OMT WebOrganization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management
Special Issue of Journal of Social EntrepreneurshipGuest Editor: Scott L. Newbert, Villanova UniversitySubmission Deadline: May 1, 2013
Social entrepreneurship has emerged as a field of considerable interest over the past two decades. However, its rapid growth has resulted in a rather fragmented body of literature that lacks a set of well-established theories by which to predict and explain social entrepreneurship and a generalizable set of empirical findings from which commonalities about it can be gleaned. In response, this special issue seeks manuscripts that build on extant research in the field and beyond in order to develop, apply, and/or test theory with the goal of improving our understanding of social entrepreneurship phenomena.
The following is a list of potential topics for the special issue:
These are just a sampling of the topics that could be addressed and submissions on other related topics are welcome. Regardless of the approach, submissions should seek to contribute to the collective understanding of social entrepreneurship via the production of new, generalizable knowledge. For submissions seeking to apply extant theory to new phenomena and/or develop new theoretical arguments all together, authors should take care to ensure their theoretical models represent conceptually sound, parsimonious approximations of phenomena relevant to social entrepreneurs (Bacharach, 1989).
For submissions seeking to conduct empirical tests of theory, authors may rely on either qualitative or quantitative data; however, given that the majority of the empirical work in the field currently relies on descriptive techniques, authors should take care to subject their data to rigorous analytical methods. In all cases, submissions will ultimately be evaluated on the basis of whether they contribute meaningfully and substantively to the development of our understanding of social entrepreneurship phenomena. At the same time, however, given the pre-paradigmatic nature of the field, theorizing as a process is as important as theory as a product; thus, submissions representing “interim struggles” (Weick, 1995) along the way to good theory are encouraged.
Click here for complete details.
Scott L. Newbert, Guest Editor
Tags: call for papers | Special Issue
OMT Needs YOU!! Calling for OMT Submissions and Reviewers for Academy of Management 2013
The OMT program at the Academy of Management is one of the most significant and vibrant events for our division. Significant because it is where we create and engage community: share our work, debate ideas, meet new friends and reconnect with existing friends. It is vibrant because scholars like you submit your cutting edge research and timely topics in the form of symposia and papers. The more submissions we have, the more choices you have as presenters and participants! OMT is known for high quality papers and symposia. OMT papers routinely win the Dexter and To have a high quality program, we need reviewers--both new and established scholars. New scholars bring fresh voices, and established scholars bring wisdom on the craft of research and publishing. We need both kinds of reviewers! OMT is known for high quality and developmental reviews, so please sign up today to review for OMT at http://review.aomonline.org.
The review period is from January 15, 2013 (Submission Deadline) to February 21, 2013 (Review Deadline).
OMT has six divisional awards to identify outstanding papers and symposia: Best Paper, Louis Pondy Best Dissertation paper, Best International Paper (often the winner of the Academy wide Dexter award), Best Environmental and Social Practices paper and Best Symposia. Please submit your excellent work and sign up to review to ensure and identity high quality work! For more information on these awards, please go to http://omtweb.org/awards.
Looking forward to a great program and seeing you in Orlando!
Candace JonesOMT Division Program Chair
Call for papers
An International Conference on:
Inequality, Institutions and Organizations
June 6-8, 2013Segal Graduate School of BusinessSimon Fraser University,Vancouver, Canada
John A. Amis (
) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management at the University of Memphis. His research interests center on issues of organizational and institutional change. He has had over 50 articles and book chapters published, including papers in Academy of Management Journal, American Journal of Public Health, Human Relations, Organizational Research Methods, and Journal of Sport Management. His current research on childhood obesity policy was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Amis was runner up for the 2004 Academy of Management Journal ‘Best Paper’ award, and has also twice won best paper awards from the Southern Management Association. In 2009, he was awarded the University of Memphis’ Distinguished Teaching Award. He has served on several editorial boards including currently Academy of Management Review.
Thomas B. Lawrence (
) is the W. J. VanDusen Professor of Management at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. His research focuses on the dynamics of power, change and institutions in organizations and organizational fields. It has appeared in leading academic journals including Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Organization Studies, Journal of Management Studies, Human Relations, Organization, and the Journal of Management. He is a co-editor (with Stewart Clegg, Cynthia Hardy and Walter Nord) of the Sage Handbook of Organization Studies, Second Edition (Sage Publications, 2006), and (with Roy Suddaby and Bernard Leca) Institutional Work: Actors and Agency in Institutional Studies of Organizations (Cambridge University Press 2009). .
Kamal Munir (
) is an Associate Professor of Strategy and Policy at University of Cambridge, where he has been based since 2000. He obtained his PhD in Organization and Management Theory from McGill University, Canada. Kamal has published several articles in organizational journals, including the Academy of Management Journal, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Industrial and Corporate Change, Organization Studies and Research Policy. In addition, he has written numerous articles for prominent newspapers and magazines such The Financial Times, The Guardian, Economic and Political Weekly, Herald and World Business. Kamal has acted as a consultant or advisor to several multilateral agencies and government departments including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and the Government of Pakistan.
Although the relevance of organizational research to societal problems has been a heated debate for at least a decade and has generated a proliferation of polemics and prescriptions (e.g., Starkey & Madan, 2001, Hinings & Greenwood, 2002, Gulati, 2007, Lorsch, 2009, Dover & Lawrence, 2010), organizational scholars have not produced sufficient systematic empirical and theoretical examinations of social inequality, and especially of how organizations and institutions contribute to or mitigate inequality.
