OMT WebOrganization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management
PDW at the International Association for Chinese Management Research (IACMR) Meeting
Hangzhou, China, June 19, 2016
A core objective of the Academy of Management is to enhance the scholarship of its members and increase their ability to publish research in top-tier journals. To facilitate this mission, the Organization and Management Theory (OMT) Division of the Academy has been sponsoring a series of research development workshops outside of North America designed to develop emerging scholars in the parts of the world were the AOM has seen its largest membership growth.
The OMT Division will hold a PDW at the 2016 IACMR meeting in Hangzhou to provide hands-on training and feedback to doctoral students and junior faculty in the area of building and testing theory about organizations. This workshop will focus on aspects that, in the senior scholars experience, are often significant barriers to publishing in top-tier journals: (i) Asking the right questions; (ii) identifying a significant theoretical contribution; (iii) the quality of design and execution; and (iv) framing and presentation of the study.
Participation in this workshop will be limited to twenty-eight authors. Participants should reside at institutions within China. Each participant will receive feedback on their draft papers from a mentor and three other participants.
The mentors for this workshop will be the following OMT leaders with significant editorial experience: Waverly Ding (University of Maryland); Chi-Nien Chung (National University of Singapore); Xiaowei Luo (INSEAD); Chris Marquis (Cornell University); Peter Murmann (Australian Graduate School of Management – UNSW); Davide Ravisi (City University, London); Bilian Sullivan (HKUST). As a group, these mentors have experience as an Associate Editor or Senior Editor at: Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Management Studies, Management and Organization Review, and Organization Science.
Interested applicants should email a current CV and abstract of their study, not to exceed seven double-spaced pages, excluding references. The abstract should include: (i) a statement of the study’s research question; (ii) a statement of the study’s theoretical contribution; and (iii) the complete introduction (i.e., the first few pages preceding the theory development/lit review section).
Please submit applications to Chris Marquis at
I am pleased to report that the 2015 OMT Division Program in Vancouver was a great success, largely thanks to the contributions and energy of members of the division who presented papers, organized symposia, chaired sessions, served as reviewers and discussants, and (hugely important!) attended the sessions and engaged in discussion and exchange. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and commitment.
The intellectual energy was also supported by a very convivial, friendly and inclusive atmosphere at OMT’s well-attended social events. We were pleased to see many new doctoral students, as well as junior faculty and OMT old-timers among the crowd.
A highlight of the program was the Distinguished Scholar Breakfast where Martha Feldman was our Distinguished Scholar this year. The notion of “routines” has been central to our understanding of how organizations function since the origins of Organization and Management Theory in the Carnegie School. Martha Feldman’s ground-breaking work on routines as “generative systems” has renewed and reoriented scholarship in this area over the past 15 years, and given rise to a vibrant stream of research and novel insights. In her Distinguished Scholar Presentation, Martha gave us an overview of her latest thinking in this area. The event took place at 8:00 am on Monday morning with breakfast sponsored by the Carroll School of Management at Boston College and Oxford University Press.
In addition to the Distinguished Scholar award, OMT gave out several other awards to recognize the quality and depth of the papers submitted to the division: Best Published Paper, Best Paper submitted to the conference, Best International Paper, Best Symposium, Best Paper by a Student, Best Paper from a Dissertation (Lou Pondy Award), Best OMT Empirical Paper on Environmental and Social Practice (sponsored by the Carroll School of Management at Boston College), and Best OMT Entrepreneurship Paper (a new award sponsored by the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship of the Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachussets, Amherst). Congratulations to all!
At the OMT Business Meeting, I summarized key trends in OMT submissions and program activities. In particular, I was pleased to report that 2015 was a record year for both paper and symposium submissions (651 papers and 99 symposia). The final program included 308 regular papers, 30 discussion papers, and 81 OMT co-sponsored symposia (48 with OMT as the lead sponsor).
952 people agreed to review for the division. Of these, 849 people received on average 2.87 papers to review allowing us to provide at least three reviews for each paper.
A review of co-sponsored symposia submissions suggests that the division occupies a central position within the Academy of Management overall, lying at the intersection of the foundational disciplines of psychology, sociology and economics. The highest number of co-sponsorship requests in 2015 came in order from Business Policy and Strategy (35 out of 99), Organizational Behavior (30), Management and Organizational Cognition (18), Social Issues in Management (16), Technology and Innovation Management (12), International Management (11), Entrepreneurship (10), and Organizational Development and Change (10).
The key interests of OMT members are revealed by the top eight topic keywords for submissions in 2015, which were Institutional Logics & Complexity; Corporate Governance & Strategy; Identity & Categorization; Bureaucracy, Organizational Design & Structure; Social Responsibility & Ethics; Status & Reputation; Organizational Forms; Performance & Effectiveness.
OMT continues to partner with EGOS and a very successful “Meet OMT” event was held at this year’s EGOS meeting in Athens. We look forward to continuing this tradition next year at EGOS in Naples. Make sure to look out for these events when you are at EGOS and AoM!
