Category Archives: organization studies

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

Summer Reading List

OK, I leave for five weeks in a week. Its mostly vacation, but I am looking forward to spending some time reading some of the dense social theory or social science books that I rely on, but have never finished or even read (ouch, hurts to admit that in print). I’ll probably get drummed out of the bidness (its like our omerta) for saying this, but when you read lots of journal article,s you start to know what are the foundational texts and how they are used. Its like seeing the shape of a plane by its shadow. Foucault, is, I think a classic in this regard. Everyone cites, few have actually read (beyond strategic skimming). And Weber. (Although I did take a grad school seminar where we did nothing but read Economy and Society. That’s a story for another time).

Anyway, for the sake of _actually_ reading some of these from my ever-expanding list of books, I am limiting myself to two. So, this is the fun part, like choosing courses from a stellar menu. Which two?

Possible summer reading list (In Progress):

  • Identity and Control by Harrison White
  • Sociology of Philosophy by Randall Collins
  • Constitution of Society by Anthony Giddens
  • Volumes 2 and 3 of The Information Age by Manuel Castells
  • The Hacker Ethic By Pekka Hinamen
  • something by Bourdieu…
  • Brokerage and Closure by Ron Burt
  • Something by Charles Tilly, Big structures, large processes, huge comparisons or Identities, Boundaries and Social Ties
  • Code v 2.0 by Lawrence Lessig
  • The Hacker Ethic by Pekka Himanen (for  teaching really).

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Filed under Books, Castells, New Projects, organization studies, organization theory, Orgs Stuff (theory, science, studies), Social Networks, social theory

New journal outlet for me?

This came over the transom:

Management Revue, with a long tradition as a German language journal, is opening up to an international audience. Now under new editors, Management Revue is using a novel concept as a European journal.

Well, that is great!  The upcoming CFP on power may be particularly compelling.

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Filed under organization studies, organization theory, Research, social theory

Organizing Christmas- A Festive Symposium

OTists with a sense of humor!

Organizing Christmas- A Festive Symposium
Organizing Christmas – A Festive Symposium
[c]
Warwick Business School 15th-16th December 2008

Organizing Christmas is a one day symposium taking place at the University of Warwick between the 15th and 16th of December 2008. A truly international, and indeed trans-hemispheric event, it is being jointly organized by colleagues from Warwick Business School in the UK, the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, and the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.

The aim is to bring academic colleagues together in order to discuss the true (organizational) meaning of Christmas. We invite proposals for papers and presentations from all those who might share our interest in this increasingly excessive festival of indulgence and mass-consumption. Be it working at Christmas, shopping at Christmas, or even simply trying to organize a happy Christmas, we are keen to encourage a range of perspectives and interests as the basis for this event. Of course, just because it is a period of holiday and frivolity – well for many of us anyway – we don’t expect you to leave your academic integrity and critical faculties behind in favour of an easy eggnog. But hopefully fun and meaningful academic debate can go hand in hand at this time of goodwill to all.

Please feel free, therefore, to browse the website and perhaps consider dropping us an abstract. Further details of the event will appear here as they become available, and remember, like the promotion round, Christmas comes but once a year so submit early and beat the rush.
Papers/presentations are invited in relation to any aspect of the symposium theme, but suggested topics might include:

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Filed under conferences, organization studies, organization theory

Comparing fourth and fifth editions of Organizations by Richard Scott (And Gerry Davis for fifth)

So, a new edition of Organizations:Rational, Natural, and Open Systems by W. Richard Scott is out. Its co-authored by Gerry Davis (Who was a student of Scott’s at Stanford, apparently) and has a newer, more active title (stamp out nouns!). This book was an absolute classic for me doing my PhD at IESE. It also helped me bridge sociology and management. So, like the priests we are, it is good to turn back to the canon and see what is there.

Organizations and Organizing: rational, natural, and open systems perspectives.

I wanted to see if it is worth reading/buying the new version. A quick comparison of the two tables of contents reveals that some major changes were made. After Break for table.

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

The Information Society and Terrorism

I am deep into editing a paper about looking at terrorism from the perspective of OT and organizational studies.  Its been fun and allowed me to go back to the more recently resurgent grand theorizing of the likes of Manuel Castells, Charles Tilly, Ulrich Beck, and Anthony Giddens.

My initial reaction is that many of the themes of the grand social theory have been discussed and applied to terrorism. These include the idea that Islamic terrorism is very much a globalization phenomenon; the leaderless, self-organizing organizational structure of terrorism;  the shifting nature of identity in the information era.  There are more for sure.

I am not sure anyone has connected all the dots between the big picture of the theory of the network society and the multi-dimensional reality of Islamic terrorism (especially Al Qaeda).    One research task, it seems to me, to confirm that Al Qaeda is not so unique is to look at how “old line” terrorist groups are adapting (or not) to the contours of th enetwork society.   It may be that this ork has already been done and i just haven’t found it yet.  Suggestions are welcome, of course.  :<)

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Filed under Network Society, organization studies, Research, Social Networks, social theory, Terrorism

These jokers run the world?

I found this article under the NYT’s most emailed (or blogged) articles.  I don’t follow the twists and turns of the software business very carefully, and it is easy to beat up on Microsoft.  like shooting a barnside.

The basics seems to be that Microsoft tried to weasel around the hardware/software incompatibility of its new Vista OS by labeling machines Vista capable instead of VIsta ready.  The capable label was supposed to mean Vista might work.  Sort of.  Eventually.  Maybe.  Caveat emptor and all.

A class action suit in Seattle is proceeding.