The issue of social inequality is a profound one for contemporary societies, both developed and developing. Despite Vermeulen's (2010) claims that helping businesses make more money is itself a major contribution to society because social welfare increases when businesses make more money, a growing body of research contradicts this claim. Rich societies do not necessarily tend to do better in terms of social and health indicators. Equal ones do. Thus Greece, with all its problems has a higher life expectancy with $20,000 per capita income than the USA which boasts twice the per capita income. Income inequality is also growing in its prevalence and impact. The share of wealth enjoyed by the top 1% Americans for instance has grown from19.9% in 1976 to 34.6% in 2007, with liquid wealth (all assets minus housing) even more concentrated with the top 1% owning 42.7% of total household financial wealth in 2007 (Wolff, 2010). In 1960, the ratio of annual pay of CEOs of large and medium sized American companies to that of workers was 42; by. By 2007 it had shot up to 344.
The growing problem of inequality in developed countries appears connected to the growing power of large corporations. Barley (2007), for instance, argues that large corporations wield inordinate influence over policy-making, hamper the performance of institutions created to protect the public from corporate excesses and, together with various multilateral institutions, push for increased privatization of public services. In a similar vein, Davis (2009), proposes the financialization of the economy has been a powerful catalyst for inequality. Shareholder value creation is the only imperative with employment, economic mobility or other benefits such as health or retirement increasingly forgotten. A symptom of such a changes is the shift in elite incomes: in 2004, the top 25 hedge fund managers earned a greater combined income than the CEOs from the entire S&P 500.
Social inequality is tied to, but broader than, inequality in income or wealth. It includes inequality in access to health care, education, housing, food, economic resources, power structures, or areas of recreation; degradation of living conditions, the environment, social structures, or relationships; and direct or indirect exploitation of groups on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, socio-economic status, disability, or sexuality. All of these are driven in part by the distribution of wealth, but also have their own specific dynamics and challenges.
A critical way in which organizational scholars can contribute to a better understanding of social inequality is through an examination of the roles played by organizations and institutions in producing, reproducing, and lessening social inequality. An institutional perspective on these issues would highlight the ways in which social rules, beliefs, norms, values and practices are mediated through formal organizations to reinforce or challenge social inequality. It would further highlight the institutional work of individual and organizational actors in the formation, ongoing operation, and potential transformation of institutions that include certain groups while excluding others, reinforce unequal access to power and decision-making mechanisms, and provide freedom and wealth to some parts of society, while impoverishing and constraining others.
A focus on organizations and institutions might explore institutions and actors most clearly tied to issues of social inequality, including those with formal decision-making power, such as politicians, corporate managers, senior civil servants, educators, and leaders of non-profit organizations. It could also examine, however, institutions and actors tied to the construction of culture, and thus the shaping of values and beliefs, such as film and television producers, media writers, designers, architects, professors, and enablers of mass forms of communication. Finally, an institutional lens could also explore acts of resistance, ranging from the occasional and highly symbolic (Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a Birmingham, Alabama, bus) to the everyday tactics employed by the weak (silent non-compliance, gossip, petty sabotage, small theft and pilferage, etc.).
Despite the tremendous growth in institutional research over the past decades and its potential utility in exploring issues of inequality, the intersection of social inequality, organizations and institutions remains significantly under-examined. Our aim for this special issue is to help fill this important gap. Thus, we invite papers that explore a range of themes, including the following:
This list is, of course, meant to be illustrative, rather than exhaustive. Our goal is to broaden and deepen the exploration of how, why, when and where social inequality, organizations and institutions interact. We welcome work that seeks engagement with a wide range of theoretical and empirical approaches. These may include institutional logics, practices and/or routines, institutional work, feminism, critical theory, actor network theory, sensemaking, semiotics, network analyses, discourse analyses, and action research approaches. We equally welcome case studies, comparative research projects, ethnographies, survey-based work, large statistical analyses, and conceptual pieces.
The conference is intended to provide the opportunity for high quality discussion and feedback for presenters. To achieve those ends, a limited number of papers will be accepted so that presenters can more deeply engage with each others’ work. All presented papers will be given reasonable time slots to allow for meaningful discussion and development of ideas.
The conference is intended to host approximately fifty participants for intensive mutual discussions. Our aim is to secure participation from around the world and to give equal opportunity to newer as well as more established scholars.
PhD Student Workshop
Prior to the main conference, there will be a one-day (June 5, 2013) workshop for PhD students working in the area of institutions and inequality. More details on this workshop will be posted closer to the date. Please write to Tom Lawrence (
) if you are interested. Please include a brief description of your research focus, where you are at in your program, and anything else you think might be useful for us to know.
If you are interested in participating, please email an extended abstract (500-1000 words) of your proposed paper to the organizers by January 31, 2013. Please include contact information: name(s), affiliation(s) and e-mail address(es) of all authors. We also ask that you indicate who will attend the conference if your paper is accepted. PhD students who wish to participate in the preconference workshop should note this clearly on their submission. Authors will be notified by February 28, 2013 whether their paper is accepted for presentation. Full papers must be submitted by May 1, 2013. Possible avenues for publication of papers following the conference are currently being explored.
