OMT WebOrganization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management
Editor's note: These remarks were delivered at a memorial service held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, February 9 in the Rogel Ballroom of the Michigan Union building at the University of Michigan. To see other memorial remarks, visit: http://omtweb.org/omt-blog/main/477.
It is common knowledge here that Michael Cohen was a very special human being. Not only is that well understood in general terms, but there is a list of his specific virtues that is also widely acknowledged. As we have all struggled to cope with this loss, in this past week, I have been struck by the power of this consensus about him, how effectively people can evoke the person they knew, and how clear it is that it was indeed the same remarkable person that they all knew. Even the appraisal of him as the embodiment of typical Midwestern virtues, his California background notwithstanding, came to me from more than one source.
Since there is little profit in a recitation of common knowledge, what to do? One might try reaching for stronger superlatives: A supreme intellect, a virtual Superman of gentleness! What, a Superman of gentleness? I think super-sizing the superlatives is not the way to go, or at least not evidently my particular talent. I will reach instead for some resonant memories.
If the records do not lie, I was a colleague of Michael’s at the Institute of Public Policy Studies, predecessor of the Ford School, for a mere 5 semesters in 1973-75. Thinking about that today, it is incredible to me that our time as actual colleagues was that short, considering the durability of the connection formed. We had offices on the same hallway in the IPPS quarters on East Liberty Street. We had in common our enthusiasm for the IPPS mission and for the Carnegie School traditions that strongly shaped it. We had other shared enthusiasms … such as the idea of using computer simulation as a vehicle for theory, and also the aspiration to do interdisciplinary social science. Leaving Ann Arbor was painful for many reasons, but the truncation of the developing relationship to Michael was a major one.
Fortunately, we encountered each other in a number of conferences and workshops over the years, and especially so in recent decades. This was largely because of our shared interest in organizational routines. There were several small workshops of the kind where serious interdisciplinary conversation could take place. These events were held in a number of not-so-bad locales, such as Santa Fe, Laguna Beach and Nice, -- not to speak of Ann Arbor and Philadelphia. I recall these occasions with special pleasure and gratitude.
I remember Michael’s great value as a participant in such conversations, and particularly his talent for expressing skepticism in a helpful way. He would identify the logical weakness, the parochialism, the overstatement, or occasionally the ignorance, in a presentation or argument. As he did so, you saw the fabric of his character in one single piece … the fabric woven of the high intelligence, the learning, the serious-mindedness, the ever-constructive attitude … and then, always, the generosity, the gentleness and the humor. Or perhaps I should say, the playfulness. There was that twinkle of laughter and enthusiasm that frequently came into his eye. It said, “I’m really enjoying this and I trust you are enjoying it too.” That image is the one that will always be with me when I remember him.
Now, I think of myself as having reasonably good manners in the seminar room, at least when I’m talking. When I’m just listening, however, my inner agitation can become evident when I don’t like what I’m hearing. One day I was sitting beside Michael in one of those workshops and displaying such symptoms of distress. Michael leaned over and showed me his laptop screen, where he had brought up a Peanuts cartoon. Lucy is lecturing Linus about a little tree, while Charlie Brown looks on. Lucy says, “This is a palm tree. It’s called that because I can put my palm around it.” Charlie Brown makes a nauseated face and says, “My stomach hurts.”
That cartoon cured my own gastric distress of the moment, and it has been therapeutic in many similar episodes in the years since. It established Michael in my mind as my personal guru of the Zen of scholarly battle, not just in the workshop or seminar context, but in all its many forms.
Certainly I followed his guidance in many other domains, and particularly on the individual psychology of organizational behavior … a topic on which I happen to have a Michael-inspired, and strongly Michael-assisted, paper forthcoming. The last of that valuable assistance was received from him in the now long-ago month of December.
As I look around the country and the world today, I am repeatedly struck by the propensity to self-destructive behavior exhibited by the human species. Deep down, most of our collective problems are not so difficult; they are manageable. But instead of managing the problems, we seem to employ our expanding knowledge to discover new paths to self-inflicted pain.
To manage the problems, we need of course to understand the relevant policies and their complexities. In his teaching and research, Michael helped in building that detailed understanding.
We also need a deeper and more generic understanding of human behavior itself. Particularly in recent years, that was the path that Michael took in his research.
But is that enough? Isn’t the fundamental problem that we actually have need of “a better class of human beings” to make this planet the garden that it could be? As a solution, that may be close to “assume a miracle”, but not quite. History has shown us some examples of that “better class”, and the collective power of such examples shapes the future. Michael is one such example -- but now we have lost him to a problem that is not self-inflicted, and not yet in the class we know how to solve.
