The concept of “institutional entrepreneurship” has become one of the most prominent concepts in the institutional theory in recent years. Entrepreneurial efforts often lead to “proto-institutions,” new practices, rules, and technologies that transcend a particular collaborative relationship and may become new institutions if they diffuse sufficiently (Lawrence, Hardy & Phillips, 2002: 281). Although research on institutional change has referred to a long and complex process of transformation from proto-institution to institutions, we still know very little about the complete institutional innovation process.

In this paper we unpack the institutional innovation process of how new practices, rules, or technologies developed by an institutional entrepreneur constitute a proto-institutions and how these proto-institutions are transformed into institutions. In our analysis we bridge the entrepreneurship and the institutional theory literature and focus on three issues: (1) entrepreneurial opportunity creation vs. opportunity recognition; (2) types and attributes of resistance to entrepreneurs’ acting upon created opportunities, and (3) the role of conflict/resistance management in institutional innovation process.