Erasmus University, NLD
David Vaandrager is a PHD student in the department of Public Administration at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. He studied Human Geography at the University of Utrecht and Public Administration at the University of Rotterdam. His research centers on institutions and their ability to accommodate change stemming from their environment. Of particular interest is the difference between institutional interpretations of the environment and the way in which that environment is experienced by the people living there.
A systems approach to exploring institutional absorptive capacity and adaptability
Volume: 22, Issue 1
An important ability of institutions is their capacity to recognize new external knowledge so that they can revitalize outdated routines and stay clear of institutional lock in. However not much is known about what determines the absorptive capacity of institutions. By analyzing mental models of agents within an institution through Group Model Building. We contribute to literature on absorptive capacity and show how institutions could potentially increase absorptive capacity at the micro agent-level while circumventing problems of institutional lock-in. The experiment shows that Group Model Building provides an avenue for reflecting on the internal logic of the institution. It is able to show the limited applicability of the internal logic in producing a desired outcome for certain messy problems. Although the agents acknowledged the shortcomings of the internal logic, they also accepted them and found dealing with them too complex. The article also reflects on how the experiment can be made more effective for future endeavors.