His influence will outlast the pain we now suffer at his loss; we can all ride the waves and currents of his special kind of humanity.
Sid WinterDeloitte and Touche Professor Emeritus of Management The Wharton SchoolUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Tags: Michael Cohen | Sid Winter
I am grateful for this honor to join with you in celebrating the life of Michael Cohen. I would like to tell you about some of his recent research activities and what it was like to work with him directly.
In 2007, I was invited me to teach a doctoral course in qualitative research methods at the University of Michigan. I accepted and temporarily moved to Ann Arbor. To my surprise, Michael Cohen decided to sit in on my class—something that is unusual because professors are so busy, especially someone of Michael’s stature. After the first class session, I remember bumping into a friend on campus who said, “Hey, I hear that Michael Cohen is taking your methods course.” I replied, “That’s right. I don’t yet know where he’s taking it, but yes, he’s taking it.” However, my concerns were unnecessary because Michael was both a genius and a gentleman. He had a special knack of asking questions that pointed people in the direction of a keen insight—letting them get there first.
Soon I became aware of Michael’s expertise in organizational routines, including his specific interest in handoffs within medical settings. Most of the medical mistakes that harm patients involve some sort of miscommunication. And miscommunications often occur during handoffs—such as during a shift change, when an outgoing physician transfers information about and responsibility for a patient to an incoming physician. At the end of my fall semester in Ann Arbor, Michael and I drove to Kingston, Ontario, where we met with Dr. Roy Ilan, and we were eventually given permission to videotape real physician handoffs being conducted within the ICU of a university hospital—something that (to our knowledge) no one had ever done before. Roy joined our research team and helped us to record about 250 physician handoffs. A year later, we welcomed Marlys Christianson, who worked as a practicing physician before coming to the University of Michigan to earn a PhD in organization studies. Eventually, Lyndon Garrett also joined our efforts. Although Lyndon was only an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University, working as my research assistant, Michael recognized his intelligence and respected his dedication, and he graciously drew Lyndon into full collaboration. We called ourselves the “Kingston team,” and Michael has been a mentor and friend to all of us.
We decided to meet at least twice a year, usually in Kingston, so that we could analyze our video data together. Fortunately for me, it’s not easy to travel to Kingston. In fact, the quickest and cheapest way for me to get there is to drive from Detroit to Kingston, which takes about 7 hours. Once or twice each year, I flew to the Detroit Metro Airport. After collecting my bag, I would make my way to “passenger pick-up” where I would see Michael, always punctual, standing with a warm smile, a ready hug—the trunk of his car already open. After pulling away from the curb, Michael would tell me about some current and complex system—the weather, the traffic, airport operations or communications—something that had threatened (but failed) to make him late. And his tellings were always laden with public policy implications. Then we would drive for 7 hours each direction. How he tolerated being with me in such a confined space for 14 hours, twice each year, I will never know. For him, it must have been the emotional equivalent of Apollo 13. But so it was and I will be forever grateful because I had some of the most engaging conversations of my life.
First, with Michael there was no such thing as idle chatter. We never listened to music or the radio: We always talked, and I had to keep my wits about me. Michael’s mind was remarkably steady and methodical as he took deliberate and measured inroads into worthwhile issues. Over a 7-hour period, my thoughts and comments were often triggered by what I was seeing out the window. When I got hungry, my political opinions became more extreme. Depending on the condition of the roads, even my religious convictions were flexible. More than once, Michael gently pointed out that what I was saying at 3 PM was inconsistent with something that I had stated at 9:30 that morning. Or he would observe that our conversation had now come full circle and that we were now merely retracing our steps.
Second, it became clear that Michael is prepared to engage on any subject. And I mean any. Rather than me give you an example, I invite you to simply think of some topic—and there’s your example of something that Michael would be prepared to discuss. Two years ago December, my father died unexpectedly. When I met Michael three weeks later for our semi-annual drive to Kingston, the topic of my father’s death naturally came up. Michael knew all about it because he had read online articles and reports, not only about my father’s death but also about his life. During our heartfelt conversation, I shared with him my family’s faith in life after death, and our belief that family relationships and friendships are so precious that they will continue after death. With a twinkle in his eye, Michael responded, “Well, that’s a beautiful notion. And I’m grateful that no one has proven otherwise.”
