(OAP) Workshop - Université Paris Dauphine

4th Organizations, Artifacts and Practices (OAP) Workshop
Rules, Regulations and Materiality
in Management and Organization Studies
26th and 27th June 2014
Roma (LUISS), Italy
Nathalie Mitev (London School of Economics)
François-Xavier de Vaujany (Paris-Dauphine)
Paolo Spagnoletti (LUISS Guido Carli)
With the help of: Yesh Nama (ESSEC Business School)
Scientific Committee
Richard Baskerville (Georgia State University), Markus Becker (Odense University), JeanFrançois Chanlat (Université Paris-Dauphine), Stewart Clegg (University of Technology
Sydney), Vladislav Fomin (Vytautas Magnus University), Sébastien Gand (Mines Paritech),
Martin Giraudeau (London School of Economics), Luca Giustiniano (LUISS), Stefan
Haefliger (Cass Business School), Isabelle Huault (Université Paris-Dauphine), Giovan
Francesco Lanzara (Bologna University), Jean-Pascal Gond (Cass University), Paul Leonardi
(Northwestern University), Philippe Lorino (ESSEC), Marcello Martinez (Second University
of Naples), Peter Miller (London School of Economics), Nathalie Mitev (London School of
Economics), Kalle Lyytinen (Case Western University), Fabian Muniesa (Mines ParisTech),
Jan Ondrus (ESSEC), Andrew Pickering (University of Exeter), Cecilia Rossignoli
(University of Verona), Jean-Claude Sardas (Mines ParisTech), Paolo Spagnoletti (LUISS),
Emmanuelle Vaast (McGill University), François-Xavier de Vaujany (Université ParisDauphine), JoAnne Yates (MIT).
Organizing Committee
Francesco Cappa (LUISS), Amany Elbanna (Royal Holloway), Luca Giustiniano (LUISS),
Magda Hercheui (Westminster University), Wifak Houij-Gueddana (London School of
Economics), Marc Kholbry (Université Paris-Dauphine), Sébastien Lorenzini (Université
Paris-Dauphine), Francesca Marzo (LUISS), Yesh Nama (ESSEC Business School), Paolo
Spagnoletti (LUISS), Andrea Resca (LUISS), Luca Sabini (LUISS), François-Xavier de
Vaujany (Université Paris-Dauphine), Christine Vicens (Université Paris-Dauphine), Stefano
The first OAP workshop was launched in May of 2011 at Paris-Dauphine with the goal of facilitating
discussion among scholars from various disciplines (e.g. management, sociology, anthropology,
ergonomics, computer science, psychology…) who collectively share an interest in understanding the
dynamics that exist between organizations, artifacts (IT, managerial techniques, buildings, machines,
cognitive schemes, symbols…), and practices. OAP relates to debates in the fields of Science and
Technology Studies (STS), Sociomateriality, Organizational Space, Symbolic artifacts and Managerial
Techniques, among others. The theme of the second workshop at Paris-Dauphine was
‘Sociomateriality and Space’ and the third workshop at the London School of Economics was on
‘Sociomateriality and Time’.
The workshop’s fourth session will concentrate on the subject of rules and regulations in
organizations. In the context of global competition and the global crisis experienced by most countries
all over the world, the issue of regulation is more than ever at stake. How are organizations regulated
through everyday practices? How are everyday practices entangled with information technologies,
work environments, and organizational spaces? How is organizational control implemented through,
against, with, everyday material artifacts? To compete globally, how do organizations standardize their
products, services, and infrastructures, to embed themselves in global markets? At a more micro-level,
how are these global practices enacted locally and with what effects at the macro-level (on society)?
What are the relationships between norms, practices and artifacts? Do regulations expected to be
conveyed by artifacts have any specificity?
This fourth workshop will aim at shedding light on the following topics, among others:
- Rules and their relationships with material artifacts in organizations, and more generally,
organizational space and time;
- Organizational regulations and their relationships with materiality;
- The relationship between regulation and legitimation in organizations, and their material
- The standardization of organizations and their products and their material dimensions,
- Performativity and normativity in organizations;
- Levels of regulations (societal, organizational, groupal) and their interplay;
It will also be a way to come back to the more usual themes of OAP:
- Artifacts and objects as the constituents, results or outputs of organizations and organizing;
- The issue of materialization and performativity in organizations;
- The entanglements or imbrication between the material and social dimensions of
organizational practices;
- New vocabularies to act or overcome the social-material dichotomy (what else beyond
- Discourses and materiality;
- The exploration of organizational space, artifacts and spatial practices;
- The affordance of materiality and space in organizations;
- Performativity, time and materiality;
- Marxist and post-marxist approaches of materiality;
- History, longue-durée and materiality.
Working to Rule: Practices of Simplification and Amplification
Making room for change: The case of a surgical unit
Creative Destruction as Sociomaterial Becomings: Insights from the Entrepreneurial Processes
Digital materiality and co-operatives: A shrinking mode of production or an opportunity for growth?
Rules and IT-based practices: A sociomaterial analysis
The materiality of CSR regulation in industrial organizations:
a comparison between longitudinal case studies
The incomplete cathedral: iconic spaces, unfolding architecture, and innovation in the city of Siena
Innovation and space-time rules in global media by union as laboratories for pacified excitement 1985-2014 37
New Companies, New Organizational Forms?
Bureaucratized morality, institutional durability: organizationally mediated idealism in the Peace Corps
Powers of romance: the liminal challenges of managing organizational intimacy
“We are following and supporting you!”: Fan communities and Artists: A gift-based regulation
The arenas of performativity: designing and negotiating the socio-materiality of economic innovations within
Achieving II performativity across EU national legal domains and practices: the challenge of e-CODEX
How to perform rules that do not exist? A socio-material perspective on the unrealized creation of rules in a
social movement
Rules, routines and disruptions in the Dutch railways
Organizational Learning in the Implementation & Adoption of National Electronic Health Records Systems in
Hospitals in England
Trials of explicitness in the formulation of a fee system: The case of the nuclear waste program in the United
Movements in/of space and development of learning. The case of a packaging company
Visualization of spatial organization: from art of memory to action?
Build artifacts in sustainable urban projects: When pragmatism makes innovation
Tecnologia social: A South American view of the technology-society relationship
Felicitous heterotopia or infelicitous prototopia? The development of new rules as a pragmatist inquiry
Materiality and Beyond: Theorizing the Relevance of Artefacts along the Third Epistemological Route
Knowledge Management Systems, Autonomy and Control: how to regulate? A case-study in an industrial
Electronic business reporting: technology objects in the construction of transparent market infrastructures? 99
Performance measurement in a nonprofit organization: social impact measurement between material tools
and social practice
Rules, norms and materiality in practice: a clinical experience
Professional identity, work environment and sociomaterial practices
Setting rules for the unruled web: organizational behaviour in the context of crowdfunding regulation
The organization of transport terminal: panopticons, cathedrals, agoras or branded cities?
Making sense with practice: from an “…as practice” to a “practice as…” perspective
Bricolage as artefactual joke: how bricoleur can use humor to transform mockery into acceptation
Exploring the Sociomaterial Grounds of Information Security Policy Compliance
“Where are the missing masses?” Bringing ANT back into the debate on materiality
The anthropological contribution of Maurice Godelier ’ thought to the relationship between the Mental and
the Material : some implcations for Organization Studies
Socio-materiality and the transnational expansion of institutional rules: Michelin in haute cuisine around the
Social media and institutional innovation: The Case of Free Lunch for Children in China
When Sociomateriality meets institutional logics: A study of campus tours as legitimacy building practices
Bringing artifacts within institutional work. Arese’s artefacts and the institutionalization of socially responsible
investment in france
Questioning the circulation of agency in two judicial information infrastructures
Commodifying management knowledge: a dynamic model of conception, appropriation and valuation practices
(De)construction of pharmaceutical industry reputation through material practices regulation
Technological innovation, organization and work: An exploration of the Italian context through the lenses of
Affordances and constraints of rules on material agency of a collaborative IS
Agency, practices of leadership, and the roles of computational objects
Projecting space: how organizational members project themselves in an upcoming space?
Trust Networks for Knowledge Management
Practising organizational spaces
The expansion of community banks in Brazil and what we have learnt from a sociomaterial lens
Unfolding practices with unfolding objects: standardization work in global branding
Seeking legitimacy with ‘best practices’ for ICT in higher education facilities projects
Diffraction and Imbrication Lenses for Understanding Sociomaterial Constitutive Entanglement: E-service of
Land Records in Bangladesh
“Regulating a Masterpiece: Management of Materiality and Organizational Change in Public Museums”
We are delighted to welcome you to the fourth OAP workshop! After Paris in 2011 and 2012,
and London in 2013 it is a pleasure to now meet in Rome, for a new series of exciting
presentations and debates on organizations, artefacts and practices.
This year’s theme is rules and regulations in organizations. A theme that becomes particularly
relevant in a globalized world in which norms, practices, and artifacts are entangled with
organizational everyday practices and at the same time are generated by organizations in their
attempt to control the environment. Making sense of the relations between ‘Rules,
Regulations and Materiality’ therefore requires shrewd observation and acute
conceptualisation, as well as a broad diversity of approaches.
We are particularly pleased with the quality of the submissions we received, and with the high
number of disciplines, of intellectual traditions, of research methods that are being
represented in the workshop. Thanks very much to all of you for your interest in the project,
and for joining us at LUISS for these two days. We look forward to meeting you in person, to
listening to your presentations and questions, and to engaging with your research. We hope
that you will enjoy the event and gain useful insights from it.
Special thanks are due to the speakers who have kindly accepted to deliver the keynote
lectures and participate in our final panel: Kalle Lyytinen, Fabian Muniesa, Giovan Francesco
Lanzara, Philippe Lorino, Bernard Leca, Stewart Clegg and Ole Hanseth. We have no doubt
that their presentations will shape debates in all other sessions of the workshop and impact us
all. We are also especially thankful to those of you who have agreed to chair sessions and
ensure the coordination of exchanges within these. A couple of other individuals were
instrumental in the organisation of the workshop and their contribution must be acknowledged
publicly: Andrea Resca, Luca Giustiniano, Francesca Marzo, Audrey Davoust, Sébastien
Lorenzini, Yesh Nama, Florence Parent, Christine Vicens, without whom none of this would
have taken place.
The event would also have been impossible without the full institutional support of LUISS.
The Université Paris-Dauphine and LSE as well have continued their generous support to the
OAP workshop and deserve our thanks. The French-Italian collaboration is particularly
noticeable this year. The French Institute and Embassy in Roma have acknowledged it by
hosting the main social event of the workshop. May Benoit Tadié be thanked for this kind
Have a great 2014 OAP! And do please get in touch directly with us organizers if we can be
of help in any way during the workshop.
Nathalie, François-Xavier and Paolo
TIME SCHEDULE – Fourth Organizations, Artifacts and Practices (OAP) workshop 2014
LUISS, Roma (http://workshopoap.dauphine.fr)
Day 1, 26 June
ROOM Aula Magna Mario Arcelli
ROOM Aula Magna Mario Arcelli
Welcome talk by co-chairs and representatives of LUISS
ROOM Aula Magna Mario Arcelli
Keynote 1: “Coping with the Rule of Business”, Professor Fabian Muniesa (Mines ParisTech)
ROOM 118
ROOM 208
ROOM 209
ROOM 210
Track 1: Creative processes and
organizational regulations (Session
chair: Ole Hanseth, Oslo
Track 2: Society, rules and
regulations (Session chair: Alan
Lowe, Aston university)
Track 3: Space and materiality
(Session chair: Rebecca PinheiroCroisel, Mines ParisTech,)
Track 4: Bureaucracy and new modes of
organizing (Session chair: Stewart Clegg,
University of Technology, Sydney)
Digital materiality and cooperatives: a shrinking mode of
production or an opportunity for
growth? Paolo Depaoli and Stefano
Movements in/of space and
development of learning: The case
of a packaging company, Yves
Habran, Klaus-Peter Schulz (ICN
Graduate Business School, MetzNancy) and Mike Zundel (University
of Liverpool Management School).
Bureaucratized morality, institutional
durability: organizationally mediated
idealism in the Peace Corps, Meghan
Kallman (Brown University)
Working to Rule: Practices of
Simplification and Amplification,
Chris McLean and Jeremy Aroles
(Manchester University)
Making room for change: The case
of a surgical unit, Berit K. Kraghand
Rune T. Clausen (Aarhus
Creative Destruction as
Sociomaterial Becomings: Insights
from the Entrepreneurial
Processes, Aljona Zorina (Ecole
Superieure de Commerce de Paris
Rules and IT-based practices: a
sociomaterial analysis, Stefan
Haefliger (Cass Business School),
Vladislav Fomin (Vytautas
university) and Kalle Lyytinen (Case
Western University).
The materiality of CSR regulation in
industrial organizations: a
comparison between longitudinal
Visualization of spatial
organization: from art of memory
to action? Caroline Scotto (Ecole
des Mines ParisTech).
Build artifacts in sustainable urban
projects: when pragmatism makes
innovation, Rebecca Pinheiro-
The romance of organizations: saints,
sinners, sophisticates or innocents?
Stewart Clegg (University of Technology,
Sydney) and Miguel Pinha E Cunha (Nova
School of Business and Economics, Lisbon).
“We are following and supporting you!”:
Fan communities and Artists: A gift-based
regulation, Alya Mlaiki, (Ecole de
Management ESDES, U.C. de Lyon).
Europe) and Sylvain Bureau (ESCP
Europe and Ecole Polytechnique).
case studies, Julie Bastianutti (CRG,
Ecole Polytechnique).
Croisel (Mines ParisTech, Centre de
Gestion Scientifique) and Tor
Hernes (Copenhagen Business
ROOM 118
ROOM 208
ROOM 209
ROOM 210
Track 5: Performativity and rules
(Session chair: Bernard Leca,
Université Paris-Dauphine)
Track 6: Routines, nations and
regulations (Session chair:
Amirhossein Takian, Brunel
Track 7: Historical perspectives on
material regulations (Session chair:
Peter Clark, Queen Mary
University London)
Track 8: Philosophical perspectives on
materiality and artifacts (Session chair:
Philippe Lorino, ESSEC, Paris)
Rules, routines and disruptions in
the Dutch railways, Thijs Willems
(Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
The incomplete cathedral: iconic
spaces, unfolding architecture, and
innovation in the city of Siena
(1259-1357), Elena Giovannoni
(University of Siena) and Paolo
Quattrone (Edinburgh Business
School and Oxford University)
ROOM Sala delle Colonne, A e C
Coffee break
The arenas of performativity:
designing and negotiating the
socio-materiality of economic
innovations within platforms,
Franck Aggeri and Mélodie Cartel
(Centre de Gestion Scientifique,
Ecole des Mines ParisTech,).
Achieving Information
Infrastructure performativity across
EU national legal domains and
practices: the challenge of eCODEX, Marco Velicogna (Istituto
Di Ricerca Sui Sistemi Giudiziari,
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche,
How to perform rules that do not
exist? A socio-material perspective
on the unrealized creation of rules
in a social movement, Philippe
Organizational learning in the
implementation &adoption of
National Electronic Health Records
Systems in hospitals in England,
Amirhossein Takian (Brunel
Trials of explicitness in the
formulation of a fee system: The
case of the nuclear waste program
in the United States, Basak Saraç
(Centre de Sociologie de I’
Innovation Ecole des Mines
Innovation and space-time rules in
global media sports: comparing
American football and rugby by
union as laboratories for pacified
excitement 1985-2014, Peter Clark
(Queen Mary University London)
Tecnologia social: A South American view of
the technology-society relationship, Marlei
Pozzebon (HEC Montreal).
Felicitous heterotopia or infelicitous
prototopia? The development of new rules
as a pragmatist inquiry, Philippe Lorino,
Marie-Leandre Gomez and Bernard Blanc
(ESSEC, Paris).
Materiality and beyond: Theorizing the
relevance of artefacts along the third
epistemological route, Maddalena
Sorrentino (University of Milan)
New companies, new
organizational forms? Luca
Giustiniano (LUISS).
Eynaud and Damien Mourey
(Institut d’Administration des
Entreprises, Paris) and Nathalie
Raulet-Croset (Centre de Recherche
en Gestion, Ecole Polytechnique).
ROOM Sala selle Colonne, A e C
Cocktail at LUISS, Roma. Welcome talk by representatives of LSE and Université Paris-Dauphine.
Day 2, 27 June
ROOM Aula Magna Mario Arcelli
Keynote 2: “Rules, Standards and Technologies and the Shaping of Practices”, Professor Kalle Lyytinen (Case Western University and LSE)
ROOM Sala delle Colonne, A e C
Coffee break
ROOM 118
ROOM 208
ROOM 209
ROOM 210
Track 9: Tools and regulations
(Session chair: Paolo Spagnoletti,
Track 10: Norms, identity and
materiality (Session chair: Chris
McLean, Manchester University)
Track 11: Practice and materiality
(Session chair: Sara Varländer,
Stanford University)
Track 12: Debates about sociomateriality
(Session Chair: Marlei Pozzebon, HEC
Knowledge management systems,
autonomy and control: how to
regulate? Carine Khalil (Université
Paris Descartes) and Aurélie
Dudezert (Université de Poitiers).
Rules, norms and materiality in
practice: a clinical experience,
The organization of transport
terminal: panopticons, cathedrals,
agoras or branded cities?
Marcello Martinez
(SecondaUniversità di Napoli),
Riccardo Mercurio, Paolo Canonico,
Gianluigi Mangia, (Università
Federico II di Napoli) and Mario
Pezzillo Iacono (Seconda Università
di Napoli)
Exploring the sociomaterial grounds of
information security policy compliance,
Marko Niemimaa (University of Turku)
and Anna Elina Laaksonen (University of
Electronic business reporting:
technology objects in the
construction of transparent market
infrastructures?, Alan Lowe (Aston
University), Joanne Locke (Open
University) and Maceij Piechocki
(Freiberg University of Technology)
Giorgia Cioccetti, Antonio
Chimienti, Sandro Mameli and
Maria Gisa Masia (National School
of Administration, Rome)
Professional identity, work
environment and sociomaterial
practices, Pierre Laniray (Université
Setting rules for the unruled web:
organizational behaviour in the
Making sense with practice: from
an “…as practice” to a “practice
as…” perspective, Amaury Grimand,
“Where are the missing masses?”
Bringing ANT back into the debate on
materiality, Yesh Nama (ESSEC, Paris),
Alan Lowe (Aston University) and Paolo
Quattrone (Edinburgh Business School
and Oxford University)
The anthropological contribution of
context of crowdfunding
regulation, Lucia Marchegiani
(University Roma Tre) and Elisa
Battisti (University Roma Tre)
Jérôme Méric and Ewan Oiry
(Université de Poitiers).
ROOM 208
ROOM 209
ROOM 118
ROOM 210
Track13: Artifacts and institutional
dynamics (Session chair: Magda
Hercheui, Westminster Business
Track 14: Law, judicial activities
and (Session chair: Luca
Giustiniano, LUISS University)
Track 15: Practice, space and
materiality (Session chair: Nathalie
Mitev, London School of
Track 16: Sociomateriality… so what?
(Session chair: Stefan Haefliger, Cass
Business School, London)
Performance measurement in a
nonprofit organization: social
impact measurement between
material tools and social practice,
Julien Kleszczowski (Ecole
Polytechnique, CRG) and Nathalie
Raulet-Croset (Centre de Recherche
en Gestion, Ecole Polytechnique).
Bricolage as artefactual joke: how
bricoleur can use humour to
transform mockery into
acceptation, Isabelle Ne and Raffi
Duymedjian (Grenoble Ecole de
Maurice Godelier’s thought to the
relationship between the Mental and the
Material: some implications for
Organization Studies, Jean-François
Chanlat (Université Paris-Dauphine)
ROOM Sala delle Colonne, A e C
Lunch at LUISS (buffet)
Socio-materiality and the
transnational expansion of
institutional rules: Michelin in
haute cuisine around the world,
Isabelle Bouty (Université Paris
Ouest), Marie-Leandre Gomez
(ESSEC, Paris) and Carole Godard
(Université Paris Ouest).
Social media and institutional
innovation: the Case of Free Lunch
for Children in China, Yingqin Zheng
(Royal Holloway University) and Ai
Yu (University of Bedfordshire)
When sociomateriality meets
institutional logics: A study of
campus tours as legitimacy building
practices, Francois Xavier de
Vaujany (Université Paris-
Questioning the circulation of
agency in two judicial information
infrastructures, Andrea Resca
Commodifying management
knowledge: a dynamic model of
conception, appropriation and
valuation practices, Chantale
Mailhot (HEC Montréal) and
Mireille Matt (Applied Economics
Lab, Institut National de Recherche
Agronomique and Université Pierre
Mendès- France, Grenoble).
(De)construction of pharmaceutical
industry reputation through
material practices regulation,
Hélène Lambrix (Université ParisDauphine).
Affordances and constraints of
rules on material agency of a
collaborative IS, Galadriele Ulmer
and Jessie Pallud (Ecole de
Management Strasbourg)
The expansion of community banks in
Brazil and what we have learnt from a
sociomaterial lens, MarleiPozzebon (HEC
Montréal) and Eduardo Diniz (Fundação
Getulio Vargas, Escola de Administracao
de Empresas de Sao Paolo)
Agency, practices of leadership,
and the roles of computational
objects, Barton Friedland
(University of Warwick)
Unfolding practices with unfolding
objects: standardization work in global
branding, Anna Morgan-Thomas
(University of Glasgow)
Projecting space: how
organizational members project
themselves in an upcoming space?
Markman Eliel (Université ParisDauphine).
Trust networks for knowledge
management, Francesca Marzo
Seeking legitimacy with ‘best practices’
for ICT in higher education facilities
projects, Anouk Mukherjee (Université
Diffraction and imbrication lenses for
understanding sociomaterial constitutive
entanglement: E-service of land records in
Bangladesh, Muhammad S. Alam
Dauphine), Sara Varlander
(Stanford University) and
Emmanuelle Vaast (McGill
Bringing artifacts within
institutional theory, Bernard Leca
(Université Paris-Dauphine),
Frédérique Déjean (Université de
Lorraine), Jean Pascal Gond (Cass
Business School) and Isabelle
Huault (Université Paris-Dauphine).
Technological innovation,
organization and work: An
exploration of the Italian context
through the lenses of
sociomateriality, Mara Brumana
(University of Bergamo), Maurizio
Decastri and Danila Scarozza
(University of Rome Tor Vergata),
and Stefano Za (LUISS).
(University of Siena)
(University of South Alabama)
Practising organizational spaces,
Yoann Bazin (ISTEC, Ecole
Superieure de Commerce et de
Marketing, Paris) and Maja Korica
(Warwick Business School)
Regulating a masterpiece: Management of
materiality and organizational change in
public museums, Irene Popoli (Stockholm
School of Economics).
ROOM Aula Magna Mario Arcelli
Keynote 3: “Remediation of practices: objects, agency and new media”, Professor Giovan Francesco Lanzara (Bologna University)
ROOM Aula Magna Mario Arcelli
Concluding remarks with Philippe Lorino (ESSEC), Ole Hanseth (Oslo university), Bernard Leca (Université Paris-Dauphine) and Stewart Clegg (UTS).
A few words about OAP 2015 at the University of Technology, Sydney
Cocktail at the French embassy (Palazzo Farnese). Welcome talk by the French ambassadeur, the rector of LUISS and the VP of université Paris-Dauphine.
Concert Piazza Farnese (Concert de clôture du festival franco-italien)
Day 3, 28 June
Guided tours at the Vatican’s city or Domus Romanae (details TBC)
Track 1 - Creative processes and organizational regulations
Ole Hanseth (Oslo University)
Room: 118
Working to Rule: Practices of Simplification and Amplification
Chris McLean, Manchester University
Jeremy Aroles, Manchester University
Rules, regulation and practices of standardisation permeate through many different layers of
organizations and in a variety of forms. If we take the UK education sector as an example, there
are a plethora of standards and systems of measurement and regulation at both the national level –
exam systems, OFSTED inspections, education funding, performance measures – and at the local
level – including regional and school standards and practices. In relation to standards, rules, and
regulations within organizations, there have been a multitude of responses based on a diverse set
of ontological and epistemological assumptions and ideas of objectivity and subjectivity. While
certain approaches view rules, standards and procedures as existing in some a priori, independent
and objective form, others focus more on ideas of subjectivity and the role of humans in the
process of decision-making. Finally, some approaches have emphasised the need to incorporate a
greater appreciation of materiality in terms of standards, rules and procedures as well as the
mutual constitution of structures and agency when researching the process of regulation and
In addition to exploring the implications of drawing on different ideas of objectivity, subjectivity
and materiality in relation to the study of rules and practices, this paper seeks to overcome certain
dualities – objectivity/subjectivity, structure/agency and macro/micro – through an infrastructural
approach to the study of standardisation and regulation. In particular, by exploring certain
practices of repetition and becoming, this approach attempts to capture the materiality of
becoming together with the many mediations, scripts and actions which assemble and are
performed through specific events underlying the enactment of rules and procedures in practice.
In order to explore these issues in greater detail, this paper will draw on two ethnographic studies:
one conducted within the UK secondary education sector and another in a newspaper printing
factory. Through a focus on performance measurement and regulation, the paper will therefore
examine how certain rules, procedures and practices of standardization and regulation are enacted
within each of these settings and how this enactment is embedded in various practices of
simplification and amplification.
The UK secondary education sector provides an extremely rich source of research material on
these issues, especially when one begins to delve into the many different practices, artefacts, rules
and regulations which emerge within the school setting. This study provides a detailed
exploration of specific educational practices, rules and procedures within the school and ‘beyond’
the school setting by focusing on the rules, regulation and standardisation associated with
curriculum development. This not only relates to debates about the provision of different national
programmes of education within secondary schools, but also how ‘material’ and ‘practical’
scripts are enacted through the everyday practices of schools. For instance, an in-depth
examination of the development of the curriculum for 14 to 16 year olds reveals a diverse range
of simplifying and amplifying practices underlying this process. By considering events centred
around curriculum development, we can begin to investigate these practices through the different
actions which surround this process and explore how certain ‘problems’, ‘issues’ and ‘solutions’
emerge during these events. This includes more ‘philosophical’ curriculum issues concerned with
debates over the provision of a ‘child-focused’ curriculum or one directed more towards
achieving higher performance ratings for the school; in addition to considerations which are
viewed as more ‘practical’ – such as timetabling, options, the allocation of rooms, clashes in
timings, etc. This entanglement of rules, negotiations and tensions can also be illustrated through
the controversies around surrounding the English Baccalaureate (Ebacc.). While it may have been
dropped as a formal qualification in the UK, it still remains as a school performance measure (i.e.
students are required to study English, Maths, Sciences, a Language, and either History or
Geography in order to be included in this measure). While some schools are attempting to ensure
that many of their students follow the Ebacc. route by introducing pathways to encourage this
selection of courses, others may have a smaller percentage of pupils taking these options and may
offer a wider range of options. Often schools which focus on the Ebacc. route will only leave one
option free for other subjects, or may strongly ‘guide’ their student along this curriculum
pathway. This has been seen as severely limiting areas such as performing arts, sports, design
technology and other areas which are seen as more ‘vocational’ as there are less ‘spaces’ on the
curriculum for these options. The impact of the Ebacc. measurement has been further intensified
by the performance measures introduced by the Government. For instance, the Performance 8
measure (Attainment and Progress 8) is part of a group of measures used by OFSTED, to assess
and compare schools. This measure is based on the best eight grades for each student in the
following areas: Maths and English (40% of the total); three from the Ebacc subjects; and the
final three from other subjects (including agreed vocational qualifications). While, this goes
beyond merely measuring English and Maths (which was the main published criteria of
comparison) it still places pressure on schools to restrict the range of options to their pupils (if
they wish to attain high ratings). Furthermore, while it attempts to incorporate the idea of valueadded into the measure of performance (e.g. by focusing on progress rather than merely
attainment), the complex equations and bases underlying such a calculation have also been called
into question. Ultimately, a school will end up with a ‘simplified’ final figure made of a multitude
of parameters, actions and sets of relations to be used by government agencies, local authorities
and parents to ‘compare’ the performance of different schools.
By unpacking the various controversies around UK secondary school curriculum, one can start
keying into the complex processes of simplification and amplification as they become manifested
through the enactment of educational rules, legislation and procedures. Furthermore, by looking
at the different levels of enactment, one can appreciate the great deal of complexity which
underlies everyday routines and actions (Pentland and Feldman, 2005; D’Adderio, 2008, 2011).
These ideas and concerns find resonance in our investigation of a newspaper printing factory.
While a variety of examples could be used to illustrate these aspects, a focus on the controversies
around the imperative of ‘getting the paper out in time’ seems particularly appropriate. Timing is
key to the printing sector and sometimes, printers engage in what could be considered dangerous
activities in order to ensure that the paper gets out in time. For instance, while H&S regulations
require printers to stop the lines in case of a blockage, many printers will remove the blockage
with the lines running arguing that stopping the line would impede getting the paper out in time
or cause additional problems elsewhere. This practice comes to the front when a printer gets
injured while performing such a task and subsequently receives a warning. Therefore, the injury
betrays the apparent stability and smoothness of the process. The various gaps and tensions
around the application of rules also became prevalent when printers, following unsuccessful
negotiations with the management, decided to start ‘working to the rule’. In both cases, it is
interesting to examine how diverse set of actions can become simplified and black boxed (e.g. a
working practice) while also becoming amplified through complex networks of accountability,
legislation and practicalities. In contrast to the idea of ‘working to rule’ as the simple
manifestation of objective rules, such an approach seeks to highlight the complex and dense
process of simplification and amplification embedded within various mediations, time constraints,
internal regulations, negotiations, etc. In this way, the process of repetition through difference and
becoming (Deleuze, 2004) relies on the assemblage of multiple and complex actions through
particular material scripts, practices and sets of relations (Latour, 2005). Certain moments of
simplification are neither a product of objectivity or subjectivity even though both may be
produced through such a process. In other words, the practices of simplification not only rely on
much alterity, difference and multiplicity, but through the assemblage of actions and relations,
certain actions become amplified to create new subject and object positions, openings and
closings, inclusions and exclusions. In the case of educational curriculum and performance
measure, this is apparent with new ways of comparing schools and making them accountable
through new governance structures, while in the newspaper printing firm we can see how certain
practices of regulation and rule making are enacted through the complex interplay between
certain practices, procedures and sets of relations. Therefore, upon drawing on these two case
studies, our research seeks to highlight the intricacies of the processes of simplification and
amplification through the exploration of various rules, regulations and fact-making practices.
D’Adderio, L. (2008) ‘The performativity of routines: Theorising the influence of artefacts and
distributed agencies on routines dynamics’, Research Policy Vol. 37, No. 5, pp. 769-789.
D’Adderio, L. (2011) ‘Artifacts at the centre of routines: Performing the material turn in Routines
Theory’, Journal of Institutional Economics Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 197-230.
Deleuze, G. (2004) Difference and Repetition, Continuum International Publishing.
Latour, B. (2005) Re-assembling the social, an introduction to the actor-network theory, Oxford
University Press.
Pentland, B.T. and Feldman, M.S. (2005) ‘Organizational routines as a unit of analysis‘,
Industrial and Corporate Change, Vol. 14, No. 5, pp. 793-815.
Making room for change: The case of a surgical unit
Berit Ksmp Kragh, Aarhus University
Rune Clausen, Aarhus University
“The doorway of a house may be a very simple spatial structure, but consider how
complex are the perceptions and feelings which a doorway helps engender. The human
structures or values of home, shelter, passage, entry, and exiting are all bound up in this
one simple spatial design and this simple configuration of a doorway makes values
possible, indeed suggests and invents them” (Hammer, 1981, p. 382).
In this paper we unfold how the spatial work environment of a surgical unit at a Danish
public hospital takes on different affordances as different employees perform their daily
practices. We approach the spatial work environment from two sides. For one the floor
plan of the unit reflects an idea of how work ought to be done at the unit. It gives physical
structure to and regulates everyday practice. We then look at how the spatial work
environment is reflected in the actual work being performed. The hospital unit – first as
structure and then as daily practices – hence mirrors the two interrelated parts of
organisational routines consisting on the one hand of an abstract idea or structure and on
the other of the actual performances thereof (Feldman & Pentland, 2003). Translating the
two parts of routines into a concrete work environment – a particular layout and the work
being done there – allows us to address the interplay between materiality and routines
(Felin, Foss, Heimeriks, & Madsen, 2012) and to ask the question how new routines or
new practices are created in a tight and highly regulated work environment.
The case study that forms the basis for the paper is part of a larger study undertaken by
the first author of the interplay between exogenous and endogenous efforts at changing
everyday practice at a Danish public hospital as part of a research project on innovation
governance sponsored by the Danish Strategic Research Council. The paper is based on
the empirical realisation that doorways mattered for whether and how nurses’ talked
about their everyday practice. This changed the initial focus and approach to the case
study. From then on spaces not people were shadowed and focus shifted from
development to entanglement in order to shed light on why and how different spaces
seemed to change shape depending on how they were perceived by those who entered
them and on the opportunities this momentary constellation offered for addressing the
rules and norms that govern everyday practice. The paper builds on de Certeau’s idea of
the tactics involved in creating spaces for play and hence the opportunity to create
something new (Hjorth, 2005) as well as on Goffman’s notion of back-stage versus frontstage (Goffman, 1959) to explain how even highly regulated spaces like the medication
room can be temporarily ‘freed’ (Kellogg, 2009) or reconstructed (Taylor & Spicer,
2007) by (ab)using the very mechanisms (built in or otherwise) that are meant to govern
what takes place within the confines of its’ walls. The aim of the paper is to explore how
nurses navigate the various ‘taskscapes’ (Ingold, 1993) that their work environment are
comprised of and hereby make the room for change that their physical work environment
does not provide for.
Feldman, M. S., & Pentland, B. T. (2003). Reconceptualizing organizational routines as a
source of flexibility and change. Administrative Science Quarterly, 48(1), 94-118.
Felin, T., Foss, N. J., Heimeriks, K. H., & Madsen, T. L. (2012). Microfoundations of
routines and capabilities. Journal of Management Studies, 49(8), 1351-1474.
Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. London Penguin Books
Hammer, L. (1981). Architecture and the poetry of space. The Journal of Aesthetics and
Art Criticism, 39(4), 381-388.
Hjorth, D. (2005). Organizational entrepreneurship: With de Certeau on creating
heterotopias (or spaces for play). Journal of Management Inquiry, 14(4), 386-398.
Ingold, T. (1993). The temporality of the landscape. World Archaeology, 25(2), 152-174.
Kellogg, K. C. (2009). Operating room: Relational spaces and microinstitutional change
in surgery. American Journal of Sociology, 115(3), 657-711.
Taylor, S., & Spicer, A. (2007). Time for space: A narrative review of research on
organizational spaces. International Journal of Management Reviews, 9(4), 325346.
Creative Destruction as Sociomaterial Becomings:
Insights from the Entrepreneurial Processes
Aljona Zorina, ESCP Europe
Sylvain Bureau, ESCP Europe
This paper uses the sociomateriality framework to unfold the dialectical process of creation and
destruction in entrepreneurial processes. The latter are often referred to as transformation and
reinvention of the boundaries structuring our world (Steyaert & Hjorth, 2007, p. 1). Thus,
innovating entrepreneurs need to create but also to destroy the existing orders and relationships
(Schumpeter, 1950), challenge the established dogmas and practices, and relate the existing
material and social resources in a new way. They also need to create a series of destructioncreation practices until they feel that the final result corresponds to their internal criteria as well to
the external criteria of the ‘significant others’ (environment, public, potential customers, etc.).
However, the key questions here are: how do they learn how and what to destroy, create, and
relate differently? And how do they interact with the the material agencies as well as feedback
from the environment (like (un)acceptance or (not) understanding) during these
destruction/creation processes?
In this paper we argue that rethinking the process through the lens of socimaterial interplay of
agencies, i.e. the dance of agencies between human and artifacts (Pickering, 1995), might be
particularly useful to answer the questions. In particular, we build on the Barad (2007) and Zorina
and Avison (2013) definition of agency as a process of making a difference, a practice of
interactive differentiating, cutting the boundary between the “self” and the surrounding
environment. For example, innovation might be described as new sociomaterial assemblages, and
the interplay between the human and material agencies might be re-thought as the
creation/destruction processes of making a (new) difference. In this light, entrepreneurial output
might be treated as being created through the evolving series of sociomaterial assemblages
constituted of agencies making a difference for each other in the dialectical processes of their
In order to capture the sociomaterial interplay of human and material agencies in the processes of
entrepreneurial creation and destruction, we use an experiment with an artistic production
workshop called ‘Improbable’1. The workshop is held by ESCP Europe for Master students and
aims at providing them with a real-life entrepreneurial experience of innovation creation. During
the 4 days teams of students live and work together outside the campus in a spacious place
organized as an artistic atelier. The workshop proceeds through a series of important episodes:
1) A series of workshops on artistic techniques and artistic value creation;
2) Collection of material objects for an art creation: students collect discarded materials
(wooden boards, old furniture, papers, etc.) that will be used to create art work at the
3) The creation/destruction processes: the doors of the artistic atelier are closed and
teams spend whole sleepless night constructing their art work. During this time
students face the limits of the materiality when they see the difference between what
they would like to create and the outcomes. Additionally, several times during the
night they face the criticism from the professor and the artist who challenge the
meaning and the aesthetic value of their work. Through this exercise teams realize
what the process of creative destruction is and live this in the setting of time pressure
and resource limits that is similar to the real entrepreneurial settings. Putting students
in the setting that they are not familiar with (e.g. art) allows to push them out of their
comfort zone, make them aware of their limits, cross the material and social
boundaries and question current practices.
4) Meaning-making (episodes 3 and 4 often take place abductively): teams create a
‘Manifesto’, a document explaining the meaning of their art work created and
embedding its subversive dimension – the ways they question dogmas, rules, and
society values. Here, teams have to find the right format to present their work and
thus a lot of changes to the meaning and the material structure of the already created
work take place. For example, some teams find a static installation too restrictive and
choose to show performance while others reduce the materiality of their work to
security vest but develop its social part, meaning, a lot. During this phase, teams draw
a new boundary between the result of their creation and the surrounding environment
as a result of their interpenetration.
