Institutional Bricolage: The Development of China's Futures Market

Student thesis: Phd


Institutional Bricolage: The Development of China's Futures MarketHua WeiSubmitted for Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), 30th September 2013, the University of ManchesterChina's futures market has undergone a significant structural change. It was a 'vertical silo' and now it is being developed into a 'horizontal' structure with Chinese characteristics. Such a change involves a series of changes in institutional arrangement. If researching the phenomenon when it was settled, the observation and, consequently, the conclusion would likely to see it was the state that had led the change. However, participated and observed through the change, this thesis is going to argue that the grassroots heroes, the practitioners from a marginalized sub-sector, have contributed significantly. The state is powerful and dominant whereas the regional exchanges leveraged their resources to corral the state and shape the institutional field. The focus of organizational and management studies can be roughly categorized as three dimensions: how changes occur within organizations, how the institutional environment shapes organizations and how organizations influence the sociocultural context within which they operate (Parsons, 1956). In the recent decades, organizational studies have made significant progress in the first two but little in the third (Barley, 2010). Research should progress in the third dimension regardless of the untidy and unaesthetic nature of the reality, as organizations have influenced the sociocultural context substantially. The purpose of this thesis is to contribute to the third dimension by arguing that institutional bricolage characterizes the process by which individuals and organizations change institutions to fulfil their purposes, be it changing the institutions, building a market or protesting the constraints imposed upon them. Institutional bricolage is the strategy, mentality and philosophy for grassroots heroes who have no political power but are still ambitious to have their voices heard and hence influence the change from the lower strata. The ideas in this paper are informed by the experience of China's futures market, where the researcher participated as a strategy manager for about a year. The organization in question is a regional exchange that previously had no place in China's official market structure and became legitimized as the outcome of a regulatory crackdown. This thesis, therefore, uncovers the underexplored part of China's financial market, the regional exchanges, and sheds light on China's institutional change.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorKarel Williams (Supervisor) & Adam Leaver (Supervisor)


  • China
  • Futures market
  • Institutional change
  • Institutional bricolage

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