Although Michael was prepared to engage on any subject, family was his favorite. Very early, we came to understand that I have 2 daughters who are identical twins, while Michael has 2 daughters and his wife Hilary is an identical twin, and most recently two precious granddaughters have joined his family. This “2 x 2 x 2” was like a conversational “Rubik's Cube” that allowed for endless turns at talk. We discussed each of these women individually, and then each of them in relation to each other, which also gave us entry into conversations about genetics, genealogy, sociology, philosophy and public policy. Until today, I had never met his daughters (Rachel and Amy), nor their partners (Matt and Laura), nor the little grandbabies (Hazel and Sylvia). But as I now see you, I feel well acquainted with you. It was obvious that Michael loved you profoundly.
I wish that everyone here could have seen Michael during our meetings in Kingston. Each member of our research team brought different strengths to the table, and then Michael worked to magnify them. Surgeons have a saying: “The Resident holds the knife while the Attending turns the table.” That’s how I would describe Michael’s influence. We were all better because he was with us, subtly turning the table to guide our collaboration. We were an interdisciplinary team, somewhat separated by the dialects of our disciplines, except that Michael was fluent across our discourse, which helped to facilitate our analysis, insights and writings. Michael has long been fascinated by what he called the “pattern in variety problem”: For a routine to be recognizable as a routine, it must have an element of “sameness”; yet routines must be adapted to fit the particular needs of the moment, such as when patients are hanging in the balance. Last year, our team had a couple of publications in leading medical journals, and this year we have a letter already in press. We have a few papers in our research pipeline that will appear in top social science outlets. Last year, when we were tired at the end of a long day, Michael leaned over a whispered: “What we are doing will save some people’s lives.” He brought passion to our work. I honestly did not know until two days ago that Michael had officially retired last year—he never said anything to me about it and I didn’t notice any change in the pace of his work.
I’m speaking to you today, not because I’m special. I’m speaking to you because I’m typical. I’m typical of the dozens or hundreds or thousands of people that Michael has influenced and mentored. Since Michael’s passing last week, I have received many emails from people who wanted to make sure that I had heard the news. One particular email resonated deeply with me, so I asked the author’s permission to share a couple of sentences with you. She gave me permission to share, though she wanted to remain anonymous. She wrote:
"Michael’s role in helping me carve out and pursue my own scholarly path was profound, both intellectually and personally – he was my “rock” in rough waters and a great mentor for almost two decades. Because of the depth of my feelings about his value to me personally, I have not been comfortable adding anything to the public (online) memorials, nor will I attend the memorial service in Ann Arbor."
For many people, including some who are not with us today, Michael’s passing is literally unspeakable.
We love you Michael.
Curtis D. LeBaronWarren Jones FellowAssociate Professor of Organizational Leadership & StrategyMarriott School of ManagementBrigham Young UniversityProvo, Utah
Tags: Curtis LeBaron | Michael Cohen | Routines
Michael Cohen, who died on February 2, 2013, was well known for his scholarly contributions that include the famous paper on the "garbage can model of organizational choice" (with March & Olsen, ASQ 1972), and his subsequent work on leadership and ambiguity, learning and organizational routines, and Pragmatism with an eye towards understanding the relationship of routine action to psychological systems of memory and perception.
A student of Jim March (Ph.D. in Decision Sciences at UC Irvine), he was instrumental in the formation of scholarly communities and institutions – e.g., at University of Michigan, the Institute for Public Policy Studies (later the Ford School of Public Policy), the Collaboratory for Research on Electronic Work (CREW) and later the iSchool, and of course the Interdisciplinary Committee on Organizational Studies (ICOS). His mentorship of young scholars was also quite extensive. We at OMT would like to take this opportunity to celebrate Michael Cohen. For those interested in sharing memories of Michael, please see: www.michael-cohen.org
So far, we have received remarks from Sid Winter, Curtis LeBaron and James March, as well as comments posted to the blog by Dan Levinthal:
> Remembering Michael, by Sid Winter> Memorial Message for Michael Cohen, by Curtis LeBaron> On Michael Cohen, by James March
We encourage others who knew or were inspired by Michael to share their thoughts with the OMT community as well -- either by contacting me, or simply posting your thoughts and comments here on the OMT Blog.
Michael Lounsbury OMT Division Chair Elect February 11, 2013
Tags: Garbage Can Model | Jim March | Michael Cohen
The Structuring of Work within and across OrganizationsCall For Papers: Paper Development WorkshopMontreal, July 6-7, 2013Organizers: Diane Burton, Lisa Cohen, Michael LounsburySponsors: SSHRC, Desautels Faculty of Management, University of Alberta School of Business, Academy of Management OMT Division
The world of work is changing in many dramatic ways-- globalization, economic meltdowns, technological development—with dramatic implications for societies, organizations, and individuals. As organizations and organizing have become more complex and distributed, our theoretical tools and empirical evidence are not adequate to explain how and why organizations structure jobs and work in particular ways or the consequences that these structuring choices have for people and society. To advance scholarship on these important issues, we are convening a paper development workshop immediately following the EGOS meeting in Montreal. We welcome both conceptual and empirical papers that examine aspects of the changing nature of jobs and work in organizations from multiple perspectives and multiple methodologies. We especially encourage submissions from advanced doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior (pre-tenure) scholars.