5) Presentation: teams present their work at a special exhibition that attended by 300 to
400 people. The workshop thus allows students to experience, learn-by-doing, and
live the process of entrepreneurial innovation creation and its major elements (Bureau
2013), such as creative destruction, creation in the environment of uncertainty,
overabundance of information, resource and time pressures, search of its meaning.
Methodologically, the study is designed as an in-depth ethnographic inquiry. Observations
and follow-up interviews will take place in the end of January 2014 at ESCP Madrid campus.
Further stages of this research will elaborate on data analysis and will shed light on
sociomaterial interplay of human and material agencies in entrepreneurial creation and
destruction processes.
Barad, K. (2007) Meeting the University Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of
Matter and Meaning. Durham, NC, Duke University Press.
Bureau, S. (2013) "Entrepreneurship as a Subversive Activity: How Can Entrepreneurs Destroy
in the Process of Creative Destruction?", [email protected]@gement, , Vol. 16, n°3, pp. 204-237
Leonardi P. (2011) ‘When flexible routines meet flexible technologies: Affordance, constraint,
and the imbrication of human and material agencies’, MIS Quarterly, 35(1), 147-167.
Orlikowski, W.,& Scott ,S. (2008) ‘Sociomateriality: Challenging the Separation of Technology,
Work and Organization’, The Academy of Management Annals, 2(1), 433-474.
Schumpeter, J. 1950. The Process of Creative Destruction. In J. Schumpeter (Ed.), Capitalism,
Socialism and Democracy, 3rd ed. London: Allen and Unwin.
Steyaert, C., & Hjorth, D. 2007. Entrepreneurship as social change. Cheltenham, UK: Edward
Zorina, A., Avison, D. (2013) Re-defining Agency: Indeterminacy and the Role of Extra
organizational Dynamics in Organizational Routines and Technologies, in F-X. de
Vaujany and N. Mitev Eds., Materiality and Space in Organization and Management
Studies, Palgrave, pp.274-302.
Track 2 - Society, rules and regulations
Alan Lowe (Aston Business School)
Room: 208
Digital materiality and co-operatives:
A shrinking mode of production or an opportunity for growth?
Paolo Depaoli, LUISS
Stefano Za, LUISS
The subject of this study is the co-operative enterprise model and how it is affected by the digital
world. That is, the aim of the paper is to consider the extent and the way in which co-operative
principles are going to be affected by the transition of these firms to-wards ‘digital materiality’
(Leonardi, 2010). The potential implications of a diffusion of co-operative “modes of production”
to Internet organizations are also briefly outlined.
Background and the issue addressed
According to the United Nations Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives
(COPAC, 2008) the cooperative sector worldwide has about 800 million members in over 100
countries. Cooperatives contribute to GDP from 45% in Kenya to 25% in New Zealand. They are
present in all industries and in some of them their weight is overwhelming: e.g. 80 to 99% of
milk production in Norway, New Zealand and the USA. Consumer cooperatives are market
leaders in Italy, Switzerland, Singapore, and Japan. The European bank cooperatives have shown
better performance than other types of financial institutions in the present unstable financial
systems (Ayadi, Llewellyn, Schmidt, Arbak, & Groen, 2010).
Research has shown (Whyman, 2012) that the evolution of co-operative enterprises has been
regarded with fluctuating interest (and favour) by famous economists from Adam Smith (who
thought that this form was bound to decline) and Karl Marx (who sympathized with producers cooperatives) to Alfred Marshall (who considered cooperation a “difficult thing but worth doing”)
and to John Maynard Keynes who showed broad sympathy for co-ops and mutuals. They
certainly pointed out the potential weaknesses of this model but also its positive effects due to its
basic traits which we find to-day in the definition of a cooperative which can be found on the site
of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA)2:
“An autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common
economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations, through a jointly owned and
democratically controlled enterprise.”
The research question is therefore the following: given these basic characteristics of a
cooperative, what are the implications of macro (societal level) and micro (single entity level)
digitalization in its organizing?
The theoretical approach adopted and research method
At the ‘macro’ level one of the consequences of the information revolution is the ‘reontologization’ of the world, a neologism introduced by Luciano Floridi (2010, p. 6) “to refer to a
very radical form of re-engineering that not only designs, constructs or structures a system (e.g. a
company, a machine or some artefact) anew, but one that also fundamentally transforms its
intrinsic nature, that is, its ontology or essence”. At both macro and micro level the work by
Wanda Orlikowski is relevant because her research has convincingly shown the entanglement of
technology (including information technology) and organization: “Materiality is not an incidental
or intermittent aspect of organizational life; it is integral to it” (Orlikowski, 2007, p. 1436).
Building on the preceding work of one of the co-authors of this abstract (Depaoli, D’Atri, & De
Marco, 2009), we examined the literature on virtual enterprises so that both the consequences of
this ‘entanglement’ and the traits of cooperative firms could be considered with respect to the
challenges raised by virtualization (‘digital materiality’). The sheer dimension of the cooperative
sector in the world, its basic traits, and the spreading of digitalization across economic and social
activities interconnect the macro and micro levels.
Results and implications
A virtual enterprise (VE) can be defined as “a temporary alliance of enterprises that come
together to share skills, core competencies and resources in order to better respond to business
opportunities, and whose co-operation is supported by computer networks” (Camarinha-Matos &
Afsarmanesh, 1999). Basically, the strengths of a VE are related to the complementary expertise
of the firms involved. Such capabilities can be organized to exploit an emerging temporary
opportunity in a given market without the constraints of geographical proximity and by
leveraging appropriate communication technologies and techniques. VEs potential weaknesses
(risks) are the reverse of the coin. They have to do, mainly, with: (i) the organization and
integration of different competences, resources and management styles from creation to
decommission (relying fundamentally on ‘diffused leadership’ rather than authority); (ii) the
probably different familiarity of members with a set of production and communication
technologies to be shared.
Given the decisive character of coordination and integration of resources, to avoid the risks of
excessive centralization (one partner that becomes indispensable), of inefficiencies in the
exploitation of the market (only one associate searches the market looking for new opportunities),
and of heterogeneous activities conducted by one actor (marketing and production management),
further research (D’Atri & Motro, 1999) has proposed a ‘multi-role architecture’. Besides a
‘broker’ (which still controls and manages the virtual process enactment and coordinates tasks
and applications) the new venture should be based on a ‘catalyst’ (in charge of new business
scouting and relations with customers) and on an ‘enabler’ (responsible of supporting workflow
schema design, of building inter-organizational trust and negotiation, and of VE reconfiguration
for new businesses).
The challenges faced by VEs can be facilitated if the VE partners are cooperatives because of the
principles inspiring these firms: voluntary and open membership, democratic member control,
member economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training and
information, co-operation among co-operatives, concern for the community (as stated by ICA).
Vice versa, this kind of attitude can help further develop digital networks by exploring and
exploiting the opportunities that have been highlighted by Benkler’s The wealth of Networks
(Benkler, 2006) and which can be grouped in ‘information sharing’, ‘collective action’, and
‘collaboration’ (Shirky, 2008).
Recent research has shown the relevance and vitality of the Italian cooperative sector (Battilani &
Zamagni, 2012). The institution that represents at the national level the cooperative movement
(Legacoop) has started to evaluate the opportunities linked to the ‘re-ontologization’ of
cooperatives in the digital world. Publishing is the first industry that is being concerned because
of the critical economic situation of the traditional business model adopted so far.
This example shows the growing awareness coop-operators in digital materiality: monitoring the
evolution of the project will offer interesting research opportunities.
Ayadi, R., Llewellyn, D. T., Schmidt, R. H., Arbak, E., & Groen, W. P. De. (2010). Investigating
Diversity in the Banking Sector in Europe - Key Developments, Performance and Role of
Cooperative Banks (p. 169). Brussels.
Battilani, P., & Zamagni, V. (2012). The managerial transformation of Italian co-operative
enterprises 1946–2010. Business History, 54(6), 964–985. Retrieved from
Benkler, Y. (2006). The wealth of networks: how social production transforms markets and
freedom. Creative Commons Noncommercial Sharelike licence. Retrieved from
Camarinha-Matos, L. M., & Afsarmanesh, H. (1999). The virtual enterprise concept. In L. M.
Camarinha-Matos & H. Afsarmanesh (Eds.), Infrastructures for Virtual Enterprises:
Networking Industrial Enterprises (pp. 3–14). Boston: Kluwer.
COPAC. (2008). Background paper on cooperatives (pp. 1–10). Retrieved
D’Atri, A., & Motro, A. (1999). VirtuE: a formal model of virtual enterprises for information
markets. Journal of Intelligent Information Systems, 30(1), 33–53.
Depaoli, P., D’Atri, A., & De Marco, M. (2009). “Industrial districts enterprises” and “virtual
enterprises”: proximity and distance, ICT-IS, and organizational learning,. In Proceedings
of the Ninth Wuhan International Conference on E-Business,. Wuhan, China: China
University of Geosciences.
Floridi, L. (2010). Ethics after the Information Revolution. In L. Floridi (Ed.), The Cambridge
Handbook of Information and Computer Ethics (pp. 3–19). New York: Cambridge
University Press.
Leonardi, P. M. (2010). Digital materiality? How artifacts without matter, matter. First Monday,
15(6), 1–15.
Orlikowski, W. J. (2007). Sociomaterial Practices: Exploring Technology at Work. Organization
Studies, 28(9), 1435–1448.
Shirky, C. (2008). Here Come Everybody: the Power of Organizing without Organizations (p.
327). New York: Penguin Press.
Whyman, P. B. (2012). Co-operative principles and the evolution of the “dismal science”: The
historical interaction between co-operative and mainstream economics. Business History,
54(6), 833–854.
Rules and IT-based practices: A sociomaterial analysis
François-Xavier De Vaujany, PSL-Université Paris-Dauphine
Vladislav Fomin, Vytautas Magnus University
Kalle Lyytinen, Case Western University
Stefan Haefliger, Cass Business School
Information technology (IT) extensively regulates organizational processes in contemporary
organizations by allowing or preventing behaviors—either to the benefit or detriment of the
organization. Yet regulatory processes that create, maintain, and enforce rules in IT-rich contexts
have not been extensively analyzed in sociomaterial inquiries. We address this gap by
conceptualizing and empirically exploring the interplay of rules and IT- based practices. We
define a set of constitutive and enabling relationships between a rule, an IT artifact, and practice,
and we narrate their relationships from the following perspectives: 1) how rules are materialized
in IT artifacts, 2) how practices are interdependent on IT artifacts, and 3) how rules and practices
are temporally coupled. To illustrate and analyze the nature of these relationships, we conduct a
longitudinal study of the implementation of an e-learning system in a French public university. In
particular, we examine how these relationships were constituted and how they evolved by probing
21 regulatory episodes clustered into five modalities, which we label opportunity-, tool-,
functionality-, role- and procedure-oriented modalities. These modalities exemplify specific
regulation orientations toward germane features of either the IT artifact or the practice.
Accordingly, regulatory episodes differ in terms of the application of the rule (to IT- and/or nonIT–related practices); the scope of the rule (all or part of IT or non-IT related practices); the
source (exogenous or endogenous to the practice); and the dynamics and their impact on
regulatory processes; they also differ in their form of agency. We conclude by discussing
implications of our findings for sociomaterial theorizing and consequent policy implications for
regulating contemporary organizations.
In summer 2007, Jérôme Kerviel, a trader in the large French bank, Société Général (SG), was
fired. He was accused of exposing SG to a massive financial risk resulting in a €5 billion loss.
Jérôme managed to conceal his excessive trading positions through clever violations and (mis)use
of SG’s control procedures, most of which were information technology (IT)- based. Although
the trading system imposed a maximum ceiling of €125 million for trades, Kerviel succeeded in
consistently leveraging positions in the order of €600 million. At the same time, he concealed his
real positions by “transferring” them to his computer, from which he either erased them or
maintained them as fake positions. His practice involved a series of violations of regulations that
governed trading in SG: theft of user names and passwords, faking of e-mails, and engaging in
inverse operations, among others. By doing so, Kerviel “created” his own (more or less shared
with his colleagues) regulated world of high risk-bearing operations. He also demonstrated how
advanced IT-based control systems could be misused beyond their intended designs. In fall 2011
we learned that the SG incident is not an isolated phenomenon: Similar IT-based trading systems
had also been circumvented by a UBS trader, generating thus far a €1.5 billion loss.
The reason why SG and UBS stories are so interesting is the lesson they teach about rules and
their sociomaterial foundations. In a world where money at hand is a sum of daily transactions
displayed on a computer screen and the vault’s walls are a combination of access and
authorization passwords, screen interfaces, and software-inscribed trading limits, a new
understanding of the relationship between social and material is needed, of how rules become
inscribed in their material foundations and how related practices are affected. The cases suggest
caution about the effectiveness of rules in regulating practice: instantiating material constraints
into IT does not necessarily result in social compliance. Adding more rules and controls inside the
IT system is not automatically effective in shaping practices in the same way that concrete walls
and armed guards shaped them. Crucially, students of regulation have known for some time that
as more rules are introduced, which was the case at SG, actors can play more games that can
result in more unexpected outcomes (Crozier and Friedberg 1977).
Despite the pervasive presence and richness of contemporary IT-inscribed rules, we see a paucity
of studies on IT use as a form of material-based organizational regulation and associated forms of
control. We define IT-based regulation as the regulatory processes that create, combine, and
embed rules within IT artifacts and by doing so maintain and enforce rules that, by constraining
or enabling social behaviors, govern both the organizational use of IT artifacts and their
organizational effects. Organizational studies on regulation have remained faithful to the notion
of pure social regulation and have largely ignored its material elements—in particular, the
growing presence of IT (Latour 1994, 2005; Orlikowski and Scott, 2008). A handful of studies
has focused on the material dimension of regulation but engaged mainly with “pure” material
elements of control, including walls, police, or asylums (Hook, 2001; Latour, 2005). Recent
growing interest in material foundations of social life (Orlikowski and Scott 2008, Orlikowski
2008, Leonardi 2011)—labeled sociomateriality—has heeded on a high level the presence of
rules and their scripting—their entanglement—in IT artifacts (Orlikowski 2005). But how rules
emerge as scripts or how such materialized rules influence practices has remained clouded
because the epicenter of sociomaterial debates has been the agent’s genius in overcoming
materialized scripts in ways that harbor conflict or include illegitimate behavior (Markus and
Silver 2008; Barley and Leonardi 2008).
In this paper we address this gap by specifically theorizing about sociomaterial regulation that is
carried out by embedding rules in IT artifacts. We address the following two questions: 1) What
is the nature of IT-based regulations in organizations? We define IT-based regulation as a set of
constitutive and enabling relationships between the rules, the IT artifacts, and organizational
practices, which we operationalize using three characteristics of rules and their effect over time:
1) the application of a rule (as materialized in the IT artifacts); 2) the scope of a rule (the broad or
narrow application to practices); and 3) the source of a rule (whether it is endogenous or
exogenous to a practice).
2) How does the embedding of rules in IT artifacts and the related practices evolve through time?
We ask whether a sociomaterial perspective can inform how rule creation and its relationship
with materiality change over time and influence practices. We juxtapose the sources of rules with
the ways in which rules and practices are coupled and identify conflicts between rules and their
materialization over time, as informed by our case study.
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Hook, D. Discourse, knowledge, materiality, history: Foucault and discourse analysis. Theory and
psychology, 11 (4), 2001, pp. 521-547.
Latour, B. Petites leçon de sociologie des sciences, Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1996.
Latour, B. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2005.
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of Management Studies, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK, 1995, pp. 295-307.
Latour, B. Technology is society made durable. J. Law, ed. A Sociology of Monsters: Essays on
Power, Technology and Domination. Routledge, London, 1991, pp. 103-131.
Latour, B. Une sociologie sans objet? Remarques sur l'interobjectivité. Sociologie du travail,
36(4) 1994, pp. 587–607.
Leonardi, P.M., and Barley, S.R. What Is Under Construction Here? Social Action, Materiality,
and Power in Constructivist Studies of Technology and Organizing, The Academy of
Management Annals (4:1), 2010, pp. 1-51.
Leonardi, P. When Flexible Routines Meet Flexible Technologies: Affordance, Constraint, and
the Imbrication of Human and Material Agencies. MIS Quarterly, 35(1), 2011, pp. 147167.
Markus, M.L. & M.S. Silver. A Foundation for the Study of IT Effects: A New Look at
DeSanctis and Poole’s Concepts of Structural Features and Spirit. Journal of the
Association for Information Systems 9(10) Article 5, 2008, pp. 609-632.
Orlikowski, W.J. and Scott S.V., Sociomateriality: Challenging the separation of technology,
work and organization. Academy of Management Annals, 2(1), 2008, pp. 433-474.
Orlikowski, W.J. Material Works: Exploring the Situated Entanglement of Technological
Performativity and Human Agency. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, 2005,
17(1), 2005, pp. 183–186.
Orlikowski, W.J. The sociomateriality of organisational life: considering technology in exploring
technology at work. Organization Studies, 28, 2007, pp. 1435–1448.
The materiality of CSR regulation in industrial organizations:
a comparison between longitudinal case studies
Julie Bastianutti, University of Lille
Felix von Pechmann, Ecole polytechnique
In this paper, we intend to develop an understanding of the progressive materialization of rules
and regulations in organizations that are subject to the implementation of CSR and sustainability
CSR, in specific organizational contexts, often begins as a discourse or an object of discourse
(Garsten, 2003). Then it tends to become a new socio-cognitive frame for practice and regulation
of organizational life (Dumez, 2008; McBarnet, et al., 2007). CSR being by nature transverse to
organizational activities, it is a good subject to grasp spatial transformations of organizations at
multiple levels: individual and collective practices inside the organization, the organizing
processes, the interaction between entities belonging to a same industrial group, the regulation
processes at the industry level (Bastianutti & Dumez, 2012)
The process is twofold. The first dimension is about creating new practices, new understanding
and discourses. The second dimension is about linking existing practices and discourses with a
new understanding: the cognitive framework of CSR and sustainability. This process has a sociomaterial dimension: it involves the production of new artifacts, the transformation of existing
ones – for example, annual reports, the creation or transformation of organizational structures; the
production of CSR road-maps or score-cards; the conception of new products. Hence, the daily
regulation (in the literal sense) of organizational life is then deeply transformed (Orlikowski,
The point is not to say that the nature of work or the purpose of business organizations is
completely changing or would have to change completely. The dimension of double decoupling
(Bromley & Powell, 2012) is inherent to CSR and sustainability development in organizations.
The comparison between 2 case studies will allow us to describe and analyse the tensions
between discourses and actions, between means and ends in their material dimension.
Based on 2 longitudinal case studies of industrial groups, the paper aims at showing the
development of new forms of regulations in business organizations in their socio-material
dimensions. The empirical study consisted of series of interviews and extensive and
comprehensive analysis of annual reports from 2000 to 2012 of a French conglomerate from one
case. The series a semi-structured interviewed was conducted with the corporate director for CSR
and all the directors in charge of CSR and sustainability issues in the 5 main subsidiaries. They
are operating in various industries, such as construction and public works, urban development
projects, real estate, media and communications. For the 2nd case study, the methodology is
based on a participant observation in the organization and actionresearch conducted on the
electric vehicle project in one of the major car constructor in France.
The analysis will show how the socio-material character of environmental topics (energy saving,
carbon efficiency and other externalities). The constitution, development and diffusion of artifacts
and new rules of the game (Aggeri, Abrassart, Pezet, & Acquier, 2005) has played a crucial role
in the constitution of cognitive frameworks that are needed to implement CSR and sustainability
policies and practices. What kind of artifacts are we talking about?
Conception rules and practices; management tools as invisible technologies (Berry, 1983), and
socio-material dispositive (Dumez, 2009) are considered in this study. The artifacts are entangled
with the diffusion of broader socio-political discourses about environmental protection and the
role of businesses which are influencing the group policies and the interactions between entities
in industrial groups. The production of new types of artifacts such as indicators, measurements
will be considered in evolving regulation, from their creation as a kind of “craft work” at the firm
level to their regulation both at a national legal level and at international level. « Management
tools are connection points between structured sets of standards, representations, sets not always
consistent. Each of the parties involved is taken differently in structured sets» (Berry, 1983, p.
23): indeed, management tools have a regulatory role; they are artifacts that are transforming the
practices and then the social understandings, the cognitive frames of actors inside and outside the
In the end the idea is to show how the progressive regulation of CSR and sustainability
transforms not only practices within the organization but also the conception of actors about the
role and place of their firm in particular in society. The paper suggests that rather than a
consensus, it is more likely at a space for debate that can be identified and characterized.
Aggeri, F., Abrassart, C., Pezet, E., & Acquier, A. (2005). Organiser le développement durable:
Expériences des entreprises pionnières et formation de règles d’action collective. Paris:
Bastianutti, J., & Dumez, H. (2012). Pourquoi les entreprises sont-elles désormais reconnues
comme socialement responsables ? Gérer et comprendre, 44-54.
Berry, M. (1983). Une technologie invisible-L’impact des instruments de gestion sur l’évolution
des systèmes humains. Paris: Ecole polytechnique.
Bromley, P., & Powell, W. W. (2012). From Smoke and Mirrors to Walking the Talk:
Decoupling in the Contemporary World. The Academy of Management Annals, 6, 483530.
Clegg, S., & Kornberger, M. (2006). Space, organizations and management theory. Malmö;
Copenhagen: Liber ; Copenhagen Business School Press.
Dale, K. (2005). Building a Social Materiality: Spatial and Embodied Politics in Organizational
Control. Organization, 12, 649-678.
Dumez, H. (2008). De l’obligation de rendre des comptes ou accountability. Gérer et
Comprendre, 91, 4–8.
Dumez, H. (2009). Qu’est-ce qu’un dispositif ? Agamben, Foucault et Irénée de Lyon dans leurs
rapports avec la gestion. Le Libellio d’Aegis, 5, 34-39.
Garsten, C. (2003). The cosmopolitan organization—an essay on corporate accountability. Global
Networks, 3, 355–370.
McBarnet, D., Voiculescu, A., & Campbell, T. (2007). The new corporate accountability:
corporate social responsibility and the law. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge
University Press.
Orlikowski, W. J. (2007). Sociomaterial Practices: Exploring Technology at Work. Organization
Studies, 28, 1435-1448.
Vaujany, F.-X. de, & Mitev, N. (2013). Materiality and space organizations, artefacts and
practices. Basingstoke:Palgrave.Macmillan.
Track 3 - Historical perspectives on material regulations
Peter Clark (Queen Mary University London)
Room: 209
The incomplete cathedral: iconic spaces, unfolding architecture, and
innovation in the city of Siena
Elena Giovannoni, University of Siena
Paolo Quattrone, University of Edinburgh Business School
Various studies acknowledge the relationship between the architecture of spaces, such as the
architecture of buildings or workspaces, and organizational processes (for a review, see de
Vaujany and Mitev, 2013). However, studies on the nature of this relationship have offered mixed
results. According to some research, architectures are devices for spatial arrangements, in the
sense that they help the construction of spaces and thereby influence social actions in an enabling
or coercive way (see Lorino, 2013; de Vaujany and Mitev, 2013). Other studies have highlighted
that architectures do not build spaces and social actions. Rather, space gives material/visual form
to the social contents that we name in architectures (Hillier, 1996). Also, whereas some studies
have argued that certain types of architecture foster creativity and flexibility (Kornberger and
Clegg, 2004), the actual performance of space and architecture (and of their relationship) during
innovation processes have not been adequately explored by the literature.
By drawing on studies that have challenged the idea of spaces as spatial arrangements constrained
or enabled by architectures (Hillier, 1996; Deleuze, 1990), we explore the nature of spaces as
platforms within which social contents are constructed and perform. More specifically, we take
inspiration from the notion of “epistemic objects”, i.e. objects that are not finite but perform and
produce effects within organizations (see Knorr Cetina, 2001), to investigate how architecture and
space offer a stage for performing the social: they are ‘machines’, i.e. instruments that create the
conditions for innovation within organizations. As highlighted by Carruthers (1998), the term
‘machine’ allow us to build a link, also historical, between the architecture of buildings (machina,
in Latin, was a tool to erect buildings) and the architecture of knowledge (Galison and Thompson,
1999), value and society (machine was also the term of the medieval rhetorical figures utilised to
build and invent new knowledge and define moral behaviours, thus defining the ‘civic being’,
Carruthers, 1998). In this sense, a machina was not material because it was physical but was
material because it acted, because it was an agent thus overcoming the distinction between
humans’ and non-humans’ agency (Carruthers, 1998; Latour, 1987).
In order to explore space and architecture as machines for innovation (i.e. instruments that
construct not only physical and architectural objects but also the civic being, i.e. a member of a
civic community which is defined in a net of relationships), we draw upon the empirical insights
offered by the archival material concerning the construction of the cathedral of Siena from 1259
to 1357. This timeframe covers a set of relevant innovations that have informed the construction
of the cathedral in the medieval age. This construction was managed by an ad hoc institution
labelled Opera della Metropolitana. By analysing the patterns of social interactions within the
management of the Opera, this longitudinal and historical case study allows us to explore how
spaces and architectures performed and eventually acted as machines for innovation during the
construction of the cathedral (1259-1357). Interestingly, this construction involved evolving
inventions (e.g. a new baptistery and a monumental eastern façade) and led to a new and
ambitious project for building the biggest cathedral of the world (the Duomo nuovo), which was
never completed.
Our study shows how innovation emerges from the gaps left in the planning and accountability
practices which surrounded the construction of the cathedral. It is by interrogating these spaces
left empty in the project that innovation in the construction of the cathedral could happen.
Although the constraining organizational structure of the Opera supported seemingly rational
ways of organizing, lacunae (i.e. lacks of knowledge – see Agamben,1999) together with the
aspirations of the General Council of the Comune, allowed incomplete and imperfect spaces to
unfold and open up the apparent rationality of the organizing structure of the Opera. Within these
spaces, multiple actors (the operaio, masons, councillors, governors, citizens) were suddenly
made to enter, interact and exit, leaving lacunae and stimulating the ongoing search for solutions
which took form into unfolding architectures. Far from being a mere mirror of social actions,
these architectures represented epistemic objects that became always something ‘other than
themselves’. Through their ongoing visual incompleteness, they triggered a continuous search for
the ‘ideal’ solution (which never came). By shedding light on the materially mediated
performance of iconic spaces (i.e. spaces that persisted/performed through their material/visual
artefacts), our paper contributes to the literature on architecture and organization by showing that
these spaces can unfold continuously and perform as machines for evolving inventions within
organizations over time.
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Innovation and space-time rules in global media by union as laboratories for
pacified excitement 1985-2014
Peter Clark, Queen Mary University
Clark (1987: 165-191) compared twenty socio-material features of American Football and Rugby
Union in 1985 and explained how OAP had evolved since the mid 19thC. Each game possesses
stocks of knowledge and affective remembering. What has changed since 1985? What transitions
in rules and regulations have unfolded since 1985? Why are the transitions so much more
extensive in Rugby Union than in American Football?
This essay calibrates the temporal frame by comparing time-space-place periods as cases of
sequential transitions (Elias) with problem sets (Scranton) and problem solving (Haydu).The
intention is to articulate the analytic potency of key concepts such as configurations and socio
genesis from Elias (Mennell 2007 c.f Clark 2000, 2008). Inequality, which is both context and
outcome, requires unpacking in terms of power ratios as much as associations (c.f. Latour).
The Haydu (1998) framework for using the past is revised. This locates the umbrella of the
practice turn under and inside the history turn (Clark & Rowlinson 2004) and the comparative
turn (Clark 2000, 2014). Comparison plays a reflexive role for the analyst-author in my intention
to calibrate episodes in the past, present and near future.
The longue duree trajectory of the American Football has been as a game based around
institutionalised American predispositions to controlled violence, hegemonic dominance and
designed modularity (c.f. Denny & Riesman, 1951; Riesman & Denny 1954; Clark 1987: 165191). In American Football since the 1880s extensive rules have been formalised and robustly
rehearsed to cover a strategically cognitised problem set of expected future time-space
morphology. Exciting media coverage evolved from photos and dramatic line drawing in 19thC
periodicals to wireless broadcasts then into carnival TV. Major universities provided a basic
training ground. A filiere of nodes and connections guided future players and celebrities. In the
American context American Football is an hegemonic subculture of team working in which
spectating is enrolled by local and media carnivals (Kroes 2007). American Football has a
presence in Japan, but less so in the former British Empire and Europe since the 1990s (c.f
Maguire 1999). Since 1985 American Football has evolved less dramatically than Rugby Union.
Rugby Union by contrast in 1985 was still pre-professional with low media exposure
(e.g.Dunning & Sheard 1979) More playing than spectator excitement. Since 1985 Rugby Union
at its senior club levels has evolved massively into a media spectacle of time-space dynamics in
which tracking devices record and afford coaches designed prescient metrics about professional
individual players and the team. Live TV reveals the game second by second better than being
there. More so than American Football where the nine second episodes permits visual replays at
Rugby Union has grown in market power and become more complex in the past two decades
(Maguire 1999 c.f. Clark 2003: 190-192). Rugby Union claims to be a global media sport yet its
recent history as an organisational innovation differs sharply from F-1 which has been one
template for global media (Clark 2003: 45-47). Since the 1990s the game of rugby union has been
the focus of multiple rule changes and almost annual incremental innovation. These rule changes,
which are complex for players, referees and spectators, have cumulated into a systemic format
which can be viewed as an architectural innovation (Clark 2003). Australian entrepreneurial
capitalism, originally embedded in Rugby League, has articulated NZ, Australian, Oceanic, South
African sub-cultures with European markets.
In Rugby Union since the mid-nineties the sub culture of local support for teams has become
excited by live matches yet their spectating depends on finance from global media spectators.
Hence the periodic conflicts over media royalties at the meso and macro levels. The
contemporary global level creates spiralling multiply of processes (Elias, Wouters). As yet in
Rugby Union new metaphors comparable to those American mothers 'teach' their daughters are
only thinly evident. Moreover the modern game possesses forms of individual emotional
experience which impact gender issues (Giddens).
Five questions are in my Europe-USA comparative problematising:
1. Does Rugby Union now exemplify the controlled uncontrollability outlined by Elias and
Wouter's in their theory of rules and self-regulating?
2. Why does Mennell (2007) confine American Football to a totally minor place in the analysis
and synthesis of transitions in bonding for American civilising? (Clark, 2006, 2007, 2008).
3. Which are the long and emergent features at the macro-level in Europe and the USA in the late
20th and 21stC which are re-configuring the socio-genesis for media sports like AF and RU.
4. Is the socio genesis since the 1990s stamping differences on the unfolding sequence of age
cohorts and gender relations differently? To what extent are cohort and gender temporal horizons
and symbolic experiences in sport integrating or dividing?
5. To what extent is mediatisation a key aesthetic?
My paper involves comparing time-place periods as cases involving culturally inflected
sequential problem solving trajectories which are mangled (Haydu, 1998; Clark 1987; 2000;
2003; 2008; 2014; Pickering 2013). The aim is to articulate potent concepts which increase
understanding of the OAP lens beyond its Latourian influences in order to explain the chosen
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an ‘Historic Turn’?’. Business History, 46-3. 331-152.
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New Companies, New Organizational Forms?
Luca Giustiniano, LUISS
The concept of scientific management introduced by F. W. Taylor (1914) was based on the idea
that the setup of internal rules on task management was “the” solution for coordinating the
workforce and achieving managerial control. More than a century later, rules as coordination
mechanisms are still embedded in metaphoric and visual artifacts, like organizational forms and
their representation in organization charts. Theory and practice of organization design have stated
and refined such rules (as organization forms), so that despite the identification of some new
emerging forms (Spaghetti organization, Organizational Improvisation, etc.) the contingency
approach to organization design has always been able to explain them, both at the inter-and intraorganizational level (see Burton & Obel, 1998). Nevertheless, the joint effect of globalization and
economic downturn have boosted the emerging of “modern startups” that, differently from the
traditional Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) see to be designed to grow –not just to
survive. In fact, while Dodge, Fullerton & Robbins (1994) found that no matter what their stage
of life cycle is, the main aim of SMEs is “survival”, these “modern startups” seem to be designed
to grow. Their novelty probably seek for new rules of internal design.
The modern startups
As for effect of the financial crisis, young Master graduates have difficulties in finding a job. So
have the ex-managers (still not ready to retire) who have lost their jobs. Also thanks to many
governmental incentives, these social categories have been very active in creating new ventures,
mostly targeting existing or emerging market niches in which the established big players have
difficulty to compete. The characteristics of such modern startups seem to be the following:
Founding and managerial team:
 Young graduates having very diverse backgrounds create new ventures by sharing
their knowledge;
 Retired (or fired) managers group together for sharing their own expertise, network
and competencies;
 The company is not any more a “one man show” (with consequent loss of CEO
Competitive issues:
• Operate both in mature (niches) and emerging sectors;
• Survival is not the only dominant goal – structural growth seems to be also considered.
Structural characteristics:
1. Designed by competency complementarities;
2. Specialized tasks;
3. Highly decomposable technologies;
4. Selective outsourcing;
5. The growth does not seem to generate:
• Coordination problems;
• High hierarchical distance;
• Loss in centralization in decision making;
• Loss of efficiency and effectiveness;
• CEO (if any?) transformational leadership (Ling et al. 2008).
The research question that arise by observing the rise of these companies is: How can startup
grow in conditions of contingency misfits () (Burton, Lauridsen, Obel, 2002)? In details,
they seem to develop despite:
Environmental misfits
• high equivocality, high complexity, high uncertainty  U-form, high centralization
Strategy misfits
• prospector strategy  U-form, high centralization
• analyzer with innovation  low organizational complexity
Size misfits
• large size  simple configuration, low complexity, high centralization
Climate misfits
• group, developmental climate  U-form, high centralization
• Low level of microinvolvement  Simple, U-form
Company growth and organizational forms
The above mentioned misfits arise for several contributions that have nurtured the contingency
view of organization design, also during the past recent years. Some of them are worth to be
The problem of the growth of the company and its organizational evolution has been investigated
by many scholars trough different perspectives (Chandler, 1962; Galbraith, 1974; Williamson,
1975; Burton & Obell, 1998). In fact, the path Simple-Unitary-Multidivisional form seem to be
the common ground of the organizational development. In particular, as Chander (1962)
underlines, the adoption of the law of necessary variety and the double feedback introduced by
Ashby (1956, 1960) requires the shift of organizational form (see also, Williamson, 2008).
Gaibraith (1974) introduced the information-based approach to organization design and defined
the coordination mechanisms as: Rules or Programs, Hierarchy, Coordination by Target or Goals
(p.29) “Each of these mechanisms, however, has a limited range over which it is effective at
handling the information requirements necessary to coordinate the interdependent roles. As the
amount of uncertainty increases, and therefore the information processing increases, the
organization must adopt integrating mechanisms which increase its information processing
capabilities” (Galbraith 1974: 28,29).
Source: Galbraith (1974).
The company growth of the “modern startups” seem to resist to the “Creation of Self-Contained
Tasks” (i.e. from functional organization to product groups), as well as the “Creation of Lateral
Relations”. In short, as Galbraith stated lately, “companies add a new strategic dimension to their
strategy and structure about every 30 years, thereby requiring the creation of new integrating
mechanisms … The constant interplay of rising complexity and interdependence creates an
ongoing demand for organization designs that can respond with new and more powerful
coordination mechanisms.” (Galbraith, 2012, 5)
The contribution of Quinn and Cameron (1983) states that as the company grows the criteria of
effectiveness shift. In particular, as the company grows, after the Entrepreneurial and Collectivity
stages, it should reach the stage of Formalization. The modern startups, instead, seem to keep a
low level of formalization and a precise focus on efficiency and effectiveness, on exploitation
and exploration (Miles, Miles, Snow, 2006).
Burton, Minton and Obel (1991) have followed the intuition of Kimberly (1976) by which the
company size should consider not only the personnel, but also physical capacity, inputs and
outputs, and discretionary resources (available to an organization). The size of the organization
should then be defined as the “number of resources and policies, and the number of products and
According to Carroll (2012), the pursuit of both exploration and exploitation could be reached
through a continuous and incremental reconfiguration of the organization. As the author recalls:
“Continuous, incremental redesign may sound ideal. However, frequent reconfiguration of
organizational boundaries can be costly and not necessarily successful … firms that have limited
resources for reconfiguration may be dissuaded from this type of process.” (Carroll, 2012: 67).
Discussion and directions for future research
Some preliminary observations made by the author seem to uncover conditions in which
companies perform well, despite the misfits in situational an contingency variables (Burton,
Lauridsen, Obel, 2002). Probably some new realities call for new (interpretative) rules of
organization design if not, for the definition of new organizational forms.
“In the physical sciences, when errors of measurement and other noise are found to be of the
same order of magnitude as the phenomena under study, the response is not to try to squeeze
more information out of the data by statistical means; it is instead to find techniques for observing
the phenomena to a higher level of resolution. The corresponding strategy […] is obvious: to
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Miles, R. E., Miles, G., & Snow, C. C. (2006). Collaborative Entrepreneurship:: A Business Model for
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Track 4 - Bureaucracy and new modes of organizing
Stewart Clegg (University of Technology, Sydney)
Room: 210
Bureaucratized morality, institutional durability: organizationally mediated
idealism in the Peace Corps
Meghan Kallman, Brown University
Worldwide, millions of citizens engage daily in channeling their social values through
occupations. Some do it through entering “helping” professions, by working for social
organizations, or by becoming activists. A striking similarity among these occupations is that
organizations mediate them. A daily context that can powerfully influence participants’
experiences, organizations can both amplify and diffuse ideals, and also engender cynicism.