Once again, thank you to everyone who contributed to making the 2015 Vancouver program a success. Do not hesitate to contact the Division Officers if you have ideas about how we can further improve the OMT Program experience for everyone.
Ann Langley Division Chair Elect HEC Montreal
The Organization and Management Theory division is a community built from a common desire to develop and promote understanding of organizations and organizing. We stand at the intersection of micro and macro analysis, providing a context for mutually beneficial intellectual engagement across disciplinary and other boundaries.
Davide Ravasi, PDW Chair
In Anaheim, August 5-9, 2016, we would like to see PDW sessions creatively and innovatively addressing the Division's Mission of attracting, developing and serving academics and practitioners who wish to advance understanding of organizations and organizing. Possible PDWs might, for example, introduce participants to novel, under-utilized or developing theoretical perspectives, and offer insight into directions for future research. Methodological PDWs that offer tutorials and discussions around approaches to research design, data collection and analysis are always very much appreciated. PDWs may also address participants’ needs as teachers, trainers and mentors of graduate students. Socially oriented PDWs may focus on building community around common interests off-site - be it a cafe chat around a particular theme, ethnic dining outings to explore new cultures, or physical activities to build community. Or perhaps you have ideas for stimulating topics and formats we have not thought of? Please let us hear them.
We would particularly like to see submissions that address the conference theme of "Making Organizations Meaningful." We think this is an exciting theme that offers all kinds of possibilities in OMT. For example, this would seem to be a particularly good time to put forward theoretically oriented PDW proposals that consider issues of how organizations make meaning and produce culture, imbue objects, technologies and jobs with meaning (or meanings), as well as how they acquire meaningfulness beyond their technical or economic performance; our location, next to the Disneyland theme park, may also be a source of inspiration for reflections about how organizations influence the “webs of meaning” that we are suspended in and that shape our experience of everyday life. Methodologically oriented PDW proposals may address ways to capture or measure meaning and meaningfulness. We also encourage socially oriented PDW proposals to build OMT community (particularly for newer members) by exploring off-site form of interactions to stimulate conversations around meaningful organizations, artefacts, and jobs – and perhaps even the meanings of our own academic activity. Let the theme and the location inspire you though - we are open to a wide range of different topics and formats that will interest the OMT community.
In addition, we also encourage proposals that are of interest to members of other AOM divisions (e.g., ENT, BPS, OB, MOC, etc.). PDW sessions have a very flexible structure but should have greater participant interaction than symposia in the regular program. Feel free to be creative and contact Davide Ravasi at
prior to December 11, 2015 if you would like to discuss potential submissions.
Submissions open in early November. All submissions are to be submitted electronically at this site: http://aom.org/annualmeeting/submission/. The deadline for submissions is January 12, 2016 at 5:00 PM ET (NY Time), but you are strongly encouraged to submit early to enable the possibility of feedback to maximize your chance of acceptance. Since we are interested in proposals that address the interests of a broad segment of Academy of Management members, we ask submitters to specify which divisions other than OMT are most relevant to the proposal.
Donald MacKenzie's pioneering work in the social studies of finance helps us understand how America’s financial markets have grown in their current form by explaining how economic models are an engine of inquiry rather than a camera to reproduce empirical facts. Nine years after the publication of his famous book, “An engine, not a camera: how financial models shape markets“ (2006, MIT Press), which received several academic and practitioner’s awards, I asked Donald to tell us more about the unfoldings of this project and his views about the future.
First, how did the idea of the book come about?
Of course I did not start with: “I want to write a book.” I wanted to do research. What led me specifically to finance was accidental. In 1997, I was reading a book by a man called Peter Bernstein, called “Against the Gods”. Someone gave me this book primarily because of the history of statistics. I did not particularly like the chapters on the history of statistics, because there were rather derivative, but I really liked the last five chapters on modern financial economics, and I just thought: “Well, that sounds rather interesting” and… so it was that. I wanted to write a book on finance that could be of interest for a wider audience, because finance impacts everybody. The core of the story is about option pricing theory, both its development and then the effects on markets of option pricing theory starting to be performed in markets. I wanted to make a book that was self-contained and a bit more comprehensive than the other books.
Why did you choose this title?
The title came from reading Milton Friedman’s famous 1953 paper on positive economics, where - I can’t remember the exact words, but he says that economics isn’t a camera seeking faithfully to reflect and to reproduce what’s going on in markets. Economics is an engine of inquiry. I could see that, but not as an engine of inquiry, but simply as an engine. Because across the story of option pricing theory is a story, in which the development of the theory affects behaviour in markets, affects how markets are legitimated. So I said “Oh, good, we will just turn that over a bit, into the title.”
So what were the reactions when the book was published?
