Monday, October 1, 2018

Hayagreeva Rao, Stanford University Graduate School of Business

Radical Activists and the Attention-Support Dilemma: Evidence from Boss-Nappings

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

When do radical activists stage disruptive acts that trigger police repression? We suggest that radical activists are more likely to organize extreme actions that invite police repression in opponents’ strongholds where they lack support, and in swing districts where they are close to their opponents in terms of support, rather than in their own strongholds. However, disruptive acts in swing districts are less likely on high-rainfall days where turnout is likely to be low – therefore, attention and support are likely to be impaired. By contrast, there is no such variation in the case of opponent strongholds. An observational study of boss-napping – that is, taking the boss hostage by union members – lends empirical support to our predictions.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Shelly Correll, Stanford University Sociology Department

Inside the Black Box of Organizational Life: The Gendered Language of Performance Assessment

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

Organizations implement formalized evaluation procedures to reduce ascriptive biases and achieve meritocratic outcomes. However, these procedures often fail to eliminate bias in practice. Managers play a key role in applying such procedures, but researchers have been unable to observe the thought processes guiding managers’ decisions. This paper takes a first step in allowing us to peer into managers’ heads through an analysis of the language they use when evaluating employees’ performance. Using a random sample of written performance reviews at a Fortune 500 technology company, we investigate whether gender stereotypes are reflected in managers’ reviews and whether language patterns are associated with gendered rating outcomes, which play an important role in determining pay and promotion decisions. While performance reviews contain clear descriptions of meritocratic factors, we find important differences in the language used to describe men and women’s performances. For example, women receive more vague feedback and more criticisms of their personalities, whereas men are described as more visionary. Further, some types of language, such as “taking charge,” are associated with the highest ratings for men but not women. Our analysis nuances the theoretical debate about whether formal procedures operate as a smokescreen concealing bias or a great-leveler securing meritocracy.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Mitchell Stevens, Stanford University Graduate School of Education

Engineering Credentials: Educational Entrepreneurship as Statecraft in the Cold-War United States

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

co-author: Alexander T. Kindel

What mechanisms drove the expansion of a “credential society” in the United States during the twentieth century? Extant accounts emphasize status-group struggles and educational entrepreneurship, but have not fully recognized the role of the state in credential expansion. Drawing on archival records tracing administrative activity at Stanford University between 1945 and 1969, we depict how academic administrators channeled federal support for science and engineering education to expand the production of graduate degrees. Government patronage of academic training was received by schools nationwide after World War II. Our findings reveal educational entrepreneurship as a distinctive form of statecraft, and suggest closer integration of scholarship on social stratification and American political development.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Patricia Bromley, Stanford University Graduate School of Education

Management and Hyper-Management: Models of Empowered Organizational Leadership

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

co-author: John W. Meyer, Stanford University

Conceptions of management and leadership have expanded and transformed dramatically in recent decades.  Beyond the management of people through routine controls, the call is for leadership of empowered actors.  And beyond the effective pursuit of given goals, the demand is for innovative and entrepreneurial vision.  This change occurs because both organizations and individuals are structured in liberal society as sovereign, bounded and autonomous social actors, with the capacity and authority to choose a wide range of purposes, and to have a unique identity.  Organizations are legitimately entitled to incorporate people and functional groups that are themselves empowered social actors; this requires greatly expanded managerial roles.  These changes help explain core tensions in management: Contemporary hyper-management involves expanding claims of responsibility and capability (and compensation), hand in hand with the shrinking legitimacy of imperative authority and the organizational chart. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Kathleen M. Eisenhardt, Stanford University School of Engineering

Bottlenecks, Experimentation, and Organizational Form: Venture Growth in the Nascent Drone Industry

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

co-author: Robert P. Bremner

This paper explores how ventures grow in nascent markets with a comparison between two ventures - one organizing around an open innovation community and the other as a proprietary firm.  Grounded in a 10-year comparative case study of two leading civilian drone manufacturers, our emergent theory indicates that ventures grow by their entrepreneurs’ accurately identifying and resolving bottlenecks, sooner and more effectively than rivals. Further, as bottlenecks change, it is effective to fit the approach to experimentation and problem solving with changing levels of ambiguity, uncertainty and complexity. Overall, organizational form influences the range of approaches that ventures can effectively use to identify and resolve bottlenecks.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Tammar Zilber, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Bringing institutional logics into being through interactions

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

Recent studies of Institutional logics -- the structures, practices and meanings that govern individual and organizational processes of social construction -- focus on the micro-level, and offer rich depictions of the ways by which institutional logics are negotiated in the context of intra-organizational processes. Still, they fall short of fully exploring the complex dynamics of institutions, as they treat interactions and communication as the context within which reified institutional logics are used, rather than following how interactions and communication construct the work of logics on the ground. In the presented study I attempt to go further into the social dynamics involved in the work of institutional logics by exploring institutional logics in organizational decision making. I show how decision makers negotiate what logic is relevant, and what institutional logics mean in terms of the specific issue they try to solve. Through interactions between decision makers, institutional logics are translated into specific roles and lines of action. Decisions are reached based upon a complex interface between the political and poetical affordances of the various logics and the actors speaking on their behalf.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Marc Ventresca, University of Oxford Saïd Business School