This project, therefore, takes up the broad question of public altruism. The project is situated in
order to look at the ways in which altruistic aspirations—the desire to “change the world”—
interact with bureaucratic routinization. This project’s case study is Peace Corps, which is, like
other social organizations, a necessary compromise between the social and altruistic ideals of its
participants and the mundane and sometimes problematic realities of being a sustainable
bureaucracy. This research is intended to help us understand how bureaucratic organizations
(through which much, if not all, social and philanthropic commitment in the United States is
channeled) mediate people’s social commitment. In other words: what do the organizations do
to—and for—the idealists?
I address a set of related questions about the effect of a bureaucracy on altruism and idealism by
a. How Peace Corps Volunteers come to understand themselves as volunteers, activists,
and/or development professionals;
b. What the sources and consequences of burnout and/or disillusionment among PCVs
are; and
c. The incentive structure that retains PCV’s either in development work or in other
public/helping professions is.
My research and others’ has found that most volunteers do what they do for ideological
commitments or reasons of altruism (Georgeou 2012), rather than for monetary or symbolic
incentives. The organizational approaches typically involved in studying volunteer settings fail to
recognize the macro-ideological context in which behavior is embedded, preferring to focus
instead on socio-demographic predictors of volunteering, best practices (cf. Hager and Brudney
2004), and the like. Nonprofit organizations increasingly apply management techniques and
practices that were originally developed for the business sector (Speckbacher 2012). While these
best practices overlap with those in other types of organizations, and while some can certainly be
considered universal to formal organizations, volunteers’ ideological or altruistic commitment
fundamentally differentiates them from workers in private settings.
I argue that we need a new way of thinking about volunteering that combines the insights from
the sociology of organizations and volunteering with a nuanced appreciation for the motives of
these volunteers. Perspectives that use an incentive structure approach to study volunteering seem
misplaced in that they emphasize the rewards of volunteering over the ideological components of
it. The conventional wisdom on the practice of volunteering tends towards the organizational (for
instance, emphasizing small, achievable goals rather than broader political debate about social
ills—cf. Eliasoph 1998); the analytic literature on volunteering, while it is much more nuanced,
falls short of recognizing the truly ideological nature of volunteer commitments.
Preliminary findings suggest that volunteers are similar in important ways to other activists, both
in terms of collective identity and political motivations. Volunteers have similar needs as activists
(collective processes, introspection, etc.) that the Peace Corps, understanding itself as a
knowledge and service organization, does not meet. Lacking structures for dealing with the “big”
questions about development, service, and international relationships, volunteers experience a
decoupling of the program’s goals and what they perceive it to be doing. They resolve this
cognitive dissonance either via a) increased conservatism, in which they come to understand the
recipients of services as unworthy, or b) in a critique of the organization itself, understanding the
organization as unworthy. My paper develops a clearer theory of the effects of “on-the-ground”
workers in ideologically motivated fields that, instead of focusing on the psychological elements
of burnout, emphasizes the structural-organizational factors that act on participant ideals. My
work’s goal is to understand—in order to improve—the ways by which our social change
organizations both create and are shaped by the socially committed individuals who constitute
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Cambridge University Press.
Eliasoph, Nina. 2009. “Top-Down Civic Projects Are Not Grassroots Associations: How The
Differences Matter in Everyday Life.” VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary
and Nonprofit Organizations 20(3):291–308.
Georgeou, Nichole. 2012. Neoliberalism, Development, and Aid Volunteering. Routledge,.
Hager, Mark A., and Jeffery L. Brudney. 2004. Volunteer Management: Practices and Retention
of Volunteers. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute.
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Speckbacher, G. 2012. “The Use of Incentives in Nonprofit Organizations.” Nonprofit and
Voluntary Sector Quarterly 42(5):1006–25.
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Powers of romance: the liminal challenges of managing organizational intimacy 3
Stewart Clegg, University of Technology, Sydney
Miguel Pinha E Cunha, Nova School of Business and Economics
Natural animal instincts have been subject to a long process of civilizational control, especially of
relations in public, particularly in organizations (Elias, 2000), being regulated in terms of formal
rules of dispositional behaviours (Clegg, 1990). Elias’ The Civilizing Process (2000) identifies a
long-term trend in Western European societies toward a restriction and refinement of social
behaviour (for discussions of Elias’s work and approach, see e.g. Fletcher, 1997; Kilminster,
2007; Mennell, 1998; Smith, 2001; Van Krieken, 1998). Of necessity, these restrictions and
refinements found organizational expression, as the trickle-down effect of mimesis of those
higher in the stratification order were central to the development of an ingrained disposition (cf.
Bourdieu & Passeron, 1990) to act, think, and feel in ways characterized by greater individuation
and more empathy, that are emotionally controlled, curbed, and refined, better capable to
postpone immediate gratifications.
While Elias’ focus was largely on the organizations of courtly society and the complex rules
dictating its etiquette, we wish to look instead at the more mundane world of work. In modern
times, for reasons of task interdependence, organizations have required both the physical and
organizational proximity of workers. Physical proximity is defined as “the probability of people
being in the same location during the same period of time” (Monge & Kirste 1980, p. 110), while
organizational proximity is “the extent to which people in an organization share the same physical
locations at the same time providing an opportunity or psychological obligation to engage in faceto-face communication” (Monge, Rothman, Eisenberg, Miller & Kirste, 1985, p. 1133). Thus
defined, opportunity and psychological obligation for interpersonal relations are outcomes of
Modern organization, by and large, have increasingly defined relations at work as a sphere of
action in which lapsing into gestures or expressions embodying any hint of sexual relations with
another are liable to cause both offence and shame, being seen, especially when initiated by an
older and more senior person, especially a male towards a female, as an inappropriate use of a
position of power. (The recent trials of show business identities for behaviours that they argued
were entirely acceptable in the context in which they occurred, or were false accusations, are a
case in point as would be the depiction of sexual mores in the pre-feminist setting of the drama
Mad Men.) Especially with the growth of modern feminist mores, self-consciousness has
increasingly been called for in the form of a quasi-automatic self-discipline and foresight. Such
self-discipline became also patently more all-round, more stable, and more differentiated,
occurring during the course of the twentieth century’s “loosening of manners and morals” in a
controlled decontrolling of emotional controls” (Elias & Dunning, 1986, p. 44; for a critical
The title alludes to PiL’s “Flowers of Romance”.
discussion, see Newton, 1998). Urges and impulses came to be more effectively subordinated to
the requirements of increasingly intricate and differentiated social relationships that lead to and
resulted from lengthening chains of social interdependence, Elias concludes.
Physical proximity has historically always been important to the regulation of social regulations.
Duerr (1988, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2002; also see Burkitt, 1996; Mennell & Goudsblom, 1997)
argues that the late Middle Ages were more restrained in their behaviour than the early modern
and modern era because people lived so close to each other, such that everyone could see, hear,
smell what the other was doing. Certainly, the rise of more privatized domestic space from the
early days of industrial capitalism (Engels, 1845/1977) saw an improvement and refinement of
domestic proximities such that the conduct of private lives became more feasible – at least for the
propertied and middle classes. Organizational work, especially in industrial settings such as
factories, remained largely based on proximity and interdependence (although, with the
emergence of digitally enabled postmodern organization, these conditions are obviously
changing, leading to a concern with the management of Facebook and other social media). Not
surprisingly, organizations have been at the forefront of regulating sexual relations.
In this paper, the research question that we pose asks how organizations cope with sexual
relations as they are expressed within the sphere of organizational formal power relations. We
address this question in a number of ways. We start by very briefly analysing why the topic is
important. Second, we argue that the sexual relationships of workers, mainly inside but
sometimes outside the organization, came becameinto play as relevant matters for control from a
managerial perspective. Next, we suggest that typical approaches to the management of romance
and sex in the workplace solve some problems while potentially opening up others. As pointed
out by Clegg and Baumeler (2010), in a world of rapid change and flow, categories and
classifications are viscous rather than rigid, a viscosity that has implications for the process
dynamics that flow from the application of the categories delineated. Researchers should be
aware of the formal rules but need also to look at the liminal spaces in which problematic,
nuanced processes incubate, challenging the usual rules and clear-cut categories, precipitating
organizational change.
Bourdieu, P. & Passeron, J-C. (1990). Reproduction in education, Society, and Culture. 2nd ed.
London: Sage.
Burkitt, I. (1996). Civilization and ambivalence. British Journal of Sociology 47(1), 135-50.
Clegg, S. R. & Baumeler, C. (2010). Essai: From iron cages to liquid modernity in organization
analysis. Organization Studies, 31(12), 1713–1733
Clegg, S. R. (1990). Modern organizations: organization studies in a postmodern world. London:
Duerr, H. P. (1988). Der Mythos vom Zivilisationsprozess: Nacktheit und Scham. Frankfurt a/M:
Duerr, H. P. (1990). Der Mythos vom Zivilisationsprozess: Intimität. Frankfurt a/M: Suhrkamp.
Duerr, H. P. (1993). Der Mythos vom Zivilisationsprozess: Obszönität und Gewalt. Frankfurt
a/M: Suhrkamp.
Duerr, H. P. (1997). Der Mythos vom Zivilisationsprozess: Der erotische Leib. Frankfurt a/M:
Duerr, H. P. (2002). Der Mythos vom Zivilisationsprozess: Die Tatsachen des Lebens. Frankfurt
a/M: Suhrkamp.
Elias, N, & Dunning, E. (1986). Quest for excitement: sport and leisure in the civilizing process.
Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Elias, N. (2000). The civilizing process: Sociogenetic and psychogenetic investigations Oxford:
Engels, F. E. (1845/1977) The Condition of the Working Class in England. London: Progress
Fletcher, J. (1997). Violence and civilization: an introduction to the work of Norbert Elias.
Cambridge: Polity.
Kilminster, R. (2007). Norbert Elias: post-philosophical sociology. London: Routledge.
Mennell, S. & Goudsblom, H. (1997). ‘Civilizing processes-myth or reality?’ Comparative
Studies in Society and History 39(4),729-733.
Mennell, S. (1998). Norbert Elias: an introduction. Dublin: University College Dublin Press.
Monge, P. R. & Kirste, K. K. (1980). Measuring proximity in human organizations. Social
Psychology Quarterly 43,110-115.
Monge, P., Rothman, L. W., Eisenberg, E. M., Miller, K. E., & Kirste, K. K. (1985). ‘The
dynamics of organizational proximity’. Management Science 31, 1129-1141.
Newton, T. (1998). An historical sociology of emotion? In G. Bendelow & S. Williams (Eds.),
Emotions in social life: social theories and contemporary issues (pp. 60-80). London:
Smith, D. (2001). Norbert Elias and modern social theory. London: Sage.
Van Krieken, R. (1998). Norbert Elias: key sociologist. London: Routledge.
“We are following and supporting you!”:
Fan communities and Artists: A gift-based regulation
Alya Mlaiki, Catholic University of Lyon
The music market has experienced a significant upheaval in recent years and this happened,
especially since the advent of social networking sites (SNS). Indeed, the music industry has been
transformed. This change occurred both in artistic projects’ funding and communication. We
then, observed the tremendous growth of “crowdfunding” approach, which takes place in order to
ask the “crowd” to participate to the funding of several projects. It transpired that this process was
beneficial for artists who tend to remain self-sufficient and independent from a major company.
It is obvious that the success of such an approach (crowdfunding or even crowdsourcing) depends
largely on the community engagement and implication. It also depends on the social ties created
and maintained between the artist and its community (fans).
Some researchers have demonstrated that the use of social networking sites is more and more
important in promoting art projects and creating social ties (social capital also) between the artists
and their fans (Beuscart 2008; Beuscart and Crowned 2009 , Crescent and Touboul , 2011). We
think that it would be interesting and relevant to study how do people engage in such an
approach and how do they develop social ties mediated by social networking sites? It means
that we are interested in the regulation mechanisms that create value from SNS based exchanges.
In order to respond to our research question, we will focus, in this paper, on “gift theory” which
was developed by Marcel Mauss (2007) and applied in several researches in order to understand
collective dynamics such as cooperation within organizations (Alter, 2002; 2009). We think that
this theoretical canvas may explain not only the continuance of usage of SNS (Mlaiki, 2012;
Mlaiki et al., 2013) but also the durability of a community and its involvement in collective
projects. We then support the idea that this theoretical grid could perfectly be applied on the case
of fandom.
For this project, we hope to set up a mixed-methods based research since we will start with an
exploratory qualitative approach and then perform a complementary quantitative study that would
allow us to expand our spectrum and to get some additional elements to respond to our research
A qualitative study will help us to understand how artists and fans communicate
within social networking sites based on the gift theory canvas. It will help us to
identify how do they create social ties (virtual, mediated and real social ties), the
consequences of applying such a theory on this context and especially when we are
talking about crowdfunding.
A quantitative research would help us to expand the results of our qualitative phase
and to get a better understanding of how do artists create “mediated social ties”
(Mlaiki et al., 2013) on SNS and how do they profit from this social capital (how do
they transform it to a valuable asset).
Alter N., (2002), «Théorie du don et sociologie du monde du travail», Revue du MAUSS, 2, n° 2,
pp. 263-285.
Alter N., (2009), Donner et prendre, la coopération en entreprise, La Découverte, Paris.
Bergquist M., Ljungberg J., (2001), «The power of gifts: organizing social relationships in open
source communities», Information Systems Journal, 11, n° 4, Blackwell Science Ltd, pp.
Beuscart, J.-S., (2008), «Sociabilité en ligne, notoriété virtuelle et carrières artistiques: les usages
de Myspace par les musiciens autoproduits», Réseaux, 6, n°152, pp. 139-168
Beuscart J.-S., Couronné T., (2009), «La distribution de la notoriété artistique en ligne: une
analyse quantitative de Myspace», Terrains & travaux, 1, n° 15, pp. 147-170.
Croissant V., Touboul A., (2011), «Le multimédia ou le langage des sociabilités numériques.
L‘exemple de la communication des artistes sur les réseaux sociaux numériques», Les
Enjeux de l‘information et de la communication, (Dossier 2011), pp.1-10.
Mauss M., (2007), Essai sur le don: forme et raison de l’échange dans les sociétés archaïques,
PUF, 1ère édition: [1923-1924].
Mlaiki A., (2012), « Compréhension de la continuité d’utilisation des réseaux sociaux
numériques : les apports de la théorie du don », Université Paris-Dauphine, disponible
au :
Mlaiki, A., Walsh I., Kalika M., (2013), “Computer-Mediated Social Ties as Predictors of SNS
Usage Continuance”, Proceedings of International Conference on Information Systems,
Wiatrowski, M., “The Dynamics of Fandom: Exploring Fan Communities in Online
Communities_in_Online_Spaces, retrieved on January 26th 2014.
Track 5 - Performativity and rules
Bernard Leca (Université Paris-Dauphine)
Room: 118
The arenas of performativity: designing and negotiating the socio-materiality of
economic innovations within platforms
Franck Aggeri, CGS, MINES ParisTech
Mélodie Cartel, CGS, MINES ParisTech
In the economic literature, markets are traditionally seen as natural settings or as the product of
engineering efforts to design market devices according to economic principles. Carbon markets
with their innovative rules on tradeable permit exchange, is a typical example of the latter.
According to this worldview, roles in society should be divided as follows: economists imagine
new sustainable economic models; Public authorities create the institutions necessary to enact
such models; and economic agents comply with the new economic order.
This classical view is now challenged by a growing body of literature that study the making of
markets and the socio-material arrangements that make them thinkable and manageable. In a
dynamic perspective, markets are no longer taken as fixed regulative instruments but mere as ongoing experiments based on specific socio-material agencements (Callon, 2009). Rational
representation of action doesn't account for the intricate mechanisms and the plurality of actors
involved in the on-going adjustment of a theoretical statement that support the design of new
market rules (MacKenzie, 2003; 2004; 2006; Mac MacKenzie and Millo, 2003; Muniesa and
Callon, 2008). It is possible to identify empirically specific spaces where the adjustment between
theoretical models of society and their possible managerial declination is organized (Cartel, 2013;
Latour, 1987; Muniesa, 2003). In these spaces, heterogeneous actors design and negotiate the
socio-material arrangements of economic innovations. Experimentation plays a central role in
such processes (Guala, 2005; 2007).
Muniesa and Callon (2007) have proposed three ideal-typical configurations of experimentation
or places that take part in performation processes. One of them, the platform, has been
conceptualized by these authors as a calculative agency where ideas, projects and interests are
confronted and hybridized, as a way to induce "robust compromise". During the experimental
moments that characterize performation processes, platforms become arenas of design and power
where actors defend individual strategies and become progressively able to build a collective
project. The aim of this paper is to analyze the role of platform as a key regulating device for
market creation. It is achieved by analyzing the different socio-material mechanisms whereby
economic innovations are designed, tested and negotiated. Based on an original empirical
material on carbon markets creation, we focus on the experimentations that took place within
these platforms and their effects on the design and negotiation of new market rules.
Our research is based on the comparison of three cases studies which represent three different
platforms that arose during the making of carbon markets. In these platforms, major stakeholders
gathered to revised economic theory and negotiated the design of carbon markets. The public
authorities, the players of the industry, the utilities, the financial sector and NGO's didn't share the
same projects, ideas and interests as regard carbon markets but engaged in collective
experimentations. Each of them developed an original view on carbon markets: the role they
should play, the design they should have. Nevertheless, only one of them was successfully
institutionalized. Its design perfectly matched with the EU-ETS design, i.e. the carbon market
directive that was put into place in 2004.
Surprisingly, this experimentation was erased from official records ; economic textbook keeping
on claiming that carbon markets are perfect illustrations of the performativity of economic
science (Convery, 2009). In the paper, we analyze the mechanisms by which this experimentation
took place, how it eventually cristallized into an institutional setting, while others did not, and
why this experiment has been purposefully erased although it proved to be highly performative.
Based on this case, we discuss the role of invisible platforms in which experimentations based on
specific socio-material arrangements take place and perform market regulation. A conceptual
model of materiality-based regulation is then proposed where on three on-going activities
(testing, negotiating and valuating).
Callon, M. 2009. « Civilizing markets: Carbon trading between in vitro and in vivo experiments».
Accounting, Organizations and Society 34 (3-4): 535-548.
Cartel, Mélodie. 2013. « The making of institutions: carbon markets as managerial
experimentation fields ». PhD dissertation. Paris: Ecole National Supérieure des Mines de
Convery, Frank J. 2009. « Origins and Development of the EU ETS ». Environmental and
Resource Economics 43 (3): 391-412.
Crocker, Thomas D. 1966. « The structuring of atmospheric pollution control systems ». In The
Economics of Air Pollution, WW Norton, 61-86. New York: Harold Wolozin.
Guala, Francesco. 2005. The methodology of experimental economics. Cambridge, RU:
Cambridge University Press. 12
Achieving II performativity across EU national legal domains and practices: the
challenge of e-CODEX
Marco Velicogna, IRSIG-CNR
What does it entails building an Information Infrastructure that is performative across European
Union Member States Judicial domains? Justice systems are highly regulated networks of actors,
organizations and technologies. The norms that govern the actions (including the use of any kind
of artifact) and the legal effect of such actions are specific to each justice domain. Failure in
complying with the rule has consequences, typically resulting in the effects of the action being
null and void for the judicial procedure. This paper discusses the challenges of developing and
assembling e-CODEX (e-Justice Communication via Online Data EXchange) information
infrastructure, an EU cofunded Large Scale Pilot project, which is allowing legally valid crossborder exchange of information and documents in real cross-border procedures in a number of
pilot cases.
Extended abstract
What does it entails building an Information Infrastructure that is performative across European
Union Member States Judicial domains? With the term preformative I refer to the fact that the
communication exchange which takes place is not passively describing but it changes the social
order it is describing and re-establishes relations between individuals and organizations within a
legal order (Velicogna 2014a, Mohr & Contini 2011).
A justice system is a highly regulated network of actors, organizations and technologies. An
apparently simple act such as the signature of a document, to be legally valid and therefore be
able to perform its function within a specific procedure, may be subject to a number of formal
requirements, such as taking place in a specific place, at the presence of specific individuals and
be validated through specific actions, such as the identification of the signer through ID card
checking, or the checking, in case of a lawyer signing in his quality of lawyer, that he/she fulfills
the requirements to practice at the moment when the action takes place (e.g. not being
suspended). In this domain, procedures to be followed are described and prescribed by the law
and regulations. Technologies, to be used, needs to be provided for in terms of features,
modalities of use, and performativity of the result of the use. Failure in complying with the rule
has consequences, typically resulting in the effects of the action being null and void for the
judicial procedure.
Even in EU regulated cross-border procedures, cross border judicial communication implies the
crossing from one National legal domain to another. Each legal domain has its specific rules, only
part of them standardized by EU-level norms. Furthermore, judicial actors tend to interpret
national and EU norms within the reference framework provided by the specific judicial domain
in which they operate. The challenge is therefore two fold: allow judicial ICT applications
developed and operating within specific judicial domains to communicate one-another and, at the
same time, ensure that the communication is legally valid in the receiving legal domain.
e-CODEX (e-Justice Communication via Online Data EXchange) is the EU project that has
accepted and is now confronting the challenge. E-CODEX goal is to “Improve the cross-border
access of citizens and businesses to legal means in Europe as well as to improve the
interoperability between legal authorities within the EU”. With partners from 22 countries,
several being or representing national Ministries of Justice and including the Council of Bars and
Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and the Council of Notaries of the EU (CNUE) and an overall
budget of 24M € and its key role in the e-Delivery convergence plan of the EU, it is indeed a
relevant case to be discussed.
The result so far has been on the one hand the development of an e-delivery infrastructure for the
‘technical’ transmission and ‘certification’ of documents from one MS to another. This includes
the ‘translation’ of specific information from submitting national standard to e-CODEX to
receiving national standard and notification of transmission events according to both submitting
and receiving national legal requirement. The e-delivery infrastructure is based on a
connector/gateway structure assembled from existing and partially developed building blocks (see
Figure 1 e-CODEX components and functions (Source: Velicogna 2014b)
Sending eCM
Receiving eCM
Transport Info
Extracts from eBMS3.0
• Checks Trust-OK token
• Transforms from e-CODEX
to National standards
• Creates
documents (pdf,
XML, other
• Sends
Establishes connection
Formats to eBMS3.0
• Receives
• Elaborates
• Adds Trust-OK token
• Transforms to
e-CODEX standards
On the other it has involved the creation of a legal layer, the so called ‘Circle of Trust
Agreement’, supporting the legal performativity of the communication exchange, and of an
organization layer needed to deal with the organizational complexity of the services provision.
Interestingly enough, the development and piloting of e-CODEX is also challenging national
practices and interpretations of the norms, resulting also in changes to national norms and
Mohr, R., and F. Contini (2011). Reassembling the legal: ‘The wonders of modern science’ in
court related proceedings. Griffith Law Review 20(4): 994–1019.
Velicogna, M. (2014a). The Making of Pan-European Infrastructure: From the Schengen
Information System to the European Arrest Warrant. In Contini, F. Lanzara, G.F. (eds.)
The Circulation of Agency in E-Justice (pp. 185-215). Springer Netherlands.
Velicogna, M. (2014b). Coming to Terms with Complexity Overload in Transborder e-Justice:
The e-CODEX Platform. In Contini, F. Lanzara, G.F. (eds.) The Circulation of Agency in
E-Justice (pp. 309-330). Springer Netherlands.
How to perform rules that do not exist?
A socio-material perspective on the unrealized creation of rules in a social
Philippe Eynaud, Institut d’Administration des Entreprises, Paris
Damien Mourey, Institut d’Administration des Entreprises, Paris
Nathalie Raulet-Croset, Ecole Polytechnique
1. Introduction
The most visible part of an open and wide social movement relates to its mobilizing activities and
framing processes to engender mass resistance (Benford & Snow, 2000). Yet, a social movement
is also characterized by a recursive relationship between mobilizing (front stage) and organizing
(back stage) activities (Haug, 2013). Admittedly, the formal and structural components of social
movement organizations are rather elusive and scarce: their militants explicitly emphasize the
egalitarian, horizontal, democratic and transparent way of making decision and taking action.
They also like to pride themselves on not being similar to any existing organizational form (Rao,
Morrill, & Zald, 2000) and they often vow to disappear when their mission will have been
fulfilled. Moreover, the emergence of on-line enabled resistance activities (social network, e-mail
lists, websites) and of on-line social spaces has reinforced the trend toward lightweight formal
organizational features in social movements. However, the lack of hierarchy, formal and explicit
rules do not preclude that other modes of regulations are effectively enacted in these
organizations to enable coordination and control both locally and globally. Breaking away from a
dualistic approach that would oppose formal to informal rules or global to local dimensions of
regulation, we seek to explore the modes of regulations of these organizations from a sociomaterial perspective.
2. Theoretical framework and main argument
The concept of joint social regulation elaborated by Reynaud (Reynaud, 1979, 1988) combines
two apparently contradictory and complex phenomena that coexist in organizations - those of
control and autonomy – and focuses on their interplay that fosters the dynamic creation of rules.
On the one hand, social regulations seek to build a social order through control mechanisms and
procedures but, on the other hand, social actors never really get fully imprisoned within these
constraining frameworks. They negotiate permanently and their actions can also be viewed as
responses to these constraints. Social actors still exercise different degrees of autonomy through
negotiation and their ability to increase gradually their leeway. Reynaud studies forms of control
that spread across an organization and his thinking opposes control-based rules (that originate
from management, are based on hierarchical power and go down from the top to the bottom of
any organization) to autonomous rules that get produced locally by groups of workers themselves.
This approach goes beyond a dual perspective that would merely oppose global to local
dimensions of regulation. It indeed shows that the combination of different forms of legitimacy –
one that would be rational-legal and others that would point to more specific and scattered forms
of legitimacy – produces these local and more informal regulations. This theoretical perspective
on control and regulation that makes way both for local emergence and global control seems
rather appealing to study a particular type of organizations: those claiming a hierarchy free mode
of organizing that limits as much as possible control-based rules (derived from a rational-legal
form of legitimacy) and their determination to grant their members a maximum of autonomy.
Such organizations exist in particular in social movements. In this paper, we explore the nature of
control in these organizations by drawing on a case study method. In particular we seek to
investigate the role of tools (such as e-mail lists, websites, etc…) as carriers of regulations that
are both control oriented and autonomous. We demonstrate that the functioning of this
organization relies on a set of tools revolving around the uses of information systems. These tools
induce forms of regulations both at a global and local level. and develop a form of "material
agency". Material agency can be defined as “the capacity for non-human entities to act on their
own, apart from human intervention” (Leonardi, 2011), through their performativity (Pickering
1995). Scholars have demonstrated that human agency and material agency interact (Pickering,
1995; Orlikowski, 2000; Orlikowski, 2005; Leonardi, 2011), and influence themselves
reciprocally. Information systems have then an agency which appears locally and contribute to
autonomous and control-based regulations. We argue that the global functioning of the
organization is based on these multiplicity of autonomous regulations which are developed
through these information systems.
3. Case study
RESF (Réseau Education Sans Frontières) is a social movement organization defending
undocumented migrant pupils in France. Its members advocate an egalitarian, horizontal and
transparent way of making decision internally (no spokesperson, no hierarchy, possibility offered
to anyone to become a member through open on-line registration to existing e-mail lists etc…).
This goes hand in hand with the constitutive and founding choice of developing social spaces
through on-line spaces (such as an informative website, and dozens of rather autonomous and
loosely coupled e-mail lists hosted on a server lent by an independent and critical media
organization). When dealing with a specific undocumented migrant pupil under the threat of an
administrative expulsion, its militants resort to diverse and far-reaching mobilization activities:
research of a national coverage, primacy given to fieldwork activities and to the collective ability
to respond to fast evolving situations, trigger of blitz and symbolic operations, open letters to
politicians, strategic uses of media and a taste in staging resistance actions having a high media
impact. They then pursue two complementary objectives: engendering massive mobilization at
specific and crucial moments to increase pressure on governmental authorities and representatives
and resisting the discursive processes relayed by ublic authorities justifying their administrative
actions in the name of the law.
Though its members are not digital native individuals and possess very limited skills at using
Information and Communication Technologies, they nonetheless all have learnt how to use
effectively e-mail lists, web sites and social media both for mobilizing and organizing purposes
(Kavada, 2009). Thus, RESF can explore the links between social media and public space (Juris,
2012). RESF is also a lightweight organization: they do not engage in routine work that could
make them predictable, they do not accept any financial contribution, they refuse expertise and
experts, there is no hierarchy, formal rules can be counted on the fingers on one hand, there is no
screening procedure for registering new members to any existing email list. Yet, such lightweight
organizations are made up of few informal rules, tools, objects and material as well as on-line
social spaces.
Benford R.D., Snow, D.A, 2000, Framing process and social movements: an overview and
assessment, Annual Review Of Sociology, 26, 611‐639.
Haug, C. 2013.Organizing Spaces: Meeting Arenas As a Social Movement Infrastructure between
Organization, Network, and Institution. Organization Studies, 34(5/6):705–732.
Juris, J.S. 2012. Reflections on Occupy Everywhere: Social media, public space, and emerging
logics of aggregation. American Ethnologist, 39(2): 259–279.
MULTIFACETED IDENTITY. Information, Communication & Society, 12(6): 817–839.
Leonardi, P. M. (2011), "When flexible routines meet flexible technologies: affordance,
constraint, and the imbrication of human and material agencies", MIS Quarterly, Vol. 35
No. 1, pp. 147-168.
Orlikowski, W. J. (2000), "Using technology and constituting structures: A practice lens for
studying technology in organizations", Organization Science, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 404-428.
Orlikowski, Wanda J. (2005) "Material Works: Exploring the Situated Entanglement of
Technological Performativity and Human Agency," Scandinavian Journal of Information
Systems: Vol. 17: Iss. 1, Article 6.
Pickering, A. (1995), The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency, and Science, University of Chicago
Press, Chicago.
Rao, H., Morrill, C., & Zald, M. N. 2000. Power plays: how social movements And collective
action create new organizational forms. Research in organizational behavior, 22: 237–28.
Reynaud J. D. 1979, «Conflit et regulation sociale: Esquisse d'une théorie de la regulation
conjointe», Revue française de sociologie, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Apr.‐ Jun), pp. 367‐376.
Reynaud J.D.1988, « Les regulations dans les organisations: Régulation De contrôle et regulation
autonome », Revue Française de sociologie, Vol. 29, No. 1, Travail: D'Autres Jalons
Track 6 - Routines, nations and regulations
Markus Becker (Odense University)
Room: 208
Rules, routines and disruptions in the Dutch railways
Thijs Willems, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
How do organizations standardize and regulate their performances whilst facing a rapidly
changing world? Addressing this question, a great deal of organization scholars has recently
focused on the role of routines, as “the building blocks of organizations” (Becker, 2008: 3), in
organizations and processes of organizing. Whereas organizational routines have long been seen
as institutionalized and standardized ways of doing things to reduce, control and coordinate
organizational complexity (Nelson & Winter, 1982), lately the conceptualization of routines has
shifted our attention to the internal dynamics of routines, and their flexible and emergent
character (Feldman, 2000; Feldman & Pentland, 2003). Following a practice-ontology, routines
can be said to have two ‘parts’: one resembling routines as structures and one resembling routines
as action. The ostensive part, concerned with structure, is the abstract idea or understanding of a
routine, whereas the performative part is the concrete routine in practice, an effortful
accomplishment that is always, to some extent, improvisational (Feldman & Pentland, 2003). Or,
rather, this performative part is a form of regulated improvisation (Bourdieu, 1990), “carried out
against a background of rules and expectations” (Feldman & Pentland, 2003: 102) but, in
adapting to changing contexts, “always, to some extent, novel” (ibidem).
The role of rules and artifacts in the emergence of organizational routines is still rather
underexplored (D’Adderio, 2011). Rules can be seen as normative means for organizations to
reduce variability in human behavior in order to make organizational goals more predictable
(Jackson & Adams, 1979). However, whether rules prescribe behavior or whether they merely
describe a possible course of action for organizational actors remains heavily debated (see, for
example: Becker, 2005; D’Adderio, 2008; Reynaud, 2005). Rules, especially when inscribed in
material objects and technologies, are according to D’Adderio (2008) both prescriptive and
descriptive, but mostly they are performative: they (try to) impose a worldview on others. But this
is not exclusively a managerial matter, as all organizational actors can somehow change the
course of a routine “by selecting which aspects of a routine to perform at a given time, and how to
perform them” (Howard-Grenville, 2005: 635). Rules are thus always put to use by actors in their
specific context.
Ordering devices (rules, plans, procedures) are ubiquitous in complex organizations, especially
for organizations that routinely have to deal with unexpected events. However, the relationship
between ordering devices and unexpected events is a paradoxical one. They have to provide
stability in order to control the unexpected, while controlling in turn is only possible if rules and
the routines in which they are inscribed can be put to use flexibly in order to be able to improvise
on the uniqueness of the unexpected (Weick & Sutcliffe, 2007). In other words, the unexpected
cannot be planned completely. In her book about plans and situated actions, Suchman (2007)
argues that ordering devices such as mentioned above, should be understood as an artifact rather
than as prescriptive representations. It is of great importance to study how, for example, rules are
being put to use by organizational actors, as this might reveal how “the heterogeneous practices
through which specific ordering devices are materialized, mobilized, and contested, at particular
times and places, with varying effects” (Suchman, 2007: 187). Or, in Weick & Sutcliffe’s terms,
we should not only study how people anticipate the unexpected (thinking and then acting), but
rather how people in the face of chaos “act while thinking or act in order to think more clearly”
(2007: 81, emphasis added).
In this paper I explore the relationships between ordering devices, routines and disruptions in the
context of the Dutch railway system. More specifically, how ordering devices, such as rules and
plans, are being put to use by train and traffic controllers. Basically, train and traffic controllers
are responsible for making the train schedule work according to the plan. Train controllers are
responsible for routing trains through railway stations, making them arrive and leave the
designated platforms on time. Traffic controllers manage trains on a larger scale; they are
responsible for (re)routing trains between stations and managing delays and disruptions in order
to prevent other trains from queuing up.
As a part of a larger ethnographic study in the Dutch railway system I observed and interviewed
train and traffic controllers in order to understand how they routinely manage disruptions, and
what role ordering devices play in their tasks. A first and preliminary analysis of my data shows
the contingent nature of rules and plans to the situation at hand. I distinguish three different kinds
of disruptions, and how controllers use rules and plans in their routines to manage disruptions.
Firstly, when no disruptions occurred, controllers basically were only controlling and monitoring
the system, as the plan was being executed without any deviations. Secondly, for minor
disruptions, controllers were busy to align the plan and the situation outside. This was done by i)
managing the disruption in such a way that it would resemble as closely as possible the plan, and
ii) by updating the plan to make it resemble the situation outside. Thirdly, large disruptions
revealed how the work of train and traffic controllers took on a form of ‘bricolage’ (Yanow &
Tsoukas, 2009), by improvising towards the situation at hand through combining those rules,
plans, routines, materials and other organizational actors available to the controller at that specific
time. It shows how rules, plans and other ordering devices are, in the context of disruptions,
pragmatically being put to use by organizational actors in their routines, how they were
sometimes contested or even discarded because they were effectively counterproductive, and how
ordering devices can serve as a springboard to ‘act while thinking’.
Becker, M.C. (2008). Handbook of organizational routines. Edward Elgar Publishing.
Becker, M. C. (2005). The concept of routines: Some clarifications. Cambridge Journal of
Economics, 29(2): 249-262.
Bourdieu, P. (1990). The logic of practice. Stanford University Press.
D’Adderio, L. (2008). The performativity of routines: Theorising the influence of artefacts and
distributed agencies on routines dynamics. Research Policy, 37(5): 769-789.
D’Adderio, L. (2011). Artifacts at the centre of routines: Performing the material turn in routines
theory. Journal of Institutional Economics, 7(2): 197-230.
Feldman, M. S. (2000). Organizational routines as a source of continuous change. Organization
science, 11(6): 611-629.
Feldman, M. S., & Pentland, B. T. (2003). Reconceptualizing organizational routines as a source
of flexibility and change. Administrative Science Quarterly, 48(1): 94-118.
Howard-Grenville, J.A. (2005). The persistence of flexible organizational routines: The role of
agency and organizational context. Organization Science, 16(6): 618-636.
Jackson, J.H., Adams, S.W. (1979). The life cycle of rules. Academy of Management Review,
4(2): 269-273.
Nelson, R. R., Sidney, W. (1982). An evolutionary theory of economic change. Cambridge:
Reynaud, B. (2005). The void at the heart of rules: routines in the context of rule-following. The
case of the Paris Metro Workshop. Industrial and Corporate Change, 14(5), 847-871.
Suchman, L.A. (2007). Human-machine reconfigurations. Plans and situated actions (2nd
edition). Cambridge University Press.
Weick, K.E., & Sutcliffe, K.M. (2007). Managing the unexpected: Resilient performance in an
age of uncertainty.
Organizational Learning in the Implementation & Adoption of National Electronic
Health Records Systems in Hospitals in England
Amirhossein Takian, Brunel University
Electronic health record (EHR), evaluation, Implementation, Adoption, Methodology, Case
study, Sociotechnical changing, organizational learning
There are now very substantial investments being made in electronic health record (EHR)
systems across the world, many of which now have regional or national dimensions. As the
essential building-block of England’s historical National Programme for IT (NPfIT), the National
Health Service’s EHR aimed to provide every patient in England with a cradle-to-grave EHR. At
an estimated cost of $20billion, NPfIT has been one of the most expensive and ambitious
politically-driven IT-based transformations of public services ever attempted.
Our research
We were an established team of academics and clinicians based in four universities and two NHS
hospitals across the UK4. We were commissioned by England’s Department of Health (DH) to
conduct the world’s first independent, longitudinal, socio-technical and mixed-method evaluation
of the implementation of national EHR systems. As such, and given the substantial focus on
international EHRs, as well as the need to learn from the past and on going endeavours to
implement and evaluate EHRs, our experiences will, we hope, contribute original insights that
will be relevant to the now broad array of colleagues who are engaged in initiatives to evaluate
the implementation of EHRs into hospital settings, here in the UK and globally.
Aims of this contribution
The aims of this workshop contribution are to share and discuss the organizational insights,
findings, and reflections drawn from our national evaluation (commenced in September 2008 and
ending in March 2011).
