: Heyjie Jung, Eric Welch - ASU)


While much research focuses on risk assessment as a key determinant of organizational adaptation to extreme event, this study leverages institutional work theory to explain why some public managers promote middle-range adjustments within their organization while others do not. We view adaptation as a process through which top managers manage and resolve conflicts stemming from multiple institutional logics and insufficient institutions by undertaking micro-level institutional work to create, modify, or challenge extant institutions regulating adaptation to extreme events. This approach overcomes previous research which ignores adaptive responses occurring at the micro-level and suggests that institutions are a source of resistance to adaptive learning. Using a 2019 national survey on US transit agencies and Federal Transit Administration’s Database (NTD) data, we test four hypotheses on the role that organizational logics, institutional complexity, uncertainty, and valence play in initiating and enabling institutional work. Results suggest that public managers who cognitively perceive current institutions to be dysfunctional are more likely to initiate institutional work. However, once they initiate action, these cognitive perceptions are no longer important to continue institutional work. We discuss implications of our findings for practice and future research.


Michael Siciliano

Date posted

Sep 5, 2019

Date updated

Sep 26, 2019