Monday, 30 Sep 2013

Sarah Soule - Stanford University

Shareholder Activism: A Processual Approach

Time and Location: 3:00-4:30 PM, CERAS Building, 520 Galvez Mall, Stanford CA 94305 (Room 123)

Co-Authors: Jacob Model (Stanford GSB) and Brayden King (Kellogg).

This paper looks at the effect of public protest on shareholder resolutions directed at public companies in the US. Shareholder resolutions are proposals submitted by shareholders of public companies for consideration at the annual meeting of the company. While many shareholder resolutions focus on issues related to corporate governance, we examine social shareholder resolutions, and more specifically, those focusing on environmental issues. Once a resolution is submitted, a company must either allow shareholders to vote on the resolution, negotiate with shareholder activists to encourage them to withdraw it, or formally challenge the resolution by filing a claim with the SEC. We find that public protest directed at a company increases the likelihood that shareholders will subsequently mobilize and submit a resolution. However, this is where the effect of public protest ends; the outcome of a submitted resolution (vote, withdrawal, or SEC challenge) is not impacted by public protest. This finding resonates with research by Soule and King (2006) that suggests that protest matters differently at different stages of a desired outcome.

Monday, 7 Oct 2013

Kathia Serrano-Velarde - Heidelberg University

The way we ask for money: The changing logics of grant writing in German academia, 1975-2005

Time and Location: 3:00-4:30 PM, CERAS Building, 520 Galvez Mall, Stanford CA 94305 (Room 123)

The paper addresses the question of how academic grant writing practices have changed over time. The growing importance of external funding in the academic world has affected both individuals and research organizations in significant ways. Starting from the assumption that grant writing performances are a reflection of field-wide dynamics, we argue that including the “peer“ in the review process of research proposals made research communities a central player in the allocation of scientific reputation and resources. The study will shed light on these developments and their impact on grant writing practices by linking practice theory and an institutional logics approach (Friedland and Alford 1991). While field-level dynamics have pushed competition as organizing principle of research work, we shall argue that research communities managed to buffer professional practices from radical changes by incorporating “elemental categories” (Thornton et al. 2012) of the market into the dominant professional logic. The argument draws on a qualitative, longitudinal study of grant proposals and funding program documentation in Germany from 1975 to 2005.

Monday, 14 Oct 2013

Elizabeth Armstrong - University of Michigan

Author/Critics event for Paying For The Party: How College Maintains Inequality (Harvard, 2013)

Critics: Michelle Jackson, Corrie Potter and Myra Strober

Time and Location: 3:00-5:30 PM, CERAS Building, 520 Galvez Mall, Stanford CA 94305 (Room 101 Learning Hall)

Join us for a lively discussion about this controversial new organizational analysis of undergraduate life at a flagship US research university.  Discussion from 3:00 to 4:30 PM with reception to follow.

This is the first in a series of author/critics events this year devoted to new organizational research on higher education.  Co-sponsored by the Stanford GSE Higher Education Program.

Monday, 21 Oct 2013


Monday, 28 Oct 2013

Jesper Strandgaard Pedersen - Copenhagen Business School

Negotiating Values – Evaluative Practices in Cultural-Creative Industries: Restaurant Ratings and Rankings in the Culinary Field

Time and Location: 3:00-4:30 PM, CERAS Building, 520 Galvez Mall, Stanford CA 94305 (Room 123)

The presentation is focused on the role of expert (e)valuation of creativity and innovation. How are innovations conceived, assessed and legitimized? Intermediaries and gatekeepers (like expert evaluators, critics, reviewers, industrial analysts, rating systems and industry events and competitions) play a crucial role in the cultural-creative industries; yet their significance has been largely overlooked. Through a series of studies the role of such intermediaries and events are explored. Haute cuisine restaurants differ from other segments of the restaurant industry as their success are characterized by being measured not primarily by its financial results but by the opinions and assessments of critics and gastronomy experts in the culinary field. In this study we have examined two such systems of assessment – the Michelin guide and Worlds Best Restaurant list. The talk will draw from ideas developing across a couple of studies, but will draw most heavily on the attached paper on ‘Restaurant Ratings and Rankings in the Culinary Field’.

Monday, 4 Nov 2013

Bjarne Espedal - Norwegian School of Economics

Developing Organizational Social Capital or Prima Donnas in MNEs? The Role of Global Leadership Development Programs

Time and Location: 3:00-4:30 PM, CERAS Building, 520 Galvez Mall, Stanford CA 94305 (Room 123)

co-authors Paul N. Gooderham and Inger G. Stensaker

We identify those aspects of global leadership development (GLD) programs that promote social capital and knowledge sharing in multinational enterprises (MNEs). The analysis is conducted within the context of two Scandinavian MNEs. Both MNEs had aimed at the development of inter-unit social networks and knowledge sharing. In the one program, participants bonded with other participants while remaining socially embedded in their business units of origin. As a consequence, bridging social capital was developed, and knowledge sharing across the MNE increased. For the other program, despite apparent similarities in design and goals, we found the reverse. In addition to differences in the selection mechanisms employed by the two programs, our research identifi ed contrasting modes of organizing the in-program learning processes and dissimilarities in the roles played by top management and GLD consultants during the programs. Overall, while the one program was congruent with the Scandinavian corporate culture context, the other was at odds with it, and instead of developing social capital it turned out prima donnas. We argue that MNEs aiming to use GLD programs for developing social capital across their operations must be highly sensitive to the issue of congruence with the established corporate culture.