Structure of the Presentation
Tailored to the scope and aims of OAP workshop, three inter-related dimensions of our
evaluation will be presented, which will provide delegates with some authoritative and in-depth
insights into the English EHR and the nature of its national evaluation. The presenter will set the
scene of hospital EHR systems as part of NPfIT and present overall organizational-related
findings from 12 first-wave adopters from across England. Key themes will be considered
together with the main policy implications of these findings.
The second part of the presentation will describe the process of designing a national-scale study
for evaluating the implementation and adoption of EHR systems. This section will reflect on the
methodological challenges inherent in undertaking such large-scale evaluations. The evolving
methodology employed by our multidisciplinary research will be described, and policy
implications of such methodological adaptation to undertake the evaluation will be discussed.
The last section will compare findings from two of 12 in-depth case studies that were conducted
in this evaluation, in greater depth. This will report a concurrent, in-situ and real-time evaluation
of the arrival of identical EHR software at two NHS hospitals. In doing so, the researcher will
explore various stakeholders’ perceptions of EHR and their consequent behaviors, with greater
focus on organizational learning that was experienced as a result of sequential implementation of
EHR. This section intends to provide a detailed narrative of the adoption (or non adoption) of
EHR in context, through the lens of a socio-technical and performative ontology that was
explained in the 2nd part of presentation
Trials of explicitness in the formulation of a fee system: The case of the nuclear
waste program in the United States
Başak Saraç, Ecole des Mines ParisTech
By the very end of the 1970s, the Carter Administration announced that the federal government
would undertake a national nuclear waste program, which would also include nuclear waste
generated by the civilian nuclear power. The national policy is founded on the principle of
“polluter pays”, which requires making the generations using electricity produced from nuclear
energy financially responsible for the nuclear waste program. Looking from outside, the policy
principle appears to resolve the temporal distribution of responsibility. However, once
empirically explored, we see that making the present generations financially responsible for a
long-term nuclear waste program confronts the federal government and its agencies to several
moral, technical and political questions. In order to operationalize the policy principle, they enter
into a long process of formulation of a fee system, which requires many trials, adjustments, fine
calculations, displacements in order to “accurately” distribute responsibility, while constituting
the responsible publics by defining what would be qualified as a “fair” distribution. Here, what I
mean by formulation, is not the fabrication of a mathematical formula, but the articulation of a
continuous process of arrangements, requiring the organization of a grammar of responsibilities,
the crafting of a justified fee, in an effort to make parties and qualities hold together (Callon
Using a “simple” cost calculation method distributing financial responsibility sounds easy, but
different morals and politics can be inscribed in the calculation, while different responsible
publics can be inscribed in the calculation method: For which period the fee should be calculated?
Which materiality of waste generated by different technologies should be accounted for? Should
the fee be “uniform”, flattening different material properties of spent nuclear fuel produced by
different types of reactors having different physical efficiency levels, or not? Should the
government calculate separate fees for different services? Should the calculation be based on the
volume of nuclear waste produced or be converted into number of kilowatt-hours of electricity
that generated the waste? When should the utilities pay for the service provided by the federal
government: As soon as the electricity is generated? Once waste arrive at the disposal site? Or in
between the two? Each of these questions are crucial and these micro-questions address moral,
technical and political issues, even though the calculation method remains the same.
For exploring the formulation of the fee system, I will concentrate on the financial, political, legal
“trials of explicitness” that the fee system underwent throughout its thirty-five years of career.
According to Muniesa and Linhardt (2011) the notion of “trials of explicitness” corresponds to
the ordinary idea of being called to make an explicit statement about something that was at first
formulated in rather loose terms. According to Muniesa, the notion is particularly relevant during
the moments of implementation, the operationalization of a project, a reform, a policy, an
algorithm (2011). Linhardt and Muniesa (2011) insist that the notion also recalls the idea of
explication, which is related to the idea of “deploying, unfolding, opening up”, contrary to the
idea of “folding, or of complicating”. The authors also underline that a call for explicitness
generates « grey areas », which results in the discovery of new issues, and eventually produces
« controversies about what is exactly what is to be made explicit and how “. The research
empirically draws on; the official governmental and legislative documents produced during the
initial formulation of the fee system, the annual fee assessments conducted by the federal
agencies as soon as the fee started to be collected, as well as several litigations submitted to
federal courts questioning the formulation of the fee, covering a period of thirty five years.
Through a pragmatist approach to the formulation of the fee, the research hopes contributing to
the debate about undertaking action under uncertainty. Sociologists, philosophers and economists
address the question of acting under uncertainty mainly as an issue of making high-level policy
decisions. Some argue that the action should be undertaken in “the present” (Ackerman and
Heinzerling 2002) others argued that it should be undertaken in “the future” (Viscusi 2001), some
explore “third way” temporal arrangements (Gollier 2012) for decision-making under uncertainty,
while another stream of literature concentrates on the reversible or irreversible character of the
action to be undertaken (Callon et al. 2001, Barthe 2006). The empirical exploration here shows
that even when the action is undertaken in the present, the trials of explicitness constantly
reconfigure the temporal distribution of responsibility, redefining what is “the future” and what is
“the present”. In this sense, the research underlines the importance of focusing on the continuous
process of formulation of responsibility in action, rather than pre-categorizing the action in
categorical or a consequentialist morality, by only focusing on its initial policy definition.
Ackerman, F., Heinzerling, L. (2002). Pricing the Priceless. The cost benefit analysis of
environmental protection. Georgetown Environmental Law and Policy Institute.
Barthe, Y. (2006). La pouvoir d’indécision. La mise en politique des déchets nucléaires.
Callon, M. (2009). Postface. La formulation marchande des biens. In F. Vatin (Ed.), Évaluer et
valoriser. Une sociologie économique de la mesure. Presses Universitaires du Mirail.
Callon, M. Lascoumes, P., Barthe, Y. (2009). Acting in an Uncertain World. MIT Press.
Gollier, C. (2012). Pricing the Planet’s Future. The Economics of Discounting in an Uncertain
World. Princeton Press.
Muniesa, F. (2011). "Is a stock exchange a computer solution? Explicitness, algorithms and the
Arizona Stock Exchange", International Journal of Actor-Network Theory and
Technological Innovation 3(1): 1-15
Muniesa, F., Linhardt, D. (2011), "Trials of explicitness in the implementation of public
management reform", Critical Perspectives on Accounting 22(6), 550-566.
Vatin, F. (2008). L’esprit d’ingénieur : pensée calculatoire et éthique économique. Revue
française de socio-économie, 1, 131-152.
Track 7 - Space and materiality
Tor Hernes (Copenhagen Business School, University of Technology
Room: 209
Movements in/of space and development of learning
The case of a packaging company
Yves Habran, ICN Graduate Business School
Klaus-Peter Schulz, ICN Graduate Business School
Mike Zundel, University of Liverpool Management School
In this paper, we explore theoretically and empirically the spatiality of the material fabrication of
knowing. More specifically, we explore how the making of space (or spacing), by materially
affecting the development of body-world relations, may affect the emergence of knowing,
considered as a continuous upgrading of our skillful coping with the world (Dreyfus and Dreyfus,
Research gap
Such theoretical and empirical exploration is worth as, despite some calls to ‘bring space back in’
organization studies (Kornberger and Clegg 2004; Hernes 2004; Taylor and Spicer 2007…), the
spatiality of knowing has not figured prominently in organization studies (Fahy et al, 2013). This
is however quite surprising in a practice-based (PB) perspective of knowing, the perspective
adopted here. In such approach, knowing is usually considered as an ongoing practical
accomplishment, enacted in and through participation in social practices (Lave, 1988; Lave and
Wenger, 1991; Gherardi and Nicolini 2000; Orlikowski 2002; Tsoukas, 2005; Gherardi 2006).
Such practical accomplishment is in particular seen to be ‘materially situated’ and a notable
contribution of PB scholars has been precisely to show how learning was decisively shaped by
material conditions. This then implies that spacing can be a way to develop knowing. This has
indeed been illustrated by Fahy et al (2013) showing that reconfigurations of space could help
knowing development by allowing access to different forms of participation. Then, forms of
spacing, although not much studied, could complement studies considering other forms of
connectivity like boundary objects, brokers or boundary spanners in knowing development.
Theoretical background
There are two difficulties in studying how forms of spacing can affect knowing development.
First, as argued by Orlikowski (2007), there are different ways of considering materiality and
hence spatiality in organization studies. For example, space can be considered as a container in
which action takes place and its effects studied. This would however be at odd with a relational
ontology shared by many PB scholars. In relational ontologies, space is not simply producing
effects, for example knowing, but is also itself an effect of the relations formed during practices.
To overcome such difficulty, we review some principles quite commonly accepted by PB studies
of knowing (notably relationality, situatedness, embodiment, recursivity and emergence…) and
draw their possible theoretical/methodological implications for the spatiality of knowing.
Second, the paucity of studies directly concerned with the spatiality of knowing implies a lack of
analytical resources in organization studies. As a result, organizational scholars have usually
imported analytical resources from other fields. Lefebvre (1991) has been the most drawn authors
and may be considered as ‘the kernel of what one could call organization theory’s minor spatial
turn’ (Beyes and Steyaert, 2012, p. 48). We are no exception here and also draw on some of his
insights. We however combine them with the spatial thoughts of Schatzki (2002, 2010). We
believe such combination is fruitful. The two authors offer valuable, compatible and
complementary resources. Regarding their compatibility, Schatzki has himself acknowledged the
many similarities between his treatment of space and Lefebvre’s. Regarding their
complementarity, if both authors acknowledge the importance of activity when studying space,
Schatzki has insisted much more on its ontological primacy. To the contrary, if both authors are
sensitive to the body when studying space, this aspect has been more developed by Lefebvre.
Their insights will be introduced based on the principles shared by PB scholars to ensure their
compatibility with the adopted perspective.
Empirical exploration and contributions
Based on a case study of a company manufacturing plastic packaging reels, the paper also
empirically explores how forms of spacing may affect knowing. It analyses how three
‘movements in/of space’ affect the development of knowing.
The two first movements concern the two generic ways of materially affecting body-world
relations i.e. the material reconfigurations of the world and the physical movement of human
bodies. Those are found to materially affect the development of knowing in two ways. First, they
affect accessibility to material others, human but also non humans, and hence favour or ease or to
the contrary inhibit or exclude connections with some material others. As such, they can be seen
as a ‘material politics’ (Law and Mol, 2008). Second, they reconfigure the very material form of
connectivity. By so doing, they reconfigure bodily engagement in practices, which can affect
mental and social spaces considered by Lefebvre (1991) as intertwined with the development of
physical spaces. This emphasizes that in a relational view of knowing, the materiality of relations
with the world notably reintroduces the corporeality of learning (Yakhlef, 2010).
Those movements in/of space allow us questioning the ontology of knowing development.
Connecting different practices, people, spaces… has frequently been considered, even in PB
studies, as a matter of crossing boundaries to facilitate the transfer and sharing of knowledge.
Those expressions tend to reify both the ‘transferred’ or ‘shared’ knowledge and the ‘crossed’
boundaries. Instead, consistent with a relational view of boundaries (Hernes, 2004), the case
suggests that if learning occurs it is by reworking physical, mental and social boundaries.
Knowing development appears then more as a matter of (re)creating conditions, including
material ones, to develop practices than a matter of crossing boundaries.
The case also distinguishes a third movement in/of space. It consists in developing spaces by
gathering humans or non-humans to reflect on work and/or experiment some possible activity
reconfigurations. We call ‘reflective and experimental spaces’ such gatherings. The case shows
that they can take place either in ‘neutral spaces’ (in corridors, in the changing room, in meeting
rooms…) or in ‘specialized ecologies’. If ‘neutral spaces’ can offer temporary protective
enclosures to favour knowing development, the case also shows that locating them in ‘specialized
ecologies’ may be useful when a particular ecology is primarily targeted by expected
reconfigurations. Such location has two material advantages. First, the tangibility of the material
others populating the visited ecology can ease the development of understandings. Second, it can
also allow experimenting materially the envisioned reconfigurations.
Beyes, T. and C. Steyaert, C. 2012
‘Spacing organization: non-representational theory and
performing organizational space’. Organization 19/1: 45-61.
Dreyfus, H.L; and S.E. Dreyfus 2005 ‘Expertise in real world contexts’. Organization Studies
26/5: 779-792.
Fahy, K.M; M. Easterby-Smith and J.E. Lervik 2013 ‘The power of spatial and temporal
orderings in organizational learning’. Management Learning
Gherardi, S. 2006
Organizational knowledge: the texture of workplace learning. Malden,
Massachusset: Blackwell Publ.
Gherardi, S. and D. Nicolini, D. 2000 ‘To Transfer is to Transform: The Circulation of Safety
Knowledge’ Organization 7/2: 329-348.
Hernes, T. 2004 The Spatial Construction of Organization. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Kornberger, M.M. and S.R. Clegg 2004 'Bringing space back in: organizing the generative
building'. Organization Studies 25/7: 1095-1114.
Lave, J. 1988 Cognition in Practice: Mind, mathematics, and culture in everyday life.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lave, J. and E. Wenger 1991 Situated learning. Legitimate peripheral participation.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Law, J. and A. Mol 2008 ‘Globalisation in practice: On the politics of boiling pigswill’.
Geoforum, 39/1: 133-143
Lefebvre, H. 1991 The Production of Space. N. Donaldson-Smith trans., Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Orlikowski, W. J. 2002. ‘Knowing in practice: Enacting a collective capability in distributed
organizing’. Organization Science 13:249-273.
Orlikowski, W. 2007 ‘Sociomaterial practices: Exploring technology at work.’ Organization
Studies 28: 1435-1448.
Schatzki, T.R. 2002 The site of the social: a philosophical account of the constitution of social
life and change. University Park Pennsylvania, U.S.: Pennsylvania State University Press.
Schatzki, T. R. 2010 The timespace of human activity: on performance, society, and history as
indeterminate teleological events. Lanham, MD: Lexington.
Taylor, S. and A. Spicer 2007 ‘Time for space: An interpretive review of research on
organizational spaces’, International Journal of Management Reviews 9 /4: 325–346.
Tsoukas, H. 2005 Complex knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Yakhlef, A. 2010 ‘The corporeality of practice-based learning’ Organization Studies 31/4:409430.
Visualization of spatial organization: from art of memory to action?
Caroline Scotto, MINES ParisTech
Keywords : visuals artifacts, spatial organization design, actors dynamics, regulating
organizational construction.
Spatial settings are more and more present in organizational and management studies looking the
interactions of space and organizations (Clegg, Kornberger, 2006). The study of workspaces
organization, for example, has become a remarkable way to analyze organization modalities and
practices (Van Marrewijk, Yanow, 2010). This study proposes to introduce the notion of
projection by analyzing a viable link between spatial settings and visual dimension in
organization (Meyer, al., 2013). By this approach, the paper will question the role of images
during organization construction processes. Images – as places – are known to be the foundation
of the art of memory (Yates, 1966), a way for the organization of thought (Quattrone, 2009). The
idea is to interrogate the possibility for images to project action.
The paper’s aim is to analyze the role of visual artifacts during spatial organization design. More
specifically, we will focus on the uses of images (maps, models, drawings) in order to represent
organizational actions during identity construction processes.
Research question:
How can visual artifacts be used as an instrument for the construction of an organizational
identity during spatial design processes? An investigation through maps, models and drawings.
Methodology and case study:
The paper proposes to study the use of maps, models or drawings as “visual language” by the
political discourse (Kress, Van Leeuwen, 1996) in order to give projections of the future
organization of the Campus of Paris-Saclay in France. The French State's intention at Saclay is to
group on the same territory several institutions in order to create a new university and to promote
the scientific cooperation between some of the best French higher education institutions, public
research and the economic world.
Based on Spicer and Tyler typology (2007), the paper takes a projected view of the territory
(macro level). From a large focus based on « pre-existing » maps, models and drawings, we will
use an archeological approach (Meyer and. al. 2013) to collect the data. The collection of these
visuals artifacts allows to investigate and trace several points of view according to actors
dynamics in situation of institutional change (Battilana, Leca, Boxenbaum, 2009).
As an example, the scientific project management at Saclay uses a map (Figure. 1), which
represents the grouping on the same territory -through the use of logos- of all institutions
involved in the project.
By contrast, the designers use models and drawings (Figure. 2 and 3) in order to project the future
spatial organization, though architecture and urbanism.
Figure 1. Saclay territory map with institutions logos, 2009, FCS website.
Figure 2. Model of the Saclay territory project, XDGA website.
Figure 3. Vision of the future area of l’Ecole Polytechnique, Eva Le Roi, XDGA website.
Trough these examples, we observe that actors use visuals artifacts in order to project their future
actions, to construct and crystallized their visions of the organization identity.
The use of visual artifacts also seems to transpose actors institutional logics (Lounsbury,
Boxenbaum, 2013).
Conclusion and contribution:
Through this project of spatial organization, we understand that visual artifacts can be used from
an actor point of view:
 To project actions;
 to construct and crystallized a vision.
Visual artifacts can also be used, from a researcher point of view, in order to understand actors
Battilana, J., Leca, B., Boxenbaum, E., (2009)” How Actors Change Institutions : Towards a
Theory of Institutional Entrepreneurship”, Academy of management annals, 3, pp.65-107.
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Copenhagen Business School Press
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Lefebvre, Henri, (1974) La production de l'espace, Anthropos, Paris
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Sociology of Organizations, 39A & 39B. Bingley, UK: Emerald.
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ceremony. American Journal of Sociology, 83, 340–363.
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Visual Dimension in Organizing, Organization, and Organization Research: Core Ideas,
Current Developments, and Promising Avenues. The Academy of Management Annals,
Volume 7, Issue 1, 2013, pages 489-555
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accounting, Accounting, Organizations and Society, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp.85–118
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organizational paradigms." Research in Organizational Behavior 3: 1-52.
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Yates, F., The art of memory, The university of Chicago Press, 1966
Build artifacts in sustainable urban projects: When pragmatism makes innovation
Rebecca Pinheiro-Croisel, MINES ParisTech
Tor Hernes, Copenhagen Business School
This paper explores innovation and social behaviourist theory in relation to sustainable
urban projects in the highly institutionalized public sector (towns). Using empirical data
from France, we examine the dynamics of a design process in which unexpected practices
generated innovative urban design. We show how the fact that the design process did not
follow the standard phases of planning meant that the actors redefined themselves in
relation to one another. We point out how the absence of urban design plans during a
precise phase of an innovative design process drew the actors into a movement of
collective action, which presupposed the acquisition of a new identity. Ultimately, our
objective is to combine social behaviourist theory and innovation theory and to facilitate
innovative design in urban projects.
Keywords: design process; innovation; urban studies, case study, project management
In this paper, we analyze how the intentional lack of an urban design plan enabled a creative
process of involvement between multiple actors. The fact that the urban design plan was not
represented physically meant that the project’s actors had to search for solutions through
explorative actions while redefining themselves with respect to one another and their collective
role. Their roles in relation to the project were transformed through their inter-actions and the
openness of the project itself, which we call a ‘spontaneous model’. In our analysis we draw upon
Mead’s (1934) processual theory of meaning creation through social interaction. We attempt to
understand the phenomena that made it possible to design a new district in a town without using
any a priori formal graphic representations, in a one-year pre-design phase.
Theoretical context
Mead's (1934) pragmatist view of social interaction embedded in time serves as a point of
departure for examining the issue of the acquisition of roles and identities in relation to the
project. Mead joined process philosophers, such as Heidegger (1927) and Whitehead (1929) in
inverting the Cartesian dictum ‘Cogito, ergo sum’ (Descartes, 1664) in favour of seeing entity as
emerging from the process, and not vice versa. Whereas with Whitehead, for example, process is
a metaphysical phenomenon, Mead focused on processes of social inter-action. Central to Mead
is the notion of meaning, which may be found with several other theorists, such as Schutz (1967),
the idea being that acts are oriented towards that which is meaningful. Meaning, however, is not
meant to reside in an object as such, but in the gesture towards that object. Thus Mead writes that
meaning arises in an actor's expected response to another actor's gesture (see Figure 1 below).
Figure 1: Dynamic process of innovative design
Meaning is created as actors inter-act towards objects. Objects may be temporal products of the
actors themselves, as when actors become ‘objects’ to themselves as gestures fade into the
immediate past, thus giving rise to the actor’s self. Objects may also be objects of inter-action
other than inter-acting humans, such as objects of economic exchange. Where Mead takes us one
step further in relation to human interaction and objects as opposed to dualist subject-object
positions is by assuming that humans act and inter-act through objects (Simpson 2009), as the
organism takes the roles of things that it manipulates directly, or indirectly, as in perception.
An object may take many different forms, one example being language. The object we assume for
our paper is the overall urban development project, which begun largely as an ‘open’ object for
inter-action, in the sense that there were relatively few guidelines as to the final shape of the
project. With time, as inter-actions unfolded, and a collective role of designer began to take hold,
the object became gradually more explicit without reaching a closure.
Empirical context
The design team at the Urban Community of Dunkirk (CUD) gained precious experience and
knowledge from these urban projects and even helped it produce an ‘unknown object’, a ‘green’
district called Grand Large. In 2002, Michel Delebarre decided, on the strength of thirteen years
of experience of the urban projects in Dunkirk, to service a plot of land (ridding it of pollution,
demolitions) in the southern part of the Grand Large area, with the aim of constructing a new
district. In 2004, when he appointed a head of major projects for the Dunkirk Urban Community
(CUD), the project entered its design phase. However, for the first year, no block plans, design
sketches or development plans were drafted.
Jean-Louis Muller, an economist, was one of the main players in this operation. In charge of
major projects at the CUD, former director-general of the CUD departments in charge of the
Grand Large project, he decided in 2004, at a time when the project’s ‘programme’ (Peuportier
2008) or functional unit (Gobin 2010) did not yet exist, that no plans for the roads and local
networks should be prepared before the first results of the design for all the ‘built’ elements.
A feature of the process was that they did not draw up a programme in the form of a target
framework or specifications. A decision was made not to define precise targets until a later stage,
in order to allow time for explorations. By "giving things time" the urban community did not
decide on the project’s content or urban form. Nor did it suggest an organizational framework for
the project design, although it proposed ‘conceptual objectives’ for sustainability.
At the end of the first phase of the project, an intervention-research approach (Hatchuel and
Molet 1986; David, Hatchuel and Laufer 2000) was adopted, with the aim of becoming actors in
the case under analysis rather than simple observers and thus being able to exchange knowledge.
We took an active part in over twenty work meetings and certain work groups designed to explore
new concepts and mobilise new knowledge were organized with the contractor’s permission.
The collective role of designer
In a design process where the object is omnipresent even if it does not exist yet, the interactions
between the actors give rise to a collective, social role that can in turn be shared by the actors.
The interaction is key to the creation of a role that is firmly based on concrete design actions,
independent of the actors’ pre-acquired knowledge or their usual roles. A collective role is not
attributed to an individual as such; it is an extrapolated, widely spread, macro role which, during
a design process, constantly interacts with the emerging object and can only exist through the
actors’ interactions and in the presence of the omnipresent yet invisible object. This collective
role consists in a set of new capacities acquired by the actors.
Using empirical data revealing that an absence of urban design at a strategic point of the project
helped to develop the conditions required for an innovative design process to emerge, we propose
the continuation of a social behaviourist concept and a complement to mainstream works in
innovation studies. Importantly, we argue that the object (or project) cannot be seen as separate
from the inter-actions that create it, nor can the formation of roles be seen as separate from the
inter-actions and the object. The actors are caught up in the process and it is in fact the latter that
shapes the actors and not the contrary, offering them the opportunity to acquire a new
professional identity through their actions.
Figure 2: Trajectory of the collective role
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éléments d’épistémologie de la recherche en management. Paris : Fnege, Vuibert.
Descartes, R., 1664. Le Monde, ou le traité de la lumière. Paris: Jacques le Gras.
Gobin, C., 2010. Réussir une construction en éco-conception. Paris : Presse des Mines.
Hatchuel, A. and Molet, H. 1986. Rational Modeling in understanding and aiding human
decision-making : about two cases-studies. European Journal of Operational Research, 24
p. 178 186.
Heidegger, M., 1927. Sein und Zeit. Tübingen: Max Niemayer Verlag.
Mead G. H., 1934. Mind, Self, and Society, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Peuportier, B., 2008. Eco-conception des bâtiments et des quartiers. Paris: Presse des Mines.
Interactionist view. Journal of Adolescent Research, 2(3), 237-254, Sage Publications.
Schutz, A., 1967. The phenomenology of the social world. London: Heinemann Educational
Simpson, B., 2009. Pragmatism, Mead and the Practice Turn. Organization Studies, 30 (12),
1329-1347, Sage Publications.
Whitehead, AN., Process and Reality: An Esssay in Cosmology. Cambridge : Cambridge
University Press.
Track 8 - Philosophical perspectives on materiality and artifacts
Philippe Lorino (ESSEC Business School)
Room: 210
Tecnologia social: A South American view of the technology-society relationship
Marlei Pozzebon, HEC Montreal and EAESP-Fundação Getulio Vargas
The purpose of this paper is to revisit the concept of tecnologia social – “social technologies” in
English – from a socio-material perspective. In my investigation of South America writings on
social innovation, I found a vast and rich literature describing, analyzing and theorizing around
grassroots social innovations from the perspective of the underlying arrangements among people,
tools and methods, all of which brings to bear an interesting viewpoint on the relationship
between technology and society. The term tecnologia social is applied with reference to those
sociomaterial arrangements or assemblages. I am speaking of a long tradition that seems to have
started with Gandhi in India by the beginning of the twentieth century, had a short trajectory in
Europe and North America, and eventually reached the minds of South America researchers and
practitioners of social innovation by the 1960s. There it has been transformed, sliced-and-diced
and remixed, having an impact that has been very prolific (Dagnino, 2009).
It is worth noting that contributions to the South American stream of literature on tecnologia
social were practically never written in English, with very few exceptions (e.g., Neder and
Thomas, 2010). The intent and vision of those researchers and practitioners involved with the
conception and implementation of social technologies was to have a profound local impact. They
seek to promote social changes in a land where, from the very beginning of colonization 500
years ago until more recent waves of globalization, society has been characterized by, poverty
and inequality. For that purpose, writing in the native and local language was perceived as
Recovering the foundations of tecnologia social writings, I soon recognized an amazing
coincidence. The theoretical streams influencing the development of this approach were the same
ones that marked my own intellectual road: social constructivism, socio-technical approaches and
critical thinking. Moreover, the vocabulary utilized in the tecnologia social literature expresses
the inseparability of different levels of analysis – micro and macro – and the inseparability of the
material and the social aspects of a phenomenon. Put simply, social technologies are sociomaterial by definition. While the use of the word sociomaterial today represents a fashionable
way to connect with specific research communities, an understanding was already present in
socio-technical approaches from the 1980s (Pinch and Bijker, 1984) – that social innovation
implies an intertwined assemblage tying together social actions and materials.
Revisiting a long trajectory that led in South America to the consolidation of a critical mass
around the relationship between technology and society, I recognize that such an inseparability of
the social and the material in ways of relating, connecting and performing constituted the very
core of the tecnologia social tradition much before the emergence of the socio-material current in
organization studies (Dagnino, 2009; Thomas and Buch, 2013). Still, their convergence is
relevant in contributing to our knowledge on social innovations. I argue that European and North
American socio-material researchers have much to learn from South America’s tecnologia social
stream, in terms of both theory and practice, as I will try to present in this paper.
The term social technology has different meanings
It is important to mention that the South American concept of tecnologia social is not directly
related to what we find in the English language literature when we search for the term. Scanning
in Northern databases, I discern two primary and different meanings attached to the term social
technology. One is related to the sociology of economics, and it was used by Nelson and Sampat
(2001) to refer to some kind of coordinating mechanism which assures that economic activities
involving multiple actors are performed well. The authors make a distinction between the
physical technologies involved in those activities and the social technologies that represent that
way the work is divided and coordinated. The metaphor applied by the authors is that of a receipt,
a way of doing (Chataway et al, 2009). Although we can find some similarities between Nelson’s
conceptualization and the South American outlook, the key distinction is precisely the clear
separation that this economic-based view makes between physical and social technologies. It is
also important to note we might find an even older use of the term around the end of the
nineteenth century, by Henderson (1901). In this case, it relates to social engineering and it
influenced social theory throughout the century (e.g., Popper, 1945 and MacKenzie, 1985, apud
Wikipedia). Again, the term is applied to refer to social norms and principles and institutional
logics, and we could not identify a direct influence on the theoretical stream we are discussing in
this paper.
The second meaning attached to the term social technologies is quite recent and refers to the use
of web-based platforms like Facebook or Twitter by groups of people, i.e., technology-mediated
social networks and social media. A relatively large and recent number of publications refer to
social technologies to discuss the social effects of web-based platforms like Twitter, Facebook
and the prominent use of blogs (Li and Bernoff, 2008). Again, the theoretical connections to our
work are weak: although web-based platforms might take part in grassroots social innovations we
are looking for, we do not understand social technologies as simply technology-mediated social
After revisiting those various uses of the term social technology, I wonder whether or not I should
retain it, as confusion and ambiguity might be produced in the Northern audience. However,
because of the force of this term in Portuguese or Spanish, and to respect the history and the
meaning behind the concept, I decided not only to keep the term, but to use it without translation
– tecnologia social – to reinforce that this is a concept developed by South American researchers
and practitioners to refer to a strong intellectual social movement that exists, that is relevant and
that deserves to be well-known. Recent articles have supported the idea of using native terms to
better express our ideas and feelings (Steyaert and Janssens, 2012; Alves and Pozzebon,
In the remainder of this paper I present the history of the concept of tecnologia social, I revisit the
term using a sociomaterial language and I present some empirical illustrations to clarify its
meaning. The empirical illustrations represent a small fraction of more than 10.000 documented
experiences implemented in Brazil alone. I conclude the paper with a research agenda that
enables better synergies between research traditions.
Alves, M.A. and Pozzebon, M. (2013) How to resist linguistic domination and promote
knowledge diversity? RAE-Revista de Administração de Empresas, 53 (5), 629-633.
Chataway, J., Hanlin, R., Mugwagwa, J and Muraguri, L. (2009). Global health social
technologies: Reflections on evolving theories and landscapes. Research Policy, 39 (10),
Dagnino, R. (org.) (2009). Tecnologia Social: ferramenta para construir outra sociedade.
Campinas, São Paulo: IG/UNICAMP. Retrieved from
<http://www.itcp.unicamp.br/drupal/files/tec%20sol%20dagnino.pdf >
Henderson, C. R. (1901). The Scope of Social Technology. The American Journal of Sociology,
6(4), 465-486.
Li, C. and Bernoff, J (2008). Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social
Technologies. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business Press.
Neder, R.T. and Thomas, H. (2010). The movement for social technology in Latin-America.
Working-paper presented on the Degrowth Conference Barcelona, March, 2010.
Nelson, R.R., Sampat, B.N. (2001). Making sense of institutions as a factor shaping economic
performance. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 44, 31–54.
Pinch, T. and Bijker, W.E. (1984). The social construction of facts and artifacts: or how the
sociology of science and the sociology of technology might benefit each other. In: Bijker,
W. et al (ed.). The Social construction of technological systems. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Steyaert, C., & Janssens, M. (2013). Multilingual scholarship and the paradox of translation and
language in management and organization studies. Organization, 20 (1), 131-142.
Thomas, H. and Buch, A. 2013 (org). Actos, actores y artefactos. Sociología de la Tecnología,
UNQ, Bernal.
Felicitous heterotopia or infelicitous prototopia?
The development of new rules as a pragmatist inquiry
Philippe Lorino, ESSEC Business School
Marie-Léandre Gomez, ESSEC Business School
Bernard Blanc, Aquitanis
Within a pragmatist approach, this paper aims at shedding light on the interaction of habits and
rules in the development of activity. It is grounded on the case of the development of new urban
planning rules and we analyze some brakes in the activity as the difficulty to integrate rules in
Activity paradigms and practice-based approaches have emphasized the role of tools and artefacts
in enabling, modifying, structuring, or constraining activity. However, tools influence activity if,
and only if, they are actually used. In particular, rules and regulations impact activity if, and only
if, they are actually implemented. In other words, the ultimate constraining and enabling element,
engaged in activity, is not the artefact per se, be it tool or rule, but the social and cultural habits
that the artifact conveys and embodies - utilization habits for tools, implementation habits for
The concept of habits is a cornerstone in the system of action, sensemaking, rules and tools in
pragmatist theories (Peirce, 1931-1958, 1992; Dewey, 1938/1980). In this perspective, actors
involved in socially organized activity must make sense of their own and others’ acts. Acts must
be intelligible, recognizable, potentially linked with others' acts in sensemaking combinations
(sociality), recordable and potentially linked with the past of activity and its desirable or probable
future (historicity). Such a coupling between acting and meaning requires the semiotic
transformation of situated acts, unique and never repeated, into interpretable and intelligible
signs, stabilized and socially shared segments of meaningful activity. This is the very definition
of "habit" by pragmatist philosophers. Human action generates its own semiotic mediation, in the
form of experience-based and socially constructed habits, which relate the activity in-progress
here and now with its past and expected future, its final purpose, and other activities taking place
elsewhere and involving other actors, making activity an object of communication and critique,
memory and transformation, inhabited by history and society.
Habits can be strictly cultural interpretive schemes, present in mental processes. But they can also
be embodied in artefacts such as legal texts, organizational procedures, rules, information
systems, technical tools and technological devices. They are not perfectly malleable, but are
characterized by a certain level of inertia, with three sources of inertia, which also appear as three
classes of obstacles to innovation: material inertia, when habits are embodied in material artefacts
which present structural and technical inertia; cultural inertia, related with identities: if the habit
appears as part of the symbolic identity of a social group, for example a profession, there may be
strong resistances to change it; and organizational inertia: when the habit is closely entangled
with other habits to constitute an organizational process, for example through division of labour,
changing a habit can prove practically difficult because it destabilizes many other habits and
requires their concurrent transformation.
When actors feel tensions between rules and the need to innovate in their activity, they can start
an inquiring process to re-design social processes, i.e. rules, norms, regulations, and to the last
resort the corresponding habits.
In this perspective, this research characterizes innovation as a complex social process, more
precisely as an abductive and dialogical inquiry, bound to transform rules, habits and activity, in
response to new environmental conditions:
inquiry (Dewey, 1938/1980): the social process of knowing through the inseparable
intertwining of reasoning, narrating and experimenting;
abduction (Peirce, 1931/1958; Eco & Sebeok, 1983): the narrative mode of thinking
which underlies the construction of new hypotheses - plausible narratives - and leads to
dialogism (Bakhtin, 1981; Tsoukas, 2009): the meaning of utterances and acts is not built
by an autonomous individual conscience, but emerges from their concatenation with
addressed acts and discourses and responding acts and discourses.
The paper illustrates this approach of innovation with a longitudinal field study conducted in
2012 and 2013. Through the gradual design of a new urban district in the South-West of France, a
group of institutional actors tries to transform the existing organizational and inter-organizational
rules of urban planning. Analyzing this process through the dialogical and abductive inquiry
frame, we stress the pivotal role of two specific narrative mediations. First, oxymora: the
inquirers deliberately challenge their own habits by raising issues which look insolvable within
the existing practical, technical and regulatory frameworks. Second, a semi-fictional character,
the future inhabitant of the district, who is not known and does not exist yet, a kind of ghost, but a
ghost inhabiting the future rather than the past. This "ghost of the future", used as the central
object of the dialogical exchanges, allows actors to free themselves from existing frames and to
invent the "people of the future" through collective "fabulation" (Deleuze, 1998).
To this end, they bracket their first phase of work in time and space, building together a kind of
narrative community. They agree that they are trying to tell a story together, through words: "The
true specificity of this project: it is managed with words, not with plans, there is no ground plan
so far" (urban planner). They make an intensive use of images, which themselves appear as
narrative artefacts. They try to free themselves from regulatory constraints and rigid habits. "For
example, the architect says, we made the decision to authorize over-heights of buildings - from
ground + 2 to ground + 4, if surfaces are freed for vegetal spaces. There is no pre-conception
about architectural forms. Some claim we risk getting a patchwork, but shouldn't we accept it?" In
this bracketed process, they imagine a new space, the future urban district, and its inhabitant, thus
"creating other spaces, heterotopias in which new practices can be invented" and where it is
possible to "withdraw from the reigning order" (Hjorth, 2005: 392). The concept of heterotopia,
developed by Michel Foucault (1984), is a real space in which fictional types of social
relationships can take place, in particular the imagined future of social relationships, the
"fabulation". Like utopias, those places function as counter-models of present society, bracketed
spaces, closed to normal rules and regulations, but unlike utopia, they are located in real places.
This heterotopia - the future urban district - should not remain a heterotopia too long, if the
project is to be successful, since the leaders of the project hope to transform the general rules and
frames of urban planning processes by showing this example as a prototype of future rules,
regulations, norms and tools. They plan to transform this "heterotopia" into a "prototopia", the
prototype of future social rules.
But today, the project is experiencing a critical situation, the transition from the design and
planning phase to the actual building of the residences and their commercialization. Initial
participants (planners, developers, architects, town council) now face the challenge of pursuing
their dialogical and abductive inquiry with new actors (commercial agencies, in charge of selling
apartments; actual inhabitants, who will gradually replace the imaginary "ghosts of the future")
who did not participate in the previous phases and did not "fabulate" with them. Even if the rules
have spread, the traditional habits (selling standard apartments without mentioning the
peculiarities of the project, parking the car directly below the apartment building...) still pervade
them and bump into the rules defined by the first group of inquirers. Present difficulties illustrate
one of the three forms of habit inertia: organizational inertia, due to the intricate entanglement of
innovative habits with other complementary habits which have not incurred the same
transformation process.
This critical transition exists in many innovation processes. We suggest that an analysis through
the pragmatist frame should contribute to a better understanding and explicate the tensions
between activity, rules and habits. It should also help actors to overpass critical transitions.
