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The Systemic Approach in Sociology and Niklas Luhmann: Expectations, Discussions, Doubts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-032-5

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Article
Publication date: 25 October 2018

Steffen Roth, Vladislav Valentinov, Jari Kaivo-oja and Léo-Paul Dana

Are entrepreneurial opportunities discovered or created? The debate around this question has crucial implications for successful organizational change management in the…

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1328

Abstract

Purpose

Are entrepreneurial opportunities discovered or created? The debate around this question has crucial implications for successful organizational change management in the business world. The present conceptual paper transcends this debate by embedding the concept of the entrepreneurial opportunities within a Luhmannian systems – theoretical framework which accentuates the unique role of organization and change in the age of functional differentiation. The purpose of this paper is to show how the strategic navigation of the borders between function systems such as politics, science, education, religion, art, or, of course, economy leads to the discovery or creation new opportunities for both business and social entrepreneurship.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper combines Niklas Luhmann’s theory of social differentiation with Kim and Mauborgne’s Blue Ocean Strategy. The key argument is that the alternative regimes of social differentiation, such as segmentation, centralization, stratification, and functional differentiation, create distinct pools of entrepreneurial opportunities to be discovered, created, and exploited by adequate business models. (Business) Organizations, therefore, need to strategically adjust the amount of attention they devote to the different forms of social differentiation. The argument is buttressed with illustrative examples of business models related to the regime of functional differentiation.

Findings

A paradoxical finding is that the multifunctional business models which explicitly draw on the value creation potential of the most recent form of social differentiation, functional differentiation, remain little known even though they infuse business organizations with a unique capacity of new venture discovery and creation in the modern society.

Originality/value

Multifunctional business models have so far remained unexplored in entrepreneurship theory and practice. This paper develops a first strategic approach to the discovery or creation of both multifunctional business models and a broader framework of multifunctional organization models.

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Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 31 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article
Publication date: 20 May 2021

Jörg Räwel

Given the form of functional differentiation of modern society, a far-reaching coordination of functional systems as a dissolution of their heterarchical relationship to…

Abstract

Purpose

Given the form of functional differentiation of modern society, a far-reaching coordination of functional systems as a dissolution of their heterarchical relationship to each other, as was apparently possible in the social “lockdown” during the corona pandemic, should have been extremely unlikely. The purpose of this study is to explain how this was nevertheless achieved.

Design/methodology/approach

From the perspective of systems theory, social action in principle does not present itself as a problem but as a solution to (latent) social problems. In the sociological analysis presented here, it is therefore precisely a matter of uncovering or pointing out those (changed) social structures in which a social “lockdown” appears as a solution.

Findings

The paper explains that with the emergence of social media through applications such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, a new force is establishing itself at the level of society as a system. It is one that is characterized by being highly vulnerable to moral communication. A susceptibility to morality manifests, on the one hand, through an individual differentiation of society made possible by social media – for example, in the emerging Chinese social credit system – and, on the other hand, through the specific communicative structures of the social media themselves. It is argued that social media, in the form of a moral authority with a lasting effect on society as a whole, make a significant contribution to realizing the social “lockdown.”

Originality/value

The originality of the paper results from the fact that the emergence of a new social phenomenon (“lockdown”) is explained.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 11 July 2016

Sunghee Lee and Heungjun Jung

The purpose of this paper is to determine the effects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on financial performance in firms in the Korean manufacturing industry. In…

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5192

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine the effects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on financial performance in firms in the Korean manufacturing industry. In addition, the authors examine the moderating role of differentiation and outside investment in the same relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

The mixed methods are used in this study. The authors first take an analytical modeling approach, in which the authors assume that CSR has a positive effect on consumer perceptions, which in turn can improve firm performance. Subsequently, the authors verify the propositions with data from the Korean manufacturing industry. Additionally, the authors explore the moderating roles of various factors in the CSR-financial performance relationship.

Findings

The results of the analysis demonstrate that the positive relationship between CSR and financial performance depends on the levels of product differentiation and outside investment. Specifically, these contingent variables magnify the effects of CSR on financial performance.

Practical implications

This study is particularly useful to supply chain managers. According to the results, CSR may provide benefits for both manufacturers and retailers. As brand reputations can be source for competitive advantage, the analytical model suggests that products made by socially responsible firms are attractive to consumers.

Originality/value

To the authors’ knowledge, there are few studies that examine the multiple moderating effects of differentiation and outside investment on the relationship between CSR and financial performance (return on assets). The authors thus provide a clearer understanding of the effects of CSR activity on firm profitability using these business strategies.

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Management Decision, vol. 54 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1997

James L. Price

Addresses the standardization of the measurements and the labels for concepts commonly used in the study of work organizations. As a reference handbook and research tool…

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11813

Abstract

Addresses the standardization of the measurements and the labels for concepts commonly used in the study of work organizations. As a reference handbook and research tool, seeks to improve measurement in the study of work organizations and to facilitate the teaching of introductory courses in this subject. Focuses solely on work organizations, that is, social systems in which members work for money. Defines measurement and distinguishes four levels: nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio. Selects specific measures on the basis of quality, diversity, simplicity and availability and evaluates each measure for its validity and reliability. Employs a set of 38 concepts ‐ ranging from “absenteeism” to “turnover” as the handbook’s frame of reference. Concludes by reviewing organizational measurement over the past 30 years and recommending future measurement reseach.