W. J. VanDusen Professor of Management
Director, CMA Canada Centre for Strategic Change and Performance Measurement
Beedie School of Business
Simon Fraser University
500 Granville Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6C 1W6
Interview with Roger Friedland by Diane-Laure Arjaliès & Mia Raynard. Roger Friedland is Visiting Professor of Social Research and Public Policy at NYU Abu Dhabi and Professor of Religious Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
What were your motivations for writing the 1991 logics paper?
That paper emerged as a response to a provocation and a dissatisfaction. The provocation was Theda Skocpol’s contemptuous attack on Powers of Theory (1985), Bob Alford’s and my book on theories of the state, for what she saw as its sterile theoreticism. In that book, we both appreciated the daring scope of her magisterial work and critiqued her state-centric account of social revolutions centered around historically and socially variable distributions of resources and powers between states and social groups. Her response was to claim the mantle of a proper craftswoman and say that our laying out of theoretical architectures was a waste of time, a “dead end.” Stop blowing smoke up people’s shorts; get to work on real historical problems. I was angry. “Roger, it is a good thing,” my mother chided me. “Just make sure they spell your name right.”
One of the things that struck me in preparing that book was the way in which the societal level of analysis had been steadily crumbling, assumed to be derivable from individual, organizational and group interactions. Economistic rational choice theory was ascendant in political science. Others were moving towards organizational power functions. In Skocpol’s hands, for example, society became a territorial field differentially ordered by a state extracting resources, managing coalition formation and seeking to ordinate its environment. It was resources, not cosmological revelations that made revolutions happen.
So the problem for me was how to get that societal level of analysis without a priori giving the capitalist economy primacy. The move was to posit the social as a potentially contradictory ordering of fields, each with its own internal and external contradictions, an effort to generalize Marxist machine language stripped of its constraining assumptions. Hence, the rhetorical plea to bring “society back in” in response to her “bringing the state back in.” That move allowed me to position both the micrological individualisms and organization-centered analyses as nested within higher institutional orders. It wasn’t that they were wrong, just partial and it was an open question when and under conditions these higher levels of analysis mattered and how to explain their boundary movements. We had no idea, but we knew that nobody else knew either.
The dissatisfaction derived from my recent academic sojourn in Jerusalem where I had sought to understand the struggles within and between the Israeli and Palestinian communities. I arrived in Jerusalem in 1983 with the notion that you could parse every social order through power and interest, the same conceptual priors with which everybody in my cohort coming out of the University of Wisconsin in Madison worked. (In the organizational field, Neil Fligstein, is a friend and a fellow traveler from those days.) That tool-kit failed me when I sought to understand the struggle over the organization of space and time in Jerusalem, which was how I wanted to analyze the struggle for the city. I intended to go in there -- just like Skocpol -- looking at the repressive capacities of the state and capacities for and interest in organization and agency on the part of different groups. Every place I looked, struggles over urban choreography were simultaneously struggles over the meaning of those spaces and times. My materialism was not sufficient. But I really disliked idealisms on the one hand and the consensualism of Parsonian normative approaches on the other. That dislike, of course, was part of the Marxist script. We trained ourselves to find the material interest, seek out the subtle mechanisms of domination, and then to speak truth to power. We were raised on a diet of scorn for Parsons, whom most of us had never really read with any care. We had little idea about the power of different truths.
The book I wrote about Jerusalem’s politics with Richard Hecht, an historian of religions, was stripped of any explicit theoretical claims. I wanted to write a cross-over trade book. President Clinton read that book, but my colleagues in sociology did not. And I never got around to writing anything more about it, but the sociological stake in that book was to show the ways in which movement and group cosmologies shaped practical strategies. It was also a way to try to bridge materialism and idealism through political struggles over the organization and meaning of space and time. Marxist theory specified a regime of capitalist value formation which operates through particular practices by which space and time are categorized and deployed. Why not see if I could echo that in the movement and group struggles in a metropolis with divergent regimes of value formation, metaphysics, cosmologies? To be honest, I didn’t get very far, only far enough to notice that they were often co-implicated.
I came out of that experience wanting to find a way to jump out of the materialist-idealist divide, to entertain the constitutive role of meaning, of category, of ontology, of value. That I had entered this domain through the gates of Jerusalem meant that one had to take religion seriously. I had always thought of religion as super-structure, as legitimation, an obfuscatory cloud hiding what was really at stake. In Jerusalem I had to take religion seriously. At first I thought religion had made this a freakish place, a kind of mean Disneyland of symbolic life and treanscendentalizing talk, a world filled with mutual incomprehensions and barely checked hatreds, a place without a general ticketbook. But when I started thinking about other domains – and here Marxism again helped because of its cultural materialism – I increasingly saw that if you looked carefully, every institutional domain was “religious.” Jerusalem was everywhere, only I had never seen it. I had gone to Jerusalem with the intention of seeing the city through Western categories of social thought and ended up seeing the West from the walls of the Old City. It was really weird, but that is what essentially happened.
The dissatisfaction was that there was nowhere to go to bridge the material and the ideal, to refuse the choice, to put them into a different kind of mutually constitutive relation. Institutional logic emerged out of those two vectors: the social as a potentially contradictory set of institutional fields and the institutional as simultaneously material and symbolic. It was a gesture, not a theory.
What are your thoughts on the recent proliferation of work on logics, especially in the management field?