95% of my students,  faced with a product that does not work as advertised, would now that a world of headache is coming down  the pike.  But, the sagacity of the young is transmogrified into the idiocy of the powerful by money and organizational culture.

They Criticized Vista. And They Should Know. – New York Times
In February 2006, after Microsoft abandoned its plan to reserve the Vista Capable label for only the more powerful PCs, its own staff tried to avert the coming deluge of customer complaints about underpowered machines. “It would be a lot less costly to do the right thing for the customer now,” said Robin Leonard, a Microsoft sales manager, in an e-mail message sent to her superiors, “than to spend dollars on the back end trying to fix the problem.”

Exactly.  Big DUH.

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Filed under Business, organization studies, technology

Osama Bin Laden is a Great Manager

I can’t take credit for first publishing this, but you’ll have to take my word that I came to a similar conclusion as this fellow on my own.

He said it very nicely though.

An organization that maximizes return on investment, builds up the world’s most
recognizable brand name overnight, creates synergy between PR message and HR
recruiting, attracts motivated loyal employees who make the ultimate sacrifice to extend
the mission into new markets and keeps expanding despite the world’s most hostile
environment is every manager’s dream. One manager turned this dream into a reality:
Osama bin Laden.
– Hans van der Weijden

From:  1 Hans Van Der Weijden, “Al-Qaida, The Business Model.” Interface, February 2005, p. 14, 15.
<http://www.sviib.nl/interface/magazine/pdf/21_3_alquada.pdf&gt;.

The same policy paper I found this made reference to the fct that when many terrorists are in custody and asked if tehy belong to Al_Qaeda, they are not sure (!).  This seems like a good data point for how it is much more of a social movement or even Caastellsian network organization as opposed to a normal, bounded organization than common perception would suggest.

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Filed under organization studies, Terrorism

Professional Development Workshop Ideas (for any Management/Org Studies Conference)

Some professional email correspondence led me to brianstorm the kinds of PDWs I would like to see happen or participate in.

As I will never get around to all of these, here they are for the taking:

Ideas for AOM PDWs

– Collaborative knowledge tools for researchers (how to use blogs, wikis, podcasts, and so on).  My thinking was more about how to use them to support and advance research (as opposed to self-promotion, but that could fit too.)

– Qualitative and Mixed Method Network Analysis (Dvaid Obstfeld and I have kicked this around in passing).

– Network Analysis/Netcentric thinking for Org and Strategic Interventions.  At Sunbelt or AOM once David Krackhardt (And a few others) talked about this.  Could be OMT and ODC joint project and focus on more full cycle research (not just anecdotes).

– The “lost” theory of networks (Simmel, White, Econ Sociology, Complexity, Emirbayer): An attempt to push back on networks as all method no theory idea.  I don’t agree, but am  a little wary of opening a structuralist vs. individualist cat fight.  I mean, I like healthy disagreement, as opposed to paradigm policing.

– Using Web 2.0 to collect data:  I have been doing some research on SecondLife and other virtual worlds.  I have also wondered how to take advantage of facebook et al to get some network data.  So, this would be like sharing tips and tricks of the trade.  Also, discussing thorny issues of human subject review.  And privacy.   Maybe AOM could throw its weight around (ha ha) and get us a social network CEO to come and talk about corporate-research data sharing.

– Institutions, Organizations, and Networks: Common Ground and Common Agendas:  I feel like there is some sort of gap between institutional theory and network research.  or maybe its just niche proliferation, but i have been wondeirng why some sort of “grand synthesis” hasn’t been created (or maybe it has and I missed it out here in the wilds of Pennsylvania).

– Social Entrepreneurs and Networks.  Do the networks and network strategies of social entrpreneurs/innovators differ from the plain old “normal” ones?  Does the prima facie need to address a social concern and claim a higher moral authority effect how social entrepreneurs get things done?  Maybe a SIM, ENT, OMT, CMS joint project.

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Filed under conferences, economic sociology, organization studies, Orgs Stuff (theory, science, studies), Research, Scholars, Social Networks, virtual worlds

Research Ideas for My Students

Hello folks. This is by no means a comprehensive set of resources. It more reflects sources that seemed to be of interest to two or more of you AND that I thought might not jump out at you as pertinent. It is a mix of search terms, blogs, or alternative media.

EVERYONE should make an appointment with a Bucknell research librarian.

Mob Mentality

□ See Swarm intelligence as a search term. Also this book and tool.

□ See Smart Mobs as a search term. Also, this site and book.

How context shapes roles

Stanford Prison Experiment

How social network effects company

□ Work by Rob Cross

David Krackhardt

David Obstfeld

How brekatoroughs happen…

□ Blogs: Search them for your topics.

Orgtheory http://orgtheory.wordpress.com/

Complexity

Connecetddness

Visiblepath

Terrorism

Saddam Hussein and his network

RAND corporation

Orgnet

Torture:

Experts on torture

A historian of torture

Overview of news on detainees

Financial Bubbles…

Bill Moyers with Kuttner

Interviews with Greenspan

Greespan debate Naomi Klein, a critic (bubbles and feds role comes up)
Fanatic communities

MeetUp

Org theory post

Size of communties

Gore-Tex maker

Advertising

No logo– a critical assessment of advertising and capitalism.

Viral garden blog

Iraq:

Fiasco

Cobra II

Assassin’s Gate

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Filed under activism, Books, digital culture, economic sociology, higher education, Living Web, management, Marketing, national security, Network Dynamics, Org Design, organization studies, pedagogy, Resistance, Social Networks, Terrorism, Viral Marketing