It was published in 2006 and I think on the whole it was well received. But you know, there have been various critiques over time too, particularly in relation to things that I’ve said about option pricing theory. And because the idea of the performativity of economics not thought up by me, but by Michel Callon, was prominent in the book, and by the performativity of economics I mean the idea that economics isn’t as it were, simply a description of market processes, but in some cases an intervention in markets and market processes. Because that idea was becoming more prominent at that point, that was both a plus and a minus so to speak in terms of reactions on the book. On the one hand, it attracted interest to the book as being an instance of the performativity of economics. On the other hand, it’s also of course true criticism from people, who didn’t like the thesis of the performativity of economics.
So when you think about reaction, it is reaction from whom?
I have to confess, even despite my aim to reach wider audiences, but nearly all the reaction was from academics! Economic sociology, History of economics... you know, occasionally people in financial economics read the book or at least read the chapters of the book dealing with themselves. There was some reaction from people in the options markets, particularly the Chicago Board Options Exchange, because that’s part of the story. You know, there is a line of human beings, which I suppose it’s more eloquently put by the historian of economics Phil Mirowski, who see the notion of the performativity of economics being some kind of concession to Neo-liberalism. I’m sure this rather over-simplifying Mirowski’s position, but in essence he believes modern economics to be so badly flawed that it couldn’t even manage to be performative. So there is an element of the book having, you know, locked in to this wider debate, this wider issue of the performativity of economics.
Would you think that you would write something differently today?
Yeah. I suppose... one thing I would like to do differently, but I don’t think even now I could do, because I don’t have the necessary background is in the book I don’t say very much about why was that financial economics developed in the particular way that it did. I was more interested in what effect did it then have. And I have no training in economics. So my grasp on the history of economics isn’t good. So that was an angle that I have never really investigated and I would love to do if I had five years free.
And now, so it’s almost ten years later. How would you assess the evolution of the field since then?
I think that the idea of performativity has become (not universally accepted by any means of course) relatively widely accepted. However, I have to say that partly quite deliberately I chose a case that was actually relevantly simple, from the view of the story of performativity. Which is to say, that you’ve got a field there where there was one canonical model: the Black-Scholes or Black-Sholes-Merton Option-Pricing Model, and a very long history of empirical tests of that model. Yet, those two conditions are often absent in other areas, because you are not dealing with one dominant model, but with ten different competing models, let’s say, and then the story of performativity becomes much harder to tell, just because the performativity of exactly what becomes an issue. And similarly because I was interested in issues that in the book I refer to as Barnesian performativity and counter-performativity, in other words is the world becoming more like the model or becoming less like the model. Again it was very helpful in that there was an existing set of econometrics (that is of option pricing models) which I could use as it were. But this is not always the case.
So one suggested area of research for the future on performativity studies would be to work on several models for instance?
Yes, though I just said, that would be a very difficult thing to do, at least in the way in which I am trying to do it in the book. But yes, I mean I think that it’s extremely dangerous for any field to base its claims on a limited number of case studies. There is a whole set of mathematical parameters that are used in the analysis of financial markets. Some of those parameters become real in the sense that people in markets start conceptualizing the market in terms of those parameters, start talking about those parameters, start even doing deals based on the value of those mathematical parameters, whereas other parameters just always remain academic in the pejorative sense of the term “academic”. So I think that would be an interesting way of thinking about the performativity of economics, which is what things become real and what things don’t.
More info on the book available here:
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Imperial College’s junior research fellowship competition is now open for applications with a deadline of Monday 14 September. The scheme provides successful applicants with a salary of up to £39,000 per year for three years, plus up to £45,000 in total research expenses, with no obligatory teaching or administrative commitments. A full training and career development programme is also available from the College’s postdoc development centre.
While the scheme is open to applicants across Imperial College’s remit, we are particularly keen to attract outstanding applicants to Imperial College Business School. The College has recently published its strategy for 2015-2020, which identifies multidisciplinary challenge areas in discovery and the natural world; engineering novel solutions; health and well-being; and leading the data revolution as priority areas for the College. Applications that bring to bear insights from business, management and economics to these challenges are particularly welcome. Previous successful Business School applicants to this scheme have worked in fields including sustainable energy business, the management of scarce resources, carbon emissions trading and health care economics. If you are interested in applying then please visit the School’s web pages to see our current research priorities and potential mentoring staff. Feel free to contact Dr David Wilson, head of research support, to discuss your application (
Further information about the scheme and application processes is available at http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/juniorresearchfellowships
Earlier this year, the Journal of Management Studies featured two articles discussing the past, present, and future of organization theory: one by Michael Lounsbury and Christine Beckman, who celebrate contemporary efforts to build theory; and one by Jerry Davis, who calls for a shift in the way we think about organizational research as a tool to address social problems. All three authors were kind enough to sit down and share their thoughts with us about the role of organization theory (and organizational theorists!) in today’s world.
-Interview conducted by Madeline Toubiana and Michael Mauskapf
Madeline Toubiana and Michael Mauskapf: Mike and Christine, your paper is quite provocative and pushes the field to think about what we should research and how we should frame our findings. What inspired you to write this paper now, given that some of these critiques have been outstanding for some time?