Some questions these papers might address are:
1. How are changes at the societal and field levels (e.g., economic turbulence, technological developments, globalization) realized in the structure of work at the level of organizations?
2. How are the shifting dynamics of organizations and organizing affecting the structuring of work?
3. How and when do various characteristics of organizations and their environments influence the structure of work?
4. How is the nature and structure of work impacting individuals and societies?
5. Can theories of the occupational and professional division of labor provide insights into the structure of work in organizations?
6. What are the implications of widespread changes in jobs and work for occupations and professions?
7. How do broader institutional beliefs and practices (e.g., institutional logics) shape the structuring of work?
About the Workshop
Who is it for?
This workshop offers an opportunity for emerging scholars to develop their ongoing research related to the structuring of work. The workshop will be developmental - each paper will have a senior scholar as a discussant. Authors will also receive feedback from peers with similar research interests. The confirmed scholar/mentors include:
The workshop should be of special interest for colleagues recently graduated with a Ph.D. with manuscripts under development. At the same time, it is suitable for papers that would benefit from presentation, commentary, and discussion. Thus, papers should fit the conference theme and the stage of development.
Logistics and Support to Participants
The Desautels Faculty of Management will host the event. The OMT division of the Academy of Management is sponsoring travel stipends for up to 5 PhD students, advanced in their research, who can attend the conference. The conference will consist of around 30 young faculty, student participants and senior colleagues who will discuss papers and offer developmental advice. The atmosphere is expected to be collegial, informal, but centered on advancing working papers, deepening our understanding of the structuring of work, and building an interdisciplinary community of practice. We will also have opportunities to discuss the perils and pitfalls of the publication process.
The workshop will begin and end with talks highlighting the implications of research at this interface to developing effective policy within organizations and societies as well as to the academy. The workshop sessions will be led by senior scholars who have published in this area and have experience in an editorial capacity.
Authors are invited to submit abstracts (maximum of 1,000 words, including text, references, figures and tables) of their work for consideration. The abstracts should outline the full contents of the paper. We will evaluate abstracts based on quality of the submission, the fit with the event’s objectives, and its stage of development.
Deadline to submit abstracts is February 15, 2013 and should be emailed to Lisa Cohen at
If your paper is accepted, full papers that will be presented will need to be provided by May 1, 2013.
If you are a doctoral student interested in applying for the OMT travel stipend scholarship, please make note of this when you submit your abstract for consideration.
Contacts for questions on the conference and submission of abstracts:
Getting Published in Top Tier Journals: Guidance and Insightsfrom Editors of Organization Science and Officers of OMTA Research Development Workshop to be held atSabanci University, School of ManagementIstanbul, Turkey, June 17-18, 2013
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 Division of the Academy has been partnering with different journals to sponsor 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 editors of Organization Science are partnering with the OMT Division and Sabanci University to provide hands-on training and feedback to doctoral students and junior faculty. This workshop will focus on aspects that, in the editors’ 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) the framing and presenting of the study.
Participation in this workshop will be limited to twenty authors. Participants should reside at institutions outside the United States and Canada. Each participant will receive feedback on their draft papers from a mentor and four other participants. The mentors for this workshop will be Organization Science Senior Editors Klaus Weber (Northwestern University), Willie Ocasio (Northwestern University), Nelson Phillips (Imperial College) and Bob Hinings (University of Alberta).
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 Bob Hinings at
by no later than March 30, 2013.
The workshop starts early on June 17 and ends at mid-day on June 18. An informal welcome dinner is planned for the evening of June 16. Accommodation and meals will be covered by Sabanci University. Attendees will be expected to pay for their own travel. The OMT division provides several travel scholarships (of up to $500 each) for doctoral students and early career scholars. Applicants should indicate if they would like to be considered for a scholarship, and the amount requested.
Tags: OMT workshop | Sabanci University
Joe McCann and John Selsky have published a book: Mastering Turbulence: The Essential Capabilities of Agile and Resilient Individuals, Teams and Organizations, Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 2012.
