SCANCOR Symposium on Institutional Analysis 2018

Hosted by the Department of Organisation (IOA), Copenhagen Business School, September 3-7, 2018

Morning Public Lectures

Time: 9:30-12:30 (Monday-Friday)
Location: Room Ks 54, Kilen (The Wedge) - Copenhagen Business School, Kilevej 14A/B, Frederiksberg 2000 (metro station: Fasanvej)


Registration for Morning Public Lectures: (*link to follow shortly*)


Institutions & Cities

Monday, 3 September 2018

From Iron Cage to Glass House: Is Transparency a New Organizational Standard?

Walter W. Powell with Aaron Horvath and Christof Brandtner

Stanford University

Rationalization is a fundamental social process in which instrumental reasoning displaces traditional and charismatic legitimacy. In the nonprofit sector, bureaucratic management in the early 2000s generated concern that the visible hand of civic leadership would give way to the invisible hand of the market. Our longitudinal study of 200 nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area finds that organizations that were formerly managerial, technocratic, and inward-looking are now collaborative, transparent, and focused on impact. This unforeseen shift from iron cages to glass houses suggests a reconceptualization of rationalization, not as a self-reproducing process but as one in which the contents are changing. Dynamic regression and matched qualitative interviews show that older managerial practices attract and intermingle with ideas of open management, without dissolving their differences.  We contribute a novel perspective on how competing ideas influence one another, and show how openness becomes a guiding principle of contemporary organizations.


Impact beyond Implementation: Exploring the Long-Term Effect of Strategy

Renate Meyer with Martin Kornberger & Markus A. Höllerer

WU Vienna & Copenhagen Business School

This paper sets out to investigate the long-term effect of strategy. In order to explore this issue, we conducted a study of Sustainable Sydney 2030 – the City of Sydney’s strategy which is widely regarded as a success story – over a 10-year period. Departing from conventional wisdom of the ‘positioning school’ and the ‘adaptive school’ of strategy, we find that the effect of strategy does neither exhaust itself in executing ideas nor in instigating learning loops between strategy and action. Our study demonstrates an effect beyond the strategy-action link, and thus, beyond the mere implementation of strategy. Drawing on Ludwik Fleck’s concept of distinct ‘thought-styles’ of focal ‘thought-collectives’ (a notion that has been developed, in particular, in Mary Douglas’ understanding of how institutions work), we theorize that strategy’s impact lies in its ability to shape the shared thought-style of such a collective – and with this to transform the city as institution. Our work explores the mechanisms that underlie such transformation. We contribute to extant research by (a) examining the long-term effect of strategy which invites rethinking strategy’s modus operandi; (b) relating the phenomenon of strategy to debates on microfoundations (most prominently, cognition or emotion), reminding us that these microfoundations are often not individually but socially anchored and that such social foundation is the basis of institutions; and (c) drawing attention to cities as exemplary non-command and control setting akin to a variety of other contemporary organizational phenomena, including business ecosystems, sharing platforms, and distributed innovation systems.


Institutions & Movements

Tuesday, 4 September 2018 

Crossing Boundaries: A Study of Diversification By Social Movement Organizations

Sarah A. Soule

Stanford University

Four decades ago, McCarthy and Zald (1977) likened social movement organizations (SMOs) to conglomerates, and noted that SMOs associated with a given social movement industry (SMI) frequently diversify by borrowing claims, issues, or causes from other SMIs. Yet, there has been little empirical research to date on the precursors to SMO diversification. Drawing on organizational theory, we shed light on how consensus at the level of the SMI to which an SMO belongs plays an important role. We suggest that greater cohesion in an SMI, measured by the extent to which the unique claims comprising the SMI are jointly made in the same protest events, and greater focus in an SMI, operationalized as concentration of protests in a small handful of the SMI’s claims, restrict a member SMO’s likelihood of diversifying. However, when SMOs do diversify, they are more likely to adopt claims from a more cohesive and more focused target SMI. Counterfactual and sensitivity analyses confirm that our results are not driven by the initial selection of SMOs into certain SMIs. We discuss implications for research on social movements and organizations.

Manifesto, Model or Movement? (Tem)plating (New) Nordic Food for Broader Impact

 Silviya Svejenova with Jesper Strandgaard and Haldor Byrkjeflot

Copenhagen Business School & WU Vienna 

Whereas the translation literature has acknowledged the role of carriers of ideas, as well as of these ideas’ editing and contextualization as they travel, it has paid less attention to the processes by which ideas get de-contextualized and templates created by organizations of different kind and interests (or face resistance to de-contextualization and template creation). This paper provides a critical examination of why and how different private and public actors partake in the creation and circulation of a Nordic food model and movement, what past- and future-oriented discourses they draw on, how they mobilize these discourses visually and materially, and to what effects. The study draws on interviews with entrepreneurs and policy makers, policy documents, programs’ descriptions, progress reports and local and international media depictions related to the idea of (new) Nordic food since its inception in the early 2000s and until present. In particular, we examine visual, material and verbal representations of the model’s and movement’s definition, expansion and impact.


