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Book part
Publication date: 28 March 2015

Thomas D. Beamish and Nicole Woolsey Biggart

Following Philip Selznick’s lead in using pragmatist social science to understand issues of public concern we conducted a study of failed innovation in the commercial…

Abstract

Following Philip Selznick’s lead in using pragmatist social science to understand issues of public concern we conducted a study of failed innovation in the commercial construction industry (CCI). We find that social heuristics – collectively constructed and maintained interpretive decision-making frames – significantly shape economic and non-economic decision-making practices. Social heuristics are the outcome of industry-based “institutionalization processes” and are widely held and commonly relied on in CCI to reduce uncertainty endemic to decision-making; they provide actors with both a priori and ex post facto justifications for economic decisions that appear socially rational to industry co-participants. In the CCI – a project-centered production network – social heuristics as shared institutions sustain network-based social order but in so doing discourage novel technologies and impede innovation. Social heuristics are actor-level constructs that reflect macro-level institutional arrangements and networked production relations. The concept of social heuristics offers the promise of developing a genuinely social theory of individual economic choice and action that is historically informed, contextually situated, and neither psychologically nor structurally reductionist.

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Institutions and Ideals: Philip Selznick’s Legacy for Organizational Studies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-726-0

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Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2017

Thomas D. Beamish and Nicole Woolsey Biggart

This article traces the regimes of worth that defined energy for centuries as a productive force of human and animal labor, an understanding that transformed in the 18th…

Abstract

This article traces the regimes of worth that defined energy for centuries as a productive force of human and animal labor, an understanding that transformed in the 18th century to an “industrial-energy” regime of worth supporting an economy of mass production, consumption, and profit and more recently one centered on market forces and price. Industrial and market energy and the conventions and institutions that support them are currently in a period of discursive and material ferment; they are being challenged by different higher order principles of worth. We discuss eight emergent energy justifications that argue what kind of energy is – and is not – in the best interests of society.

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Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-379-1

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Book part
Publication date: 16 April 2014

Dina Biscotti and Nicole Woolsey Biggart

A growing religious-environmental movement is working to reconcile environmental thought and practice with the mission and ministry of religious organizations. We examine…

Abstract

A growing religious-environmental movement is working to reconcile environmental thought and practice with the mission and ministry of religious organizations. We examine two leading interfaith social change organizations and identify key strategies they routinely employ to create shared meaning and alignment between environmentalism and faith. They reframe stewardship in religious organizations by (1) highlighting and interpreting environmental themes in sacred texts and scriptures, (2) celebrating and fostering mutual awareness of environmental action by faith-based organizations, and (3) providing resources and creating linkages between clergy and lay leaders across religious congregations. By emphasizing moral and spiritual rationales for the adoption of resource-saving products and behaviors at both the congregational and household level, these networked organizations help shift the perception of global climate change from an insurmountable problem to one that is being addressed in cooperation with similar others. Our investigation reveals organizational actors deeply engaged in growing moral calls for political action to address climate change and underscores the need for more socially realistic models of technology adoption and behavior change.

Book part
Publication date: 9 July 2010

Thomas D. Beamish and Nicole Woolsey Biggart

Both neoclassical and Keynesian economists have widely favored the use of equilibrium models to understand economic activity, but dramatic periods of change such as the…

Abstract

Both neoclassical and Keynesian economists have widely favored the use of equilibrium models to understand economic activity, but dramatic periods of change such as the current global economic downturn are poorly understood by assuming equilibrium. The economist Joseph Schumpeter tried to inject dynamism and disequilibrium into economic models by arguing for the role of entrepreneurs in creating microeconomic change, and for examining long-term macroeconomic change as represented in business cycles. No economist, including Schumpeter, has ever connected these two approaches to change and these approaches are not typically used as alternative and complementary ways of viewing transformation over time. We suggest that these theories can be connected in a “mesoeconomic” institutional analysis rooted in economic sociology; we demonstrate this connection by examining the US commercial building industry. This industry has changed in qualitatively distinct ways over the past two centuries in what we call market orders, economic orders sometimes lasting for decades or more. In each market order, entrepreneurs of different sorts are able to flourish and push forward institutional changes that result in long-term economic shifts. Credit and finance have been pivotal influences in each market order, a factor supporting Schumpeter's focus on entrepreneurial action and speculation and one not largely discussed today. We view the recent disruption of financial markets as a signal of the destruction of a reigning market order.

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Markets on Trial: The Economic Sociology of the U.S. Financial Crisis: Part B
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-208-2

Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2017

Charlotte Cloutier, Jean-Pascal Gond and Bernard Leca

This volume presents state-of-the-art research and thinking on the analysis of justification, evaluation and critique in organizations, as inspired by the foundational…

Abstract

This volume presents state-of-the-art research and thinking on the analysis of justification, evaluation and critique in organizations, as inspired by the foundational ideas of French Pragmatist Sociology’s economies of worth (EW) framework. In this introduction, we begin by underlining the EW framework’s importance in sociology and social theory more generally and discuss its relative neglect within organizational theory, at least until now. We then present an overview of the framework’s intellectual roots, and for those who are new to this particular theoretical domain, offer a brief introduction to the theory’s main concepts and core assumptions. This we follow with an overview of the contributions included in this volume. We conclude by highlighting the EW framework’s important yet largely untapped potential for advancing our understanding of organizations more broadly. Collectively, the contributions in this volume help demonstrate the potential of the EW framework to (1) advance current understanding of organizational processes by unpacking justification dynamics at the individual level of analysis, (2) refresh critical perspectives in organization theory by providing them with pragmatic foundations, (3) expand and develop the study of valuation and evaluation in organizations by reconsidering the notion of worth, and finally (4) push the boundaries of the framework itself by questioning and fine tuning some of its core assumptions. Taken as a whole, this volume not only carves a path for a deeper embedding of the EW approach into contemporary thinking about organizations, it also invites readers to refine and expand it by confronting it with a wider range of diverse empirical contexts of interest to organizational scholars.

Details

Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-379-1

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 9 July 2010

Abstract

Details

Markets on Trial: The Economic Sociology of the U.S. Financial Crisis: Part A
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-205-1

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 9 July 2010

Abstract

Details

Markets on Trial: The Economic Sociology of the U.S. Financial Crisis: Part B
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-208-2

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 16 April 2014

Abstract

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Religion and Organization Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-693-4

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 28 March 2015

Abstract

Details

Institutions and Ideals: Philip Selznick’s Legacy for Organizational Studies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-726-0

Book part
Publication date: 16 April 2014

Paul Tracey, Nelson Phillips and Michael Lounsbury

Despite its central importance in nearly all societies, religion has been largely neglected in the study of organizations and management. In this introduction to the…

Abstract

Despite its central importance in nearly all societies, religion has been largely neglected in the study of organizations and management. In this introduction to the volume on religion and organization theory, we argue that such neglect limits unnecessarily the relevance and scope of organization and management theory (OMT) and that there is therefore great value in connecting organizational research with a deeper appreciation and concern for religion. We begin by speculating about some of the reasons why organization and management theorists are hesitant to study religion, and go on to discuss some nascent points of contact between religion and OMT. We conclude with a discussion of the articles in this volume, which represent an attempt to remedy this unfortunate blind spot within OMT scholarship.

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Religion and Organization Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-693-4

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