Mike Lounsbury and Christine Beckman: As members of the OMT executive committee, we were charged collectively with supporting and developing OMT membership within the Academy. In one of the executive committee discussions, as we were discussing some of the outstanding concerns (e.g., relevance of OMT scholarship and lack of jobs for young OMT scholars), Forrest Briscoe wisely asked whether we had any data on these questions. This idea had come from Jerry, when he was leading the OMT executive committee. He had done an analysis of 2005 program data and job announcements that was published in JMI in 2006 (Mechanisms and the Theory of Organizations). This is where his critique of the relevance and fruitfulness of “theory” in OMT commenced in full bloom, and where he began to promote a mechanism-based approach to theorizing. As an aside, as part of his efforts on the OMT executive, he is also responsible for creating the Teaching Roundtables. These continue to be a very robust way to share knowledge about how to integrate OMT knowledge into a diverse array of courses from strategy, entrepreneurship, OB, leadership etc.
Nonetheless, it was the 2005 data and associated set of critiques that also provided the grist for subsequent critiques across the field, including his 2010 paper that we focalized in our effort to shift the narrative about OMT away from a near empty glass frame and towards one with a frothier mug. As social scientists, we thought it useful to re-examine these issues with fresh data. Christine took the lead in surveying former doctoral consortium attendees, then examining the program data from 2011. Our data and analyses suggested something very different from what Jerry had been arguing. Thus, the inspiration for our paper emerged from those analyses, and from a concern that the critiques promulgated by Jerry, and that had begun to uncritically spread, were not accurate and were based on an outdated view of the field. We wanted to share the vibrancy that we saw in the field and encourage young scholars to continue to frame, identify and invest in organizational theory research. As we document, our survey indicated that young OMT scholars do not seem to have big problems getting jobs, but their jobs have them teaching a wide variety of kinds of courses—a nod to the success of Jerry’s teaching roundtables! In addition, we argue that the theoretical conversations in OMT seem to be quite diverse and robust.
MT and MM: You discuss five promising theoretical domains in OT: institutional logics, categories, networks, performance feedback, and practice theory. Do you think these areas share some affinities that make them more generative for contemporary theory building? Is there one theoretical domain that each of you see as more promising than the others?
ML and CB: We chose the theories to highlight based on submission data from the Academy program. So these are five promising theoretical domains that are relatively well established and are drawing audiences at the Academy. Do they have greater possibility for theory building than other areas? Not necessarily. These are theoretical conversations that have built audiences and are engaged in a vibrant conversation. Perhaps what they have in common is an attempt to build and develop a set of theoretical ideas among a community of scholars. While some of these conversations have strong roots in the past, they are all important areas of new and continued growth in people and the generation of scholarly knowledge. One could certainly be critical of the knowledge being produced, but this was not our central aim. Our aim was to highlight that OMT’s rich theoretical heritage and generative capacity continues to be robust, and as OMT executives we have continually sought to nurture this capacity and encourage and support the flowering of variegated theoretical communities. Note the five theoretical conversations we highlighted were just examples, but there are many others that merit attention including institutional work, learning, routines, identity, and social movements, not to mention how our organizational theories are helping to expand our understanding of topics like entrepreneurship, corporate governance, inequality and the like.
MT and MM: Jerry, in your response, you highlight three problem-driven areas for research: where do jobs come from?; can supply chains be accountable; and can new technologies liberate us? What inspired you to choose these areas in particular, and are their others that you would encourage OMT scholars to investigate?
Jerry Davis: These three areas came up for me because they are pressing questions around the world right now. Research that addresses them can draw on ideas from OMT, and they are questions that have the potential to yield answers that might make a difference in the world. I also highlighted these three because they are questions that should be the subject of lots of OMT research, but have not been so far – perhaps because we have been too swayed by the demand for papers to contribute to theory.
We are living through a period of massive change in the organization of our economy and our society. In the US, public corporations are shrinking and disappearing, and along with them benefits like health care and economic security. The centripetal force that used to draw more and more transactions inside organizational boundaries has reversed, a process we might call “Nikefication.” For many activities, markets are replacing hierarchies. There is a market price for almost everything now, including specific components of what labor does. Careers were replaced by jobs, and now jobs are being replaced by tasks that can be contracted on demand (which we might call “Uberization”). Uber has 162,000 drivers in the US, but only 2000 actual employees; meanwhile GM has shrunk to the same size it was in 1928. And because of its cost advantages and convenience for consumers, there is an Uber emerging for everything, from rides across town to health care. The Uberization of labor markets is likely to lead to even more widespread economic insecurity, greater inequality, and limited mobility.
