M. L. Besharov, & B. C. Mitzinneck (Eds.), Organizational Hybridity: Perspectives, Processes, Promises, Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 69 (pp. 167-187). Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Publishing Limited.
Much recent work on hybrids has focused on the strategies and practices these organizations develop to manage the institutional contradictions associated with straddling competing logics. Less attention has been paid to what we call the liability of novelty, defined as the heightened institutional challenges new hybrid forms face both internally and externally. These, we argue, go beyond the liability of newness commonly associated with new venture formation. In this chapter, we use the case of Incubate, a Muslim social incubator in Germany. This case is particularly instructive insofar as Incubate is a hybrid in both substance and mode of organizing: Its mission integrated domains of religion, commerce, and community, and its mode of organizing straddled the digital–analog divide. Neither Incubate’s members, nor its external stakeholders could rely on existing institutional templates to make sense of it. It was not only organizationally new, but also institutionally novel. As a consequence, it experienced what we distinguish as descriptive and evaluative challenges. It was both “not understood” and “not accepted.” This chapter outlines four practices to address these challenges: codifying, crafting, conforming, and configuring, and categorizes them along internal versus external as well as forming versus transforming dimensions.