Monday, 11 Nov 2013

Mark Kriger - Norwegian Business School

Strategy Process for Turbulent Times: The Art and Science of the Impossible

Time and Location: 3:00-4:30 PM, CERAS Building, 520 Galvez Mall, Stanford CA 94305 (Room 123)

The field of strategy process is still relatively in the early stage of development.  The major challenges for the field of strategy process and, more broadly, strategy execution, is several-fold: (1) the sheer number of variables involved and the difficulty of measuring them, or even determining them subjectively; (2) the degree of change and dynamism in today’s economic, social, political, environmental and technological business environments; (3) the balancing required of, at a minimum, seven (7) dynamic challenges or tensions; (4) the multi-level nature of strategy process, ranging from the super-micro (eg. strategic thinking processes including emotional knowledge and intuition) to the super-macro (eg. industries and clusters); and (5) the need to involve multiple cohorts of actors at multiple levels of the firm.  The presentation will build on earlier seminal work in strategy process including:  Barnard(1937), Barnes & Kriger (1986, 1992), Huff & Reger (1990), March (1991, 2011), Burgelman (2002), and Eisenhardt & Brown (1997, 1998). The overall intent is to integrate several models for understanding how strategies evolve over time for the creation of superior competitive advantage in firms.

Monday, 18 Nov 2013

Denis Trapido - University of California Irvine

When Does Originality Help New Knowledge Earn Pre-Commercial Recognition? The Role of Contextual Positioning

Time and Location: 3:00-4:30 PM, CERAS Building, 520 Galvez Mall, Stanford CA 94305 (Room 123)

High originality of scientific or technological knowledge has a paradoxical dual implication. Original, radically new ideas are subject to a higher risk of rejection by their evaluating audiences than incremental, “normal-science” contributions. Yet audiences may also deem a contribution to knowledge valuable because it is original. This study offers an explanation of this dual effect. I argue that originality facilitates the recognition of new contributions when the audience views them in a context of pre-existing highly recognized original contributions. Such contextual positioning triggers the spillover of legitimacy from highly legitimate to not-yet-legitimate original contributions and counterbalances the illegitimacy penalty that audiences impose on less favorably positioned original contributions. The analysis examined and supported this argument with data on the productivity, career histories, and mentoring relations of academic electrical engineers.

Monday, 2 Dec 2013

Greta Krippner - University of Michigan

Possessive Collectivism: Ownership and the Politics of Credit Access in Late-Twentieth Century America

co-sponsored by the Organizations and Economic Sociology Workshop

Time and Location: 4:30 - 6:45 PM; 450 Serra Mall, McClatchy Hall, Building 120, Stanford, CA 94305 (Mendenhall Library, Room 101)

This paper offers an explanation for the emergence of ownership as a privileged discourse of political claims-making in contemporary American society.  I observe two key features of the discourse of ownership that have advantaged it over competing forms of mobilizing political claims, the most important of which, arguably, is represented by anti-discrimination discourse.  First, I argue that political claims based on ownership have the potential to transcend perennial tensions between individual and group rights that have often proved debilitating to movements for social change, particularly movements grounded in anti-discrimination law.  Second, following Sunstein (1993), I suggest that ownership claims have the property of status-quo neutrality in so far as they appear to respect existing distributions of resources and entitlements.  In contrast, the discourse of anti-discrimination challenges the status quo, asking society (or more aptly, the state) to remedy or repair a harm.  Bringing these two features together, I use the term “possessive collectivism” – an adaptation of political theorist C.B. MacPherson’s well-known notion of “possessive individualism” – to emphasize the manner in which the discourse of ownership invokes putatively neutral individual rights claims but embeds these claims in collectivities.  This capacity, I argue, is what has allowed the discourse of ownership to displace competing forms of political claims-making, particularly as the broader political, social, and economic environment has become less favorable to expansive notions of economic citizenship.  I illustrate this argument by examining three movements that mobilized to broaden access to credit beginning in the late 1960s and 1970s: 1) the welfare rights movement’s campaign to gain access to department store credit for welfare recipients; 2) feminist mobilization to end gender discrimination in credit markets; and 3) the struggle of community activists against the practice of redlining urban neighborhoods.

Reception 4:30 - 5:15 pm; Seminar 5:15 - 6:45 pm