There are real, tangible, pressing problems to be solved, and OMT researchers have the tools to address them. Arguably, no other field is so perfectly placed to make sense of our current situation as OMT, given that it sits at the crossroads of so many diverse disciplines (sociology, psychology, political science, anthropology, economics and all the business school disciplines). It is therefore frustrating when we devote so much of our attention to things that might be considered frivolous, or at least not so pressing. The emergency room is not the right place for elective plastic surgery. We should be able to give confident advice to policymakers, activists, and businesspeople, grounded in research, to make sure that (for example) avoidable tragedies like the Rana Plaza disaster do not happen again, or employment practices do not impose rampant insecurity on the working class.
One area I would have added to this list is organizations and inequality. I’m happy to see that this domain is finally getting more sustained attention from organizational researchers. Hari Bapuji and Suhaib Riaz just published a very nice special issue of Human Relations on “Economic inequality and management,” and Adam Cobb has a new piece in AMR that can help organize this conversation. There are more conferences and special issues out there as well, but of course there is a lot more work to be done. I would also add that there is still plenty of room for work on social movements and organizations, and specifically how social justice issues are interpenetrating organizations. Mobilizing is a lot quicker and cheaper than it used to be, and the repertoire of contention keeps growing. Finally, new forms of work organization seem understudied, particularly the new workforce management systems that have turned retail and food services into a nightmarish panopticon that would make Frederick Taylor stammer.
MT and MM: You call for more problem-driven (rather than theory-driven) research, but this would disqualify the work from many of our field’s top journals, which is an especially risky proposition for junior scholars and PhD students. How would suggest we produce--and reward--this type of research?
JD: Here I would like to dispute the premise that problem driven research is risky and potentially unpublishable for younger scholars. Many of us share Don Hambrick’s concern that journals are too obsessed with a paper’s contribution to theory. This can lead authors to dress up mundane things that we already knew (“Who you know matters”) with a lot of theoretical mumbo-jumbo (“The embeddedness of social life in webs of socio-affective affiliations manifests itself in a panoply of outcomes”). The flip side of this is what Mike and Christine described, which is atheoretical data dredging. Just because you can download giant datasets and analyze them using fancy fixed-effects models doesn’t mean that you should, and just because you find statistically significant coefficients doesn’t mean that they add up to anything.
I find that reviewers (and even some editors!) are sympathetic to carefully-done research that addresses an important question even if it does not commence with 20 pages of dense theory leading to hypotheses to be tested. Ethan Bernstein’s dissertation study of a Chinese phone factory became an instant classic because it rigorously addressed a genuinely important problem, with a minimum of theoretical mumbo-jumbo. So: have a little faith in the review process, it may not be as bad as its reputation. If you are reporting important insights based on careful research on a worthy problem, reviewers are not going to torment you about your contribution to theory. They will, however, torment you (appropriately) about making good inferences based on your data, so go back and re-read your Cook and Campbell (1979).
MT and MM: You also mention the need for “good taste” in identifying social problems. What advice would you give PhD students or junior scholars on developing or refining such taste?
JD: I realize that talking about having “good taste” sounds snobbish (or as theory snobs would say, “Bourdieusian”). It might be more accurate to say “develop a good problem sense.” My old friend and mentor Mayer Zald had a fantastic problem sense: he had the ability to read the newspaper and find three fascinating research topics every morning. I always admired his capacity to say see a particular event as an instance of something bigger, to see it as an exemplar or an anomaly. That’s a quality of mind worth developing, to ask the question “What is this a case of?”, and it requires being steeped enough in the literature to be able to identify the relevant categories. And it’s not enough to just label something (“Aha: This store follows a panopticon institutional logic”): you want to go on to try to explain it, using the tools of the theorist. So, pay attention during your organization theory seminars.
I always liked C. Wright Mills’ description of social research as making sense of the intersection of biography and history in social structures. What are the tectonic shifts we are undergoing? What are the structures where they play out? How are they affecting peoples’ lives? One of the biggest shifts in our time is the radically lower cost of collaborating and engaging in collective action. When much of the population carries a smartphone that gives them instantaneous access to all the world’s knowledge (from the formula for kurtosis to how to deliver a baby), and the capacity to communicate with everyone else for free, social life changes in lots of ways, from how people hook up to how they work to how they engage in rebellion. There’s so much worth studying – don’t be stuck with Compustat!
MT and MM: Mike and Christine, you call specifically on PhD students to find their theoretical niche. What advice would you give them for learning how to flex their theoretical muscles, especially given the current publishing environment? What role do you see the OMT division playing in this regard?
ML and CB: There are many domains out there that are growing and have great promise. Check out some of the emerging areas. Christine (along with Robert David and Dick Scott) are organizing a PDW on Saturday morning at the Vancouver Academy meetings titled “Revitalizing Organization Theory.” In this session, there will be three panels each highlighting a different area where OT has great promise: big data, organizing outside organizations, and OT in understudied geographic contexts (Session 17699, 8:00-10:30 am, Saturday, August 8, Convention Center 214). Jerry (and Paul Adler) have a session on Friday titled “Alternative Economic Futures” (Session 11949, 1:00-3:30 pm, Convention Center 011). In addition, on Friday from 4:30-6:00 at the Vancouver Convention Centre (room 118), right before the Meet OMT Social, there is a session organized by Jo-Ellen Pozner and Emily Block, OMT New and Returning Member Networking and Research Forum, that we encourage everyone to attend. That session will have a variety of roundtables staffed with prominent scholars to discuss issues related to publishing and careers across varied theoretical areas of focus.