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Studies, vol. 29 n° 4, pp. 501-524
Tsoukas, H. (2009), 'A Dialogical Approach To the Creation of New Knowledge in
Organizations', Organization Science vol. 20 n° 6, pp. 941-957.
Materiality and Beyond:
Theorizing the Relevance of Artefacts along the Third Epistemological Route
Maddalena Sorrentino, Università degli Studi di Milano
Keywords: artefacts, technology, organizing, materiality, rules, regulation, third epistemological
Exactly what does the ability to regulate the artefacts mean in practice? How do the artefacts
influence rules and regulations in organizational life?
These questions continue a research agenda that began in the 1950s and has since spawned an
array of studies and perspectives that straddle several academic disciplines. At first, the aim was
to describe a brand new theme, the meeting of technologies and organizational contexts, on which
much traction needed to be gained. The far from linear reflection process was further dogged by
polemics and opposing views. A few decades later, the narrative that was traditionally anchored
to an idea of cumulative learning, in which one theory was replaced with another that somehow
represented its criticism or continuation and was meant to push the boundaries to improve on the
previous one, lost its plausibility (Hatch, 2006).
When the debate started to shift its focus to the structure of theory, i.e., the ‘researchers’
conceptions of the nature and direction of causality’ (Markus & Robey, 1988, p. 584), the linear
narrative was replaced with a multifaceted story that, in accordance with the structure of theory
adopted, i.e., technological imperative, organizational imperative and emergent perspective, gave
at least three answers to the question: “What is the relation between information technology and
organization change?” But still the fragmentation and clashing paradigms continued apace, as
did the breakaways, the contaminations and the passing fads.
Few people today would dispute the claim that new technologies bring changes to the way people
communicate, act, and organize their social relations (Kallinikos, Leonardi, & Nardi, 2012, p. 3).
The renewed academic interest for investigating the organizational relevance of artefacts is a
clear indication of just how complex it is to get to grips with these themes, while underscoring the
limitations of certain dominant responses. The distinction between objectivism and subjectivism
has yet again reared its head, implying that the multiple theoretical perspectives are still stuck in
the same old groove: how to decipher the tangled concept of social contexts and action in its
many guises. Some of the terms proposed by the scholars, and the meanings not always attributed
to them coherently, are an attempt to use new notions to overcome the inconsistencies and
limitations of the theories that fell short of their objectives. This is the case, for instance, of the
concept of ‘materiality’ and its numerous offshoots (e.g., socio-materiality), which has gained in
popularity over recent years (Leonardi & Barley, 2010; Robey, Anderson, & Benoit, 2013).
For OAP 2014, I plan to sketch a more refined concept of technology, clarifying the assumptions
and setting out the implications for research.
In particular, taking my cue from Masino (Masino, 2005, 2011), I will apply the term
‘technology’ to the meaning of technical rationality. A choice that is purposefully
rather than
terminological because
neatly sidesteps
objectivism/subjectivism issue.
For reasons of space, this proposal and its ability to deepen our understanding of the meeting of
technologies, artefacts and organizational contexts can be narrowed down to four assumptions.
First, to bypass the limitations of the theoretical proposals that focus on the system and not on the
actors and of those that, to the contrary, focus on the actions of the individuals yet ignore the
environment that enables those actions, a good starting point is the third epistemological route,
which sees the organization as a process of actions and decisions guided by bounded and
intentional rationality. As observed by Masino (2005, 2011), when thus interpreted, the research’s
specific object of interest is the ongoing process of regulation.
Second, the technology, defined as technical rationality, is itself an organizational choice, fruit of
the intentionally and rationally bounded decisional processes (Masino, 2005, p. 166). Note that
this interpretation of technology severs any link to the presence of artefacts, materials and nonmaterials in the implementation of the action. For example, there is technical rationality in the
action of the physician who uses sophisticated instruments to make a diagnosis, but also when the
physician converses with the patient to give them his/her diagnosis. Hence, the technical
relevance of the artefacts needs to be evaluated and analyzed in relation to the regulatory process.
And that is the first thing that differentiates Masino’s approach from that of technology as the
ineluctable presence of physical artefacts. Indeed, some theories are underpinned by a concept of
technology so limited they consider exclusively the materiality of the artefacts. However, such a
single-minded approach to the study of the regulation of social action and its relationship with
technology ignores all those activities in which the artefacts are not used. So, to return to the
earlier example, the action of a doctor who makes a diagnosis without the use of clinical
instruments would be excluded from the study field, even though, when supported by a simple
stethoscope, that same action would make it a full-fledged object of research and analysis.
Third, the adoption of any artefact (material or non-material) is organizationally relevant because
it opens a window of change in the process of regulating both the individual and the collective
action (Masino, 2005, 2011, p. 161). While material mediation is an important dimension of the
study of practices (Lanzara, 2009, p. 1370), the artefact’s influence does not come from its
physicality, nor merely its installation in a said environment, but from the decisions, i.e., the
results of intentional and bounded-rational processes. Those decisions, distinguishable solely
from the analytical perspective, are made at, and intersect different levels and have different and
unpredictable outcomes (e.g., greater or lesser autonomy). Even the technical knowledge needed
by people undergoes significant transformations that cannot be attributed to simple dichotomies,
such as flexibility/rigidity, upskilling/deskilling, or autonomy/heteronomy.
Fourth, the technical rationality concept of technology not only explores such opportunities, it
interprets how these influence the overall regulating process.
In essence, this paper offers an alternative and complementary understanding of the problem of
regulation in ‘technologically dense’(Bruni, Pinch, & Schubert, 2013) settings and suggests how
to best address these themes by using theories that advance along the third epistemological route.
Bruni, A., Pinch, T., & Schubert. (2013). Technologically Dense Environments: What For? What
Next? TECNOSCIENZA Italian Journal of Science & Technology Studies, 4(2), 51-72.
Hatch, M. J. (2006). Organization Theory (2 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kallinikos, J., Leonardi, P. M., & Nardi, B. A. (2012). The Challenge of Materiality: Origins,
Scope, and Prospects. In P. M. Leonardi, B. A. Nardi & J. Kallinikos (Eds.), Materiality
and organizing (pp. 3-22). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lanzara, G. F. (2009). Reshaping Practice Across Media: Material Mediation, Medium
Specificity and Practical Knowledge in Judicial Work. Organization Studies, 30(12),
Leonardi, P. M., & Barley, S. R. (2010). What's under construction here? Social action,
materiality, and power in constructivist studies of technology and organizing. The
Academy of Management Annals, 4(1), 1-51.
Markus, M. L., & Robey, D. (1988). Information Technology and Organizational Change: Causal
Structure in Theory and Research. Management Science, 34(5), 583-598.
Masino, G. (2005). Le imprese oltre il fordismo. Roma: Carocci.
Masino, G. (2011). La tecnologia come razionalità tecnica. In B. Maggi (Ed.), Interpretare
l'agire: una sfida teorica (pp. 159-174). Roma: Carocci.
Robey, D., Anderson, C., & Benoit, R. (2013). Information Technology, Materiality, and
Organizational Change: A Professional Odyssey. Journal of the Association 14(7), 379398.
Track 9 - Tools and regulations
Paolo Spagnoletti (LUISS)
Room: 118
Knowledge Management Systems, Autonomy and Control: how to regulate?
A case-study in an industrial company
Carine Khalil, Université Paris Descartes
Aurélie Dudezert, Université de Poitiers
There is a general agreement that knowledge represents a sustainable competitive advantage for
enterprises working in turbulent and unpredictable environments (Drucker, 1993; Grant, 1995,
1996; Alavi & Leidner, 2001). As knowledge becomes fundamental, organizations are
restructuring themselves in order to better use this valuable asset. The implementation of
knowledge management systems have led to the emergence of new organizational forms such as
post-bureaucratic and decentralized organizations. In fact, these systems seem to affect the
control and the autonomy of organizational actors. On one hand, knowledge management systems
enhance horizontal communication and encourage self-organizing and self-managing teams. They
facilitate access to information and contribute to individuals’ cognitive development. Hence,
employees have greater levels of autonomy which allow them to better address problematic
situations. Besides, technologies are socially constructed. They are structured by employees’
interpretations and mental models (Orlikowski, 1996). In this respect, knowledge management
systems supported by these technologies amplify “uncertainty zones” (Crozier and Friedberg,
1977) and employees’ autonomy. Additionally, knowledge sharing largely depends on
employees’ willingness and engagement. On the other hand, knowledge management systems
control organizational actors’ activities through formalizing their collaboration practices and
informal exchanges, and increasing the transparency of their work and interactions. However,
controlling actors’ activities can decrease collective intelligence and creativity (Stoycheva &
Lubart 2002). And simultaneously, enhancing actors’ autonomy can destabilize the organization
and act against its interests. Given this focus, how can organizations regulate the tension between
autonomy and control while implementing knowledge management systems? This paper work
aims at analyzing this question through conducting a case study within the information systems
division (ISI) of Infra/SNCF. We use Reynaud’s social regulation theory (1989, 1995) for
analyzing interactions and negotiations between actors involved in the implementation of
knowledge management systems. This theory offers a lens through which the implementation of
knowledge management systems can be understood as the product of organizational regulations
and compromises between actors.
We adopted a qualitative approach in order to understand how different modes of social
regulation evolve and affect the implementation of knowledge management systems in the
studied context. 23 interviews were conducted within ISI division. The panel of interviewees
included top managers, middle managers, projects managers and technicians. In fact, the two
persons in charge of promoting knowledge management systems in ISI division have helped us
composing the panel. The interviews aimed at exploring the existing knowledge management
systems and identifying the perceptions of ISI actors regarding these systems. We also spent 5
months in ISI department attending meetings and observing interactions between stakeholders
involved in the implementation and use of knowledge management systems. Complementary data
such as documents and reports helped us to better understand the context of ISI. For data analysis,
we adopted an interpretive approach. The research question and the social regulation theory have
guided us in identifying key concepts in each sentence or/and paragraph. A set of inductive
categories were subsequently defined and justified with verbatim (Brown & Jacobs, 2009).
Regulations are defined as the process through which rules are created, modified or suppressed by
parties in order to fix the frame of their relationships and their mutual rights (Reynaud, 2001). In
Reynaldian terms, organizations are constructed through continuous social exchanges and
negotiations between control and autonomy (Reynaud, 1989). From this perspective, Reynaud
distinguishes three types of regulations: “control” regulations, “joint” regulations and
“autonomous” regulations. Control regulations are imposed by top managers in order to control
others’ activities. Autonomous regulations are generated by actors or subordinates on whom
control is exerted. Joint regulations are based on negotiations between the two parties. It is the
result of compromises between actors.
Data analysis shows that, on the first side, the existing knowledge management systems such as
wikis, database, Instant Messengers, and emails are perceived by top and middle managers as
tools that help them controlling actors’ activities and monitoring information flow. However, top
managers insist on structuring these tools in order to better formalize knowledge capitalization
and sharing practices “we should precisely define the scope of information diffusion … the
formalization of knowledge management systems is necessary … it generates more rigorous
practices”. For these actors, defining rules for controlling information exchanges and accessing
information is essential. It guarantees the quality of services delivered by Infra. On the other side,
project managers and technicians perceive knowledge management systems as tools used by top
managers to increase information traceability and the control of their activities “emails enhance
traceability… we should be aware of this”. This group of actors privilege informal exchanges
“oral communication is essential …. Tools can’t replace direct exchanges for sharing our
experiences”. Thus, by using these systems, actors modified their properties to meet their
personal interests.
In fact, by drawing on Reynaud’s social regulation theory, we tried to understand how the joint
regulation is constructed through the confrontation of control regulations and autonomous
regulations. Our data analysis highlights that the emergence of a joint regulation is not necessarily
spontaneous. In this case study, it necessitates the intervention of an intermediate actor.
Accordingly, the engineering service of the ISI division intervenes in th negotiations processes,
thus, helping the two parties develop compromises regarding knowledge management systems.
This research work contributes to the studies in the field of socio-political appropriation of
knowledge management systems (De Vaujany, 2006; Verra ad ali, 2012). It outlines the way
knowledge management systems generate different modes of regulations within an organization.
In fact, the appropriation of knowledge management systems is preceded by a psycho-cognitive
and socio-politic phases. The psycho-cognitive phase is essential for understanding the
functionalities integrated in each system. In this case study, knowledge management systems are
user-centered which facilitated their comprehension. This study also highlights the need to
develop a joint regulation for implementing KMS. In this case, the involvement of an
intermediate actor in the implementation process was essential. However, the research results are
limited to a single study constraining their generalization. Therefore, the study of social
regulations in other contexts can constitute a further step of the study.
Alavi, M. & Leidner, D.E. (2001), Knowledge management and knowledge management
Systems: conceptual foundations and research issues, MIS Quarterly, Vol. 25, p.107-136.
Crozier, M. & Friedberg, E. (1977), L'Acteur et le système, Le Seuil, Paris.
De Vaujany, F.X. & Fomin, V. (2007), "A New Theoretical Framework for Artefact-Mediated
Regulation", 28th International Conference on Information Systems, Montréal.
De Vaujany, F.X. (2006), "Pour une théorie de l'appropriation des outils de gestion : vers un
dépassement de l'opposition conception-usage", Management & Avenir, Vol. 3, n°9, p. 109126.
Drucker, P. F. (1993), Postcapitalist Society, New York: HerperCollins Publishers.
Elie-Dit-Cosaque, C. (2010), "Les réponses de cadres intermédiaires face à l'implémentation de
technologies de l'information et de la communication: le cas d'une administration publique",
Management & Avenir, Vol. 9, n°39, p. 213-232.
Gibson W.J. et Brown A, (2009), Working with Qualitative Data, Sage Publications, UK
Grant, R. M. (1996), "Prospering in dynamically-competitive environments: organizational
capacity as knowledge integration", Organization Science, Vol. 7, p. 375-387.
Orlikowski, W.J. (1996), "Improvising Organizational Transformation Over Time: A Situated
Change Perspective", Information Systems Research, Vol. 7, n°1, p. 63-92.
Reynaud, J.D. (1989), Les Règles du jeu : L'action collective et la régulation sociale, Armand
Colin, Paris.
Reynaud, J.D, (1995), Le conflit, la négociation et la règle, Octarès, Toulouse.
Stoycheva, K.G. & Lubart, T. (2002), La nature de la prise de décision créative in La créativité
organisationnelle, regards sur l’individu, l’entreprise et l’économie, I. Getz, Vuibert, Paris.
Electronic business reporting:
technology objects in the construction of transparent market infrastructures?
Alan Lowe, Aston Business School
Joanne Locke, Open University Business School
Maceij Piechocki, cundus AG
Our research focusses on an important aspect of the development of interactive data technology
which has been touted as a key reporting initiative for addressing recent financial market
problems and enhancing corporate accountability (SEC, 2009; Roohani et al., 2009). XBRL is
promoted on the one hand as improving transparency by increasing accessibility and
democratizing access to information while on the other remaining a neutral conveyor of
accounting and business information ‘as reported’. We argue that its development requires the coordination of complex knowledge and skills and the effects of the resulting technology on the
future of business reporting are indeterminable and may reduce transparency as much as improve
We examine the activities of developers who have been engaged in the construction of an XBRL
taxonomy, which is essentially a structured dictionary of concepts located in a structure to
facilitate the tagging of items of data. Our theoretical framework is provided by a broadly
practice theory perspective from a number of writers who are associated with the practice turn in
social science (Knorr Cetina, 1999, 2001; Latour, 2005) and management (Carlile, 2002;
Orlikowski, 2010).
In the paper we outline the use of TRAX software using empirical data and reflect on our
increasing reliance on digital media for communication and especially for mediation and decision
support devices in the construction and development of complex technologies such as interactive
Boundary Objects, Translation and Technology
In this paper we theorise the construction of a major infrastructure project using ANT theory but
with particular emphasis on the boundary object concept. We believe that boundary object ideas
can still be usefully deployed to effectively theorise and explain the development of complex
technologies that are reliant on working across different groups of knowledge workers.
The Role of Trax as a Boundary Object
Tracking technologies are designed to support taxonomy development processes and project
management, by using feedback gathering system that target specific taxonomies and their
development and user groups. The aim is to enable contributions by accountants who need a
familiar presentation of the concepts. The challenge is to represent the thousands of concepts and
their complex relationships in a way which enables accountants to identify conceptual problems
and IT experts to ensure the correct application of XML and XBRL specification requirements.
Figure 1 demonstrates the number of files and the difficulty the raw XML poses for accountants.
One of the most popular electronic feedback gathering systems, used mainly in the software
engineering space, is Bugzilla. Another example is PageSeeder. The main functionalities of
PageSeeder include managing documents (HTML, Word, Excel, PDF, etc.) and other annotations
contributed by reviewers. Second important feature of PageSeeder is managing and distributing
emails to the groups of people (Corefiling, 2007). This functionality is similar to the operating of
mailing list. However PageSeeder does not provide XBRL taxonomy commenting possibilities.
This was the major factor behind the introduction of the TRAX system. TRAX is specifically an
XBRL taxonomy review system (see Figure 2).
Indication of number of files
in a taxonomy.
Very brief extract of one file
Figure 1: Example of a ‘raw’ presentation of an XBRL taxonomy
The viewer provides a tool to navigate through the taxonomy into elements or their attributes.
The TRAX user is then able to place a “seeded” comment next to an item. Each comment is then
automatically sent to all users registered for the review of that taxonomy. Others can reply to the
comment either using their mail system, by logging into the taxonomy viewer via the TRAX
system, or by using the TRAX review panel. Figure 3 shows the review panel which lists the
submitted issues with issue title, description and the name of the person submitting an issue. It is
possible to reply to any comment in a given thread.
Discussion and Conclusions
The processes we have described documents the role of one specific piece of software – the
TRAX system – that has been deployed in the development and debugging of XBRL taxonomies.
The digital technology we describe in the paper reflect an aspect of our increasing reliance on
digital media for communication and for mediation devices in the construction and development
of complex technologies. In spite of the use of support technologies such as TRAX our evidence
suggests a tendency of IT professionals to see the presentation of accounting data as a technical
issue in their area of expertise, not requiring input from accountants. Our observations suggest
that the majority of the exchanges in TRAX and in other fora are from IT professionals rather
than accountants, who tend to be unaware of the significance of XBRL.
Systems like TRAX are designed to allow the working across traditional professional boundaries
but its functionality and application also implicitly shape the development in ways that bias the
outcomes in favour of an IT perspective.
Indicative References
Carlile, P.R. (2002). A pragmatic view of knowledge and boundaries: Boundary objects in new
product development. Organisation Science 13, 442-455.
Covaleski, J. M. (2002). Bank on it: FDIC buys into XBRL. Accounting Today, 16(14), 1,37.
Hoffman, C., & Rodríguez, M. M. (2013). Digitizing Financial Reports – Issues and Insights: A
Viewpoint. The International Journal of Digital Accounting Research, 13, 73-98.
Knorr Cetina, K.D. (1999), Epistemic cultures, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
Knorr Cetina, K (2001) Objectual Practice. in Schatzki, T.R., Knorr Cetina, K. & von Savigny, E.
(Eds.), The practice turn in contemporary theory, 2001, Routledge, London.
Latour, B. (1987). Science in action: How to follow scientists and engineers through society.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Law, J. (1999), "After ANT: Complexity, naming and topology", in Law, J. and J.S. Hassard
(Ed.), Actor network theory: And after, Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 1-14.
Orlikowski, W. J. (2010), "Practice in research: phenomenon, perspective and philosophy", in
Golsorkhi, D., Rouleau, L., Seidl, D. and Vaara, E. (Eds.), Cambridge Handbook of
Strategy as Practice. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (UK).
Roohani, S., Furusho, Y., & Koizumi, M. (2009). XBRL: Improving transparency and monitoring
functions of corporate governance. International Journal of Disclosure and Governance,
6(4), 355-369.
SEC. (2009). Interactive Data to Improve Financial Reporting: Final Rule. Retrieved 12 April,
2009, from www.sec.gov/rules/final/2009/33-9002.pdf.
Star, S. L. (2010). This is not a boundary object: Reflections on the concept. Science, Technology
& Human Values, 35(5), 601-617.
Star, S. L. and Griesemer, James R (1989) 'Institutional Ecology, 'Translations and Boundary
Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology',
Social Studies of Science 19(3): 387-420.
Figure 2. TRAX taxonomy viewer (source: TRAX for the IFRS taxonomy)
Identifying data removed
Identifying data removed
Figure 3. TRAX review space (source: CoreFiling, 2008)
Performance measurement in a nonprofit organization: social impact measurement
between material tools and social practice
Julien Kleszczowski, Ecole Polytechnique
Nathalie Raulet-Croset, Ecole Polytechnique
Over the last years there has been an increasing need for nonprofit organizations (NPO) to evidence
their effectiveness through measuring their performance. Accountability as an external demand and
monitoring as an internal need are the two main reasons for the emergence of this movement.
Scholar publications stress on difficulties of performance measurement comparing to for-profit
organizations, since NPOs’ performance cannot be measurable only on a financial basis, but has to
take into account social effects (Kanter, 1986), which leads to a multidimensional evaluation of their
effectiveness (Herman, Renz, 1997). NPOs’ specificity relies on its social mission, and measurement
performance implies to assess actual fulfillment of their mission, by evidencing social outcomes and
social impact (Arvidson, 2013). However, this aspect is far more difficult to evaluate since it relies on
a subjective and qualitative dimension. Furthermore, practices and culture of NPOs are often opposed
to the logic of evaluation (Kanter, Summers, 1994).
Several specific methods and tools were built by researchers and practitioners to face these challenges.
Balanced scorecard adapted to nonprofits (Kaplan, 2001) and Social Return On
Investment (Lingane, Olsen, 2004) are two tools among the most well-known ones. However, several
studies stress on the fact there is no method which suits for every nonprofit organization. Each NPO
should adapt tools to its specific context, needs and activities (Herman, Renz, 1999).
This research is a part of an ongoing Ph.D. work based on an action-research methodology about the
implementation of social impact evaluation in a huge French NPO. The NPO is a charity which deals
with youth at risk through housing, education and training and supports families in their parenting
role. The NPO is funded by public grants as well as private donors. In order to implement social
impact evaluation, it was decided as a first step to build five social impact measurement processes on
chosen units (childcare refuge, social integration support service, support service for families, digital
project in schools) inside the organization which cover the main activity fields of the charity. These
five processes will be the cases of the analysis (Yin, 2009).
The processes will try to measure outcomes and impact of each unit or project evaluated, in order to
respond to specific needs of each. External accountability and internal monitoring are the two main
reasons for this evaluation. Design of evaluation will be built in different ways: in some cases, existing
tools or methods will be implemented, and in some other ones specific tools will be designed starting
from activity of each unit or project. Different cases show different situations of entanglement
(Pickering) between everyday practices and evaluation designs.
Although processes in the organization contribute to formal regulation (Reynaud, 1988), we can
observe that evaluation practice of actors is not very formalized. Reporting of supporting work for
recipients is low, and hardly concerns support work itself. However, accountability of the action is
developed through other ways than quantitative tools and field actors are reflecting implicitly on their
effects on recipients during regular team meetings. Objectives of accountability and monitoring seem
to be reached by other ways than development of tools which measure social outcomes or social
impact of the action: tools are articulated with storytelling and team introspection sessions for
example. Therefore articulation between material dimension of evaluation tools implemented and
social practice of actors (Orlikowski, 2007) is worth observing in our five cases.
We assume that results of the research will show articulation and degree of closeness between
materiality of tools built and practice of actors. On the basis of a case comparison, we will be able to
identify factors which influence closeness and these ones which strengthen dichotomy. This research
will contribute to enlighten dichotomy between material and social dimension of practice inside
nonprofit organizations through the process of building tools for performance measurement of these
Arvidson, M., & Lyon, F. (2013). Social Impact Measurement and Non-profit Organisations:
Compliance, Resistance, and Promotion. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and
Nonprofit Organizations, 1–18.
Herman, R. D., & Renz, D. O. (1997). Multiple Constituencies and the Social Construction of
Nonprofit Organization Effectiveness. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 26(2), 185–
Herman, R. D., & Renz, D. O. (1999). Theses on Nonprofit Organizational Effectiveness. Nonprofit
and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 28(2), 107–126.
Kanter, R. M. (1986). Doing Well While Doing Good: Dilemmas of Performance Measurement in
Nonprofit Organizations and the Need for a Multiple Constituency Approach. Handbook of
Organizations, W. Powell and P. DiMaggio. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Kanter, R. M., & Summers, D. V. (1994). Doing well while doing good: Dilemmas of performance
measurement in nonprofit organizations and the need for a multiple-constituency approach. In
Public Sector Management: Theory, Critique and Practice (p. 324). SAGE Publications,
Kaplan, R. S. (2001). Strategic Performance Measurement and Management in Nonprofit
Organizations. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 11(3), 353–370.
Lingane, A., & Olsen, S. (2004). Guidelines for social return on investment.California Management
Review, 46(3), 116-135.
Pickering, A. (1995). The mangle of practice: Time, agency, and science. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press. Retrieved from
Orlikowski, W. J. (2007). Sociomaterial practices: Exploring technology at work. Organization
Studies, 28(9), 1435–1448.
Reynaud, J.-D. (1988). Les régulations dans les organisations: régulation de contrôle et regulation
autonome. Revue Fran\ccaise de Sociologie, 5–18.
Yin, R. K. (2009). Case study research: Design and methods (Vol. 5).
Session 10 - Norms, identity and materiality
Chris McLean (Manchester University)
Room: 208
Rules, norms and materiality in practice: a clinical experience
Giorgia Cioccetti, National School of Administration, Rome
Antonio Chimienti, National School of Administration, Rome
Sandro Mameli, National School of Administration, Rome
Maria Gisa Masia, National School of Administration, Rome
Welcoming the invitation from Balogun et. al. (2013) to bring together discourse, sociomateriality and
power in research in order to fully contextualise a strategy-as-practice lens, the paper draws upon an
ongoing dialogue between two perspectives using a clinical approach (psycho-sociological (Salvatore
2003) and socio-political (De Gaulejac 2009; Crozier, Friedberg 1977)) to the study of organizing.
The research team enquires the relationship between power-relations, meaning-making and materiality
in a view to understand the strategizing process in act within the context of a public organization.
The case of the training experience at the Italian National School of Administration (SNA), following
a strategic turn in the period 2010-2013, brings to light the difficulties of adapting to new training
models for management, i.e. reflexive and practice-based learning, in an organizational context coping
with contrasting demands derived from intra-, inter and supra organizational rules and norms:
- supra-organizational
level: a broader reform process at Central Administration level, increasing
managerialism in public administration and severely reducing available financial resources;
- inter-organizational
level: financial/administrative accountability rules, registration selection
softwares and procedural constraints;
- intra-organizational level: power-relations and meaning-making between executives, administrative
staff, professors/trainers and participants as well as affordances/constraints from the spatial
organization and internal management tools.
The research team draws upon a three-years organizing and training experience (January 2011December 2013) and focuses on the recursive relationship between those three levels. Taking practice
as the unit of analysis, the aim of the paper is to understand the affordance/constraints relationships
derived from a sociomaterial perspective (i.e. granting some form of agency to artifacts), a psychosociological perspective (i.e. how a socially negotiated meaning - at conscious and unconscious levelof training, rules and artifacts informs and guide agency) and a socio-political perspective (how both
sociomaterial and psychological agency are mobilized by different actors to maintain or redefine
power relations at intra and inter-levels of organization.
A clinical approach gives an ontological/epistemological primacy to relationships in the research
process whatever, we argue, they may be (human, non human or human/non human). Following
relational constructionist accounts of organizing, relations are understood as local-historical and localcultural (Hosking 2006).
A clinical approach to the case appears to overcome the current theoretical fragmentation:
- Traditional approaches to training (behavioural, cognitivist or constructivist) focus on the individual
or social learning process without conceiving specific properties to artifacts (training room, program,
selection software). The sociomaterial literature concerned with training, although providing insights
on the way to “bring together” social and material agencies, focuses on highly digitalized contexts (as
regard training, it would focus on e-learning or training platform or the design of virtual learning
spaces). Nonetheless, there is a strong case not to exclude “low” or “medium” digitalized context from
a sociomaterial approach, insofar as other artifacts than the digitalized learning platform can be taken
into consideration.
- In public management studies, the most widely acknowledged research (Pollitt, Bouckaert 2004)
focuses on the typologies of public administration reform design (New Public Management, New
Public Governance, New Weberian State) following a systems model of analysis that focuses on metalevel variables (socio-economic forces, administrative system, political system and elite decisionmaking, (see Pollitt, Bouckaert 2004 p.25). Such variables do not make it possible to understand how,
in everyday practices, the competing demands are enacted at intra-organizational level to produce
organizing realities that both enable and constrain the development of a new training strategy.
Ontological debate among scholars in public management/public administration field is only at an
embryonic stage (Stout, 2012) and does not include yet a practice-based view of how multiple
ontologies are at play in everyday practices in public organizations.
- The growing body of literature referring to the relational nature of institutional complexity and
organizational response focus on broad categories of relational dynamics without explaining how such
strategies are enacted in practice (Pache, Santos 2010). However, as suggests some researches
(Tummers 2011, de Gaulejac 2010) there is a case to analyse this relational dynamic in public
organizations, following the widespread of both management techniques and IT-innovations in
government. Such studies do not provide - so far - solid theoretical ground for a sociomaterial
approach, since their aim is focused at highlighting the dysfunctions of these competing demands at
individual (socio-psychological) or organizational level.
A comprehensive framework, that takes as a starting place the -already- entangled organizational
realities (Orlikowski 2010) would provide, we assume, a better understanding of the complexity of
this organizing and a more useful ground on which change can be conceived and developed (Barad
2003). The paper concludes discussing the potential theoretical developments of a clinical approach
that includes in a single framework the sociomaterial, psychosociological and socio-political
Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to
Matter. Signs, 28(3), 801-831.
Crozier, M., Friedberg, E. (1977). L’aceur et e système: las contraintes de l’action collective. Editions
du Seuil, Paris.
De Gaulejac, V. (2009). La Société malade de la gestion, Editions du Seuil, Paris
De Gaulejac, V. (2010). Le Management entre contradictions et paradoxes, in MANA, Revue de
Sciologie et d’Anthropologie, N.17-18, 2010, Editions l’Harmattan, Paris.
Hosking, D.M. (2006). Discourses of relations and relational processes, in Kyriakidou, O. and
Özbilgin, M. (eds.). Relational Perspectives in Organizational Studies: A Research
Companion. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
Orlikowski, W.J. (2010). The sociomateriality of organizational life: considering technology in
management research. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 34, 125-141.
Pache, A-C. Santos F. (2010). When worlds collide: the internal dynamics of organizational re sponses
to conflicting institutional demands. Academy of Management Review 2010, Vol. 35, No. 3,
455 476.
Pollitt, C., Bouckaert G. (2004) Public Management Reform: a comparative analysis. Oxford : Oxford
University Press
Salvatore, S., Freda, M.F., Ligorio, B., Iannaccone, A., Rubino, F., Scotto di Carlo, M., et. al.
(2003). Socioconstructivism and Theory of the Unconsious: A Gaze over a Research Horizon.
European Journal of School Psychology, 1 (1), 9-36.
Stout, M. (2012). Competing Ontologies: A Primer for Public Administration. Public Administration
Review, Vol. 72 (3), 388–398
Tummers, L.G. (2011). Explaining the willingness of public professionals to implement new policies:
A policy alienation framework. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 77 (3), 555581.
Professional identity, work environment and sociomaterial practices
Pierre Laniray, Université Paris-Dauphine
Work appears a significant dimension of identity formation : organizational identity, as well as values
and social status inferred from work enable the individual to answer the question « Who am I », both
for himself and in front of others (Kreiner, Hollensbe, & Sheep, 2006; Pratt, Rockmann, & Kaufmann,
2006; Sainsaulieu, 1985). The perception of the workplace as a « stage » for identity enactement, in
the sense of Goffman (1959) has produced interesting recent research (Ibarra, 1999; Ibarra &
Barbulescu, 2010). However the role of materiality in identity work remains under-investigated. Yet,
identity representations often rely on a series of material artefacts which provide resources for these
enactments. Our research analyses the role of artefacts (both technological and non technological) and
the related sociomaterial practices, in the constitutions and enactment of professional identity of social
actors. Our unit of analysis for this research is an occupational community of train drivers (Salaman,
1974; van Maanen & Barley, 1984).
In a context of globalization of trade, « post-bureaucratic » reorganization of firms, diffusion of near
ubiquitous communication technologies and « post-modernist » evolution of society, the question of
individual or collectives identities and the role of work in their evolution or recomposition has been
the focus of an increasing number of research, in philosophy, sociology and organization theory
(Castells, 2000; Gay, 1995; Giddens, 1991; Sennett, 2000; Taylor, 1989).
Human labor provides material conditions of existence, while generating meaning (through what is
being produced) and being a source of future projection (career as central focus of biographical
trajectory) (Bardon, Josserand, & Clegg, 2012). As an essential socialization space, it appears quite
natural that the workplace, being both a material and a social space, acts both as a stage on which we
enact our character (Goffman, 1959) and where, receiving interpretations and feedback from others,
we nurture our own sense of self (Dubar, 1992).
But challenges to maintaining a coherent sense of self are more and more acute as change and
reorganization tend to become a day-to-day modus operandi for organizations (Alter, 2003), career
perspectives prove to be relatively unpredictable, boundaries of workgroups are regularly modified
and the division between private and professional life fades (Sennett, 2000; 2007).
Recent research in organization theory on identity formation at work has studied this phenomenon
mainly through discursive practices, be they organizational or individual discourses. According to
these research, the construction of meaning, the integration and enactment of values and beliefs
forging professional identities, be they individual, collective or organizational, would therefore be
mainly located and reproduced in discourses, after rationalization by social actors.
Despite delivering promising results, these approaches tend to neglect an overlooked dimension of
organisations and, more broadly, of collective action, i.e the material dimension. (Bardon et al., 2012;
Orlikowski, 2007; Spicer, 2008). Social actors’ practices in organisations are indeed necessarily
sociomaterial. They require the use of objects whose material properties both enable and constrain
action (Gibson, 1986).
The objective of our research is to enlighten the role of materiality in the workplace on identity
formation. Studying the features and properties of an ensemble of artefacts used by train drivers in
their daily tasks, we wish to show how these object integrated in sociomaterial practices specific to the
occupational community contribute to identity formation and identification for its members. Whilst
looking at artefacts in regular, day-to-day activity, we will focus as often as possible on « material
incidents » (i.e material changes, troubleshootings, accidents, etc.) to reveal the identity disruption
generated by changes in sociomaterial practices and to explain the identity work mechanisms led by
social actors to restore a certain form of stability.
The role of materiality in identity formation
We define identity formation according to the definition provided by Ybema (2009) : « a complex,
multifaceted process which produces a socially negotiated temporary outcome of the dynamic
interplay between internal strivings and external prescriptions, between selfpresentation and labeling
by others, between achievement and ascription and between regulation and resistance ».
The role of materiality in identity formation in organizations has been studied by some relevant
research streams:
- in research led by Hugues (1958) on « dirty jobs » (« Tasks and occupations that are likely to be
perceived as disgusting, degrading, or physically, socially or morally tainted »).
- in the SCOS (Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism) literature, organizational
symbolism comes from organizational artifacts conceptualized as symbols and revealing personal or
organizational identity and status (Gagliardi, 1990)
- research in organizational theory has considered some objets as « additional semiotics » (Ybema et
al., 2009). Certain objects are therefore vectors of projection of personal identity, e.g. clothes, makeup,
office decors (Elsbach, 2004; Swann, 1987). Other signal the valorization of identity by the
organisation, e.g high salaries, luxury company cars and other non financial symbolic compensations
that a company can grant its employees (Alvesson & Robertson, 2006).
These research tend to integrate some materiality in the analysis of identity formation, rather than to
focus on the role of materiality per se in identity formation. This is precisely the objective of our
Theoretical framework
Given the absence of systematic study of the role of objects in identity formation, our research is
largely inductive. However, we borrow from SCOS and sociomaterial approaches in order to define
the object of our study.
We use the definition of artefacts provided by Gagliardi (1990:3), according to which artefacts are 1)
the product of human actions thats exists independently from its creator ; 2) intentional, i.e which aims
at solving a problem or satisfying a need ; 3) perceived by the senses, thanks to its own corporality or
physical dimension (Gagliardi, 1990:3). This physicality is constituted by the assemblage of matter
and form (Leonardi, 2012). The materiality of an artefact refers to « those properties of a technological
artifact that do not change, by themselves, across differences in time and context. »
If the properties of an artefact are stable, defined by their materiality, they only produce effects when
used within sociomaterial practices. Practice is indeed the entanglement of material and human
agency. Therefore « what the technology is does not change across space and time, but what it does
can and often changes. Function – or material agency - is a construction that depends, in part, on
materiality but also depends on one’s perceptions of whether materiality affords her the ability to
achieve her goals or places a constraint upon her.» (Leonardi, 2012).
Research design
Our ongoing research deals with members of the occupational community (van Maanen & Barley,
1984) of train drivers. Data is collected through semi-structured interviews and nonparticipant
observation within the train cabin.
Train drivers come from 5 different sites of the French National Railway Company, specialized in
specific missions : fret, long-distance, long-distance and high-speed, suburban. Sites vary also in the
type of engines required for these missions (automatic, diesel, etc), and on technological equipment
(mobile phone only, mobile phone and smartphone, mobile phone and tablet).
Our research considers these different objects present in the driver’s cabin and analyses their material
properties and affordances. Interviews and observations enable to understand how these artifacts
channel identity material and contribute to identity formation. The role of material changes in identity
disruption and reformation is specifically studied.
Contributions to OAP Worshop
This research can contribute to the 4th workshop on Organizations, Artefacts and Practices at 3
different levels:
- this research considers the role of materiality in identity formation, and in particular how some
objects may be chosen and deployed in organization in order to trigger a certain type of identity
amongst employees. This contributes to current research on « artifacts and objects as the constituents
[...] of organizations and organizing »;
- by looking at the unintended effects of materiality regarding identity formation, this research
contributes to highlight the specificity of material agency and the performativity of materiality in
- through the systemic mobilization of Gibson (1984) for all artefacts present in the train cabin, our
research will provide some insights regarding the affordances of materiality in organizations.