Institutions & History

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Resisting World Culture: The Rise of Legal Restrictions on Foreign Funding to NGOs, 1994-2015

 Patricia Bromley

Stanford University

 The decades since the 1990s have witnessed a wave-like rise in restrictions on foreign funding to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). At least 60 countries have implemented laws tightening restrictions against foreign funding to NGOs at least once, and several have enacted multiple kinds of restrictions in recent years (e.g. India, China, and Russia). We use event history analyses to consider domestic and global explanations for the rise of legal restrictions on foreign funding to NGOs over the period 1994 to 2015 in countries worldwide. Our findings show evidence of increasing resistance towards globally-linked civil society groups – one of the primary carriers of liberal world culture. Our study makes several contributions to research examining the expanding opposition to global liberal and neoliberal institutions. Empirically, we extend existing data on civil society restrictions to 2015 and go beyond prior statistical analyses with an expanded set of explanatory factors. Conceptually, we develop social and cultural explanations for a growing backlash against global civil society.


Multimodal Construction of a Rational Myth: Industrialization of the French Building Sector in the Period from 1945 to 1970

 Eva Boxenbaum with Thibault Daudigeos, Jean-Charles Pillet and Sylvain Colombero

Copenhagen Business School

This paper examines how proponents of industrialization used multiple modes of communication to socially construct the rational myth of industrialization in the French construction sector after World War II. We illuminate the respective roles of visual and verbal communication in this process. Our findings suggest that actors construct rational myths according to the following step-by-step method: first, they use visuals to suggest associations between new practices and valuable purposes; then they use verbal text to establish the technical rationality of certain practices; and lastly, they employ both verbal and visual communications to convey their mythical features.


Institutions & (Ir)responsibility

Thursday, 6 September 2018


What is Good Corporate Citizenship? Corporate Social Responsibility and Taxes

Bruce G. Carruthers with Brayden King and Andrew Owen

Northwestern University

Does being a “good citizen” also mean willingly paying taxes? Is it one’s social responsibility to help support the cost of government? While these questions make good sense when applied to individual citizens, their application to “fictive” individuals like for-profit corporations seems less straight-forward. This is not, however, because issues of social responsibility are irrelevant to corporations. Indeed, corporations have increasingly embraced the idea that they are “socially responsible,” and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a modern term of art. Do socially responsible firms pay their taxes? We employ new CSR data, the Thomson-Reuters’ ASSET4 dataset, combined with the Standard and Poor’s COMPUSTAT database, to examine the empirical relationship between CSR and effective tax rates for 738 public-traded US firms between 2003 and 2016. Preliminary statistical results reveal complex relationships that require further analysis and explication


A Village on Wall Street: From Models to Norms in a Derivatives Trading Room

 Daniel Beunza

Copenhagen Business School

My ethnography of a Wall Street trading room engages the debate on financial reform by bringing together derivatives and morality, and material tools and organizational culture. It locates the roots of the crisis in the material transformation of Wall Street banks induced by financial models, culminating in risk management practices that resulted in perceived injustice and moral disengagement. I present evidence that such change, while material in origin, can be addressed through organizational policies that deemphasize model-based control and restore shared norms and values. My study challenges sociological theories that narrowly explain the global financial crisis in terms of inadequate organization or financial deregulation, and builds instead on risk management-based accounts, offering organizational prescriptions for financial reform.


Institutions & Events

Friday, 7 September 2018


Ritual, Remembrance and Retrospective Field Formation: The Judgment of Paris Event

Gregoire Croidieu with N. Anand (IMB)

Grenoble École de Management, Business School

We explore the interplay between memory work and field evolution. We study how memory work shaped the meaning of an event in the California wine industry that shifted from an anecdote status to a turning point and, in turn, how field dynamics influenced the actors who engaged in this memory work. Building on multiple sources of evidence and methodologies, we contribute to institutional theory and to the collective memory literature.


Organizational Adaptation and Inverse Trajectories: Two Cities and Their Film Festivals

 Jesper Strandgaard Pedersen with Carmelo Mazza

Copenhagen Business School

Industry events, studied either as tournament rituals (Anand and Watson, 2004) or as field-configuring events (Lampel and Meyer, 2008; Moeran and Strandgaard Pedersen, 2011) were put on the research agenda more than a decade ago in explaining field formation and field change. We explore the role of time and timing for field-configuring events in our study. We study late adoption of film festivals by cities and how they differ in the way they enact the vision of an international film festival with contents and practices primarily stemming from institutionalized standards. The empirical study is on two film festivals situated in two geographically and socially distinct contexts, Italy and its capital city, Rome, and Denmark and its capital city, Copenhagen. The study demonstrates how time seems to be a factor that impacts the organizational trajectories and increases the variety of practices within a field. Contrary to conventional wisdom in institutional theory, we suggest that late adopters may bring ideas of innovation and different practices, rather than re-producing homogeneity in field-configuration processes.