From the authors:
This ambitious book takes readers from the latest discoveries in neuroscience to global supply chains in the quest to identify the essential capabilities needed to master increasingly fast and disruptive change. Using dozens of company examples and cases as current as the near meltdown of both the global financial system and Fukushima reactors, they contend that turbulence is creating conditions that damage performance, even overwhelm the adaptive capacities of organizations, their larger business ecosystems, and their employees and teams. Using large scale research, the authors identify and explore five essential capabilities needed across all four of these levels: Being Purposeful, Being Aware, Being Action-Oriented, Being Resourceful, and Being Networked. They provide a guiding framework that illustrates how levels and capabilities are integrally related and support what they call “High AR” – both high agility and resiliency. The final chapter examines the roles of key C-suite executives responsible for fostering High AR. A website tied to the book (www.HIGHAR.com) includes a self-assessment tool that lets readers examine all five capabilities across the four levels.
Tags: Joe McCann | John Selsky | Mastering Turbulence | New Book
Bruce Kogut has published a book: The Small World of Corporate Governance, MIT Press, 2012.
From the publisher:
The financial crisis of 2008 laid bare the hidden network of relationships in corporate governance: who owes what to whom, who will stand by whom in times of crisis, what governs the provision of credit when no one seems to have credit. This book, to which over 20 scholars contributed joint work, analyzes at length how 'clubs' of owners and directors influence governance of firms. The book maps the influence of these types of economic and social networks--communities of agents (people or firms) and the ties among them--on corporate behavior and governance. The empirically rich studies in the book are largely concerned with mechanisms for the emergence of governance networks rather than with what determines the best outcomes. The chapters identify "structural breaks"--privatization, for example, or globalization--and assess why powerful actors across countries behaved similarly or differently in terms of network properties and corporate governance. The chapters examine, among other topics, the surprisingly heterogeneous network structures that contradict the common belief in a single Anglo-Saxon model; the variation in network trajectories among the formerly communist countries including China; signs of convergence in response to the common structural breaks in Europe; the growing structural power of women due to gains in gender diversity on corporate governance in Scandinavia; the "small world" of merger and acquisition activity in Germany and the United States; the properties of a global and transnational governance network; and application of agent-based models to understanding the emergence of governance. The data which accompany the book are available at the Columbia University Sanford. C. Bernstein Center website.
Tags: Bruce Kogut | Corporate Governance | New Book
Chair’s Message -- Christine Beckman, University of California Irvine, introduces this issue of the OMT Division newsletter, highlights the latest OMT news and events, and explains what the OMT officers have been up to recently. Read More...
For a recap of the Academy Meetings in Boston, check out Michael Lounsbury's Program Chair Conference Report, the Doctoral Consortium Report by Eva Boxenbaum, and the OMT Business Meeting presentation. We've launched an OMT Facebook page. Please help us get to 100 likes, and while you are there check out the nearly 100 photos from Boston, plus our photo archive of past OMT Artifacts!
One of the many wonderful OMT traditions is an interview of the distinguished scholar by the winner of the OMT best dissertation award. Please be sure to read the interview with the 2012 Distinguished Scholar Linda Argote by Louis Pondy Dissertation Award Winner Kaisa Snellman. (If you missed her presentation, it is available through Slideshare, along with presentations from some past distinguished scholars and OMT Business Meetings!)
After giving us Adventures in OMTLand, Candy Jones has moved on to be the Program Chair, so please help her by signing up to review for OMT and by sending in terrific papers and symposiums come January. Read more...
David Touve, the Teaching Committee Chair, provides an update that includes new Academy initiatives...
Joe Broschak, Research Committee Chair, announces the Chairs for the 2013 Best Published Paper Award...
Keep an eye out for the formal call for applications for our annual PDW workshops. Peer Fiss and Forrest Briscoe will be organizing the Doctoral Consortium. Martine Haas and Chris Marquis will be organizing the Junior Faculty Consortium. I will be organizing the Dissertation Proposal Workshop.
The OMT Blog is also the place to read great original content. Evelyn Micelotta (Alberta) and Mia Raynard (Alberta) put together an interview with 2012 Best Published Paper Award winner Edward (Ned) Smith and another article on tips for the job market. Diane-Laure Arjaliès (HEC Paris) and Mia Raynard (Alberta) put together a fascinating and in-depth interview with Roger Friedland. And Marco Clemente (HEC Paris) interviewed 2012 Best International Paper Award winners Joris Knoben, Tal Simons and Patrick Vermeulen. The Communications Committee is always looking for more help. If you'd like to get involved, email Joel Gehman, our Communications Committee Chair.
Upcoming OMT-Sponsored Workshops
Henrich Greve and Philip Anderson have organized a workshop on Organization Theory and New Venture Creation, January 5-6, 2013, in Singapore.