A few months ago a graduate student approached me in Banff, Canada, where I had been invited to give a talk to a group of management scholars who do institutional research.
“Nice to meet you,” he said as he extended his hand. “Can I tell you something. It is a little embarrassing.”
“Go ahead,” I encouraged him.
“Well, I thought you were dead. I didn’t see your name after that 1991 piece.”
I laughed; I loved it.
And it perfectly reflects my situation. I feel like Rip Van Winkle. I was not part of the institutionalism networks. I had never, and still have not, attended any of the seminars or conferences organized by the neo-institutionalist networks. As far as I can recall, Stanford University, an afternoon’s drive from my home in Santa Barbara, never invited me to one of their conferences. And why should they?: I wrote about politicized religions as efforts to shift institutional architectures. I didn’t do organizational research. I progressively disengaged from American sociology as well. Taking religion on its own terms, engaging in interpretive work, meant that I no longer got invited to sociology departments either.
I was increasingly reading philosophers, historians of religion, cultural anthropologists, novelists, phenomenologists, and sacred texts themselves. I wanted to look elsewhere for materials to, like those killer whales in the insurance commercial, jump out of my sea. I was no longer really a sociologist some said; I had become an essayist, an interpreter, a story-writer. I had apparently given up the explanatory project. It was debilitating and boring. I didn’t like the doubting voices in my head. I decided to move half of my FTE and my office to the Department of Religious Studies at UCSB. Everyday there was another god, another ritual practice. To them I was suddenly the hard-assed sociologist who didn’t know Aramaic or Sanskrit, not unlike a sociology graduate student who couldn’t invert a matrix at the University of Wisconsin, but at least I no longer had to worry about those who police the boundary between the social sciences and the humanities. Anything that helped me get a handle on the relation of religion and politics was a legitimate tool for them. It was a thrill. European social scientists, often in political science or law, were the ones who responded to my writings, who invited me to speak and with whom I discussed and argued.
So I was not paying attention to you. Several years ago I was stunned, and of course really pleased, to see that there were lots of people citing that piece on institutional logics. That they were mostly in business schools was astounding. I thought of business schools as sites for the study of instrumental rationalities. Institutional logic was becoming a kind of school, or at least a broad vector of work. So today I am an ancestor who has woken up, intellectually asleep and socially dead during the time it has been developing. I didn’t write in the area, didn’t pay attention to what anybody was writing, as I was absorbed in just trying to figure out all this sex and violence in politicized religions around the world. I didn’t think it had much to do with me. I was spending most of my time trying to understand these historical phenomena, not to elaborate a theory, not reacting to the work your colleagues have been doing in very divergent settings, not responding to critiques, elaborations, and alternative pathways. And then Mike Lounsbury, Damon Golsorkhi, Renate Mayer and some others started asking me to write stuff for them and I got invited to speak to your networks, particularly in business schools in France and Britain. After two decades I have come alive and am re-engaging with the larger project, to learn what you all now know and to see if I have anything to contribute. I carefully read Thornton, Ocasio and Lounsbury’s recent book to get started, of which I have a review coming out in the next issue of M@n@gement. The truth is that I have read very little of the work so I am not in any position to make any judgments about its intellectual cartography or trajectory. I hope to remedy that over the next several years.
What do you think are some fruitful avenues for future scholarship on institutional logics?
I less have ideas than instincts, hunches that derive from the immanent logic of the project, not from empirical regularities to which scholars have pointed. Here they are:
If you look at the theory of any institutional domain, its conceptual language tends to be derived from the institution it studies. This is related to the insufficiency of the theory in explaining the conditions of its domain’s own possibility, and hence its boundary conditions. How do institutional boundaries move? Within economics, for example, a thin gruel is on offer. Economics cannot, within economics, explain the boundaries of the market, cannot explain the conditions under which property is installed or suspended, except as an instance of those conditions which tend to produce market failure. In this they are no different than those who study any other domain. This is a very serious intellectual problem. Markets depend on property, but property is never endogenized in their theories. Comparative study of institutional boundary movements, their extension and contraction, across cases and, even more challenging, across institutions, is something that is well ahead of us. To do the latter will require a huge intellectual investment, but I think it would be fascinating, for example, to compare the movement of religion out of and back into the state, with the deregulation and re-regulation of financial markets.
An institutional logic hinges on a degree of practical specificity. If there is no practical specificity, there is no logic in my view. At issue here are the ways in which practices can vary without impinging on the underlying value or ontology upon which a logic rests. What are the limits of variation? And when do practice variations lead to shifts in institutional logics? If practice variations can be explained completely by other processes, then institutional logic is a useless concept, which somebody may discover it to be. Institutional logics must do practical work; otherwise they are useless to practitioners and their analysts. I am willing to entertain the notion that it will end up being vacuous, but somebody has to demonstrate it.
Distributional and Institutional Politics.
