Fireside chat with SCANCOR Directors Mitchell Stevens, Woody Powell and Jim March on March 2, 2012

On Friday March 2, some enterprising SCANCORians assembled SCANCOR’s three directors – Jim March, Woody Powell, and Mitchell Stevens – for an hour of happy commiseration about the organization’s past, present, and future.

Conceived as a fireside chat, complete with a glowing videotape of a crackling hearth, the event was organized and sponsored by the Stanford Organizational Studies Forum, a student group sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education, in collaboration with SCANCORians. Andy Blanco, a PhD student in Management Science and Engineering, and Arno Kourula, a SCANCOR postdoc in Civil and Environmental Engineering, welcomed a large group of Scancorians, Stanford faculty and doctoral students to the CERAS lobby.

SCANCOR was created as an institutional arrangement and acts as a bridge between Nordic and American research styles, helping to enhance cross-fertilization.  In the early 1970s, Jim March, Nils Brunsson, Søren Christensen and Johan P. Olsen collaborated on their shared interest in organizational theory.  Countless informal exchanges and reciprocal visits between Stanford and Scandinavia were the basis of a formalized arrangement between institutions in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden to cooperate in supporting working residencies for Scandinavian social scientists at Stanford.  In later years, universities in northern Europe joined SCANCOR as associate members, creating a truly cosmopolitan research community.  By the 2000s, SCANCOR had matured into a globally prominent hub for organizational social science.

SCANCOR is formally a non-profit organization registered in Denmark; its European address has always been the Copenhagen Business School. Its primary mission is to facilitate working residences at Stanford for visiting scholars from Scandinavia and Europe, and inquiry in organizational social science among a transnational, interdisciplinary and multigenerational network of scholars.  Under the direction of Woody Powell, SCANCOR also sponsors a postdoctoral fellowship program at Stanford and collaborative workshops on organizational studies at European universities.

The directors suggested that SCANCOR has been successful because it is flexible and resource efficient.  Visiting scholars transit easily between Stanford’s many different academic “neighborhoods,” providing intellectual fluidity for people throughout the university.  

Over its nearly 25 years, SCANCOR has hosted over 500 working residencies at Stanford and facilitated myriad intellectual exchanges on both sides of the Atlantic.  From its new home in the CERAS building, to the development of new programs to serve its alumni, to increasingly competitive pools of applicants for residencies and workshops, SCANCOR has every reason to anticipate a bright future.