Finally it seems that since technological and technical changes are happening more and more
frequently in organizations, this research could help explain how individuals represent these material
changes based on occupational identity and how they reform a coherent sense of self through new
sociomaterial practices. Furthermore, our research aims at contributing to the broader debate on the
meaning of work and questions of deskilling related to personal and collective identities.
Alter, N. (2003). Mouvement et dyschronies dans les organisations. L'Année Sociologique, 53(2), 489.
Alvesson, M., & Robertson, M. (2006). The best and the brightest: The construction, significance and
effects of elite identities in consulting firms. Organization, 13(2), 195–224.
Bardon, T., Josserand, E., & Clegg, S. (2012). Exploring Identity Construction From a Critical
Management Perspective: a Research Agenda. [email protected], 15(4), 350–366.
Castells, M. (2000). The information age: economy, society and culture. The Power of Identity, vol 2.
John Wiley and Sons.
Dubar, C. (1992). Formes identitaires et socialisation professionnelle. Revue Française De Sociologie,
Elsbach, K. D. (2004). Interpreting workplace identities: The role of office decor. Journal of
Organizational Behavior, 25(1), 99–128.
Gagliardi, P. (Ed.). (1990). Symbols and artifacts: Views of the corporate landscape. Walter de
Gay, Du, P. (1995). Consumption And Identity At Work. SAGE Publications Ltd.
Gibson, J. (1986). The ecological approach to visual perception. Routledge.
Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Stanford
University Press Stanford, CA.
Goffman, E. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Anchor.
Hugues, E. C. (1958). Men and their work. Glenvoe, IL: Free Press.
Ibarra, H. (1999). Provisional selves: Experimenting with image and identity in professional
adaptation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 764–791.
Ibarra, H., & Barbulescu, R. (2010). Identity as narrative: Prevalence, effectiveness, and consequences
of narrative identity work in macro work role transitions. Academy of Management Review,
35(1), 135–154.
Kreiner, G. E., Hollensbe, E. C., & Sheep, M. L. (2006). Where is the" me" among the“ we?” Identity
work and the search for optimal balance. Academy of Management Journal, 49(5), 1031–
Leonardi, P. M. (2012). Materiality, Sociomateriality, and Socio-Technical Systems: What Do These
Terms Mean? How are They Related? Do We Need Them? In P. M. Leonardi, B. A. Nardi, &
J. Kallinikos (Eds.), Materiality and Organizing: Social Interaction in a Technological World
(pp. 25–48). Oxford University Press.
Orlikowski, W. (2007). Sociomaterial practices: Exploring technology at work. Organization Studies,
28(9), 1435–1448. doi:10.1177/0170840607081138
Pratt, M. G., Rockmann, K., & Kaufmann, J. (2006). Constructing professional identity: The role of
work and identity learning cycles in the customization of identity among medical residents.
The Academy of Management Journal ARCHIVE, 49(2), 235–262.
Sainsaulieu, R. (1985). L'identité au travail. Paris: Presses de la Fondation Nationale des Sciences
Salaman, G. (1974). Community and Occupation: an exploration of work/leisure relationships.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sennett, R. (2000). The corrosion of character. W. W. Norton & Company.
Sennett, R. (2007). The culture of the new Capitalism. Yale University Press.
Spicer, A. (2008). Subjectivity. In S. Clegg & J. R. Bailey (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of
Organization Studies (pp. 1484–1487). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Swann, W. B. (1987). Identity negotiation: Where two roads meet. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 53(6), 1038.
Taylor, C. (1989). Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
van Maanen, J., & Barley, S. R. (1984). Occupational communities: Culture and control in
organizations. Research in Organizational Behavior, 6, 287–365.
Ybema, S., Keenoy, T., Oswick, C., Beverungen, A., Ellis, N., & Sabelis, I. (2009). Articulating
identities. Human Relations, 62(3), 299–322. doi:10.1177/0018726708101904
Setting rules for the unruled web:
organizational behaviour in the context of crowdfunding regulation
Lucia Marchegiani, Roma Tre University
Elisa Battisti, Roma Tre University
Among the intangible assets, which are at the core of the competitive arena, financial resources and
knowledge are nowadays undoubtedly the most valuable ones. Thus, firms seek for financial and
knowledge sources not only within their organizational boundaries, but increasingly involving external
stakeholders. The exchange of information from the outside towards the inside of the organization
allows increasing the knowledge base. The knowledge coming from the market reinforces the
importance of the network of relationships, especially in a context of expansion of markets, in which
the sources of knowledge can be very diverse. In particular, social capital, defined as the set of
resources on which the firm has access to and that can be mobilized on the basis of the network of
active relationships, may enable understanding the ability of an organization to acquire and improve
its innovative capabilities. The web-based technologies have enhanced the ability to reach the external
stakeholders in innovative ways. The evolution of so-called web 1.O into WEB 2.0 includes every
kind of social media which allow organizations to share content and to create a system of relations in
which everyone can be connected to each other directly and / or indirectly.
Linking the knowledge-based perspective of firms with the relational analysis of organizations, our
research aims at investigating the behaviour of firms on the context of a new regulation that prompted
out recently on crowdfunding.
By analyzing the steps that led to what we might call the outsourcing of knowledge, the changing
relationship between business and the market can be summarized as follows: a) initially, all activities
were conducted solely within the organization and we can identify this mode, therefore, in the
Hierarchy; b) Bearing in mind the theory of transaction costs by Williamson, some organization then
adopted a first model of outsourcing production or special function, identified in outsourcing; c) today,
in addition to the outsourcing of production and work, we assist to the outsourcing of knowledge, i.e.
the Crowdsourcing which consequently has also developed the branch of Crowdfunding.
Crowdsourcing has been defined by Jeff Howe as the assignment of a task traditionally performed
within the company to a community of persons not related to organizational constraints or other
factors. Crowdfunding is a collaborative process for the provision of financial resources from
alternative channels or complementary to the traditional ones or shareholdings by professional
The historical origin of Crowdfunding is placed at the end of the 90s , with the first websites dedicated
to fundraising campaigns, mainly for charity, that used the network as a tool to expand the traditional
fundraising campaigns. Crowdfunding has gained popularity in 2008 when the U.S. President, Barack
Obama has managed to collect most of the money needed for the campaign thanks to this system.
Between 2008 and 2009 in the USA two major crowdfunding platforms were born: Indiegogo and
Kickstarter. On April 5th, 2012, the U.S. Congress enacted the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act,
also known as the JOBS ACT. This bill requires the SEC, Securities and Exchange Commission to
adopt regulations to allow the use of crowdfunding market. At the moment the only enabled investors
to conduct crowdfunding are those defined accredited, such as banks, insurance companies, registered
investment companies or business development companies. An important requirement set by the
regulation prescribes that each year a report must be submitted to the SEC on investment and provide
a discussion of the results with the investors, as well as provide for any request for publication that the
SEC requires. It further stipulates the payment of a fee due to the platform, by those who fail to
achieve a successful project, this would exclude all others from the payment of this fee.
On the verge of the American success of this phenomenon, crowdfunding has gained momentum also
on the European fore. The interest of many arouse, especially of the experts in the fields of economic
and financial markets, in search of new financing instruments and careful to observe the new social
participation supported by the web.
The attention to these new forms of collaboration, together with the success of crowdfunding achieved
in recent years, has stimulated the interest of a wider audience, as well as of professionals and
enthusiasts of the web, so as to make it necessary to define a specific regulation. Italy has been the
first country in Europe to stipulate a specific legislation on the subject, via the Decree Growth
(Decreto Crescita) in October 2012.
The attention given to this phenomenon becomes important to encourage the development of
innovative companies and ensure that they become an element of greater competitiveness of the
economy, especially in the current environment where there is a general restriction of credit by
financial institutions.
The effects of crowdfunding on organizations are prominent, as this method of fundraising gives
impetus to a collaboration that could speed up the financing of business projects while requiring new
sets of behaviour by the different actors. A new vision of corporate finance could be envisaged, with
respect to innovative start-ups. This could boost a major change in the relationship between the
investor and the one who receives funding. We explore these major changes in light of the knowledgebased perspective and relational view of firms that we presented above.
The research that we present in this paper was designed: a) first, to investigate and explore some
general aspects and highlights of Crowdfunding; b) to assess the effect of crowdfunding regulation on
different groups of actors, namely financial institutions, innovative firms and start ups, crowdfunders,
other organizations; c) to offer a systematic overview of the organizational behaviour that such actors
could enact in the development of a new market for crowdfunding and of the relations between those
To do so, we first set up personal interviews with the different groups of stakeholders and then
developed a quantitative survey that was submitted to a wider audience.
We believe that our research could contribute not only to the specific academic interest for
crowdfunding, our analysis of the international regulation on crowdfunding could also shed light to the
general impact of rules on organizations and on the behaviours of organizational actors in the
development of a new sector.
Track 11 - Practice and materiality
Sara Varländer (Stanford University)
Room: 209
The organization of transport terminal: panopticons, cathedrals, agoras or branded
Marcello Martinez, Seconda Università di Napoli
Riccardo Mercurio, Università Federico II di Napoli
Paolo Canonico, Università Federico II di Napoli
Gianluigi Mangia, Università Federico II di Napoli
Mario Pezzillo Iacono, Seconda Università di Napoli
Organization studies are growingly acknowledging the role of space as a key topic for understanding
of the various forms of organizing (Orlikowski, 2007; Van Marrewijk and Yanow, 2010). Train
stations, ports, airports and motorway service stations have always been characterized by the highly
opposing concepts that affect their nature: are they buildings or sites for socialisation? Anthropological spaces or non-places? - Doorways or bridges? - Cathedrals or mechanical factories? Transit areas or sedentary sites? - Local or global entities? Agoras or Panopticons? Social expressions
or shopping malls? The combination of these different dimensions strongly influences a building's
architectural and engineering model, but also expresses an organizational, economic and business
model for the firms that manage them, as well as the quality of life of passengers and workers, and of
the cities to which they refer.
Our study draws upon the paradigm developed by Marc Augé (1992), in which ports, highways, train
stations and airports are structures built for fast movements. They are non-places, through which
millions of people pass quickly without entering into a relationship; they ultimately lack three
anthropological prerogatives, namely 1) identity (such as houses), 2) history (monuments), and 3)
relational attributes (such as for city squares). In non-places, people define themselves through
individual contracts (passports, boarding passes, tickets, credit cards), interacting via encoded
information (signs, ideograms, directions) relating to distant organizations or institutions.
More recently, airports, train stations, ports and service stations have been considered small branded
cities. The agora (public space of social interaction of the Greek polis) has given way to commercial
exchange: 'I exist as a citizen because I buy universally recognized branded products.
The study highlights how transit areas act as a combination of various organizational artifacts
(buildings, vehicles, communication systems, showcases), positioned in space according to different
criteria, as well as on the basis of new modalities. In other words, we examines organizational spaces
as “lived spaces” (Lefebvre, 1991) with both material and symbolic dimensions.
What emerges is that the basis for the organizational models in the space of the artifacts is a "latent
combination" resulting from the interaction between different actors who, within specific policy
networks, play a role in the design, construction, custody and management of transport terminals. Case
studies are presented focusing on motorways service stations in Europe. Our cases show that the
variation in procedures for awarding contracts for managing such rest areas, and the organizational
models governing the interaction between the motorways network administrators and catering service
providers, generate some of the dynamics of transformation of the combinations of artifacts that define
these social sites:
From service areas to villages;
From islands separated from the local context to places of social interaction, and cultural and
tourist promotion;
From mini-markets to experiential places.
Main References
Augè M. (1992), Non-Lieux. Introduction à une anthropologie de la surmodernité, trad. Dominique
Rolland, Nonluoghi. Introduzione a una antropologia della surmodernità, Milano: Elèuthera,
Bauman Z. (2005), Modernità liquida, Laterza, Bari.
Castells M. (2004), La città delle reti, Marsilio, Venezia.
Crawford M., The world is in a shopping mall, in Sorkin M. (ed.) Variations on a Theme Park, New
York, Hill and Wang. 1992.
Lefebvre, H. 1991. The Production of Space. Oxford, Blackwell.
Martinez M., Pezzillo Iacono M. (2013), “Dealing with Critical IS Research: Artifacts, Drifts,
Electronic Panopticon and Illusions of Empowerment”. In: Baskerville R., De Marco M.,
Spagnoletti P., Designing Organisational Systems - An Interdisciplinary Discourse, , Springer
Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 83-102.
Martinez M., Mercurio R. (2012), Modelli di affidamento dei servizi di ristoro sulle reti autostradali
europee. Una ricerca Confimprese, www.confimprese.it
Orlikowski, W. J. (2007), The sociomateriality of organisational life: considering technology in
exploring technology at work, Organization Studies, 28, pp.1435–1448.
Pezzillo Iacono M., Martinez M., Mangia G., Canonico P., De Nito E. (2013), “Coping with Power of
Control: the Role of IS in an Italian Integrated Tariff System”, In: Spagnoletti, P.,
Organizational change and Information system. Working and Living Together in New Ways,
Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 313-325.
Van Marrewijk, A., D. Yanow (2010), Introduction: the spatial turn in organization studies. A. Van
Marrewijk, D. Yanow, eds. Organizational spaces, rematerializing the workaday world.
Edward Elgar, Northampton, 1-16
Making sense with practice: from an “…as practice” to a “practice as…” perspective
Amaury Grimand, Université de Poitiers
Jérôme Méric, Université de Poitiers
Ewan Oiry, Université de Poitiers
More than twenty years of practice turn give us the opportunity to become more reflexive on what is
still a promising perspective in organizational research. Focusing (or widening the scope) on practices,
practice and practitioners (Whittington, 2006) help question or even evacuate some dichotomies from
traditional management thought. Western minds progressively get conscious that many paradoxes like
theory vs. practice, decision vs. action, management vs. labor, strategy vs. tactics, etc., may result in
dead ends for management research (Mintzberg, 1993). Syncretism and recursion are probably the
salient markers of practice based approaches, as suggested by the definition of praxis by Castoriadis
(1998): doing and awareness of doing as simultaneously oriented towards others, a definition that can
be adopted to study both practice and practices. In such a conceptual context, situated emergence is
made a principle. From strategy to accounting, managerial functions are comprehended through the
interaction of discourses, artefacts and courses of action within the ‘murmuring of the everyday’ (de
Certeau, 1980) instead of explicit and deliberate processes. There lies the novelty and above all the
extraordinary renewing power of practice based approaches in management research, as well as
probably their main weakness.
In this contribution, we examine the case of SAP (Strategy as Practice) as a both luminous and
problematic research stream. As focused on intra-organizational analyses, we underline the main
paradox of practice based approaches: strategy must be found in what managers (and not only them)
actually do everyday, but is what they do everyday necessarily strategy? This question is crucial to
research as well as to practitioners who would be committed to inserting strategic practices in current
organizational routines. Research and consultancy frequently identify strategic practices ‘by decree’,
when such a choice should be made and justified thoroughly. At the opposite, the notion of praxis
would guide us towards a phenomenological comprehension of strategy: a practice is perceived ex
post as a strategic one because it induced a “strategic effect” ( a change in company’s orientations,
strengthening a KSF, etc.). This stance is definitely hard to hold, at least exclusively, in the scientific
field of organized action. As Martinet (2006) contends, ‘[a strategic thought] cannot be based
exclusively on analytical, sequential, serial, digital schemes…but it must be protected against deliria
engendered by uncontrolled global, simultaneous, fusional or analogic ones’ (p.38). An answer to this
concern could be found in that practice can be strategic according to different points of view, and that
is crucial to distinguish these perspectives from “unstrategic” ones. Strategic practice can be seen as:
1. A rational construct, like an action plan (see the traditional approach of strategy by Martinet, 2002),
2. The construction of behavioral regularities, like routines (Feldman & Pentland, 2005),
3. A behavioral innovation, improvisation or bricolage (March, 1991),
4. The development of knowledge, learning, cognitive development (Argyris & Schön, 1974),
5. A sensemaking and sensegiving process by which individuals: seek to interpret and understand the
reality in which they are evolving by acting (Weick, 1995); attempt to focus organizational actors’
managerial attention (Occasio, 1997)
6. The construction of an identity, an image of self (Sainsaulieu, 1977, Dubar, 1998), a way for people
to call attention to their professionalism or to increase their legitimacy (Molloy and Whittington, 2005,
Kaplan, 2011),
7. The setting up of power-domination relations (Crozier, 1964), a way to mediate social interactions
(Orlikowski, 2007),
8. The locus of institutionalization or deinstitutionalization (Meyer & Rowan, 1977), structuration or
destructuration processes (Giddens, 1984).
Each point is developed in reference to a musical metaphor and exemplified with a specific
management situation (Girin, 1983).
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Jossey-Bass Publishers.
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Bricolage as artefactual joke:
how bricoleur can use humor to transform mockery into acceptation
Isabelle Né, Grenoble Ecole de Management
Raffi Duymedjian, Grenoble Ecole de Management
KEYWORDS: Bricolage, humor, bricolage-as-outcome (BaO), artefactual humor, continuity.
The concept of bricolage gets quite successful in Organizational Sciences since the 90’s. Crossing
with fields as varied as information systems (Ciborra, 1994), organizational behaviors (Weick, 1993)
innovation practices (Garud & Karnoe, 2003), entrepreneurial dynamics (Baker & Nelson, 2005), it is
essentially described as a practice consisting in making do with what is at hand, and opposes itself
from rules and regulation practices considered as more formal -“break-through” (Garud & Karnoe,
2003) and “resources seeking” situations (Baker & Nelson, 2005) that are more legitimate under the
myth of Managerial Rationality (Bowles, 1997).
Although quite prolific in the way bricolage is studied, current research almost exclusively analyzes
bricolage as a process and rarely as an outcome, even though Lévi-Strauss himself does actually
define it both as a way to do and as an achievement (Lévi-Strauss, 1966). Scarce are the articles, like
Duymedjian & Rüling (2010) that devote part of their reasoning to bricolage-as-outcome (BaO).
We believe that taking into account BaO allows grasping the conditions and consequences of a critical
stage: the reactions it arouses within a productive system. Indeed, confronted with BaO, bystanders
may react with two opposing ways. Namely 1) the reaction of despise and rejection justified by the
belief of incompetency (Rey, 2006) of the bricoleur or of his covert resistance to the rules (De
Certeau, 1984, Clegg, 2002); or 2) an admiring reaction confronted with such ingenuity and craftiness
(Rey, 2006), that could be regarded as “contributing” rather than “rule deviation” (Jackson & Adams,
1979). We make the assumption that it is the incongruity inherent of the presence of formally
unexpected elements that is the source of the crisis induced by its reception in the organization.
Based on this hypothesis, the paper suggests using the mean of humor theories to interpret BaO as an
original humoristic arrangement we shall name Artefactual Humor. Taking into account this
dimension should allow transforming an Accidental (because unintentional) Artefactual Humor of
BaO into an Intentional Artefactual Humor resulting in the bricoleur being able to gain better
acceptance of the ingenuity of his achievement. In our sense, humor can be a mean for BaO to be
admitted within a system where the rationality principle is dominating. It seemed thus relevant to rely
on humor theories, since the recurring aspect of a humoristic situation precisely holds within the
incongruity of at least one of its elements (Ross, 1998; Martin, 2006).
Martin (2006) strongly suggests linking theories on humor with other investigation fields, as it is a
mean for social interaction and in this aspect the issue of humor is quite serious. We retain that humor
may be observed from a social and interactive perspective: the goals being humor for itself, or humor
as a mean to reach other objectives (Collinson, 1988). Such humorous plays, inducing the social
understanding that one is not being serious and involving positive friendly response, may be taken as
the way to read bricolage settings, even when these settings where not intentionally being built with
this objective. The bricoleur could “take control” of the reactions to his bricolage in generating a
reaction of “laughing with” rather than one of “laughing at”.
The analysis of BaO as a humorous dispositive allows us to provide three contributions.
1) It gives a detailed description of bricolage as an outcome of a process, identifying the
specificity of the arrangement and the elements composing it. We shall display that it holds an
inherent dimension of incongruity, which enlightens the uncertainty of its reception.
2) In interpreting the incongruity of BaO through the lenses of the theory of humor, we suggest
reading it as an inherently funny structure that drives us to determine a new type of humor
called accidental artefactual humor. By this, we stress the fact that the humorous dimension of
BaO is unconsciously ignored by the bricoleur intending to make things work, endangering its
reception in the organization.
3) This detour throughout humor allows adding to the tactical strategy based on the efficiency of
the arrangement, another variable based on narratives accompanying its life into the
organization: it intentionality recognizes humor as part of BaO, so that irony and scorn be
replaced by admiration of resourcefulness and ingenuity, thus allowing the bricoleur’s setting
being perceived as legitimate “for continuity” of the organization.
Baker, T., Nelson R.E., 2005. Creating something from nothing: Resource construction through
entrepreneurial bricolage. Administrative Science Quarterly, 50: 329-366.
Baker, T., 2007, Resources in Play: Bricolage in the Toy Store(y). Journal of Business Venturing,
22: 694-711.
Ciborra, C.U. and Lanzara, G.F. 1994. Formative contexts and information technology. Journal of
Accounting, Management and Information Technology, 4 (2): 61-86.
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Relations. Organization Studies, 9(2): 181-199.
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De Certeau, M. 1984. The practice of everyday life. University of California Press, Berkeley
Duymedjian, R., & Rüling, C. 2010. Towards a foundation of bricolage in organization theory.
Organization Studies, 31(2): 133-151.
Garud, R., Karnøe P., 2003. Bricolage versus breakthrough: Distributed and embedded agency in
technology entrepreneuship. Research Policy, 32: 277–300.
Jackson J. H. and Adams S. W., 1979. The Life Cycle of Rules. The Academy of Management
Review, 4(2): 269-273
Lévi-Strauss, C., 1966. The savage mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Martin, R. A, 2006. The psychology of Humor: an integrative approach. Academic Press
Rey, A., 2006 Dictionnaire historique de la langue française. Le Robert
Weick, Karl E. 1993 The collapse of sensemaking in organizations: The Mann Gulch disaster.
Administrative Science Quarterly, 38: 628–652.
Track 12 - Debates about sociomateriality
Marlei Pozzebon (HEC Montreal)
Room: 210
Exploring the Sociomaterial Grounds of Information Security Policy Compliance
Marko Niemimaa, Turku School of Economics
Anna Elina Laaksonen, Tampere University of Technology
Organizations devote significant resources to implement information security policies (hereafter
InfoSec policies). Despite the efforts, InfoSec policies seldom produce the expected outcome [Karyda,
Kiountouzis and Kokolakis, 2005]. Ever since Siponen's [Siponen, 2000; Siponen, 2001] seminal
work, scholars have been interested in studying ways to ensure employees comply with the InfoSec
policies. Compliance to InfoSec policies is considered to be a key to successful information security
management as the InfoSec policies lay foundation for it [Siponen and Iivari, 2006]. To explain
compliance behavior (and non-compliance), scholars have largely built on variance theories that focus
on antecedents of predicting/anticipating compliant/non-compliant behavior [Warkentin and Willison,
2009]. Despite the efforts, understanding compliance persists to be a challenge.
Focusing on the antecedents predicting/anticipating compliant/non-compliant behavior, that which is
to be complied with (i.e., InfoSec policies as material artifacts) has been only of peripheral
interest [Pahnila, Karjalainen and Siponen, 2013]. In contrast to prior research, we focus on how the
materiality of InfoSec policies is implicated in the policy compliance.
Building on a case study conducted at a large internet service provider (SecureISP, a pseudonym), we
provide an alternative interpretation of compliance in which compliance is not a binary or a matter of
degree but a situated enactment with the InfoSec policies. A variety of data sources – interviews, site
visits, organizational documents, shadowing – collected over a period of several months provides us a
robust basis for theorizing5. SecureISP has its headquarters in Sweden and has over 30 000 employees.
Information security is a central concern for the organization which is reflected in the maturity of their
information security management practices. Despite what becomes documented as InfoSec policies
mostly flow from the top management to down, a group of information security professionals is
responsible for the organization's InfoSec management, including formulating the InfoSec policies and
ensuring compliance. The InfoSec policies are to provide a common view of information security for
the organization against which compliance/non-compliance can be 'objectively' determined. Therefore,
what counts as information security has become to be understood as equal to the InfoSec policies.
Over a number of years the policies have evolved gradually into documents that contain several
hundred pages, categorized under several categories, differing largely in the level of abstraction. Other
employees are to comply with the laid out policies. They engage in the application of InfoSec policies
by enacting them in their work.
We build our theorizing on Barad's [Barad, 2003; Barad, 2007] concept of intra-action (in contrast to
interaction) to formulate an understanding of InfoSec policy compliance as intra-actions of actors and
material artifacts. Intra-actions assume the ontological inseperability of matter and meaning, which
affords us to account for the materiality of InfoSec policies in policy compliance. We use the critical
social concepts of reification and fetishization as 'intriguing templates for rethinking the relationship
between sociality and materiality in conditions of ontological uncertainty in which the demarcation
5 The empirical material we draw on has been used earlier to study employees' perceptions influence
on policy outcomes (i.e., Niemimaa et al. [2013]). The alternative interpretation of our empirical
material is not to be taken as a sign of analytical failure in our earlier work, but rather as a sign of
richness of the empirical material (cf. Feldman [2000]).
between the world of things and the world of persons is losing its former obviousness and
solidity' [Pels, Hetherington and Vandenberghe, 2002, p.4]. More specifically, the concepts provide us
templates for thinking the materialization and abstraction of the InfoSec policies, the (re)ma(r)king of
boundaries in Barad's terms. That is, we refer to reification as a type of intra-action in which the
abstract notion of information security is transposed as the material objects (InfoSec policies), whereas
fetishization is the reverse process of 'personification and ‘agent-ification’ of material objects [InfoSec
policies]' [Pels et al., 2002, p.4].
Our findings suggest the organizational actors engage in the processes of reification and fetishization
through which the policy compliance becomes meaningful. The reified information security as
material artifacts become fetishized as organizational actors enact them in their work, remarking the
boundary of the material artifact and its meaning. In other words, the InfoSec policies as artifacts
begin to live a life of their own within the organization. Compliance then becomes indeterminate
outside of particular situated practices in which the actors’ enactment with policies is rather an
enactment with the fetishized artifact than with the material object.
Anderson, J. (2003) "Why we need a new definition of information security", Computers & Security,
22(4), pp. 308-313.
Barad, K. (2003) "Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to
matter", Signs, 28(3), pp. 801-831.
Barad, K. (2007) Meeting the Universe Halfway: quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and
meaning, London, UK: Duke University Press.
Coles-Kemp, L. (2009) "Information security management: An entangled research challenge",
Information Security Technical Report, 14(4), pp. 181-185.
Dhillon, G. & Backhouse, J. (2000) "Technical opinion: Information system security management in
the new millennium", Communications of the ACM, 43, pp. 125-128.
Harnesk, D. & Lindström, J. (2011) "Shaping security behaviour through discipline and agility:
Implications for information security management", Information Management & Computer
Security, 19, pp. 262-276.
Karyda, M., Kiountouzis, E. & Kokolakis, S. (2005) "Information systems security policies: a
contextual perspective", Computers & Security, 24(3), pp. 246-260.
Pahnila, S., Karjalainen, M. & Siponen, M. (2013). Information security behavior: Towards multistage models. Pacific Asia Conference on Information Systems (PACIS) 2013 (pp. ).
Pels, D., Hetherington, K. & Vandenberghe, F. (2002) "The Status of the Object: Performances,
Mediations, and Techniques", Theory, Culture & Society, 19(1), pp. 1-21.
Siponen, M. (2001) "Five dimensions of information security awareness", Computers and society,
31(2), pp. 24-29.
Siponen, M. & Iivari, J. (2006) "Six Design Theories for IS Security Policies and Guidelines", Journal
of the Association for Information Systems, 7(7), pp. 445-472.
Siponen, M. T. (2000) "A conceptual foundation for organizational information security awareness",
Information Management & Computer Security, 8(1), pp. 31-41.
Stahl, B., Doherty, N. & Shaw, M. (2012) "Information security policies in the UK healthcare sector: a
critical evaluation", Information Systems Journal, 22(1), pp. 77-94.
Stritzel, H. (2007) "Towards a theory of securitization: Copenhagen and beyond", European Journal
of International Relations, 13(3), pp. 357-383.
Thomson, K.-L. & von Solms, R. (2005) "Information security obedience: a definition", Computers &
Security, 24(1), pp. 69 - 75.
Warkentin, M. & Willison, R. (2009) "Behavior and policy issues in information systems security: the
insider threat", European Journal of Information Systems, 18, pp. 101-105.
Whitman, M. & Mattord, H. (2009) Principles of Information Security: Third Edition, Boston: Course
“Where are the missing masses?”
Bringing ANT back into the debate on materiality
Yesh Nama, ESSEC Business School
Alan Lowe, Aston Business School
Paolo Quattrone, University of Edinburgh Business School
Organization studies have “traditionally overlooked the ways in which organizing is
bound up with the material forms and spaces through which humans act and interact”
(Orlikowski, 2007, p 1435).
Orlikowski and Leonardi “are forgetting decades of system sciences [research] which
have prevailed” in the literature. (Kautz and Jensen, 2013, p 23)
Early this morning, I was in a bad mood and decided to break a law and start my car
without buckling my seat belt. My car usually does not want to start before I buckle the
belt. It first flashes a red light ‘‘FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT!,’’ then an alarm
sounds; it is so high pitched, so relentless, so repetitive, that I cannot stand it. After ten
seconds I swear and put on the belt. This time, I stood the alarm for twenty seconds
and then gave in (Latour, 1992, p. 151)
The first two statements above describe the paradox we want to explore in this paper. The third shows
us the ways to solve it. It is also the way in which Bruno Latour opens his famous essay “Where are
the missing masses? The sociology of a few mundane artifacts” (Latour, 1992) that lead us to title our
own essay as we have. We attempt to bring the contribution of Actor-Network Theory (Latour, 2005)
back into the debate on materiality.
The importance of materiality to organizational and other social practices has been an issue which has
received increasing attention (recently) in various streams of literature including sociology (Pierides &
Woodman, 2012; Schatzki, 2010a), organization studies (Carlile, Nicolini, Langley, & Tsoukas, 2013;
Leonardi & Barley, 2010; Leonardi, Nardi, & Kallinikos, 2012; Nicolini, Mengis, & Swan, 2012;
Robichaud & Cooren, 2013), information systems (Leonardi, 2011; Leonardi & Barley, 2008;
Orlikowski, 2006, 2008) and accounting (Wagner, Moll, & Newell, 2011) among others. This
renewed interest is worth exploring given that: “the discussion about [the role of objects and] things
has a long sociological tradition, from Marx, Durkheim, and Mauss through Mead … up to
contemporary social theorists” (Preda, 1999, p 364). It is also claimed that these things, these masses,
have been missing from inquiries into organizations and societies. They have recently been brought
back, as if anew in the ‘sociomateriality’ literature. We want to reflect on this move.
Why are the masses missing?
Orlikowski (2007, p 1435) also argues that “our primary ways of dealing with materiality in
organizational research are conceptually problematic” and proposes to adopt an “alternative approach
that posits materiality as constitutive of everyday life” (ibid). Drawing on Barad and Suchman,
Orlikowski labels this approach as ‘sociomateriality’ (See also: Orlikowski, 2010b; Orlikowski &
Scott, 2008). Orlikowski (2007, p 1437) states that she is basing her position on the tradition of
Latour, Callon, Law, Pickering, Knorr-Cetina, and others. However, the translation of this tradition
into other fields such as organization studies has not been smooth and very little has been done to
assess what has been gained and, above all, lost in this translation.
What if the masses were not missing?
“…the multiple engagements that have been energized by a line of inquiry termed “sociomateriality”
in information systems and organization research” (Scott and Orlikowski, 2013, p 77) remind us
similar moves in other literatures. Recently, in the sociology literature, Lamont (2012) has
called/argued for a comparative and cumulative theory building in the sociology of valuation and
evaluation. She recognizes that there are “more than half a dozen of literatures [including cultural
sociology under the influence of Pierre Bourdieu, economic sociology, sociologists of knowledge and
science, students of inequality, social psychology, organizational sociology, etc] that consider
valuation and evaluation from different angles” (ibid, p 203). Lamont aims at “putting various bodies
of work in conversation with one another in order to stimulate more cumulative theory building” on
valuation and evaluation. Lamont’s idea on cumulative theory building on [e]valuation offers us
important points of reflection for studying sociomateriality.
Drawing on Lamont’s (ibid) work, we suggest, we should similarly aim for a comparative and
cumulative sociological theory building on sociomateriality. Please note, this is not to suggest a
unified and/or coherent theory (or grand theoretical reconciliation) as in Arhens et al (2008). Neither
are we assuming/suggesting philosophical and methodological commensurability. Furthermore, we
recognize that “engagement with other methodological traditions is time-consuming and intellectually
demanding ...” (Lowe & De Loo, 2013). All we are suggesting is that the various streams of literature
interested in theorizing sociomateriality should converse with each other more enthusiastically, and, to
some extent, more nomadically, that is, without falling into the trap of following a path leading to a
common promised land, where all can rest wrapped oneself up in the comforting blanket of an
emerging dominant paradigm6. This would help us to “specify exactly whether and how each study
may contribute to a [comparative and] cumulative theory” of sociomateriality, “and alternatively
whether they simply provide one more instantiation of previously identified [theoretical frameworks,
methodologies, and] processes” (Lamont, ibid).
Scholars such as Appadurai (1986), Law (1987), Knorr-Cetina (1997) and Preda (1999), have long
argued for a sociological theory of things, that is, for a theory of sociomateriality. “From the
perspective of the sociology of soci[omateri]al processes, the main challenges ahead are those of
comparing individual studies that concern similar processes in order to specify exactly whether and
how each study may contribute to a [comparative and] cumulative” (Lamont, 2012, p 204) theory of
objects/sociomateriality7. “This will require moving to a higher degree of abstraction so as to identify
similarities and differences across studies” (ibid) and approaches.
This we hope may avoid duplicating [same] studies across different [streams of] journals. Please see
our notes in the subsequent paragraph.
7 It may well be the case that some scholars do not intend to contribute to the theory of
sociomateriality and rather focus their case studies on contributing to domain literatures of accounting,
organizing, etc.
Leonardi’s (2013) comparision of agential realism and critical realism can be seen as an initial step in
this direction. In the following we have extended both the dimensions and approaches to Leonardi’s
contribution. In the adapted and extended comparison, we add two additional dimensions for
comparison: (1) View on agency, and (2) How are practices organized and/or linked? Which includes
view on structure. In terms of theoretical frames, we add 2 further theories to compare and contrast:
(1) Schatzki’s (2002) ‘site’ ontology and (2) Actor-network theory. We believe this extended
comparison will be very useful both in developing a gradual comparative and cumulative [not
single/unified and/or coherent] sociological theory of objects/sociomateriality. As Nicolini (2013, p 1)
argues, “much is to be gained if we appreciate both the similarities and differences among practice
theories…”. We also hope this extended comparison helps in further elucidating “how depending
upon the type of theoretical foundation one lays, he or she will build very different empirical studies,
and make significantly different kinds of contributions to the study of sociomateriality” (Leonardi,
2013, p 74). It will also help to reflect on the ‘ontology of things’ without falling into the trap of
reifying these things as objects. This would lead us back to the ‘dark age’ of positivism, where a belief
in the possibility of positively know objects, artefacts, technology made us all blind to their power and
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R., Malmi, T., Mennicken, A., Mikes, A., Panozzo, F., Piber, M., Quattrone, P. and Scheytt, T.
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The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective. Cambridge University Press,
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Carlile, P. R., Nicolini, D., Langley, A. and Tsoukas, H. (2013), "How Matter Matters: Objects,
Artifacts and Materiality in Organization Studies", in. Oxford University Press, Oxford (UK).
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Information and Organization, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 15-27.
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Sociotechnical Change (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1992), pp. 225–258.
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The anthropological contribution of Maurice Godelier ’ thought to the relationship
between the Mental and the Material : some implcations for Organization Studies
Jean-François Chanlat, Université Paris-Dauphine
Asthe workshop’s fourth session will concentrate on the subject of rules and regulations
in organizations. In the context of global competition and the global crisis experienced
bymost countries all over the world, one of the question raised is how linking materiality with
discourse, cultures and mentality.In this paper, we will present the contribution of the French
anthropologist Maurice Godelier to enlighten the relationship between the Mental (l’idéel) and the
Material (le matériel).
Maurice Godelier is one of the leading figure in Anthropology. From the beginning of his carreer in
anthropology (1966) and his classical work on the Baruyas (1982) to his last book on Lévi-Strauss
(2013), he has developed a reflection on the the production of societies (1984, 2007) . Influenced
mainly by Marx (1973), the economical anthropology (Polanyi) and Lévi-Strauss, he has put the
emphasis on the relationships between what he calls ‘ l’idéel ‘ (The Mental) and le matériel (The
Material). He defines five forms of material and shows how these forms are articulated with the world
of ideas (representations, symbolic and imaginery spheres) according to societies. In these
articulation, he gives to the social relationships (rapports sociaux) an important role into the social
dynamics regulation. In his works, he underlines the limits of the marxist vision of society divided
between an infrastructure (economical activities) and diverse superstructures (parenthood
relationships, religious institutions,…) which would be built on this base and would disappear with
her. He demonstrates that in all the social relationships between human beings and with Nature, even
the most material relationships, it exists mental components which are not the reflection of these
relationships but a part of their internal framework.
After a presentation of his key ideas, we will show how Godelier ‘ anthropological reflections are
relevant to organization studies and management research, notably on these issues of rules, regulations
and materiality. As some articles show anthropology can be a good source of inspiration for
organization studies (Luthans and Morey, 1987, 2013), this presentation want to give new elements
coming notably from French anthropology which was (Chanlat, forthcoming)) and is always an
important source of reflections, often ignored by the Anglo-Saxon mainstream.