Fligstein and McAdam have correctly criticized institutional theory for its absence of political struggle, that is, the conventional struggles over power and resources. I agree with them that this has been neglected, that not only does power matter to institutional politics, but that distributional struggles over the goods on offer in any institutional domain need to be both exogenized and endogenized in institutional theory. On the one hand, we need to understand how distributional struggles impact the prospect for institutional reproduction and/or transformation. But on the other we need to understand how different institutional orders produce distinctive regimes for the distribution of resources. Political scientists these days increasingly look like economists where votes and armed violence have become analogues to iterative exchange processes. The ways in which value, practices of exchange and production lump together in determinant institutional functions needs to be attended to. It is a misspecification to treat life, for example, as commensurable to income by a unitary function by which future values are discounted, but that does not mean that one cannot seek to specify and estimate those heterogeneous functions. Although I am not qualified to do so, I imagine one can use these tools to develop a better specified comparative institutionalism.
Institutional logics are premised on specific regimes of material practice. The problem is that the material part, specifically the objects, entailed in these practices has not been adequately conceptualized, let alone theorized, at least based on the very limited number of texts at which I have looked. Here the strong program in the sociology of science has something important to add. Convention theory, at least Thevenot and Boltanski’s foundational text, points us in that direction, too. It is important for us to engage both of these traditions.
Legitimation and Constitution.
There is a lot of talk these days. We study discourse, words, narratives, rhetorics, categories. Thornton, Occasio and Lounsbury point out that one way to know that a new institutional logic is emerging is to track the emergence of new kinds of talk, new categories, new stories. I agree, but the old question is still there: Under what conditions is language constitutive and under what conditions is it legitimating? We are going to have to grapple with that and it is going to be methodologically demanding, because we have to specify and estimate their mutual constitution.
I end with love, which – for me – is always a satisfying way to end any story. Institutions certainly depend on constraint, on norms, rules and coercive enforcements, but they also depend on persons who give themselves over to its purposes, who are afforded value and meaning by aligning themselves with those purposes. As Weber implicitly argued, the world is composed of a multiplicity of gods by whom we implicitly imagine ourselves loved and whom we love – knowledge, property, God, beauty, power, and of course, love itself (Friedland, 2011). In institutional theory we have shied away from such emotional registers, and indeed emotion itself, that smacks of the internalized values of normative consensualism. We have rather turned towards cognitivism and ontology, towards category, not towards value and the passions upon and through which values operate. I think we need love, passionate identification, and under specific conditions: where institutional reference fails, where it is being contested, where practical specificity is eroding.
Our theories should be adequate to the ways we live our lives. Most of us would refuse to live solely in the worlds we now theorize. That is because, I suspect, the theories of those worlds are not adequate to how those worlds actually operate.
John F. Padgett and Walter W. Powell have published a new book: The Emergence of Organizations and Markets, Princeton University Press, 2012.
From the publisher:
The social sciences have sophisticated models of choice and equilibrium but little understanding of the emergence of novelty. Where do new alternatives, new organizational forms, and new types of people come from? Combining biochemical insights about the origin of life with innovative and historically oriented social network analyses, John Padgett and Woody Powell develop a theory about the emergence of organizational, market, and biographical novelty from the coevolution of multiple social networks. They demonstrate that novelty arises from spillovers across intertwined networks in different domains. In the short run actors make relations, but in the long run relations make actors.This theory of novelty emerging from intersecting production and biographical flows is developed through formal deductive modeling and through a wide range of original, historical case studies. Padgett and Powell build on the biochemical concept of autocatalysis--the chemical definition of life--and then extend this autocatalytic reasoning to social processes of production and communication. Padgett and Powell, along with other colleagues, analyze a very wide range of cases of emergence. They investigate the emergence of organizational novelty in early capitalism and state formation; examine the transformation of communism in Russia, China, and Eastern Europe; and analyze with detailed network data contemporary science-based capitalism, including the biotechnology industry, regional high-tech clusters, and the open source community.
The social sciences have sophisticated models of choice and equilibrium but little understanding of the emergence of novelty. Where do new alternatives, new organizational forms, and new types of people come from? Combining biochemical insights about the origin of life with innovative and historically oriented social network analyses, John Padgett and Woody Powell develop a theory about the emergence of organizational, market, and biographical novelty from the coevolution of multiple social networks. They demonstrate that novelty arises from spillovers across intertwined networks in different domains. In the short run actors make relations, but in the long run relations make actors.
This theory of novelty emerging from intersecting production and biographical flows is developed through formal deductive modeling and through a wide range of original, historical case studies. Padgett and Powell build on the biochemical concept of autocatalysis--the chemical definition of life--and then extend this autocatalytic reasoning to social processes of production and communication. Padgett and Powell, along with other colleagues, analyze a very wide range of cases of emergence. They investigate the emergence of organizational novelty in early capitalism and state formation; examine the transformation of communism in Russia, China, and Eastern Europe; and analyze with detailed network data contemporary science-based capitalism, including the biotechnology industry, regional high-tech clusters, and the open source community.
The first chapter can be downloaded for free.
Tags: John Padgett | New Book | Organizations and Markets | Woody Powell
Interview with Linda Argote, OMT Distinguished Scholar
by Kaisa Snellman
One of the great traditions of OMT is that the winner of the Louis Pondy Best Dissertation Paper Award gets a chance to interview the Distinguished Scholar winner . In August, I had the great pleasure to sit down with the 2012 OMT Distinguished Scholar Award winner Linda Argote to discuss her career path and her research. Linda is the David M. Kirr and Barbara A. Kirr Professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory and Director, Center of Organizational Learning, Innovation and Performance at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1979 and a B.S. from Tulane University in 1975.
Kaisa: What was your path to grad school and what got you interested in organizations and organizational psychology?
