From Symbolic Commitment to “Skin in the Game”: Collective Action and Institutional Formation through Problem Solving

Creating institutions that deliver collective benefits requires collaboration across multiple organizations. To overcome a key challenge –finding common ground amidst conflicting interests– a degree of ambiguity through setting wide-ranging goals is needed to induce collaboration. But the enabling characteristics of ambiguity are likely to become problematic when institutionalizing agreements, leading to symbolic commitment. We use a longitudinal process study of the Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety, a global multi-party agreement to end the series of deadly accidents in the Bangladesh garment sector, and draw from a pragmatist perspective. Findings highlight the ongoing problem-solving nature of institutional formation in a complex, evolving and politically contested field. Participants continually confront ambiguity as they attempt to translate the agreement into a new institutional practice. Political conflict led parties to grow “skin in the game”, which led commitment to escalate beyond initial self-commitment.

Should you want to attend this talk, please register by sending a message to Thinley Tharchen at: by Tuesday 16 noon. We will order a free sandwich for you (please mention any dietary preference). [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]