Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Organization Studies


Ingenuity, institutional theory, institutional constraints, legitimacy, paradox of embedded agency, solar energy industry


We examine organizational ingenuity within the paradox of embedded agency where organizational stakeholders are constrained in their behaviors by institutions, yet also influence and change these institutions. In this study organizational ingenuity represents the agency component and institutional constraints the embedded component. We build theory about ingenuity from a four-year case study of the embryonic Ontario solar industry. There were two major institutional constraints, limited grid access and political uncertainty. These led to four ingenuity strategies that emerged at different times and levels of analysis that challenged, complied with, or escaped the constraints. We combine these findings to develop a process model of the emergence of ingenuity in this embryonic industry. Lastly, we find that extending legitimacy to an ingenuity strategy is necessary for its success.


Author's Accepted Manuscript of a forthcoming publication in Organizational Studies (