Linda: When I was a student, I started out as a math major and I thought that I would be a math teacher. At some point, I was doing student teaching volunteer work in schools and I was struck by how schools that were doing the same task seemed to have enormous variation in organizational culture. That really intrigued me. I switched majors from math to psychology and decided to go to graduate school in the field of organizational psychology. At Michigan, I worked with my advisor Basil Georgopolous on a project on hospitals where we were trying to understand factors contributing to differences in organizational effectiveness in hospital emergency rooms. It was really exciting to get to do work in hospitals. All organizations are important and interesting but hospitals have a special place in my heart. The stimulus to my work organizational learning came from a project where I visited a number of manufacturing plants and discovered that they were varying in their learning rates.
Kaisa: What insights did you gain from these projects? Did you have any aha moments or findings that surprised you?
Linda: Well, when studying hospitals we drew upon ideas from what would now be called the structural contingency theory. That is, we studied how the uncertainty of the task affected coordination and how that in turn was linked to organizational effectiveness. The trick for us was to figure out how to measure uncertainty in emergency rooms. One important aha moment was when we realized that there was a lot variation in uncertainty across emergency rooms. That is, although emergency rooms were doing the same work – treating emergency patients - they differed dramatically in terms of the type of patients they saw. For example, some hospitals see a lot of patients that have no insurance. Then the learning curve work gave me a chance to do longitudinal work, which was very exciting. The biggest aha experience was when I interviewed people as a preparation for the learning curve study and they said that the most important thing is to know who knows whatand who is good at what. I thought to myself “hmm..that sounds a lot like transactive memory”, which Wegner had developed to apply to people in close relationships. So, Dick Moreland, Diane Wei and I started to apply this on the group level and found it was a useful concept.
Kaisa: Let's talk more about transactive memory systems. In your presentation this morning you talked about interfirm mobility and the benefits of teams moving as a collective rather than as individuals. You said that individuals moving with their team benefit of a transactive memory system while those moving by themselves would not. Does this apply in the context science? Should scientists move together as teams?
Linda: That is an interesting question. One thing that we have working for us is that a lot of our knowledge is explicit and so we can communicate through electronic means without losing as much knowledge than people working in areas where more tacit knowledge is involved.
Kaisa: How do new tools and technologies influence learning and knowledge transfer? What are the cognitive consequences of “Googling”?
Linda: There was a very interesting study by Betsy Sparrow at Columbia. Sparrow and her coauthors showed that the internet is changing what we remember and it has made us more likely to recall where the facts are rather than the facts themselves. Their findings raise really interesting questions about how the cognitive processes differ when you rely on a person vs. when you rely on the internet for information. With people you have issues of trust, with internet, of course, the issue of trust isn't there. But it is clear that technology has changed the way we seek information. There is a study from a decade ago that asked people where they got their information – and most say from other people. When I show that study to students in my class they tell me all that has changed. So we would need an updated study on where people go to get information.
Kaisa: In your talk earlier this morning you mentioned the importance of having role models. You also talked about spending a year at Stanford. Did you have any particularly important role models there?
Linda: I would have to say that first and foremost, Jim March, a brilliant scholar and also a very generous scholar. He was teaching a seminar an organizational learning and he very kindle allowed me to sit in on and be a part of. It was incredibly valuable to be exposed to the ideas but also to be exposed to how Jim comported himself as a scholar. He has very, very high standards and he is also very kind and very generous. Just being a part of the Stanford community was a valuable experience. I was fortunate to be in the industrial engineering department with some great people. There were people like Bob Sutton, with whom I went to graduate school in Michigan, and Kathy Eisenhardt. There were also scholars in other areas who were very welcoming, such as Warren Hausman, who was very inter-disciplinary in his orientation. Another thing that made my Stanford experience so valuable was that they had these joint seminars across sociology, business, and engineering, which I thought was great. In fact, we replicated that idea at Carnegie Mellon in the early 1990s when we started a seminar called Groups and Organizations to foster the exchange of ideas across disciplinary borders.
Kaisa: Talking about interdisciplinarity, are there some areas of research or fields that you feel like are particularly interesting to organizational learning scholars?
Linda: Yes, definitely. There has been some wonderful work on how social networks affect knowledge transfer. And we are also seeing more work on how social networks affect the ability to create knowledge. I see a lot of promise in these lines of research.
Kaisa: Any advice to young scholars?
Linda: I would say, go to lots of seminars. Even if it is not a topic that interests you, you can learn a lot. Seminars give you a chance to see how a scholar thinks and you may learn something that you can then import to your own work. It is extremely valuable to be exposed to different ideas. I would say that work on problems that you care about; work on things that you feel like you have something new to say about. Of course, you have to be mindful of things like promotion and tenure. But I would say that first and foremost, do work that excites you. Be open to working with other colleagues. It is a great way to learn and to come up with new combinations of ideas.
Kaisa: Well, thank you so much for the advice and for taking the time from your busy schedule to talk with me. Congratulations for your award!
Linda: Thank you. It was my pleasure. Congratulations to you, too!
