Shifting the discourse on neo-institutional theory in comparative and international education

Alexander W. Wiseman, Audree Chase-Mayoral

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Neo-institutional theory has provided a productive perspective on comparative and international education phenomena since the 1970s. Yet, recent critical discourse about educational phenomena investigated through a neo-institutional lens has been somewhat one-sided. The authors reexamine neo-institutional theory and its application to comparative and international education by demonstrating the ways that the theory frames both macro- and micro-level educational phenomena. The ability to shift the discourse about neo-institutional theory from a largely macro-level framework to one capable of investigating educational changes occurring at the micro level is vital to understanding the comprehensiveness of national educational systems and the ways that both world culture and individual agency contribute to these systems. Specifically, using the empirical application of neo-institutional theory to the intersection of information and communication technology (ICT) and internationally comparative educational data, the macro and micro levels of educational phenomena can be productively examined. In so doing, this chapter shifts the discourse on how and why neo-institutional theory reflects cross-national educational trends and micro-contextual effects on education worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnual Review of Comparative and International Education 2013
EditorsAlexander Wiseman, Emily Anderson
Number of pages28
StatePublished - 2013

Publication series

NameInternational Perspectives on Education and Society
ISSN (Print)1479-3679


  • Comparative and international education
  • Information and communication technology (ICT)
  • Mass education
  • Neo-institutional theory
  • Theoretical discourse


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