References :
Maurice Godelier, Rationalité et irrationalité en économie, Paris : Maspero, 1966.
Maurice Godelier, horizons, trajets marxistes en anthropologie, Paris : Maspero, 1973.
Maurice Godelier, La production des Grands Hommes, Paris : Fayard, 1982
Maurice Godelier, L’idéel et le matériel, Pensées, économies et sociétés, Paris : Fayard, 1984. English
edition : The Mental and The Material, London : Verso Books, 1988.
Maurice Godelier, Au fondement des sociétés humaines. Ce que nous apprend l’anthropologie, Paris :
Albin Michel, 2007.
Maurice Godelier Lévi-Strauss, Paris : Seuil, 2013.
Track 13 – Artifacts and institutional dynamics
Magda Hercheui (Westminster Business School)
Room: 208
Socio-materiality and the transnational expansion of institutional rules: Michelin in
haute cuisine around the world
Isabelle Bouty, University of Toulon
Marie-Léandre Gomez, ESSEC Business School
Carole Drucker Godard, University Paris Ouest
In the transnational arena the development of rules has historically been the mission of formally set-up
governmental or regional organizations (Djelic and Sahlin-Andersson 2006). More recently, a new
category of actors emerged: non-governmental and private actors. These non-state actors contributed
to the development and growing importance of soft rules and regulation (non-hierarchical regulation
that is not legally binding), with the multiplication of classification systems, standards, evaluations
and audits, assessment and accreditation, and comparison and rankings (Jacobsson and SahlinAndersson 2006). The Michelin red guide precisely exemplifies this new form of actors and
institutional logics, and its expansion around the world illustrates how a for-profit company regulates a
now transnational field. We therefore draw on an analysis of the Michelin guide's strategy around the
world to develop a better understanding of how socio-material elements contribute to the transnational
expansion of institutional rules within soft regulation.
In this paper we extand the institutional logic literature through its relationship to socio-material
practices. Thornton and Ocasio define an institutional logic as "the socially constructed, historical
patterns of material practices, assumptions, values, beliefs, and rules by which individuals produce and
reproduce their material subsistence, organize time and space, and provide meaning to their social
reality" (1999: 804). Jacobsson and Sahlin-Andersson (2006) distinguish three modes of softregulation: rule-setting, such as standards, codes of conduct, and guidelines; monitoring, which serves
to guarantee rule-following; and agenda-setting, which creates deadlines and rhythms the process.
They also specify three unique forms of authority and compliance: organizing, expertise, and authority
through association with other rules, regulations or rule-makers. The salience of socio-materiality
within these processes transpired in past studies. For example, authors showed how categorization,
accreditation, ranking and rating tools sustained reproduction in a field (Espeland & Sauder, 2007;
Wedlin, 2010). Ruef and Patterson (2009) analyzed how the classification and rating system set up by
Dun and its agents to sustain the organization's development impacted firms. They highlighted that the
rating system, initially intended at providing information to non local actors, turned out to also be a
coercive means to enforce Dun's classification, underlying logic, and competitive position. However,
past research has primarily focused on the institutional logics and their evolution. Regulating actors
and their doings in this process have not been the major focus of investigations, despite shared
acknowledgement of interdependencies between their strategy and the institutional logic they carry.
Our goal here is to contribute to a better understanding of how socio-material elements contribute to
the transnational expansion of institutional rules within soft regulation.
We base our paper on the empirical analysis of the Michelin red guide and its internationalization
strategy, aimed at defending its position in haute cuisine worldwide and, in relation, a particular
understanding of what haute cuisine (gastronomy) is and should be.
Contemporary haute cuisine is a highly institutionalized field (Parkhurst-Ferguson, 2004; Rao et al.,
2003). And Michelin has been the uncontested (though not always unchallenged) arbiter of the field in
Europe for several decades (Karpik, 2000, 2010; Rao et al., 2003). Karpik (2000) showed how the
Michelin guide rating system was developed on the base of the Michelin Group's strategy and at the
same time carried a logic that progressively impacted French gourmet restaurants and their customers
over the last hundred years. In the years 2000's Michelin begun its expansion outside Europe to
America and Asia, with red guides dedicated to the United-States (New-York in 2005, followed by
Chicago, San Francisco, and Las Vegas), Japan (Tokyo Yokohama Kamakura in 2007, followed by
Kyoto Osaka) and other Asian cities. We will primarily focus our study on Michelin's expansion to
New-York and Tokyo. We used data collected from Michelin and the local press between the years
2000 and 2010 (a total of 169 articles; articles in Japanese language were translated with the automatic
translator integrated into Factiva).
We show how such socio-material elements as Michelin's three-star rating scale and time have been
crucial in the expansion process. Michelin's rating tool, criteria and overall system did not change as
the red guide expanded its geographical scope. The only changes were superficial evolutions in the
austere form of the guidebook (ex. inclusion of pictures) mainly intended to gain customer's
acceptance with easier use. They left the rules unchanged: the dominant importance of cuisine over
decor, inclusion / exclusion, ranking, comparison, stars as rewards... This stability proved even central
to Michelin's expansion as stars or the mere inclusion in the guide were rewards precisely because of
the Michelin's system stability that made comparison between restaurants possible across the world.
We also analyze how the annual and seasonal regularity of the guide creates a rhythm infusing
constituents' practices with its rules. The annual releasing implies that a chef's position should never
be regarded as definite; published issues also demonstrated this with some chefs being demoted or
promoted from year to year. It places a permanent tension on chefs who grow eager to either defend or
increase their ranking in the next release. As such it contributes to infusing restaurants and chefs with
Michelin's underlying understanding of gastronomy and deeply contributes to institutionalize
Michelin's logic.
Djelic, M-L, and Sahlin-Andersson, K. 2006. Transnational Governance: institutional dynamics of
regulation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Espeland, W. N. & Sauder, M. 2007. Rankings and reactivity: How public measures recreate social
worlds. American Journal of Sociology, 113(1): 1–40.
Jacobsson, B. and Sahlin-Andersson, K. 2006. Dynamics of soft regulations. In: Djelic, M-L, and
Sahlin-Andersson, K. (eds) Transnational Governance: institutional dynamics of regulation.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press pp. 247-265.
Karpik, L. 2000. Le guide rouge Michelin. Sociologie du Travail 42(3): 369-389.
Karpik, L. 2010. Valuing the unique: The economics of singularities. Princeton University.
Parkhust-Ferguson P. 2004. Accounting for taste: The triumph of French cuisine. University of
Chicago Press.
Rao, H., Monin, P., and Durand, R., 2003. Institutional change in toque ville: Nouvelle cuisine as an
identity movement in French gastronomy. American Journal of Sociology 108(4): 795-843.
Ruef, M., and Patterson, K. 2009. Credit and classification: The impact of industry boundaries in
nineteenth-century America. Administrative Science Quarterly 54: 486-520.
Thornton, P. and Ocasio, W. 1999. Institutional logics and the historical contingency of power in
organizations: executive succession in the higher education publishing industry, 1958-1990.
American Journal of Sociology 105(3): 801-843.
Wedlin, L. 2010. Going global: Ranking as rhetorical devices to construct an international field of
management education. Management Learning, 42(2): 199-218.
Social media and institutional innovation:
The Case of Free Lunch for Children in China
Yingqin Zheng, Royal Holloway
Ai Yu, University of Bedfordshire
The “new media power” (Bennett 2003) transforming the organization of collective action and social
movements has long been noted, and the transformative role of social media seems to be gaining
momentum in recent years. For example, the Arab Spring in 2011 has often been attributed to
Facebook, although plenty of research shows that there are much deeper seated historical and political
undercurrents that led to the revolutions. In this paper, we are interested in the affordance of social
media, in particular, the Chinese twitter-like platform Weibo, in the collective action of institutional
innovation in China’s NGO sector. With a case study of the successful charity program Free Lunch for
Children (FL4C) in China, we argue that social media could give rise to a new form of organising of
NGO programs, especially in contexts where civil society is under developed.
From April 2011 to October 2013, the Free Lunch for Children charitable program raised more than
6.8 million pounds, setting up kitchens in over 341 schools to provide cooked lunch for over 73,000
pupils (FL4C 2013). FL4C is one of the pioneering and most successful charitable campaigns on
social media in China. Not only was it launched and promoted on Weibo, China’s twitter-like social
media platform, the program enrolls and coordinates a large number of volunteers distributed around
the country online, and raise funds successfully using Weibo and other technical platforms. FL4C took
place within a context of 1) an underdeveloped and ill-reputable NGO sector with weak foundation of
legitimacy 2) under significant institutional and political constraints.
Theoretically the paper draws upon the literature of institutional innovation, in particular, the
collective action model of institutional innovation (Hargrave & Van de Ven 2006) and the affordance
of technology as “the translation of sociomateriality” (Faraj & Azad 2012). Heavily influenced by the
social movement literature, the collective action model considers a network of distributed actors,
rather than individual actors, “embedded in the collective process of creating or revising institutions”
(p.881). This is a highly accurate description of the case of the FL4C campaign. Hargrave and Van de
Ven (2006) discuss four institutional change processes within the collective action model:
enacting institutional arrangement;
framing interests;
constructing networks;
collective action processes.
The affordance of Weibo in FL4C
It is only sensible to talk about the affordance of Weibo within the sociomaterial assemblage
(Orlikowski 2007) of FL4C, including the agency of distributed actors and the social institutional
conditions under which sociomaterial practices are performed. Table 2 summarises keys aspects of the
affordance of Weibo in the collective action process of FL4C: scalability, public engagement, framing
collective action, establishing legitimacy, and distributed collaboration.
The paper aims to make the following contributions:
Firstly, Free Lunch for Children represent a highly successful grassroot NGO innovation in an
institutionally restrictive environment. Analysed as a collective action process of institutional
innovation (Hargrave and Van de Ven, 2006), the case demonstrate the power of social media in
constructing networks, motivating participation, mobilising resources, framing and scaling collective
action, and establishing legitimacy.
Secondly, a sociomaterial perspective of affordance (Faraj & Azad 2012) enriches the study of social
media by analysing its affordance as contingent upon socio-institutional dynamics and the agency of
actors. While Weibo has witnessed waves of cyberactivism in the last few years (Zheng & Zhang
2012), it has suffered severe political crackdown in 2013 and significantly declined. In other words, to
avoid deterministic accounts of technology in society, the affordance of social media on social
transformation has to be considered as embedded in complex, multi-dimensional and contested social,
institutional and political processes.
Thirdly, this paper enriches the collective action model of institutional innovation by integrating the
role of technological artefacts in social change. The mainstream literature of institutional theory is
largely anthropocentric, and so is that of social movement and collective action (Rodríguez-Giralt
2011). A sociomaterial perspective of collective action allows us to take materiality seriously in
understanding the basis of legitimacy and social transformation, not in a deterministic manner but in
examining sociomaterial practices and possibilities that artefacts affords.
Bennett, W.L., 2003. New Media Power: The Internet and Global Activism. In CONTESTING
MEDIA POWER. Rowman and Littlefield.
Faraj, S. & Azad, B., 2012. The Materiality of Technology: An Affordance Perspective. In P. M.
Leonardi, B. A. Nardi, & J. Kallinikos, eds. Materiality and Organizing. Oxford University
Press, pp. 237–258.
FL4C, 2013. Front Page - Free Lunch Official Website. Available at: http://www.mianfeiwucan.org/
Hargrave, T. & Van de Ven, A.H., 2006. A collective action model of institutional innovation. The
Academy of Management Review ARCHIVE, 31(4), pp.864–888.
McAdam, D., McCarthy, J.D. & Zald, M.N., 1996. Comparative perspectives on social movements:
political opportunities, mobilizing structures, and cultural framings, Cambridge [England]
;;New York: Cambridge University Press.
McAdam, D. & Scott, W.R., 2005. Organizations and movements. Social movements and organization
theory, pp.4–40.
McAdam, D., Tarrow, S. & Tilly, C., 2003. Dynamics of contention. Social Movement Studies, 2(1),
Orlikowski, W.J., 2007. Sociomaterial practices: Exploring technology at work. Organization Studies,
28(9), pp.1435–1448.
Rodríguez-Giralt, I., 2011. Social Movements as Actor-Networks: Prospects for a Symmetrical
Approach to Doñana’s Environmentalist Protests. Convergencia. Revista de Ciencias Sociales,
18(56), pp.13–35.
Zheng, Y. & Zhang, C., 2012. Cyberactivism and Collective Agency: Cases from China. In M. D.
Hercheui et al., eds. ICT Critical Infrastructures and Society. IFIP Advances in Information
and Communication Technology. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 310–319.
When Sociomateriality meets institutional logics:
A study of campus tours as legitimacy building practices
Francois Xavier de Vaujany, Université Paris-Dauphine
Sara Varlander, Stanford University
Emmanuelle Vaast, McGill University
Scholars of management and organization studies have become increasingly interested in space and
spatial dynamics. The organization of space, the distribution of artifacts, and, more generally the very
materiality of work, have become recognized as key dimensions of organizational life (Clegg and
Kornberger, 2006; Dale and Burrell, 2008; Yanow and Marrewjik, 2010). Organizational spaces are
not merely the context in which practices unfold, but they also shape and are shaped by these practices
(Yanow and Marrewjik, 2010). Scholarship on science, technology and society (STS) has long
theorized the importance of the mutual constitution of materiality and human agency to understand
organizational dynamics, and has viewed materiality and space, in particular, as deeply entangled in
every aspect of human life (Latour, 2005; Pickering, 1995; Knorr-Cetina, 1997). This idea of the
entanglement between the material world and the organizational one has become recognized as
important in organizational scholarship.
This growing interest in sociomateriality (Orlikowski, 2007; Leonardi and Barley, 2008; Leonardi,
2011) has not yet fully been reflected in the institutional literature. The flourishing literature on
institutional logics draws upon a terminology that acknowledges ‘the materiality’ of logics (see Jones
et al., 2013; Thornton et al. 2012), but it has conceptualized materiality in discursive and structural
terms at the expense of its tangible and physical aspects. The connections between sociomateriality
and institutional logics have thus not been much examined theoretically or empirically, except for a
few, very recent, studies that have recognized the role of artifacts and space in institutional processes
(see de Vaujany and Vaast, 2013). This gap in the literature has recently been noted. Friedland (2012)
for instance laments that scholars of logics have come to emphasize language and the ideational while
artifacts have remained “inert and invisible” (Friedland, 2012, p. 590). Along similar lines, Jones et al
(2013) argue that the material dimension of logics “has been surprisingly overlooked” (p. 52) and that
objects “have been peripheral to the arguments of those [institutional] articles that focus instead on
structures and practices.” (p 53).
At the same time, sociomaterial research has not yet much ventured in the realm of institutions,
focusing instead on how the material and the social mutually constitute each other and shape
organizational practices. Examining how organizational space gets endowed with institutional
meaning and how institutional logics may be or become ensconced in space and artifacts can broaden
the scope of sociomaterial research (de Vaujany and Mitev, 2013). It can connect the entanglement of
the social and the material not only to practices, but also to more symbolic, yet significant, dimensions
of organizational dynamics, such as, in particular, efforts to legitimate the organization to its
stakeholders. This paper therefore argues for a cross-fertilization of sociomaterial and institutional
research and does so by examining how the material space(s) that an organization occupies is invoked
in organizational legitimization exercises.
More specifically, this research investigates the relationships between organizational space and
legitimacy in a context where they are most vividly at stake: university campus tours, i.e. the guided
discovery of a specific space, aiming at giving an audience an overview of its past, present and future
and at establishing the legitimacy of the organization being visited. The importance of tours of
physical spaces to ‘impress’ visitors has long been established (Kuh, 1990; Braxton and Clendon,
2001; Atkinson & Hammersley, 1994). For long, showing a place, emphasizing its history, its beauty,
its technical or aesthetic performance, has been a way to legitimate an organization and its leaders.
Recently, it has taken on a special criticality for many organizations, though, given the multiplicity of
stakeholders they face and the diversity of institutional logics that may govern them. In this paper, we
argue that during campus tours organizational members attempt to align their presentation of the
campus and its physical setting with what they expect can legitimize their organization in the eyes of
external stakeholders.
To collect rich and contextual data we used a participant-observation method of several tours. We also
relied on secondary data (universities’ websites, maps, leaflets, etc). Our sample was based on
multiple observations, e.g. at McGill University, La Sorbonne University, Stanford University and
Berkeley University. Through our participant-observation of campus tours, the identification of the
spaces and artifacts encountered, and the analysis of the story telling produced by our guide, our aim
was to understand simultaneously the narrative of the tour and its material inscription.
The cross-fertilization between the literature on institutional logics and that on sociomateriality
applied to a case of campus tours allowed us to contribute to the literature in three important ways.
First, we allude to the role that materiality plays for actors to demonstrate adherence to particular
logics. Our research sheds light on how narratives aimed at producing organizational legitimacy and
artifacts are interwoven. The narratives made the institutional logics on which the organization drew
(e.g. logic of history, logic of social responsibility, logic of functionality, logic of innovation, logic of
the market) visible both through the use of language and by invoking a variety of artifacts and spaces
to emphasize and visualize these logics to the audience in attempts to make the organization appear
trustworthy, aligned with stakeholders’ interests and ultimately legitimate.
Second, in response to recent calls for a deepened inclusion of materiality in the institutional literature
(Friedland, 2012; Jones et al 2013), we show how organizations develop sociomaterial practices to
manage potential tensions between institutional logics. For example, in the case of Stanford university,
showing the church and framing it as a non-religious place and instead emphasizing its ethical
messages clearly illustrated the tensions between a religious logic which the university rejected, and
Third, we show the importance of employing adequate methodological devices and procedures that
enable researchers to visualize institutions and theorize around their materiality. In this particular
paper, observing campus tours and being attentive to the artifacts and spaces involved, and document
in written as well as photographic forms gave visibility to the institutional logics at stake for the
organization in question.
Clegg, S., & Kornberger, M. (Eds.). (2006). Space, organizations and management theory. Oslo:
Dale, K., & Burrell, G. (2008). The spaces of organisation and the organisation of space: Power,
identity and materiality at work. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
de Vaujany, FX. and Vaast, E. (2013). If These Walls Could Talk: The Mutual Construction of
Organizational Space and Legitimacy, Organization Science, Published online before print
September 17, 2013, doi: 10.1287/orsc.2013.0858.
de Vaujany, FX. & Mitev, N. (Eds) (2013). Materiality and space, London: Palgrave.
Elsbach KD (1994) Managing organizational legitimacy in the California cattle industry: The
construction and effectiveness of verbal accounts. Administrative science quarterly 1, 57–88.
Friedland, R. (2013). “God, love and other good reasons for practice: thinking through institutional
logics”, pp. 25-50, in Lounsbury, M. and Boxenbaum, E. (Eds) (2013). Institutional logics in
action, part A, Bingley: Emerald.
Gagliardi P (1992) Symbols and Artifacts: Views of the Corporate Landscape (Communication and
Social Order). Gagliardi P (ed.), Aldine Transaction.
Jones, C., Boxenbaum, E. and Anthony, C. (2013). The immateriality of material practices in
institutional logics, pp. 51-73, in Jones Lounsbury, M. and Boxenbaum, E. (Eds) (2013).
Institutional logics in action, part A, Bingley: Emerald.
Lounsbury, Michael, and Mary Ann Glynn. "Cultural entrepreneurship: Stories, legitimacy, and the
acquisition of resources." Strategic management journal 22.6‐ 7 (2001): 545-564.
Orlikowski, W. J. (2007). Sociomaterial practices: Exploring technology at work. Organization
studies, 28(9), 1435-1448.
Suddaby, Roy, and Royston Greenwood. "Rhetorical strategies of legitimacy." Administrative science
quarterly 50.1 (2005): 35-67.
Thornton, P. H., Ocasio, W. and Lounsbury, M. (2012). The institutional logics perspective: A new
approach to culture, structure, and process. Oxford University Press
Van Marrewijk A and Dvora Y (2010) Introduction: the spatial turn in organization studies. In: van
Marrewijk A and Dvora Y (eds), Organizational spaces, rematerializing the workaday world,
Northampton, Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 1–16.
Bringing artifacts within institutional work.
Arese’s artefacts and the institutionalization of socially responsible investment in france
Bernard Leca, Université Paris-Dauphine
Frédérique Déjean, Université de Lorraine
Jean Pascal Gond, Cass Business School
Isabelle Huault, Université Paris-Dauphine
The notion of institutional work has recently been developed to account for the purposive actions
whereby actors attempt to create, maintain or disrupt institutions (Lawrence and Suddaby, 2006). It
intends to complement the strong accounts of how institutions govern actions developed in
institutional studies by accounts of how actors attempt to shape institutions. Examining the means by
which actors do institutional work, researchers devoted to a great deal of attention to some specific
means such as discourse while other means have been overlooked (Levy and Scully, 2007). In
particular, the role of artifacts and their influence within institutionalization process has been
repeatedly acknowledged to be a missing dimension of research on institutional work, and more
generally of current institutional analysis (e.g. Lawrence and Suddaby, 2006; Pinch, 2008;Zilber,
2008). This is especially problematic as organized activities increasingly rely on the use of artifacts
(Knorr- Cettina, 2007).
Acknowledging the problem, an increasing number of authors have recently insist on the need to
account for the role of artifacts when studying institutional work (e.g. Gawer and Philipps, 2013;
Lawrence and Suddaby, 2006). However, despite such calls for more research to be done on the role
of artifacts there is little empirical research about how artifacts are used in institutional work and how
they influence institutionalization processes.
The present paper seeks to address those calls and advance the integration of artifacts within research
on institutional work by investigating how an artifact developed by an actor doing institutional work
impacts the institutionalization of new practices. As such our work combines an interest for artifacts,
with an interest for the institutionalization of practices. It provides novel insights to our understanding
of the influence of artifacts within the institutionalization process, and contribute to bring materiality
into the analysis of institutional work.
More specifically, we draw from an in depth qualitative case study of the artifacts introduced by a
non-financial rating agency named ARESE and how they influenced the institutionalization of socially
responsible investment (SRI) within the French banks. Arese’s action was decisive to structure the
activity, so that years 1997 to 2003, when the market really took off are commonly named the “Arese
years” (Loiselet, 2003). Central to the action of Arese was the creation of artifacts to articulate their
in-house system elaborated to measure corporate social performance and the demands of socially
responsible fund managers. We listed three artifacts : rates available on Excel spreadsheet; a sheet
with qualitative corporate data and social responsible indexes. We examine how those artifacts
facilitate and shaped the institutionalization of SRI among the banks in France ou French financial
market? Ou financial market in France? Ce qui permet d’englober d’autres acteurs que les banques?.
We find that those artifacts had four types of effects on the institutionalization of SRI. First they
legitimize SRI toward the large financial community. Second they favor the articulation of SRI with
the existing routines of fund managers. Third, they limit the involvement of SRI fund managers in the
development of the funds. Four they constrain the development of SRI funds that align their activities
on what the artifacts made possible. Est-ce qu’on fait un rappel de type : so, these artifacts have both
an enabling effect and a constraint effect.
In identifying these types of effects our study makes three important contributions. First, we provide
some initial insights into the use of artifacts as a mean to do institutional work. Artifacts appear as
very specific means in the way they convey the initial institutional project as they influence the
routines. The research also points that while artifacts channel the behavior of actors they also permit
some interpretive flexibility, which may vary depending on the artifact, and allow practices to vary
within specific limits. Second, we provide some insights on the effects of artifacts within the
institutionalization process. The research points to the relation between artifacts and higher level
‘structures’ such as institutional logics, and how this relation can be used for legitimation purposes, as
well as how artifacts influence practices through shaping routines and allow actors to limit their
involvement as they rely on artifacts. Finally, our work leads to discuss the study of artifacts within
the tenets of institutional theory. In particular it points to the importance of the symbolic dimension of
artifacts as well as their capacity to shape routines. Furthermore, as institutional theory is initially
more preoccupied with symbols and discourse, the present paper offers a framework to integrate
artifacts within this approach.
Gawer A, Phillips N, (2013). “Institutional Work as Logics Shift: The case of Intel's Transformation to
Platform Leader” Organization Studies, Vol:34 :1035-1071
Knorr-Cetina, Karen (1997) “Sociality with objects. Social relations in postsocial knowledge
societies” Theory, Culture & Society, No. 4, 1-30.
Lawrence, T. & R. Suddaby. 2006. “Institutions and institutional work”. In: S. Clegg, C. Hardy and
T.B. Lawrence, (Eds.), Handbook of Organization Studies (2nd ed.), Sage, London, pp. 215–
Levy, D. L., and M. Scully. 2007. “The Institutional Entrepreneur as Modern Prince: The Strategic
Face of Power in Contested Fields”, Organization Studies, 28/7: 971-991.
Pinch, T. 2008. “Technology and Institutions,” Theory and Society, 37 : 461-83
Zilber, T. B. (2008). The work of meanings in institutional processes and thinking. In R. Greenwood,
C. Oliver, K. Sahlin, & R. Suddaby (Eds.), The Sage handbook of organizational
institutionalism (pp. 151–169). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Track 14 - Law, judicial activities and materiality
Stefano Za (LUISS)
Room: 209
Questioning the circulation of agency in two judicial information infrastructures
Andrea Resca, LUISS
In Italy, investments in ICT have been considered the only way out (and also the “one best way”) to
take out the justice system from a never-ending crisis (Brescia, 2004; Contini & Lanzara, 2009;
Jacchia, 2000). Online trial – Processo Civile Telematico (PCT) is an example in this respect. It is a
traditional top-down government project that started at the beginning of the last decade to introduce a
large-scale nation-wide information system to digitally manage, in a comprehensive way, documents
and communications of any civil trial proceeding. The PCT was a system envisaged for the first trial
level and not for the appeal level. It is in this context that another project took place: the Online
Records Office – Cancelleria Telematica (ROO). This regional project has been promoted by the
Court of Appeal of Florence and the Tuscany Region with substantially the same objective of the PCT,
even though it was designed specifically for the appeal level. Eventually, the ROO evolved to serve
the first trial level system as well and has been adopted by the courts of the Tuscany district, except
for the Tribunal of Florence.
Even though, according to the PCT project, in 2005 more than 50 (out of 165) courts would have
taken advantage of the PCT’s applications, at the end of 2006 only one application (payment order
decree) was available and only in one court, the Tribunal of Milan. At the end of 2011, things have
changed significantly. Specifically, the payment order application was used in 32 courts; the real
estate execution was used in 12 courts; the contributory procedures in 5 courts. The exchange of deeds
and documents between parties and judges is limited to 4 courts, and only in the Tribunal of Milan the
large part of the proceedings planned by the PCT project were already available. Data related to the
ROO is different as the ROO has been progressively deployed to its full capacity. However, online
proceedings run by the ROO have no legal validity, and at a certain point it is necessary to switch to
paper documents to have the proceedings finalized. As a regional system, the ROO has not adhered to
the norms that regulate the PCT online proceedings: the national standard.
In a context such as the judiciary, it is not sufficient that a specific system provides a service like the
exchange of documents and data. This process must also determine legal effects (Lanzara, 2013). This
means that online proceedings are necessarily built according to the normative standards so that they
acquire legal validity and then circulation of agency is supported. Agency is here intended as the
capacity of a proceeding to produce effects upon a state of affairs and its circulation represents the
possibility “for such capacity to be transmitted across multiple media, national borders, and functional
domains (Lanzara, 2013 p. 5). The exchange of documents and information in the business
environment is not subject to the same rules. Norms regulating economic transactions tend not to
control in detail aspects related to online procedures established between economic actors. A mutual
agreement between parties is sufficient to obtain the validity of documents and information
exchanged. This is not the case of the public administration environment where is the legislation that
provides rules for the establishment of online proceedings.
The literature on information infrastructures (Ciborra, 2000, 2002; Hanseth, Monteiro, & Hatling,
1996) - and both the PCT and ROO can be considered information infrastructures - has elaborated a
series of principles to be followed for their construction. Specifically, Hanseth and Lyytinen (2010),
studying the evolution of the internet, maintain that the development of these systems is subject to two
types of problem: the “bootstrap problem” and the “adaptability problem”. As it will be demonstrated,
the ROO project has succeeded to face successfully both of the problems, unlike the PCT. But
according to Aanestad and Jensen (2011), the study of the internet at the basis of Hanseth and
Lyytinen design principles does not stress sufficiently the role of involved stakeholders, specifically in
the projects like those ones considered in this essay. Therefore, the focus, here, is not only to
investigate the “bootstrap problem” and the “adaptability problem” but also to the level of
mobilization of the stakeholders required both by the PCT project and the ROO project. Also in the
considered case, the ROO succeeded to mobilize and coordinate the stakeholders necessary for its
evolution and spread to the courts of the Tuscany Region. Again, the PCT succeeded in this intent
only with difficulty and after a long time.
The study of the PCT and ROO development according to the perspective proposed by the literature
on information infrastructures considering also the role of involved stakeholders, suggests that the
question related to the capacity of online proceedings to acquire legal validity is not considered.
Therefore, the intent is to enrich this interpretative framework considering the fact that in specific
contexts such as the judiciary, it is not sufficient to build flexible and generative information
infrastructures (Zittrain, 2006) limiting stakeholders’ mobilization. The circulation of agency
(Lanzara, 2013) needs to be guaranteed. To say it differently, the aim of the present work is to
emphasize the necessity to guarantee legal validity to documents and information exchanged due to
online proceedings and whether the provision of the circulation of agency eventually requires the
reformulation of principles at the basis of information infrastructure evolution.
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through modular implementation strategies. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems,
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246). Oxford University Press.
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Oxford ; New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
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the Making of E-Government (p. 557). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from
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between standardization and flexibility. Science, technology & human values, 21(4), 407–426.
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and complexity. In F. Contini & G. F. Lanzara (Eds.), The circulation of agency in e-justice.
Heidelberg: Springer.
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Commodifying management knowledge: a dynamic model of conception, appropriation
and valuation practices
Chantale Mailhot, HEC Montréal
Mireille Matt, Université Pierre Mendès
In the context of the knowledge economy, management knowledge has become a commodity. Despite
the presumed “gap” between theory and practice in management, there is a growth of the management
knowledge industry and a multiplication of knowledge products sold on markets (Suddaby &
Greenwood, 2001: 934). The production of management knowledge is seen as an organizational field
in which actors (managers, consultants, academics, business students…) interact to produce,
legitimate, distribute and consume management knowledge (Suddaby & Greenwood, 2001). One of
the issues is to understand how management theories are transformed into a product valued by a price
and exchanged on a market. The process of commodification of management knowledge is the focus
of our paper.
The main objective of this research is to deeply investigate 1) the practices of commodification of
management knowledge and 2) their consequences on the ecology of relations between academics and
practitioners (i.e. the complex set of interactions and coordination modes that enable knowledge to be
exchanged between producers and consumers through markets). Our research questions are: How is
academic management knowledge transformed into economic goods? What are the effects of the
commodification process on the ecology of actors involved?
In the literature, commodification is seen as a process of transforming ideas into a product sold on a
market place (O’Mahoney et al., 2013). This process is conceived as a linear model, where the steps of
codification, abstraction and translation produce knowledge commodities (Suddaby & Greenwood,
2001). These theories do not explain how exchange-value for knowledge are generated. To explain the
creation of an exchange-value, the model is complete by O’Mahoney & al., (2013) who add
“comparison” and “valuation” as two last steps.
Three important aspects characterize this set of investigations. First, even if the interactive nature of
the production of knowledge is recognized, researchers have analyzed the role of specific actors
(knowledge commodification by producer, its impact on consumers or the role of intermediaries).
Second, the process of commodification is considered as being largely socio-cognitive. Finally,
codification, abstraction and translation are seen as knowledge characteristics that allow its diffusion
with more or less ease from one setting to another, instead of actions (to codify, to abstract, to
translate). Since the process of commodification is widely conceptualized as a socio-cognitive process,
the literature provides little insights on the concrete and material practices that enable knowledge to
evolve from an idea to a commodity and to travel between communities of actors. Our paper aims at
contributing to this literature on management knowledge commodification by taking into account a
socio-material perspective.
Our theoretical approach is based on socio-materiality, a perspective developed in organization studies
and the sociology of economy. More precisely, we use the core concepts of assemblage and
calculability. The economic sociology analyzes markets as an assemblage of material and discursive
elements (Muniesa et al. 2007; Beunza, et al., 2006 Cabantous & Gond, 2011; Callon and Muniesa,
2005). It underlines the central role played by various calculative devices (accounting methods,
pricing techniques…) in allowing knowledge to become a commodity and to get a market value.
Based on this perspective, we see commodification as the result of socio-material arrangements and
we seek to highlight the ecology in which it is achieved. The ecology is constituted by the various
actors intervening on the good and making technical and economic choices but also by a set of actions
and material devices involved in the conception of the good, its appropriation and valuation. Practices
of conception are concomitant to appropriation and valuation, and evolve in a dynamic way. These
various elements (humans, non-humans, practices, ecology) guide data collection and analysis.
We study in detail two projects of commodification of management knowledge in a business school.
We use a combination of two data collection methods to understand the commodification practices in the two
cases: (1) 21 semi-structured interviews with representatives of all groups of actors involved in the projects;
and (2) archival analysis (documents produced at different stages of implementation of the project).
First, whilst the literature on commodification focuses on the role of specific actors, the role of and
interactions between heterogeneous actors (humans and non-humans) involved in the commodification
process has received less attention. We highlight two different ecologies of socio-material relations
with specific practices of conception, appropriation and valuation allowing management knowledge to
become a marketed good.
Second, the commodification process is clearly non-linear and the practices of conception,
appropriation and valuation simultaneously influence each other. Commodification is the result of a
local work of alignment of actors and material devices.
Third, the practice of valuation is inscribed in several metrological chains. We identify economic,
academic and pedagogical valuation practices. Management knowledge is a composite object. It exists
and circulates in different metrological networks, in which material devices differ.
We observe a constant interaction between the elements of the context of production and those of the
market in the process of knowledge transformation. During the process of commodification, we
perceive the transformation of knowledge but also of the socio-material ecology. For instance, actors
acquire new identities during the process. Teachers become entrepreneur, strategists or prestigious
researchers. Consultants gain scientific skills with more robust methods.
We complement research on commodification by revealing the practices underlying the concrete
creation of a space of exchange for academic product and by examining the elements participating to
the commodification of management knowledge. Our main contribution is to uncover the micropractices of valuation, conception and appropriation. We describe the complex interactions between
social and material elements underlying two projects of commodification. We draw the complete map
of the ecology of two projects. These maps lay out the social and material elements of the projects and
the relations between them. They represent two specific space of commodification.
The process of commodification has a significant impact on the identity of the actors involved, their
activities, their careers, their relationships and institutions. Based on a socio-material perspective, our
research shows that the process of commodification of management knowledge can lead to very
different ecologies of socio-material relations. These ecologies are composed of different metrological
networks composed by specific devices. Related to the literature on calculability, we also show an
entanglement between the economic process of valuation and an academic and pedagogical process of
Beunza, D., Hardie, I. & D.MacKenzie (2006). A Price is a Social Thing: Towards a Material
Sociology of Arbitrage, Organization Studies, 27: 721.
Cabantous L. & J-P Gond (2011). “Rational decision making as performative praxis: explaining
rationality’s eternal retour”, Organization Science, 22, 3, 573-586
Callon, M. & F. Muniesa (2005). “Economic markets as as calculative collective devices”,
Organization Studies, 26,8 : 1229-1250.
Muniesa, F., Millo, Y. & M. Callon (2007). An introduction to market devices, In Callon, M., Millo,
Y. & F. Muniesa (eds.), Market Devices, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
O’Mahoney, J., Heusinkveld, S. & C. Wright (2013), Commodifying the Commodifiers: The Impact
of Procurement on Management Knowledge, Journal od Management Studies, 50, 2: pp 204235.
Suddaby, R. & R. Greenwood (2001). Colonizing Knowledge: Commodification as a dynamic of
jurisdictional expansion in professional service firms. Human Relations, 54, 7: pg.933.
(De)construction of pharmaceutical industry reputation through material practices
Helene Lambrix, Paris-Dauphine University
In this empirical paper, I am looking at how individuals make reputational judgement of
pharmaceutical companies when they prescribe a medicine, and, how the Mediator’s scandal in France
has changed rules, material practices and the institutional logic.
The literature review explores first the origins of corporate reputation in organization studies. It is
defines as « a perceptual representation of a company's past actions and future prospects that describes
the firm's overall appeal to all of its key constituents when compared with other leading rivals »
(Fombrun, 1996: 67). However, studies on corporate reputation have mainly focused on the
organizations efforts to communicate efficiently to an audience their past actions and their capacity to
deliver values (e.g. Weigelt & Camerer, 1988; Rao, 1994; Fombrun, 1996; Rindova, Pollock and
Hayward, 2006). Recently, scholars have argued that the concept of reputation has been
misunderstood by embedding both antecedents and consequences of reputation within the reputation
construct itself.
In an effort to understand deeply social interactions with material practices during reputation
construction and deconstruction process, I believe that focusing my study in one major institutional
field and especially in one practice would help to improve the knowledge of reputation construction
and deconstruction process. This research inquiry is based on neo-institutionalism theories (DiMaggio
et Powell, 1983; Scott, 1998, 2008; Suchman, 1995, 1998). Scholars claim that cognitive systems and
social interaction between actors in the organization environment lead to new collectives’ believe
(Berger et Luckman, 1967; Goffman, 1973; Suchman, 1995, 1998; Deephouse, 2010).
Based on this reading grid, I use qualitative methods to collect data such as interviews, digital
ethnography and archives, and perform a grounded theory analysis to deliver findings (Glaser, 1979).
My research design could be qualified as inductive as soon as the findings and theorization guide the
definitive theoretical framework. The major case study takes place in the pharmaceutical industry. I
am focusing on the practice “prescribe a medicine”.