Tags: Distinguished Scholar Award | Linda Argote | Organizational Learning
Organization Studies is calling for papers for the following Special Issues:Organizations as Worlds of WorkGuest Editors:Rick Delbridge, Cardiff Business SchoolJeff Sallaz, University of Arizona, Department of SociologyDeadline: December 31st 2012
Trust In Crisis: Organizational and Institutional Trust, Failures and RepairGuest Editors:Reinhard Bachmann (The Management School, University of Surrey)Nicole Gillespie (UQ Business School, University of Queensland)Rod Kramer (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University)Deadline: December 31st 2012
At a Critical Age: The Social and Political Organization of Age and AgeingGuest Editors:Susan Ainsworth, University of MelbourneLeanne Cutcher, University of SydneyCynthia Hardy, University of MelbourneRobyn Thomas, University of CardiffDeadline: January 31st 2013The transformative and innovative power of network dynamicsGuest Editors:Stewart Clegg (University of Technology, Sydney)Emmanuel Josserand (University of Geneva)Ajay Mehra (University of Kentucky)Tyrone Pitsis (University of Newcastle Upon-Tyne)Deadline: September 2013
New organizational perspectives on the study of politics and power in the multinational companyGuest Editors:Mike Geppert (University of Surrey, UK)Florian Becker-Ritterspach (German University in Cairo, Egypt)Ram Mudambi (Temple University, USA)Deadline for Submissions: November 30th 2013Please submit papers through the journal’s online submission system, SAGE track (http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/orgstudies)
Tags: call for papers | Organization Studies | Special Issue
For some of you, this is an important time in your academic career. It's the time to find your first job after graduating from the PhD program. For those of you who have already gone through the process, thinking back to this period in your academic career may spark both fond and painful memories - as you think back to all the things that you wished you had done or hadn't done.
To ease some of the challenges experienced by those on the job market, we asked some recruiters from universities around the world to share some of their thoughts on the recruitment process.
Here are the insights Nathalie Lugagne (HEC Paris), Achim Krausert (Nottingham University School of Business China), Pursey Heugens (Rotterdam School of Management) and Denny Gioia (Penn State Smeal College of Business) shared:
1) What are the main elements you look for in an application package – specifically, in the CV and cover letter?
HEC PARIS: First and foremost, we look for evidence of a strong research potential which we try to evaluate through the applicant’s academic background such as the school from which he/she got his/her PhD and the reputation of the PhD supervisor. Of course, we also consider articles published or in the review process, in particular at the R&R stage.
Second, we try to gauge the ability to teach to different audiences, including MBAs and executives. This is evaluated by looking at teaching experience and observing the applicant’s presentation skills during the research presentation.
Third, we look for applicants with good interpersonal skills and willing to collaborate with other colleagues in the department. This is evaluated through interviews and informal contacts made during the campus visit.
Finally, we carefully consider the recommendation letters which can confirm -or not- the general impression we get when looking at the application package.
NUBS CHINA: First, we look for the candidates’ research abilities and potential. The main credential in that regard are publications in journals listed either in the Association of Business Schools (ABS) ranking (level 3 and 4 journals) and the FT-45 ranking. Not all successful candidates have already published in those journals. We look also look for indications of potential such as conference presentations and collaborations with established scholars. Second, we evaluate whether the candidates will be good at teaching. We pay attention, for example, to teaching evaluations and reference letters. Third, we pay attention to any other relevant achievements, such as significant industry experience and awards. Finally, we consider the candidates’ likely motivation for applying for a job with us here in China.
ROTTERDAM: In all honesty, we do read the cover letters, but they are not key. The CV and the list of referees (is this person recommended by a person I admire and trust) jointly determine to a large extent whether a candidate gets longlisted or not. Beyond that point, it is primarily the quality of the job market paper that decides whether someone gets shortlisted for a fly-out. At that point, we are typically left with smart and solid candidates - although usually with very different profiles - so all that matters then is whether they make a good impression during their job-talk and during the accompanying faculty meetings. We typically shortlist 5 - 6 candidates, and usually they are all good, so fit is all-important. We rarely go back to the longlist if none of our top 5 or 6 work out. We are then simply on the market again the next year.
SMEAL: Evidence of ability to do programmatic research capable of being published in the top journals in the field on a continuous basis.
Call for papers for a paper development workshop 2013 in Sydney
In collaboration with Organization Studies, and co-sponsored by OMT and EGOS
Centre for Management and Organization Studies (CMOS), UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney
School of Management, Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales
Venue and date:
UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney
April 4-5, 2013
Stewart Clegg, Antoine Hermans, Emmanuel Josserand, & Danielle Logue (UTS)
Markus Höllerer, Hokyu Hwang, Jaco Lok, & Gavin Schwarz (UNSW)
Organization and Management Theory (OMT) Division of the Academy of Management
European Group for Organization Studies (EGOS)
Management Disciplinary Group, UTS Business School
Theme and format:
This workshop offers the opportunity for scholars to present and develop their ongoing work related to the broad theme of “Organizing Practices." The overall theme is deliberately indexical and open-ended: we see it as signifying analysis of both practices that organize as well as analysis of theories of howpractices are organized. In this way, we intend to cross-fertilize the fields of practice studies and institutional theory which have been remarkably fecund in recent years. The combined insight is the co-constitutive relationship between institutions and social practices: institutionalized meaning systems and power relations essentially structure social practices, which in turn sustain and transform institutions.