Stewart Clegg, Antoine Hermans, Emmanuel Josserand, Danielle Logue, Markus Hollerer, Hokyu Hwang, Jaco Lok and Gavin Schwarz have organized a workshop on Organizing Practices, April 4-5, 2013, in Syndney Australia.
Diane Burton, Lisa Cohen, Michael Lounsbury have announced a workshop on The Structuring of Work within and across Organizations, July 6-7, 2013, in Montreal, Quebec.
John F. Padgett and Walter W. Powell have published a book: The Emergence of Organizations and Markets, Princeton University Press, 2012.
Israel Drori, Shmuel Ellis and Zur Shapira have also published a book: The Evolution of New Industry: A Genealogical Perspective, Stanford University Press, 2013.
Scott Newbert is editing a special issue of the Journal of Social Entrepreneurship.
Thank you to our 2012 AOM sponsors!
Distinguished Scholar Award and Breakfast Sponsors
OMT/MOC Doctoral Consortium Sponsor
Best International Paper Award Sponsor
Best Published Paper Award Sponsor
Best Empirical Paper on Environmental and Social Practices
For sponsorship information, contact Christine Beckman, OMT Division Chair.
As 2012 draws to a close, I want to take a quick moment and give thanks for all that we’ve accomplished this year and highlight what is planned for next year. Please read the updates by all your hardworking Executive Committee members below!
The vibrancy of OMT is reflected in the record number of submissions received for the Academy Meetings in Boston in August. Much thanks to Michael Lounsbury for this excellent work; he put in an incredible effort to deliver an outstanding program. Candace Jones handled the PDW program, which has become a highlight of the Academy for many members. My thanks to both of them for what they accomplished in a very demanding job.
After giving us Adventures in OMTLand, Candy Jones has moved on to be the Program Chair, so please help her by signing up to review for OMT and by sending in terrific papers and symposiums come January.
For a recap of the Academy Meetings in Boston, check out Michael Lounsbury's Program Chair Conference Report, the Doctoral Consortium Report by Eva Boxenbaum, and the OMT Business Meeting presentation. We've launched an OMT Facebook page. Please help us get to 100 likes, and while you are there check out the nearly 100 photos from Boston, plus our photo archive of past OMT Artifacts!
In Boston, we also announced the winner of the 2012 Martin Trailblazer Award, David Hickson. Although David could not be with us, Bob Hinings shared an interview with David at his home in England. Upon receiving the award, David shared that “this award was one of the biggest surprises of my life, almost rivaling the arrival of our first baby.” We are pleased to recognize such a deserving and gracious scholar.
Another one of the many wonderful OMT traditions is an interview of the distinguished scholar by the winner of the OMT best dissertation award. Please be sure to read the interview with the 2012 Distinguished Scholar Linda Argote by Louis Pondy Dissertation Award Winner Kaisa Snellman. (If you missed her presentation, it is available through Slideshare, along with presentations from some past distinguished scholars and OMT Business Meetings!)
At the business meeting, Dick Scott also shared the passing of OMT Distinguished Scholar, Mayer Zald. Many posted remembrances of Mayer in the weeks after his death. He will be missed.
The OMT Blog is the place to read great original content. Evelyn Micelotta (Alberta) and Mia Raynard (Alberta) put together an interview with 2012 Best Published Paper Award winner Edward (Ned) Smith and another article on tips for the job market. Diane-Laure Arjaliès (HEC Paris) and Mia Raynard (Alberta) put together a fascinating and in-depth interview with Roger Friedland. And Marco Clemente (HEC Paris) interviewed 2012 Best International Paper Award winners Joris Knoben, Tal Simons and Patrick Vermeulen. The Communications Committee is always looking for more help. If you'd like to get involved, email Joel Gehman, our Communications Committee Chair.
David Touve, the Teaching Committee Chair, provides an update that includes new Academy initiatives. Joe Broschak, Research Committee Chair, announces the Chairs for the 2013 Best Published Paper Award. Both are always looking for volunteers!
As we move toward 2013, also look for OMT co-sponsored conferences in locations around the globe -- including Singapore, Sydney, and Montreal! Also, keep an eye out for the formal call for applications for our annual PDW workshops. Peer Fiss and Forrest Briscoe will be organizing the Doctoral Consortium. Martine Haas and Chris Marquis will be organizing the Junior Faculty Consortium. I will be organizing the Dissertation Proposal Workshop. And remember that we are already planning for the 2013 Meetings in Orlando, Florida. We hope to see you there.