We believe that more important than the particular topic or theoretical perspective is bringing an OT theoretical sensibility and an engagement in the world we live in. The publishing environment goes through phases and fads. The OMT division has been hosting and co-sponsoring paper development workshops around the world (for details, go to: omtweb.org). They are focused on supporting junior faculty and doctoral students at Academy and beyond. The new executive committee will continue their efforts to support the membership in other ways, but certainly we suspect this will continue to be the core objective of the division. We hope that in 10 years time, we will find ourselves as the counter-point to the next set of debates about how to unlock the full potential of organization theory scholarship.
MT and MM: More generally, what might the “gatekeepers” of OT do to bridge the two “world views” you cultivate in this dialogue? Should journals (and hiring/tenure committees) support both kinds of research as separate but equal/complementary; or are we better served by integrating them?
JD: Journals and promotion committees shape the kind of research that gets done by what they reward, so if we want to get to Pasteur’s quadrant, it might take a conspiracy among deans, editorial boards, and accrediting bodies to define who and what it is we think management research is for. Left on our own, we will have no trouble filling pages of journals, and we will evaluate each others’ work according to our own internal criteria (is it interesting, are the methods sound and the inferences valid, does it contribute to theory). But we might want to consider who our constituencies are and what they need. “Managerial relevance” used to mean “Middle and upper managers at Eastman Kodak can benefit from this,” but that’s not such a useful model now. Should we be aiming to benefit the people who write the employee monitoring and scheduling algorithms for Starbucks, or the brogrammers running Uber and its ilk? Or are our obligations to a broader constituency? (For a longer rant on this topic, see http://asq.sagepub.com/content/60/2/179)
ML and CB: Although a point/counter-point format suggests we are on opposite sides of a debate, we agree more than we disagree. We are all great supporters and believers in organization theory – having all been trained as organizational theorists and having committed five years of professional service to serving on the executive committee. We have all thought deeply about the health and growth of the field. Problem-based and theory-driven research are both important. We see them as different pathways into the same question. The best research will inform both the world and develop our theoretical understandings. Without theory, our empirical findings lack the deep understanding of the how and why that is required to be useful in the world. This is consistent with Jerry’s calls for a focus on mechanisms. Without problems, our theories are abstractions that lack grounding. We want theories that describe and inform the world we live in. So, without question, we should try to integrate them. This is the holy grail in Pasteur’s quadrant: “fundamental knowledge inspired by use”. But we will not always succeed on both dimensions simultaneously, and as editors and members of hiring and promotion committees, we should cut papers a little slack that tackle really important problems or add deep theoretical insight. But that doesn’t mean we don’t try to do both.
MT and MM: What is it you would want current or potential OMT members to take-away from this conversation regarding the current state and direction of OT?
ML and CB: OMT IS THE PLACE TO BE! As a field, we have the tools and the curiosity to address important problems in a deep and meaningful way. We don’t want to sit out on solving those problems or engaging in those debates with other disciplines because we are focused inward on whether our field is thriving. Instead, take your OT tools, develop new ones, and ask interesting and important problems about the societies we live in. There will be an audience (and a job) for people that do that well.
JD: Completely agree with Christine and Mike: OMT is the place to be!
Paul Hirsch (Northwestern), Pablo Martin de Holan (EMLyon), Nelson Phillips (Imperial College London), Stelios Zyglidopoulos (University of Glasgow)
Deadline for paper submissions: March 31, 2016
“Corruption is violence.” - Dalai Lama
Corruption is a significant problem in much of the world. It acts as a barrier to development, leads to the unfair and inefficient distribution of resources, is highly corrosive of the social fabric in any society where it occurs, and can have dire consequences for the competitiveness of firms and the well being of citizens, employees, and whole societies. In this first ever JMI special issue, we will focus on corruption in and around organizations and particularly on the role of managers and organizations in corruption.
But what exactly is corruption? One common definition defines it “as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain” (Transparency-International 2011). This abuse of power can manifest in two ways (Zyglidopoulos 2015). First, individuals or organizations can abuse their power by breaking or stretching existing rules and norms for their own benefit (first-order corruption). And second, individuals or organizations can abuse their power to create or change existing rules and norms so that they can unfairly benefit from them (second-order corruption).