The two-day workshop will seek papers that address potential sub-themes such as:
The workshop will be developmental, with each paper having a senior editor or senior scholar as a discussant. Authors will also receive feedback from peers with similar research interests. It should be of interest to both more junior scholars (i.e., early career researchers and advanced doctoral students) and senior scholars, all with manuscripts under development.
The papers should fit the workshop, both in theme and stage of development. Selection of papers will be done through submission of extended abstracts (maximum 5 pages). The deadline for submissions of abstracts is December 10, 2012, with full papers due by March 15, 2013.
Individual sessions will address the potential sub-themes outlined above and evaluate papers in terms of their potential and possible outlets. The workshop will also include professional skills development, and features sessions with members of the leadership team of both EGOS and our partner journal for the workshop, Organization Studies.
The workshop will provide a limited number of sponsored places (including accommodation and meals); however, participants must make their own travel arrangements. We strongly encourage participation of junior researchers; additional support will be provided for a limited number of doctoral students with accepted workshop papers.
Key dates and further information:
Abstract deadline: December 10, 2012
Confirmation of acceptance: December 21, 2012
Full paper deadline: March 15, 2013
Submit your extended abstract to
Please direct enquiries about the workshop to
Click here to download the call for papers.
Tags: Organizing Practices | Sydney Workshop
Thank you to everyone who made the Boston OMT program fun and intellectually engaging! We had a record number of submissions (695!), many exciting sessions, and ample opportunities to catch up with old and meet new colleagues and friends (Meet OMT, our post-business meeting social, and first ever Monday night after-party!). More than ever, OMT is the place to be!
Linda Argote provided a splendid Distinguished Speaker presentation (click here for photos from the event and a copy of her presentation), providing insights into her intellectual journey as well as where research on organizational learning and knowledge transfer is heading.
At the business meeting, I presented data on our paper submissions (click here for the complete OMT Business Meeting presentation). OMT is one of the most internationally-oriented Academy divisions with around 60% of submissions coming from outside North America. In fact, the highest percentage of submissions this past year came from Europe (43%). This is the first year that European submissions have outpaced those from the United States, although there remains relative balance in European and North American submissions.
The growth of European participation in OMT has been explicitly seeded by our strategic efforts to develop a partnership with EGOS and to sponsor OMT paper development workshops for doctoral students and young scholars in Europe over the past couple of years. The paper development workshops—with HEC and ASQ in Paris, with the Judge Business School, EGOS, Sage Publications and Organization Studies in Cambridge, and with Bocconi and Academy of Management Journal in Milan—have been particularly successful in recruiting new and reaching out to extant international members. Partnering with Insead and ASQ, we will also seek to reach out to Asia members in Singapore in January 2013.
With regard to the content of submissions, Institutional Theory submissions continue to dominate, with research on networks and embeddedness, learning, adaptation and routines, and behavioral theory/decision making providing other theoretical domains receiving substantial numbers of submissions. Topically, corporate governance and strategy, institutional logics and complexity, identity and categorization, and innovation and creativity were most salient. The topic of institutional logics and complexity exhibited the most growth in submissions compared to last year (56 vs. 44), and according to data on keywords chosen by our reviewers, this topic is now the dominant focal point for those interested in institutional theory. With regard to regional variation, the one interesting observation is that European submissions are greater than North American submissions (52% vs. 43%) on the topic of institutional logics and complexity, while it is the reverse (59% vs. 30%) for the topic of identity and categorization. I encourage you to look at the slides for more detail.
OMT continues to be the division where the top scholarly work is presented. For the third year in a row, OMT took top honors with the Carolyn Dexter Award for best international paper presented at the AOM (click here for photos of all the award winners). Read an interview with Ned Smith, winner of the best published paper award. There are also updates on the Doctoral Consortium and Teaching Roundtables.
Thank you for your participation in the OMT program, and please remember to renew your membership, submit your best papers and PDW and symposia ideas, and sign up to review for OMT. It is only with your continued engagement and participation that incoming program chair Candace Jones will be able to design another great program. We look forward to seeing you in Orlando next year!
Mike Lounsbury2012 OMT Division Program Chair
Tags: Conference Report | Mike Lounsbury | Program Chair
On Monday, August 6, the OMT Division held its annual business meeting. Speakers included Matt Kraatz, Christine Beckman, Mike Lounsbury and Candace Jones. The Division's membership statistics were reviewed, details of submissions and acceptances to the annual meeting were discussed, and many awards were announced. For photos of the event, visit the OMT Division Facebook Page.
If you missed the meeting, or simply want a refresher, download the 2012 OMT Business Meeting Presentation on Slideshare.
Tags: OMT Business Meeting | Presentation
In Boston, nearly 100 OMT members of the Academy, including doctoral students, junior faculty, and experienced faculty mentors, gathered for the OMT Teaching Roundtables. At each table, one of 12 faculty mentors managed a discussion around a course in their portfolio, with the set of courses for discussion spanning organization theory, entrepreneurship, leadership, strategy, and more--at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
These OMT Teaching Roundtables complement the junior faculty and doctoral student consortia, adding an additional version of "T," as in Teaching alongside Theory, to the "T" in OMT.
We continue to add syllabi to the TeachOMT.com website. So please feel free to email David Touve (
) with any course syllabus you would be willing to share. In the near future, we will also add interviews from OMT members willing to share their insights and expertise in the classroom.
David TouveChair, Teaching CommitteeSeptember 15, 2012
Tags: David Touve | Teach OMT
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