Daily Archives: July 7, 2008

The emergence of a new research paradigm: Relationalism?

I remember how excited I was to read Emirbayer’s 1997 “Manifesto for a Relational Sociology.”  I was in grad school, and I was eager for a manifesto to inspire me to academic arms.  The essay did just that.  But, as I tried to work it into PhD papers and a dissertation, I didn’t cite it as much as I might have.  It was too big, too bold, too general for a dissertation.  And I had the feeling that it was too “out there.”

One of the things I liked especially was the way it seemed to leave behind a debate about networks as method or networks as theory.  Network analysis is a method, of course, but to ask the right questions, to understand the implications, requires a relational perspective.  Borgatti and others have since started their power points on networks, I’ve noticed, with an intro to a “network perspective.”

Now I see this book over at Edward Elgar called :

Relational Perspectives In Organizational Studies

Not only that, but I was put onto it because of a review of the book in AMR.

Three quick observations

1) It seems that relationalism as a rallying point has emerged and my early reading of Emribayer was part of many schoalrs picking up on those ideas and beginning a process of importng them into org studies and management schoalrship.

2) The Above volume draws heavily form work done on identity, inequality, and feminist theory.  The influence of feminist theory on relationalism is new to me, but makes sense.

3) there was not much on the study of networks and relationalism in the TOC.  Maybe that is a niche that can continue to be exploited/developed? Or is network analysis simply a tool that is appropriated differently by scholars depending on your prior interest.  if you are focused on how to strategically manage alliances, you use networks one way, and if you are interested in the way interdependence leads to emergence of inequality, you use network analysis a different way.  The use of the suite of network analysis tools does not imbue the scholarship with a particularly relational and there fore challenging or radically different epistemology to normally static and atomistic social science.

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Filed under Books, organization studies, organization theory, social theory, sociology

Miracles and Nasty Surprises

Miracles and Nasty Surprises
This blog is an experiment in presenting an academic work for public commentary. We have taken the web introduction to our book Miracles and Nasty Surprises (found at http://remedy101.com) and converted it into smaller segments. Each segment is available for commentary (call this the talmudic approach).

The authors of the above book used a blog to try and spark discussion. They broke the introduction up into discrete chunks and blogged each chunk.  neat idea.

Possible book for teaching org theory?

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Filed under Books, organization studies, organization theory, pedagogy

Mental Organization

One of the boons of Web 2.0 technologies, like tagging, folksonomies, and social bookmarking, is that it gives a mental pack rat like me an immense feeling of relief and empowerment.  I used to try and clip articles form newspapers and journals I thought were important.  Back in the days before the internets, I mean.  WIth browsers and bookmarks, I found myself saving bookmarks  willy-nilly.  And e-mails.  The problems was that using a file architecture to manage all these handles (a small handle to grab to access more in-depth knowledge) became itself a time suck and a mental burden.

Searchability is key for me.  That is one thing i learned from Gmail.  It wsa liberating to simply abandon the compulsion to keep and organize old emails.  By letting go and adopting a problem-solving mentality, I realized I could rely on my own mind to offer key words to search for relevant emails as I needed to find them.

Now delicious (and digg to a lesser extent) enable the same shift from organizing for organization’s sake to tagging and dropping (tag it and drop it till you need it).  I can organize myself and my time instead of organizing my files, bookmarks, handles, etc.

This summer I want to keep streamlining.  I still need and use paper copies of important articles.  Just as I look through my delicious bookmarks or blog for ideas,  I want to go to a file folder and review the articles there.

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Filed under Research, writing