Towards a sociology of (organizational) knowledge: Evidence from research designs in the study of ‘institutional logics’, 1991-2018

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

In this paper, we bring a sociology-of-knowledge approach (Meyer, 2008; Mizruchi & Fein, 1999) to the institutional logics literature, with the purpose analyse changing research design elements and the features of knowledge generated.  We reviewed research on institutional logics over more than two decades.  The initial exploration of the corpus of articles suggested the relevance of two issues regarding the findings from most studies: the main level at which the logics struggle took place, and the outcome of this struggle. This prompted us to define a matrix with three levels of analysis (field, organization, and individual), and three possible outcomes of the conflict among logics (domination, co-existence, and blending).  This framework helped us see two clear patterns:
First, a trend from research focused on field-level phenomena to research around organizational and individual-level processes. For example, earlier studies used logics to explain institutional change in certain industries or fields (Haveman & Rao, 1997; Lounsbury, 2002; Thornton & Ocasio, 1999) while more recent papers focus on how organizations respond to conflicting institutional demands (Greenwood, Díaz, Li, & Lorente, 2010; Pache & Santos, 2010) or even how individuals cope with such contradictions (McPherson & Sauder, 2013; Pache & Santos, 2013a).

And second, a trend from studies where one logic dominated another to cases of co-existence or blending of different logics. This movement from competition to compatibility among logics is evidenced by early research that focused on cases of industries dominated by subsequent logics (Galvin, 2002; Kent & Dacin, 2013; Lounsbury, 2002; Thornton & Ocasio, 1999), later research featuring cases of lasting co-existence of two or more logics at field (Goodrick & Reay, 2011; Lounsbury, 2007) or organizational levels (Besharov & Smith, 2014; Jay, 2013), and more recent scholars who have shed light on cases of hybridization of two or more a priori contradictory logics (Jay, 2013; Nicholls, 2010; Pache & Santos, 2013a, 2013b; Smets & Jarzabkowski, 2013).  We develop and discuss four research genres in this field that have prominence at different time points in the life cycle of the theoretical research programme. We use these genres to explore questions about how research programmes evolve and also when the arguments diverge from core assumptions of the programme. We signal and discuss benefits to this meta-assumption plurality and also register concerns about how changes in research design support models of organization that under-specify institutional context, enable initiatives in ‘paradox theory’, and decrease empirical studies of field-level ‘collective rationality’. 

We highlight some outlier case that move toward multi-level research designs. Welcome to review the paper circulated, which uses a related data set and makes arguments about organizational actorhood.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Daniel McFarland, Stanford University Graduate School of Education

Homo Intellectus: The University as an Organizational Field

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

Co-authors: Tamara Gilkes and Sanne Smith

Recent work argues that Universities have their own social membrane wherein participants compete for resources so as to secure power internal to the organization, and as such, these organizations may be studied as a social field in their own right (Emirbayer and Johnson 2008). Such an approach draws attention to the social conditions under which intraorganizational power relations are produced, reproduced, and contested.  This paper takes up this call and employs Bourdieu’s field theory to study the elite American university as a field wherein faculty careers are fought over and won. To perform such a study, we collected a complete census of capital and faculty backgrounds – e.g., attributes, affiliations, relationships, work activities and accomplishments - in a leading private American university over a 25 year period. We study the multiple correspondences of these forms of capital and reveal how participants’ backgrounds, arrays of resources (capital), and ascent to greater administrative power, are interrelated in particular arrangements over time and define the elite university as a social field. Study of the correspondence of forms of capital reveals the presence of clear and opposing positions associated with identifiable principles of judgment over what constitutes “quality research” (e.g., latent dimensions): scientific capital and the creation of positivist lab science; intellectual capital and the creation of public activists and star teachers. Consistent with prior work we find these positions embody distinct social origins (habitus) and correspond with distinct academic disciplines. However, distinct from prior work, we find that these social positions correspond with different faculty lines and depend on distinct forms of external capital, suggesting university faculty seek out distinct bases of support and alignment with other fields. In the final section of the paper hazard models are used to predict career ascent and test whether increased alignment with these positions corresponds with administrative powers. Our analyses suggest that adherence to both positions can result in greater administrative power, but they tend to appeal mostly to distinct career transitions. Rather than being a field where administration and scientific activity are opposed, and only the former strives for power via external dependence while the latter strives for autonomy (Bourdieu 1988), we observe the elite university system as one internally differentiated into scientific and intellectual value positions that rely on distinct forms of internal and external capital, and where neither stand in opposition to administrative power, but rather apply differentially to power positions salient to distinct career stages.