Christine M. BeckmanOMT Division Chair
The Teaching Committee is in the midst of a range of initiatives, each of which not only endeavors to contribute to the teaching efforts of the OMT community, but also would benefit from the further contributions of OMT members.First, we are preparing for the 2013 OMT Teaching Roundtables at the Academy of Management Conference in August. Nearly 100 OMT members gathered for 2012 Teaching Roundtables, including doctoral students, junior faculty, and experienced faculty mentors. We hope for a similar, if not larger group in 2013!Second, we continue to add syllabi to the TeachOMT.com website and hope to post additional types of content to this site (e.g., interviews and teaching notes). Since December 2010, the various syllabi on the TeachOMT website have been viewed in excess of 10,000 times, likely contributing to the content and methods of management education worldwide.Should you be willing to share any teaching materials with the wider OMT community (and beyond), or help with the development of the site and/or the teaching committee itself, please contact David Touve (
).Third, a new initiative within the Academy of Management, TLC@AOM, will take place on August 11 as part of the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Academy. To quote the call for proposals, “The 2013 TLC@AOM is a pilot Academy?wide teaching conference developed in response to the growing teaching?related needs of AOM members.” The conference hopes to both support the teaching efforts of AOM members’ teaching efforts and increase the visibility of teaching within and beyond the Academy. Further information about the conference, as well as the call for proposals, can be found on the OMT website here (insert link to info/CFP on OMT site).Finally, for those of you facing the crunch-time that is the end of a busy semester: Keep Calm and Carry On.David TouveTeaching Committee Chair
Tags: Teaching Committee
At this year’s Academy of Management Meeting in Boston, the OMT community paid homage to one of its founding members and most distinctive voices -- David Hickson, who was named the Joanne Martin Trailblazer Award Winner for 2012. This prestigious award recognizes his leadership role in opening up new lines of thinking and inquiry in the field of OMT. Bob Hinings has kindly agreed to share with us a few words about David’s legacy, together with edited excerpts from the conversation he had with David upon winning the award. Special thanks to Evelyn Micelotta and Mia Raynard for their assistance. Enjoy!
"David Hickson was a founder and first Editor (from 1980 until 1990) of the journal Organization Studies. He was central in developing that distinctive voice and ensuring that a variety of alternative ways of thinking about organizations were established. From the beginning, under David’s leadership, Organization Studies was an international multidisciplinary journal that attracted authors from around the world and from Europe in particular at a time before the globalization of organization theory had occurred. David was also signally important in founding the European Group for Organization Studies (EGOS), which has played a major role in developing organization theory initially in Europe, and has now become an international forum that increasingly draws together European, North American and Asian scholars. As the links between North America, Europe and Asia have increased in strength, we can easily take for granted the vibrancy of European organization theory. But without the trailblazing work of David Hickson, through OS and EGOS, those links that we now accept as being part of the globalization of organization theory would not be so strong. This trailblazing work has enabled new ideas to circulate and new conversations to take place.
David has also been a trailblazer in organization theory. He was a leading member of the Aston group, central to the development of those concepts and findings on organization structure and context that have remained important to our understanding of organizations to this day. In particular, the work he led on operations technology and organization structure helped formulate the terms of that debate. His work on operations technology has been cited more than 300 times. The role of technology in organizational design still features as an important set of OMT ideas. David also led the team that produced the Strategic Contingencies theory of Intra-Organizational Power. The original paper has been cited more than 500 times and the ideas were an important grounding for resource dependence theory... Very few of us can lay claim to such trailblazing activities."
Bob: Congratulations David on receiving the OMT Joanne Martins Trail Blazer Award. What does it feel like to be a trail blazer?
David: I have never considered myself a trail blazer as such, it’s a new notion. Birmingham, England, and as you know well, the University of Alberta in Edmonton Canada, those were the places which caused me or gave me the stimulus to take part with a team in blazing a trail. It’s very clear, for me I was one of the team. The Aston and Birmingham England team was led by Derek Pugh who had, and still has, a deeply philosophical mind. A far thinking mind in theoretical terms academically. But also as a trained psychologist he knew his empirical rules of the game and hence Aston did produce with both of us in the team the first systematic study of organizations - instead of people - just pulling around looking at a factory here or a factory there. A systematic comparative study in which characteristics like the centralization, the specialization and the standardization of procedures and others could be compared across organizations or just across factories, any kind of organization, universities, hospitals, factories, whatever. That was very “trail blazing”, quite utterly innovating for the time.
Bob: Of course one of the things that this award is about is the fact that you trail blazed organizations, well EGOS and Organization Studies. I mean and I know you’ve written about that, stories of how it happened, but you know what’s it like to be a trail blazer for an organization and a journal?
David: Yes. Well, in Paris there came to be formed this EGOS, and the EGOS group came across to me and said would I edit a journal, be the first editor.
