Institutional isomorphism, a concept developed by Paul DiMaggio and Walter Powell, is the similarity of the systems and processes of institutions. This similarity can be through imitation among institutions or through independent development of systems and processes. The three types of institutional isomorphism are normative, coercive, and mimetic.
Normative isomorphism are changes driven by one's education and professional career. The norms encountered during educational training are brought into organizations when graduates enter the workforce. This type of isomorphism is also present when an employee changes employers and brings his or her former employer's systems and processes into the new organization. This ties into coercive isomorphism because both normative and coercive isomorphism are driven by external factors.
Coercive isomorphism is driven by influences from peer organizations that depend on and cultural and societal expectations. Cultural and societal expectations include laws, rules, regulations, contract parameters, and financial reporting requirements. Coercive isomorphism is regularly practiced by political organizations. Mimetic isomorphism is in contrast to both normative and coercive isomorphism, where external forces such as government, education, and contracts influence these types of isomorphism.
Mimetic isomorphism occurs when an organization mimics another organization's systems, processes, and structure because it appears to be beneficial to the mimicking organization. This practice occurs when the organization is unsure of how to proceed when a particular situation presents itself. This practice is also used by organizations undergoing restructuring and other significant transformations.