Our aims

Who we are

Officially launched in October 2013, WINIR is a global network that brings together researchers from multiple academic disciplines from across the social sciences and the humanities to study the nature, function, impact, and evolution of institutions.

To advance this agenda, WINIR organizes or is involved in organizing conferences, symposia, workshops, and other kinds of events around the world. WINIR also sponsors events and has supported productions devoted to celebrating interdisciplinary institutional research.

A broad conception of institutions

WINIR accommodates a broad conception of institutions as systems of functioning social rules. There are other definitions around, but generally the idea of rules is central. The focus is thus on the making, following, contestation, and evolution of social rules, which enable, frame, constrain, expand or disrupt human cognition and action.

WINIR’s primary emphasis is on those vital institutions — including organizations — that impact human well-being and sociality, support cooperation and collective action, and affect the production and distribution of wealth.

An open forum

WINIR welcomes contributions from all academic disciplines — including anthropology, economics, geography, history, law, linguistics, management, philosophy, politics, psychology, and sociology — and all schools of thought that can contribute to our understanding of institutions and organizations, regardless of the methodology employed.

WINIR aims to create fruitful and constructive dialogue between these disciplines on institutional themes, with a view to developing a cross-disciplinary consensus on some key issues.

WINIR values the history and comparison of institutional thought, as it has evolved in different ways in several disciplines, including within the various “institutionalisms” found in economics, history, law, politics, and sociology.

WINIR is interested in developments and comparisons of methodologies of institutional research, including data appraisal, statistical technique, historical insight, qualitative approaches, and philosophical evaluation.