Based on such an understanding of corruption in and around business organizations, and in accordance with JMI’s policies, we invite qualitative empirical papers, essays, interviews and dialogues that explore a range of themes at multiple levels of analysis, including but not limited to the following:
a) At the individual level
How do managerial actions contribute to corruption? Can a leader stop corruption? How does corruption in a team develop and spread? How do individual emotions contribute to corruption? How do individuals rationalize their behavior? How can managers prevent first- and second-order corruption?
b) At the organizational level
What are the organizational antecedents and / or consequences of corruption? What are the processes through which corruption appears, is maintained and spreads? How can corruption be avoided or managed once it appears? Are there organizational structures/cultures/routines that reduce the likelihood of corruption? How can organizations manage the process of creating fair rules and norms? How does corruption erode competitive advantage?
c) At the field or industry Level
What field level dynamics are associated with widespread corruption?
Can corruption become institutionalized in a field? If so, how does an illegitimate behavior become institutionalized? What forms of institutional work are associated with stopping corruption? How do institutional entrepreneurship and/or institutional work relate to corruption? Are some industries more prone to corruption than others?
d) At the societal level
How do societal factors affect corruption in organizations? How does corruption in organizations affect government and civil society? How does the existence of elites affect the dynamics of corruption? What is the role of generalized social trust in determining the level of corruption within a society? What are the micro and macro consequences of corruption?
We are seeking submissions for most sections of JMI including Essays, Non-Traditional Research, Dialogue, Reflections on Experience, Six Degree of Separation and Meet the Person. We encourage authors to read the recent Editors Introduction (Phillips and Trank 2014) that provides more information on writing for JMI and descriptions of the different sections. Essays and non-traditional research will be double-blind reviewed following the journal’s normal review process and criteria. For other sections of the journal, please contact one of the special issue editors to discuss your idea BEFORE writing up your submission.
Please submit papers through the journal’s online submission system, SAGE track. To do so, please visit https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jomi, create your user account (if you have not done so already), and submit your manuscript according to the directions. Instructions for the format for papers is here:
You will be able to submit your paper for this Special Issue through SAGETrack between the 1st of Febuary and the 28th of February 2016.
Authors should ensure to mention in their submission letter that the article is to be considered for the special issue.
For further information please contact one of the Guest Editors for this Special Issue: Paul Hirsch (
Pablo Martin de Holan (
Nelson Phillips (
Stelios Zyglidopoulos (
Administrative support & general queries
Donna Sutherland-Smith, Editorial Assistant, Journal of Management Inquiry:
Phillips, N. & Trank, C. Q. 2014. 'Editors’ Statement.' Journal of Management Inquiry, 23:1, 3-4.
Transparency-International 2011. 'The Global Coalition against Corruption.' Transparency International.
Zyglidopoulos, S. 2015. 'Toward a Theory of Second-Order Corruption.' Journal of Management Inquiry, 1056492615579914.
The 4th Triennial Alberta Institutions Conference, held at the Fairmont Banff Springs Resort in Banff, Alberta, Canada from June 12 – 14 was not just a visit to a beautiful location. With the theme of How Do Institutions Matter?, the conference fostered new and thought-provoking conversations about alternative modes of organizing, new organizational designs to address social and environmental issues, as well as the ever re-occurring questions of how we—as institutional theorists—matter and how we can address some of the “real-world” problems we are facing today.
The conference was preceded by a PhD Workshop designed to help upcoming scholars to develop and sharpen their ideas and projects. Supported by scholars like Mary Ann Glynn, William Ocasio, and Jerry Davis, among many others, the workshop was not only a great opportunity to connect with PhD students from all over the world, including India, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, Denmark, the US, and the UK, but also an invaluable source of intellectual stimulation. With 3-5 PhD Students and 2 mentors per roundtable, the debates were lively, deep, and “game-changing.”
One of the most memorable moments might have been Jerry Davis’ creatively provocative keynote speech. A visionary and attention-capturing entertainer, Jerry took the audience on a journey into the future of organization studies. Under the title “New institutions for a new economic order,” he advocated that taken-for-granted categories such as “the corporation” or “an employee” no longer fit into the world in which we live. Drawing on examples of new forms of organizing such as Netflix, Uber, Vizio, and oDesk, he encouraged organizational researchers to illuminate a “more human path forward.” A path he called “locavore wiki-everything (in which one is a genetic engineer in the morning, an urban fish farmer in the afternoon, and a mash-up DJ in the evening)”, reflective of a new economic order driven by innovation in information technologies and in need for new ways of theorizing organizations as well as relevant institutions.
What was particularly exciting to see from the perspective of an early-stage PhD Student was the focus on novel forms of organizing for social change, such as Matthew Grimes’ presentation about the B Corps movement in the U.S. or Marya Besharov’s presentation about a mission-led organization founded to stop poverty in Southeast Asia. Indeed, most of the presentations seemed concerned with social and environmental issues in one or another way. The importance of institutions was discussed in the context of climate change, poverty, healthcare, and racial justice. Maybe a sign that we can matter as institutional theorists. And according to the final day’s panel discussion on practical impact, as we seem to ask “the right questions,” reason to believe that we do matter as a community to contribute to solutions of the mentioned issues.