And I thought about it actually, I didn’t say yes then. I thought about it because I learned that the game is not editing journals, publishing in them … that’s what makes your name. But I felt I owed Europe something and so after thinking for some weeks I said yes and so I became the first editor of Organization Studies on this end with the publisher from Berlin, the European team.
In Paris there was an Institute of Human Sciences which became sort of the central location for the journal where those of us who were involved could meet and discuss what should be the next move …. Before the first issue appeared there was a little stream of manuscripts coming in and you know we had chosen a skeleton editorial board and we were reviewing manuscripts before the first issue was out with the first few selected ones. Yes, it became easy, but hard work. It was for much of my career, it was several days a week on a journal and the other several days a week on my own research.
Bob: Yes, and you did that what, for 10 years as you had mentioned?
David: Yes, nine, nine and half, something like that.
Bob: Yes, most journals seem to have these days a rotation of three, four or five years to be edited….
David: Well, I hope I didn’t cling on, but there wasn’t anyone else to replace me, it wasn’t easy. Europeans had to be found who were fluent in English and could cope with the publishing, editing a journal in English. And with getting other people’s manuscripts submitted in other languages, French, Italian, Germans, translated etc. So I remained there for nine years. Then, it again had to be a Brit who took over, it was John Child of Birmingham.
Bob: Sure, so would you do it all again?
David: Oh yes, the learning period in Aston in England, the sheer fun of Alberta with the others in the team. It was hard work… but it was just fun being creative and developing theory.
Bob: So I would like to give you kind of a last word of what you would now like to say to all those young people who are watching you so that they can be trail blazers.
David: Well, first of all, you need a certain amount of luck. You know, it is so dependent on your colleagues, so in some ways it is a degree of luck. Then – I hope my wife will not be seeing this – you must work harder than anybody else. You must work through the evenings; you must work on the weekends, year after year, to build up a research team. I was only alone briefly as a research student for a year or two. I have always had the notion of a team and that requires the work to recruit people, also to motivate people. To lead others in the kind of thinking and the direction where you are going, it’s very hard work but, of course, immensely rewarding.
Bob: Yes. Well, I want to say again congratulations David on the Trail Blazer Award, richly deserved. And it’s not just a pleasure but a privilege and an honor to be able to be here talking to you about it. So thank you very much indeed.
David: Thank you.
Tags: Bob Hinings | David Hickson | Martin Trailblazer Award
The OMT Research Committee is a group of approximately forty OMT division members who volunteer their time to help select award winning OMT submissions to the Academy of Management Annual Meeting. As part of the Research Committee, volunteers serve on one of five sub-committees. Sub-committee members read and rank order a small subset of manuscripts that have been selected as finalists for awards in one of the following five categories: Best Paper, Best Paper from a Dissertation (Lou Pondy Award), Best International Paper, Best Paper on Environmental and Social Practices, and Best Symposium. The aggregated rankings of sub-committee members determine the winners in each category. The winners of the OMT Lou Pondy Award and Best International Paper automatically qualify as finalists for the Academy of Management’s William H. Newman and Carolyn Dexter awards, respectively.
Be a part of this valuable service to the OMT division. Read some of the finest submissions to the OMT division for this year’s Academy of Management meeting. There are still openings available on the committee this year as some members have had to temporarily withdraw from the committee or have cycled off after years of valuable and dedicated service. The work of the Research Committee occurs in a compressed, one-week time period, near the end of February and the beginning of March. Requirements for inclusion on the Research Committee are that you are a member of the OMT division, an active OMT division reviewer for this year’s Academy Meetings, and that you can commit to being available during the time we review papers for awards.
How do you become a Research Committee member? Contact Joe Broschak, University of Arizona, via email (
) or phone (520-626-0464). OMT members who volunteer but who cannot be placed on subcommittees this year will be given priority for future openings on the Research Committee.
Be an active part of the OMT division. After all, OMT, the place to be, works because of you!
Best Published Paper Award Committee Chair
I am pleased to announce that Jane Dutton (University of Michigan) and Mary Ann Glynn (Boston College) have agreed to co-chair the OMT Best Published Paper Committee. Jane and Mary Ann are taking over chairmanship of the committee from C.R. (Bob) Hinings (Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta) who chaired the committee in 2011 and 2012. Many thanks in advance to Jane and Mary Ann for guiding this committee, and to the many volunteers who will assist Jane and Mary Ann in selecting this year’s winner.
Report submitted by:
Joe Broschak Associate Professor of Management University of ArizonaEller College of Management405 McClelland HallTucson, AZ 85718
Tags: OMT awards | Research Committee
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