This book examines the diffusion process for a complex medical technology, the PET scanner, in two different health care systems, one of which is more market-oriented (Switzerland) and the other more centrally managed by a public agency (the province of Quebec in Canada). More specifically, this research draws on institutional and socio-political theories of the diffusion of innovations to examine how institutional contexts affect processes of diffusion. The study finds that diffusion proceeds more rapidly in Switzerland than in Quebec, but that processes in both jurisdictions are characterized by intense struggles among providers and between providers and public agencies.
This study shows that the institutional environment influences these processes by determining the patterns of material resources and authority available to actors in their struggles to strategically control the technology, and by constituting the discursive resources or institutional logics on which actors may legitimately draw in their struggles to give meaning to the technology in line with their interests and values. This book also illustrates how institutional structures and meanings manifest themselves in the context of specific decisions within an organizational field, and reveals the ways in which governance structures may be contested and realigned when they conflict with interests that are legitimized by dominant institutional logics. It is argued that this form of contestation and readjustment at the margins constitutes one mechanism by which institutional frameworks are tested, stretched and reproduced or redefined.