All in all a terrific conference and a privilege to have experienced it! A special thanks go to the organizing committee of the University of Alberta, including Tony Briggs, David Deephouse, Joel Gehman, Vern Glaser, Royston Greenwood, Matthew Grimes, Bob Hinings, Jo-Louise Huq, Dev Jennings, Michael Lounsbury, Evelyn Micelotta, Mia Raynard, Trish Reay, Marvin Washington, as well as Emilie St. Hilaire and the 2015 Conference Sponsors including the OMT Division and SSHRC CRSH.
For the second time in four years, there will be a Pecha Kucha about social evaluation at AOM. "Pecha Kucha" refers to a fast-paced presentation style that emphasizes concision and clarity in an effort to incite discussion, generate new insights, and entertain. Organized by David Deephouse, Scott Graffin, and Michael Pfarrer, Who's Next? The Second Pecha Kucha About Social Evaluations will take place on Friday, August 7, from 2 to 6 pm in the Convention Centre (Room 214). More details can be found in the program or below:
There is growing interest in research on social evaluations. Social evaluations are assessments of organizations and their components made by stakeholders, such as customers, investors, current and potential employees, and communities. They are forms of external governance. Many evaluations appeared in past research, including legitimacy, reputation, celebrity, status, stigma, rankings, and certifications, including Fortune’s Most Admired Companies in America and Business Week’s rankings of business schools. Social evaluations have been linked to many antecedents and consequences, such as performance, CEO pay, stock market risk, job attractiveness, etc. (Bansal & Clelland, 2004; Deephouse, 2000; Turban & Cable, 2003; Wade, Porac, Pollock, & Graffin, 2006). The goal of this PDW is the same as the first Pecha Kucha in 2012, which drew over 100 attendees: To provide a forum where people and ideas can meet and new ideas and relationships can be developed. Our session will adapt the Pecha Kucha format, an innovation from Japan used in design settings for showcasing new ideas. In this PDW, each person will present for five minutes with 10 slides – 30 seconds per slide. There are twenty-two spaces for presenting new work – twelve of these spaces are reserved for junior scholars. Three senior scholars will serve as raconteurs and present integrative and provocative commentary after all of the new work is presented. Two breaks will provide opportunity for discussion.
Call for Applications
“Managing and Organizing in Contexts of Change”
A Paper Development Workshop for PhD Students and Early Career Scholars in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), co-sponsored by European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS), Organization & Management Theory (OMT) Division of the Academy of Management, and Organization Studies
29-30 October 2015
University of Warsaw
Mike Geppert, Vice-Chair of EGOS, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena
Frank den Hond, Editor-in-Chief, Organization Studies (OS), Hanken
Miko?aj Pawlak, University of Warsaw
Nelson Phillips, OMT Division Chair-Elect and Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Management Inquiry (JMI), Imperial College London
Thomas Steger, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of East European Management Studies (JEEMS), University of Regensburg
Silviya Svejenova, Chair of EGOS, Copenhagen Business School
This joint paper development workshop (PDW), co-sponsored by EGOS, OMT, and OS, seeks to provide developmental opportunities for late stage PhD students and early career scholars who are based in the CEE and do research in the field of organizational and management studies. The PDW aims to help participants develop their academic writing. It also seeks to increase participants’ awareness of the requirements, expectations, and procedures involved in the review processes at peer-reviewed academic journals through presentations and discussion with the editors-in-chief of JEEMS, JMI, and OS.
In particular, we aim to support participants to develop their papers into conference papers to be submitted in January 2016 to the upcoming EGOS Colloquium in Naples, July, 7-9 or to the OMT Division of the upcoming Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management in Anaheim (California), August, 5-9. In addition, there will also be opportunities for some of the papers presented at the workshop to be considered for publication. Best papers developed out of the workshop will also have the opportunity to be published in the JEEMS, which "aims to promote the development, advancement and dissemination of knowledge about management issues in Central and East European countries”.
The workshop is free of charge. Food and accommodation will be provided to all selected participants. There is a limited number of travel grants that will be offered depending on needs and funds’ availability. Please indicate in your application if you would like to be considered for travel funding.
To be considered for the PDW, please submit a brief letter explaining why you think you are a good candidate for the workshop and an extended abstract (1500 words) of a paper, which you would like to develop. Applications should be sent by August 15th, 2015 to Miko?aj Pawlak (
). The abstract should include an explanation as to the purpose of the paper, the theoretical background and the approach. Empirical papers should identify the methods of analysis. Authors should also explain in their brief motivation letter how they fit into overall aim and format of the planned PDW, in terms of stage of career and research. Submitters will be informed whether they have been accepted for participation in the PDW by September 15th, 2015.
For those of you attending EGOS in Athens, please join us for Meet OMT @ EGOS on Thursday, July 2nd, from 5:30-7:00 in the Admissions Courtyard. The event is jointly hosted and sponsored by the Organization and Management Theory Division and Cass School of Business!
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