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International Journal of Manpower, vol. 18 no. 4/5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

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Article
Publication date: 6 November 2017

Xiang Fang and Shengdong Lin

In this paper, the authors aim to propose that status differentiation, the extent to which people differentiate their behaviors or attribute power to others according to…

Abstract

Purpose

In this paper, the authors aim to propose that status differentiation, the extent to which people differentiate their behaviors or attribute power to others according to perceived status differences, moderates the effect of stretch direction upward or downward and brand image prestige or functional on consumers 2019 responses to line extensions.

Design/methodology/approach

This study was a 2 (culture: Chinese vs American) × 2 (stretch direction: up vs down) × 2 (brand image: prestige vs functional) experiment design. Study 2 was a 2 (status differentiation: high vs low) × 2 (stretch direction: up vs down) × 2 (brand image: prestige vs functional) experiment design.

Findings

The results of two studies show that high status differentiation has a positive prestige-enhancement effect on an upward extension but a detrimental effect on a downward extension. This effect is more pronounced for prestige brands than for functional brands. In addition, the authors have found similar patterns for the prestige perceptions of the parent brands after extension.

Research limitations/implications

This research makes important contributions to the fields of cross-cultural psychology. The status differentiation beliefs could be primed temporarily and had a significant impact on individuals’ responses to line extension.

Practical implications

The research identifies status differentiation as an important factor for marketers to consider when extending their brands to global markets.

Originality/value

Past research on vertical extensions has examined numerous factors influencing consumers’ responses. This paper is the only one to examine culture factor.

Details

Nankai Business Review International, vol. 8 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8749

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Abstract

Details

Individualism, Holism and the Central Dilemma of Sociological Theory
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-038-7

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Book part
Publication date: 30 January 2013

Gianluca Manzo

In their authoritative literature review, Breen and Jonsson (2005) claim that ‘one of the most significant trends in the study of inequalities in educational attainment in…

Abstract

In their authoritative literature review, Breen and Jonsson (2005) claim that ‘one of the most significant trends in the study of inequalities in educational attainment in the past decade has been the resurgence of rational-choice models focusing on educational decision making’. The starting point of the present contribution is that these models have largely ignored the explanatory relevance of social interactions. To remedy this shortcoming, this paper introduces a micro-founded formal model of the macro-level structure of educational inequality, which frames educational choices as the result of both subjective ability/benefit evaluations and peer-group pressures. As acknowledged by Durlauf (2002, 2006) and Akerlof (1997), however, while the social psychology and ethnographic literature provides abundant empirical evidence of the explanatory relevance of social interactions, statistical evidence on their causal effect is still flawed by identification and selection bias problems. To assess the relative explanatory contribution of the micro-level and network-based mechanisms hypothesised, the paper opts for agent-based computational simulations. In particular, the technique is used to deduce the macro-level consequences of each mechanism (sequentially introduced) and to test these consequences against French aggregate individual-level survey data. The paper's main result is that ability and subjective perceptions of education benefits, no matter how intensely differentiated across agent groups, are not sufficient on their own to generate the actual stratification of educational choices across educational backgrounds existing in France at the beginning of the twenty-first century. By computational counterfactual manipulations, the paper proves that network-based interdependencies among educational choices are instead necessary, and that they contribute, over and above the differentiation of ability and of benefit perceptions, to the genesis of educational stratification by amplifying the segregation of the educational choices that agents make on the basis of purely private ability/benefit calculations.

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Book part
Publication date: 25 November 2019

Magdalena Cholakova and Davide Ravasi

Research has begun to explore how individuals perceive and respond to institutional complexity differently. The authors extend such efforts and theorize how the complexity…

Abstract

Research has begun to explore how individuals perceive and respond to institutional complexity differently. The authors extend such efforts and theorize how the complexity of individuals’ cognitive representations of the institutional logics (based on their perceived differentiation and integration of the external environment) and of their role identities (based on the pluralism and unity of their self-representations) can predict such variation. The authors argue that the former explains whether individuals are capable of enacting norms and beliefs from different logics and of envisioning possibilities to reconcile their contradictory demands, whereas the latter explains whether they are motivated to implement a given response.

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Article
Publication date: 2 March 2012

Vladislav Valentinov

Despite the worldwide importance of third sector organizations in rural areas, the theoretical connection between the third sector and rural development remains largely…

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352

Abstract

Purpose

Despite the worldwide importance of third sector organizations in rural areas, the theoretical connection between the third sector and rural development remains largely unexplored. The purpose of this paper is to develop a theoretical explanation of why and how third sector organizations contribute to rural development.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper builds upon the institutional economics of Thorstein Veblen and the tektology of Alexander Bogdanov. Tektology is used as an instrument to bring Veblenian criticism of pecuniary culture to bear on the explanation of the rural third sector.

Findings

Based on the tektological law of systems divergence, the Veblenian pecuniary‐industrial dichotomy and rural‐urban disparities are shown to be interrelated evolutionary consequences of pecuniary culture. Third sector organizations' contribution to rural development is explained in terms of the tektological notion of counter‐differentiation. Applied to pecuniary culture, counter‐differentiation involves attenuating its basic ingredients, such as private ownership and pecuniary motivation. This is achieved through third sector organizations' characteristics such as profit appropriation constraint and nonpecuniary goal orientation, respectively.

Originality/value

The paper identifies the institutional economics implications of the general systems theory and utilizes these implications to inform the research on the internationally relevant problem of rural development.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 41 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

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