1 Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School2 Aalborg Universitet
This paper examines the role of standards in the emergence of new fields. We analyzed the current formation of sustainable construction as a new field within the Danish construction sector. Data were derived from four qualitative studies on mandatory and voluntary standards pertaining to sustainability. On the basis of these studies, we propose that standards shape the emergence of new fields within an existing 'parental' field by 1) stimulating innovation and encouraging other actors to adopt this innovation, 2) generating boundaries around a distinct actor group that become associated with a new field, and 3) drawing legitimacy from central actors and creating networks that facilitate the mobilization of new field members. We conclude with implications for institutionalist research on structuration and field formation as well as implications for the practice of sustainable construction.