Before 2011 (year of Mediator scandal), the whole process of prescription have been led by the
pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical activities include research, development, production, sell,
supply, information and training, eventually network platforms, and sponsoring. They enter in
relationship with other actors like for example government (both coercive functions, and client),
General Practitioners (GPs) (indirect clients) and specialised physicians (researchers, opinion leaders),
regulators (coercive functions), or patients (direct clients). They are sharing informations and
resources together to make the right decisions when they prescribe a medicine (directly to patients, or
indirectly when they give the green light to a medicine to enter the market). To make use of their
choices, trust and reputation are efficient strategies to pharmaceutical companies. In fact they would
rather manage their links with actors through reputation activities, also qualified as lobbying or/and
influence activities to maintain their position in the market. For example, through physical artefacts
representatives offer to GPs detailed information about medicines face to face, they deliver samples to
them for free, invite them and their peers to the restaurants for lunch or dinner, or provide them free
tickets for symposiums. It reveals that practices come through non-physical information artefacts
(language, information, rumours, word of mouth), physical information artefacts (packaging,
newspapers, rankings), and non-physical information artefact technologies (social media networks,
online press comments). Moreover, they have different status as soon as they have been created by the
organization or not (Giddens, 1984, Orlikowski, 2007; Leonardi, 2012).
However, the whole process is controverted since medicines have jeopardized the life of many people.
Scandals (Thalidomide, Vioxx, Mediator) make stakeholders completely disagree with the fact that
pharmaceutical industry makes money with health. They were quiet few in the 90’s. But regarding the
new coercive and social rules, this group of opponents is getting bigger and bigger. To opponents, a
GP should not have any affiliation with an industrial, he/she should be informed and trained with
independent documents or organizations (Prescrire, Formindep), he/she won’t receive any
representatives or receive a present from them, and he/she would prefer to prescribe few medicines
etc. Those new behaviours are natural for young as soon as they have considered this social rules as
taken for granted in their practices. In fact, the youngest GPs have been taught to not consider any
influence sources in their practice, but rather be more critique about it and be more scientific oriented.
They do believe that new technologies such as Twitter, blogs and forums are making them better GP.
They have changed their material practices, and have defined a new way to prescribe medicines and a
new institutional logic (Friedland & Alford, 1991; Thornton and Occasion, 1999; Jones, Anthony and
Boxenbaum, 2012). Institutional logics refers to organizing cognitive frameworks that provide social
actors with ‘‘rules of the game’’ (Thornton & Ocasio, 1999) and that operate, often implicitly, as
practical guides for action (Rao, Monin, & Durand, 2003). Since 2011, official coercive rules have
changed the practice. But a small group of opponent hasn’t wait for laws to show what is accepted or
rejected in their everyday practices.
In this working paper, I hope to contribute to neo-institutionalism theories by illustrating how material
practices are constructing and deconstructing corporate reputation. My expected findings result on
typologies that identify inherent information used for reputation construct (physical, non-physical,
with or without technologies). It would also figures out the importance of social rules and material
practices in corporate reputation construction. Instead of seeing corporate reputation only as a strategic
resource (capacity to differ with others); I would rather perceive - like cognitive legitimacy - as a
constructive social judgement which is constructed by external stakeholders.
DiMaggio, P.J. & Powell, W.W., (1983). The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and
collective rationality in organizational fields. American sociological review, p.147–160.
Feldman, M. S., & Orlikowski, W. J. (2011). Theorizing practice and practicing theory. Organization
Science, 22(5), 1240-1253.
Fombrun, C. J., (1996) Reputation: Realizing value from the corporate image, Boston: Harvard
Business School Press.
Glaser, B. G. (1978). Theoretical sensitivity: Advances in the methodology of grounded theory (Vol.
2). Sociology press Mill Valley, CA.
Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (2009). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative
research. Transaction Publishers.
Jones, C., Boxenbaum, E., & Anthony, C. (2013). The immateriality of material practices in
institutional logics. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 39, 51–75.
Leonardi P.M., (2010) Digital materiality? How artifacts without matter, matter, First Monday, 15(12)
Leonardi, P.M. & Barley, S.R., (2008). Materiality and change: Challenges to building better theory
about technology and organizing. Information and Organization, 18(3), p.159–176.
Orlikowski W.J., (2007) Sociomaterial practices: Exploring technology at work, Organization Studies,
28(9), 1,435–1,448
Rao, H., (1994) The social construction of reputation: Certification contests, legitimation, and the
survival of organizations in the American automobile industry: 1895–1912, Strategic
Management Journal, 15(1), 29–44.
Rao, H., Monin, P., & Durand, R. (2003). Institutional Change in Toque Ville: Nouvelle Cuisine as an
Identity Movement in French Gastronomy1. American journal of sociology, 108(4), 795–843.
Rindova V.P. Williamson I.O, Petkova A.P, Sever, J.M., (2005) Being good or being known: An
empirical examination of the dimensions, antecedents, and consequences of organizational
reputation, The Academy of Management Journal, 48(6), 1033–1049
Scott W.R., (2008) Institutions and organizations: Ideas and interests, Sage Publications
Stigliani, I., & Ravasi, D. (2012). Organizing thoughts and connecting brains: Material practices and
the transition from individual to group-level prospective sensemaking. Academy of
Management Journal, 55(5), 1232-1259.
Suchman, M.C., (1995) Managing legitimacy: Strategic and institutional approaches ». Academy of
management review, 20(3), 571–610
Thornton, P. H., Ocasio, W., & Lounsbury, M. (2012). The institutional logics perspective: A new
approach to culture, structure, and process. Oxford University Press.
Weigelt, K., & Camerer, C. (1988). Reputation and corporate strategy: A review of recent theory and
applications. Strategic Management Journal, 9(5), 443–454
Whetten, D.A. & Mackey, A., (2002). A social actor conception of organizational identity and its
implications for the study of organizational reputation. Business & Society, 41(4), p.393.
Technological innovation, organization and work:
An exploration of the Italian context through the lenses of sociomateriality
Mara Brumana, University of Bergamo
Maurizio Decastri, University of Rome Tor Vergata
Danila Scarozza, University of Rome Tor Vergata
Stefano Za, LUISS
Over the years theoretical perspectives and empirical research on technological innovation have
developed together with theoretical and empirical studies on organization (Orlikowski, 2000).
Moreover, significant changes have led both academics and practitioners to reconsider technology and
organization’s roles and functions. In response to these changes, scholars started to investigate the
implications of technological innovation for the organization (Cook and Brown 1999; Tushman et al.
1997; Ciborra 1996; Orlikowski 1996).
‘Innovation’ can be defined as the production or adoption, assimilation and exploitation of an idea or
behavior that is new for the organization. It can be a new product, a new service, a new process, a new
business model, a new technology, or a new administrative practice (Crossan and Apaydin 2010; Hage
1999). With specific reference to ‘technological innovation’, several authors define it as the
development of new products and processes, or of substantial technological improvements in existing
products and processes (Becheikh et al. 2006; Galende 2006). Particularly, when the innovation is not
exclusively related to products, but refers to processes, it implies changes in organizational structures,
in the organization of work, but also variations in techniques, tools and work practices. The latters, in
turn, led to changes of the required skills and the professional roles (Blau et al. 1976; Davies et al.
1973; Meissner 1970; Blauner 1964).
Given these premises and regardless of the extent and comprehensiveness of the adopted definition,
the importance that technological innovation has for organizations dealing with a constantly evolving
environment seems undeniable. Nevertheless and as already noted by some authors (Mansell et al.
2007; Zammuto et al. 2007; Dewett and Jones 2001; Goodman et al. 1990; Huber 1990; Weick 1990;
Rousseau 1979), although the process of technological innovation (Garud et al. 2013; Crossan and
Apaydin 2010) and its results increasingly permeate the modern organizations, the link between
technological innovation, organization and work seems still not sufficiently theorized and empirically
analyzed. The need to investigate the connection between technological innovation, organization and
work is also emphasized by some recent literature reviews (Orlikowski and Scott 2008; Zammuto et
al. 2007). The outcome of these reviews shows that, after a great deal of attention devoted to
technology in organization studies in the 50s of the last century, there has been a decline in the interest
to this topic. Orlikowski and Scott (2008), for instance, show that from January 1997 to December
2006 more than 95% of the articles published by the so called top management journals does not take
into account the role of technology in the organizational life. This lack of attention turns out to be
problematic especially if one considers that the use of new technologies: a) changes both the structural
and social aspects within organizations; b) mediates and influences the activities of firms, industries
and economies (Zammuto et al.2007).
This paper lies within a wider research aimed at understanding to what extent and how the
technological innovation affects organizations, changing their structures, roles, decision-making
processes, systems and logics of human resources management. Particularly, this paper aims to
understand “how” technology, organization and work interact and change in organizations facing a
process of technological innovation. For answering to these questions, a case study analysis is
performed, taking into account a set of organizations - located in Italy and operating in different
industries (manufacturing and services). In particular, the sociomateriality perspective is used as lens
of analysis (Orlikowski 2007; Orlikowski and Scott 2008, Pickering 1993). This approach allows to
see the innovation process as an ongoing dialectic of resistance and accommodation between material
and human aspects. With its roots in a research field dealing with the mutual interdependence between
social and technical elements (see e.g., Barley 1988; Orlikowski 1992; Monteiro and Hanseth 1995;
Rose et al. 2005), the sociomateriality perspective underlines the extent to which social practices are
mangled with technology materiality. Particularly, it views materiality as intrinsic to everyday practice
and posits that organizations and technology exist only through “their temporally emergent
constitutive entanglement” (Orlikowski and Scott 2008).
In order to explore the socio-material dynamics within organizations dealing with a process of
technological innovation, through a case-study methodology, we relied on multiple sources of
evidence and multiple data collection techniques. First, we used archival data sources, such as
companies documents; second, we gathered the ‘life-stories’ and experiences of employees inside the
organizations through semi-structured interviews. Moreover, we directly observed employees at work.
The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data analysis was articulated in two phases:
first of all, we made a matrix of categories – recognized through the data analysis - and placed the
evidences – extracts from the life-stories - within these categories; secondly we put the information
into chronological order, focusing the attention on what the actors did before and after the
implementation of the technological innovation. Actually, the life-stories interviews revealed how
technologies, organization and work interacted and changed over time. This research tries to address
the gap represented by a lack of studies linking technological innovation, organization and work and
empirically validates two key concepts of the sociomateriality perspective. In fact, it confirms as the
notion of ‘sociomaterial assemblages’ (Orlikowski and Scott 2008) emphasizes the inseparability
between organization and technology. Furthermore, it also underlines the concept of ‘performativity’
(Barad 2003), namely as the idea that technology is not ready-made, but shaped by humans situated in
a context characterized by specific features, relations, values and artifacts.
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Matter”. Signs, 28(3): 801-831.
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Sociology of Organizations, 6: 33–80.
Becheikh, N., Landry, R., Amara, N. (2006). “Lessons from innovation empirical studies in the
manufacturing sector: A systematic review of the literature from 1993–2003”. Technovation,
26: 644–664.
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Manufacturing”. Administrative Science Quarterly, 21(1): 20-39.
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organizational knowledge and organizational knowing”. Organization Science, 10(4): 381400.
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perspective”. Information Systems Research, 7(1): 63-92.
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Studying Technology in Organizations”. Organization Science, 11(4): 404-428.
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work and organization”. Academy of Management Annals. 2: 433-474.
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technology and the changing fabric of organization”. Organization Science, 18(5): 749–762.
Track 15 - Practice, space and materiality
Nathalie Mitev (London School of Economics)
Room: 118
Affordances and constraints of rules on material agency of a collaborative IS
Galadriele Ulmer, Université Paris Dauphine
Jessie Pallud, Ecole de Management Strasbourg
The emergence of collaborative information systems in organizations represents a new wave of change
in IT usage (Aaron et al, 2010.). Indeed, individuals interacting with these information systems
develop new usages and appropriation behaviors. The existence or the absence of rules to structure
and control these practices is an important factor in this process of adaptation and appropriation. As a
matter of fact, rules (or non-existent rules) can be a constraint or an opportunity, depending on how
individuals perceive them. Although new technologies tend to be more flexible, customizable and
adaptable to user needs (Leonardi, 2011), individuals can still be constrained in how they use a
system. In fact, IS usage is generally subject to rules, which can be explicit or tacit, external or
internal, and created by the organization or by users. These rules, when accepted, constitute a
framework within which individuals operate. But, users can also seek to extend this framework, to
transform it or to overcome it.
Many studies have examined the factors affecting IT usage and IT adoption (e.g. Davis 1989, Agarwal
and Karahanna 2000, Venkatesh 2000). However, IS research has paid scant attention to how rules
influence work practices, especially sociomaterial practices related to IT usage. As Orlikowski and
Scott (2008, p. 456 ; 2013, p. 79) point out, « sociomateriality is in its infancy » and « in the early
stage of development », therefore offering new and various approaches to re-examine the established
dichotomy between the social and the material (Orlikowski & Scott, 2013, p. 77).
This research aims at furthering our understanding of the role played by the existence or the absence
of rules on sociomaterial practices. More precisely, we will observe how official rules imposed by
organizations and tacit rules established by users change sociomaterial practices related to
collaborative technologies. To investigate this research issue, we anchor our analysis on Leonardi’s
Affordances Theory (2011, 2012, 2013).
Affordances theory was initially developed by Gibson (1977), who based his analysis of perception on
the relationship between a living individual (whether this individual is a human or an animal) and her
surrounding environment. He particularly focuses on individuals’ adaptation to their environment,
which is structured by the interactions that can occur between these two elements. Paul Leonardi
applies this ecological theory to sociomateriality, and doing so, offers to researchers an original
approach to study the relationship between individuals and collaborative technologies. Sociomaterial
practices emerge where human and material agencies imbricate (Orlikowski, 2010 ; Leonardi, 2012,
2013). Those imbricated agencies mutually shape each other to set up a structure within which
individuals and technologies evolve.
The imbrication metaphor recognizes human and material agencies as two distinct phenomena which
are « fundamentally interdependent » (Leonardi, 2011). Leonardi (2012, p. 37) notes that a material
agency « is a construction that depends, in part, on materiality but also depends on one’s perceptions
of whether materiality affords her the ability to achieve her goals or places a constraint upon her ».
The chosen term of « imbrication » acknowledges the specificities of both human and material
agencies. As Sassen (2006) states, « they work on each other but they do not produce hybridity. Each
maintains its distinct irreducible character. » (cited in Leonardi, 2011, p. 151).
The construction of this structure is therefore based in part on material agency, and is defined and
shaped by the materiality of the artifact and the constraints and opportunities of the environment in
which it is built. The rules enacted are both related to the materiality of the artefact (what it allows or
does not allow to do) and to the environment (what the organization allows to do). Furthermore, this
structure is based on the human agency, and in our case on what individuals consider acceptable or
We have selected this conceptual framework, based on sociomateriality and affordances, to analyze
the data gathered in a French telecommunication company. This setting has offered us the opportunity
to conduct a case study where different types of data have been collected (i.e. internal documents,
interviews, statistics). Our principal methodology is qualitative since we decided to conduct semistructured interviews with users and non-users of a collaborative platform implemented in the
company. Four years ago, a corporate social network was deployed in that company in order to "create
more links between employees" as explained by the chief project manager. This collaborative tool
provides online spaces where people can create online communities in order to share information and
documents and to collaborate.
The implementation of the corporate social network was done simultaneously with the revision of the
Internet usage policy. This charter reminds users of their rights and obligations, when they express
themselves on internal and external networks. The company also has a charter of best practices online.
These two documents are relatively short, and do not specifically refer to the collaborative platform.
Every user is supposed to read these policies when first registering on the company intranet. In fact, it
appears that very few users read or knew about these policies. Some users assume that these policies
exist, but they are not sure. The first dozens of interviews conducted on the field suggest that the
existence of these policies -with rules and guidance issued by the company - do not impact
sociomaterial practices. However, the tacit rules seem to play an important role. Indeed, the users that
were interviewed base their practices on a personal ethics rather than on "official" rules. They explain
that they know personally what they are allowed to do and what is forbidden. However, this
understanding of what is acceptable or not differs between individuals. For instance, users’ perception
of what should be shared or published on the collaborative system is very different. Users who are the
most active on the platform, almost exclusively use the social network to work, and sometimes share
elements that are more personal than professional. Other active users consider these practices as not
appropriate on a corporate social network: they perceive the collaborative system as being the
company’s resource. One user explained that some elements of her personal life were published
without her being notified. In their practices, users seem to attach more importance to their perception
of what feasible or acceptable, rather than on a clear, defined and official policy.
To complete our study, we performed a comparison of the two IT policies of our research setting with
external policies from other companies, namely the Social Media Guideline from Intel and Internet
Postings Policy at Cisco. Results of this analysis will be presented at the workshop. Most policies that
we found online and analyzed are brief and rather restrictive: they evoke certain legal obligations for
users without imposing a specific code of conduct. They seem to be written more to support and help
users, than to restrict their usage use of information systems. This qualitative study is ongoing and
should be finished in April 2014. The next interviews should allow investigating further the role and
impact of tacit rules on sociomaterial practices. This research aims to contribute to clarify the role of
rules in the constitution of sociomaterial practices. In addition, this research will offer managerial
contribution to companies by providing a thorough understanding of collaborative system usage and
user appropriation of collaborative technologies
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and Beliefs about Information Technolgy Usage », MIS Quarterly, Vol. 24, n°4, p. 665-694.
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Information Technology », MIS Quarterly, Vol. 13, n°3, p. 319-340.
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Academy of Management Proceedings, p. 1-6.
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Constraint, and the Imbrication of Human and Material Agencies », MIS Quarterly, Vol. 35,
n°1, p. 147-167.
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and Organization, n°23, p. 59-76.
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Scnadinavian Journal of Information Systems, Vol. 24, n°2, p. 79-88.
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management research », Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol. 34, n°1, p. 125-141.
Orlikowski, Wanda, Scott, Suzanne (2008), « Sociomateriality : Challenging the Separation of
Technology, Work and Organization », The Academy of Management Annals, Vol. 2, N° 1, p.
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response to Mutch », Information and Organization, n°23, p. 77-80.
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motivation, and emotion into the technology acceptance model », Information systems
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Agency, practices of leadership, and the roles of computational objects
Barton Friedland, Warwick Business School
Research Topic
Globalised and networked organisations are characterised by interactions between people and
technology that are foundational to their existence and outputs. Here, this study addresses a critical
gap: the relationship between computational objects (COs) and leadership practice (LP) in
organisations (Avolio, Walumbwa and Weber 2009; Zammuto et al. 2007). This research explores this
relationship in terms of the presence and deployment of COs and their projections, and the enacted
practices of those in leadership positions as well as those who are not.
The study also addresses a gap at the intersection of human-computer interaction (HCI), in- formation
systems (IS), and leadership, evidenced by the particular challenges and opportunities presented to
organizational leadership and their responses to these (Grint 2010). By examining the interplay
between LPs and COs in present-day organizations, new understandings will emerge.
To achieve this aim, I have undertaken fieldwork that relies primarily on shadowing and ob- servation
(Czarniawska 2007; Nicolini 2012) and is also supported by interviews (Alvesson 2011; Charmaz
2003), as well as a variety of virtual methods (Boellstorff et al. 2012). Through these methodologies,
the research provides grounded empirical data from which analysis of relations between LPs and COs
can be undertaken, enabling possibilities for ‘breaking new conceptual ground, resolving existing
theoretical puzzles, envisioning organizing processes, and revitalizing old concepts.’ (Barley and
Kunda 2001, p. 76)
Contribution to the Workshop
The research relates closely to a number of the workshop topics through an exploration of material
LPs and their relationship to COs. For example, on the topic of new vocabularies to overcome the
social-material dichotomy, the research draws on the work of Karen Barad, whose agential realism
includes not only novel terminology such as intra-action, agential cuts and apparatuses of bodily
production, but more importantly, a relational ontology described by Barad as one between specific
material (re)configurings of the world through which boundaries, properties, and meanings are
differentially enacted (i.e., discursive practices, in my posthumanist sense) and specific material
phenomena (i.e., differentiating patterns of mattering). This causal relationship between the
apparatuses of bodily production and the phenomena produced is one of agential intra-action. (Barad
2007, p. 139)
The implication of Barad’s ontology is a reconception of Newtonian models of cause and effect,
impacting notions of agency and the emergence of phenomena. Kaut and Jenson descrive her
perspective as viewing matter as a substance in its becoming, where matter refers to the materiality of
phe- nomena as the primary ontological units, not to a fixed property of abstract inde- pendently
existing objects . . . [where] performativity is understood as the iterative intra-activity within a
phenomenon. (Kautz and Jensen 2012, pp. 91-92)
Thus, Barad’s ontology may be a useful lens not only through which to unpack the relations that are
the focal point of my research between LPs and COs while also serving as a means to address some of
the issues raised in recent debates regarding the rise of ‘sociomateriality’ in aca- demic research (c.f.
Kautz and Jensen 2013; Leonardi 2013; Mutch 2013; Scott and Orlikowski 2013).
CO computational object
HCI human-computer interaction
IS information systems
LP leadership practice
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NJ: Princeton University Press.
Charmaz, Kathy (2003). ‘Qualitative Interviewing and Grounded Theory Analysis’. In: Inside Interviewing: New Lenses, New Concerns. Ed. by James A Holstein and Jaber F Gubrium.
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European Management Journal 28.4, pp. 306–313.
Kautz, Karlheinz and Tina Blegind Jensen (2012). ‘Debating Sociomateriality: Entanglements,
imbrications, disentangling, and agential cuts’. In: Scandinavian Journal of Information
Systems 24.2.
— (2013). ‘Sociomateriality at the royal court of IS: A jester’s monologue’. In: Information and
Organization 23.1, pp. 15–27.
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and Organization 23.2, pp. 59–76.
Mutch, Alistair (2013). ‘Sociomateriality — Taking the wrong turning?’ In: Information and
Organization 23.1, pp. 28–40.
Nicolini, Davide (2012). Practice Theory, Work and Organization: An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford
University Press.
Scott, Susan V and Wanda Orlikowski (2013). ‘Sociomateriality — taking the wrong turning? A
response to Mutch’. In: Information and Organization 23.2, pp. 77–80.
Zammuto, Raymond F et al. (2007). ‘Information Technology and the Changing Fabric of
Organization’. In: Organization Science 18.5, pp. 749–762.
Projecting space: how organizational members project themselves in an upcoming
Eliel Markman, Paris-Dauphine
Topics addressed:
 Rules and their relationships with material artifacts in organizations, and more generally,
organizational space and time;
 Performativity and normativity in organizations;
 The entanglements or imbrication between the material and social dimensions of
organizational practices;
 The affordance of materiality and space in organizations;
Space reconfiguration and architecture is an important element for organizations (Berg & Kreiner,
1992). Thus, a new/building office inauguration is always an important moment of organizational life.
It implies great changes and provide a great opportunity to scan organizational culture as long as space
translates an organizational habitus (Gagliardi, 1992)8. Indeed, many studies explore space
appropriation, or culture redefinition through a new building or working space (Hofbauer, 2000), but
to our knowledge no one got interested into whatever happens before moving. As a matter a fact, in
most of the cases, a relocation is something cautiously prepared for organization members to
anticipate the upcoming move. So the questions that we will address here are:
-How can a future relocation shape present organizational life?
-How organization members project themselves in an upcoming space?
An innovative view on organizational space
Adopting a Lefebvre perspective (1974) on space analyze, so considering that space is before
everything a social construction, This approach can be applied to organization sciences (Tyler &
Spicer, 2007). Hence, we will consider space as social construction, which could be analyzed at least
on three level: space as distance, space as a materialization of power relation and space as a lived
experience. Even if those views opens many perspectives for organizational research, we will adopt an
innovative approach in order to understand how can an organization project itself in a new space.
Indeed, any company removal to a new environment is always something important and risky, which
implies a strong evolution or change (Davis, Leach & Clegg, 2010). But the question that remains is
what vision have the actors of their upcoming space and how could this common projection shape
present practices.
Following Davis (1984) and Dale's perspectives (2005) on materiality, our position will be that
buildings have an organizational control influence. But we can also say that buildings and materiality
are an expression of the organizational culture (Gagliardi, 1992, Strati, 1992), which could be
analyzed on an aesthetic way. So, in our approach, a new building can be considered as a way to
This methodology actually comes from Jean-Pierre vernant's study of ancient Greece (1969)
exploring myths and culture through the city's spacial organization (Gagliardi, 1992, page 28)
reflect organizational culture change (van Marrewijk, 2009) and has a direct influence on
organizational efficiency (Oldham & Brass, 1979). So, space conception by organizational members is
a good way to analyze organizational culture.
Hence, space planning still is a fundamental part of any company move from one place to another
(Steiner, 2005). Indeed, office interior design is a crucial point (Duffy, 2000), which impacts personal
identity, creativity and mood (Elsbach & Bechky, 2007). So the question that we adress here is how
can organization members project themselves into an upcoming space and how this dynamic shapes
present organizational life?
A case study
The fieldwork had been led as a participative observation, following a inductive methodology
(Eisenhardt, 1989). This approach is justified by the fact that the researcher had to cope with several
different kind of sources. The enquiry is relative to a two days workshop at the “pedagogy” service of
a big international energy company. Those two days, initially designed as an “innovation design
workshop” led to an unexpected office planning. Participants started to imagined a “model
room”where they could actually work as shows the picture bellow.
From this initiative, they projected themselves in the upcoming office where they are to move in a few
months. As an example, we clearly see that space modeling played a great role for actors projection.
The space planning project had immediately been approved and is now tested in order to be built as
soon as the new building is ready.
The inquiry had been led on three times:
-first, the researcher attempted the two organizing meetings, which had been recorded and coded in
order to define the initial dynamics of the event.
-Second, The researcher attempt to the event itself in a participative observation dynamic.
-Third, getting participants feedbacks through interviews and observation of the “test space”.
The core of the analysis is the event as initially thought and how the space analysis popped out as one
of the most important organizational dynamics.
Prospective conclusions and debates
Considering the research led so far, we observe that as soon as organization members already know
that they are moving, the upcoming space shapes present practices. Hence, we can think of a two ways
-On the one hand, our fieldwork can be considered as a path to a corporate culture analysis by
exploring a common view on an upcoming space
-On the other hand, the upcoming space shapes everyday activities by providing a concrete future
The construction and vision of this future space turns out to be an organizational issue scattered
among organizational actors. Thus, this common perspective can be considered as a powerful
analytical leverage to understand an organization culture. So, this projected space opens many
theoretical possibilities for organizational space analysis as soon as it implies a common view
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Trust Networks for Knowledge Management
Francesca Marzo, LUISS
Knowledge creation processes include the creation of the specific time and space where interactions
and interpersonal relationships, from which knowledge cannot be separated, take place (Nonaka,
Konno & Toyama, 2001).
From this point of view the dichotomy between social and material can be easily overcome: studying
knowledge sharing in organization through the analysis of the networks involved allow a new
perspective on materiality of knowledge and on knowledge management practices.
In our work we focus on a particular type of networks that can be considered as crucial for the
management of any kind of organizational knowledge: the aim of the study is to provide an insight
into several aspects of trust networks, approaching them from different perspectives and analysing
their characteristics by using both cognitive models and social networks analysis tools.
In knowledge management, usually, knowledge is considered as the most important organization’s
resource and as a strategy whose objective is to collect, manage and put knowledge in action, so that it
circulates and develops continuously. Managing and diffusing an enterprise’s knowledge capital
determines the innovation of products, processes, organisational models and answers to the customers
improving its competitive position. This kind of knowledge concerns creativity, problem solving,
disposition to dialogue, uncertainty management and sensitiveness towards cultural context in which
the organisation operates. Nonaka e Takeuchi affirm that knowledge creation core is the conversion of
tacit knowledge in explicit one and vice versa. The knowledge distinction in tacit and explicit dates
back to Polanyi (1967) who defined tacit knowledge as personal, peculiar of a context and therefore
hard to be codified comparing it to explicit knowledge that is only the ice-berg peak of the whole
knowledge corpus and can be on the contrary codified and transferred through a formal and
systematised language.
In “high care” organisations members tend to bestow knowledge: they form a social network
supporting the individual who is not afraid to ask help in performing his/her task because all members
share “care” value and are accessible at every level. Members are indulgent towards errors (idem),
because sharing the value of learning and developing new knowledge, important not for power gaining
but for the satisfaction of a common goal: problem solving and task performing (Castelfranchi, 1998).
In this view the relevance of trust in knowledge creation process is evident, even though not
analytically explicated. In fact every such step of this ‘knowledge conversion’ requires trust. Sharing
knowledge is a specific action, due either to personal purposes (for personal advantages) or to shared
objectives and values (cooperation for common goals), or to role duties, or finally to habits and
routines. In all these different motivational sets some form of either implicit confidence (in routines
and habits, or in role playing) or of explicit trust evaluations (of the others and of the context) is
always needed.
The relationship between trust and knowledge sharing is circular: in order to trust y, x must either
have information about y, helping her to evaluate y’s trustworthiness or having knowledge in common
with him that encourages the establishment of a trust relationship so as values sharing; on the other
hand, in order to share knowledge, it is necessary to have a trust relation or atmosphere. If we consider
trust relationships at their macro-level we must deal with their structural relational features, looking at
them as “channels” for knowledge circulation (Busch et al., 2001). In fact, trust is not only a mental
disposition founding decisions of reliance, delegation, collaboration: it also is an action and an
established (or attempted) social relation.
Trust relationships around an individual within a given community connecting her with other members
creates a sort of trust-sociogram, that we call trust network. Let us characterise the main features and
properties of such a network. First of all, links in the net can be unilateral and asymmetric, or bilateral.
They can be more or less strong/weak depending on the strength, intensity of trust. Links can also be
more or less permanent, stable, since this sociogram can either characterise a temporarily social
situation: an agent can rely upon somebody or choosing somebody for cooperation, or it can
characterise a structure of acquaintance, of stable social relations.
A general characterization of trust networks allows an expansion of the theory of links, by adopting a
less local and unilateral view. Links can be (1) unilateral (x trusts y but y does not trust x), (2) bidirectional (x trusts y and y trusts x) or (3) unbalanced (a link is unbalanced when the trust of x for y is
perceived as quite broader or stronger than y’s trust in x; on the contrary, it is balanced when their
trust is of similar force). Bi-directional trust relationships can be distinguished in various kinds: (i)
bilateral: x trusts y and y trusts x in a completely independent way (each of them might even ignore if
and how the other trusts her); (ii) reciprocal: x trusts y also because x believes that y trusts x; (iii)
mutual: x trusts y also because x believes that y trusts x, and vice versa, and both of them assume this
(Castelfranchi and Falcone, 2010).
Our claim is that trust network can be artefacts able to gives us a map of the important “channels”
along which private or implicit knowledge becomes common and explicit, i.e. the channels along
which knowledge is shared and circulates. The larger the channel the bigger the flux of knowledge and
its rapidity. Furthermore, the more channels are bilateral and balanced the more uniformly shared
knowledge is. This is also a measure of a trust atmosphere:
a poor net (few links), subtle channels,
unilateral attitudes proportionally reduces knowledge passing and accepting, thus the building of a
collective capital (Marzo and Castelfranchi, 2013).
The analyses we plan to conduct aim to test
several hypotheses on both cognitive and structural aspects of trust networks for knowledge sharing,
with the purpose not only of providing theoretical advances but also of developing practical advices to
manage such networks and to promote trust atmosphere in organizations.
Busch P.A., Richards, D., Dampney, C. Mapping tacit knowledge flows within organisation X.
Department of Computing, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.
Castelfranchi, C., (1998) Modelling Social Action for AI Agents. Artificial Intelligence, 103, 157-82.
Castelfranchi C. and Falcone R. (2010), "Trust Theory, a socio–cognitive and computational model",
Wiley, UK.
Nonaka,I. Konno, N. & Toyama,R. (2001) Emergence of “Ba”. In Nonaka, I. & Nishiguchi, T. (eds.)
Knowledge Emergence. Social, Technical, and Evolutionary Dimensions of Knowledge
Creation. Oxford Univ. Press, N.Y.
Nonaka, I., Takeuchi, H., Umemoto, K., (1996) “A theory of organisational knowledge creation”
International Journal of Technology Management 11(7/8) :833 – 845.
Marzo F. and Castelfranchi C., “Trust as individual asset in a network: a cognitive analysis,” in
Organization Change and Information Systems, LNISO vol. 2, P. Spagnoletti, Ed. Heidelberg:
Springer, 2013.
Polanyi, M., (1967) The tacit dimension Routledge & Kegan Paul London U.K.
Practising organizational spaces
Yoann Bazin, ISTEC
Maja Korica, Warwick Business School
Scholars now acknowledge space as a central element of social and organizational life that cannot be
reduced to an abstract 3-dimensional frame. This article aims at developing this perspective by
analysing how organizational spaces are shaped by multiple daily practices. Indeed, building on
Lefebvre and de Certeau’s analysis, space can be understood as being fundamentally practised through
an on-going process of social production. The framework offered by practice-based studies will allow
exploring further the underlying dynamics of these practices of organizational spaces. An
ethnographic study of a psychiatric department in a teaching hospital will offer an enriching empirical
perspective leading to discuss the implications of this practice approach to space in terms of
embezzlements, control and power plays.
Keywords: Space, practice, practicing, practising, locus, Lefebvre, de Certeau
For a few years now, there has been a call for scholars to acknowledge that space is a central element
of organizations that cannot be reduced to simple rational areas of production (Sundeep 1997;
Kornberger and Clegg 2004). Therefore, more and more studies are focused on the multiple, subtle
dynamics of organizational spaces as a context for work and communication (Jones, McLean and
Quattrone, 2004; Halford and Leonard 2006; Fayard and Weeks 2007). In the first section, following
the idea that space is a social production (Lefebvre 1974), our article adopts a practice perspective
inherited from de Certeau (1990). In this approach, organizational spaces are considered to be
practised by actors whose “thousands ways of poaching” constitute the normal process of interaction
with their environment (de Certeau 1990: XXXVI). Therefore, embezzlements and appropriation will
not be seen as deviant or counterproductive but as the inherent dynamics constitutive of organizational
Acknowledging the process-oriented perspective in organization studies, the second section builds on
Antonacopoulou (2008) idea of the “practise of practice” and focuses on how de Certeau (1990) uses
this central concept to study interactions between agency and structure. Therefore, this article aims a
answering a simple, yet subtle, question: what are the dynamics underlying the multiple practices of
organizational spaces? Two main forces will be considered as essential to this matter of space:
practicing and practising. On one hand, practices are seen as recurring ways of doing that have been
stabilized in the organization. They emerge as procedures and routines through the process of
practicing – a term purposefully built on the noun practice in order to emphasize the ideas of
sedimentation and reification. On the other hand, practitioners develop during their experience, an
ability to improvise, to cope with the uncertainty of every situation. In doing so, they become able to
operate what de Levi-Strauss (1962) calls bricolage: the capacity to do with whatever is at hand. This
process is called practising, using the verb to practise in order to state the on-going process of
production involved in this “art of utilization” (de Certeau, 1990). These two dynamics, practicing and
practising, can be seen as putting every practice in constant motion between a fixed procedure and an
improvisation. Consequently, practices of organizational spaces follow the same logic through formal,
informal and even untold dynamics.
In order to explore, and enrich, this tension between practicing and practising organizational spaces, it
is confronted in the third section to an ethnographic field study of a psychiatric department. Spending
six months immersed in a French public hospital, studying primarily diagnostic practices, provides a
fine-grained understanding of the multiple encounters of practitioners inside and around the
department. In doing so, it was noted that, even though most areas where meticulously defined, there
always were agreements and arguments around them. Obviously, some areas are dedicated for specific
professional expertise (medical, psychological, nurse-related, administrative, etc.). However, in certain
times, a break room can become an office in order to see a patient and a hallway can host the
following debriefing. Therefore, data will be synthetized through the practicing/practising dynamic in
practices of organizational space. This will lead to discuss the tensions that exist in these stable but
always re-explored areas and how hierarchical and regulatory elements interfere with practical, expert
and professional arrangements. Organizations are spaces of work, spaces that offer stages for
hierarchical power to be exercised, but also for resistances and subversions to exist. This will allow to
establish connections between the practice and the power perspectives, and to discuss the question of
organizational control.
Antonacopoulou, E. 2008. On the Practise of Practice: In-tensions and Ex-tensions in the Ongoing
Reconfiguration of Practices in Barry, D. & Hansen, H. (eds) New Approaches in
Management and Organizations, SAGE Publications.
De Certeau, M. 1990. L’invention du quotidien. Translated in 2002 The Practice of of everyday Life:
University of California.
Fayard, A.-L. & Weeks, J. 2007. Photocopiers and Watercoolers: The Affordance of Informal
Interaction Organization Studies, 28(5): 605-634.
Halford, S. & Leonard, P. 2006. Place, Space and Time: Contextualizing Workplace Subjectivities
Organization Studies, 7(5): 657-676.
Jones, G., McLean, C., & Quattrone, P. 2004. Spacing and Timing Organization 11(6): 723-741.
Kornberger, M., & Clegg, S. 2004. Bringing space back in: Organizing the generative building
Organization Studies, 25(7): 1095-1115.
Lefebvre, H. 1974. La production de l’espace. Translated in 1991 The Production of Space: Blackwell
Sundeep, S. 1997. Implementation of Information Technology: A Time-Space Perspective
Organization Studies, 18(2): 229-260.
Track 16 - Sociomateriality… so what?
Stefan Haefliger (Cass Business School, London)
Room: 210
The expansion of community banks in Brazil and what we have learnt from a
sociomaterial lens
Marlei Pozzebon, HEC Montreal and EAESP-Fundação Getulio Vargas
Eduardo Diniz, EAESP-Fundação Getulio Vargas
Over the last two decades, microfinance has been recognized as a social inclusion mechanism and a
poverty-alleviating development strategy (Easterly, 2006). What started as small-scale, isolated,
microlending experiments rapidly became a fast-growing, global practice. Following the success of
microcredit organizations such as the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, Bank Rakyat in Indonesia, and
Banco Solidario in Bolivia, wealthy nations and international agencies have been providing billions of
dollars to support microfinance projects (Woller and Woodworth, 2001; Lavoie and Pozzebon, 2011).
They eventually started to finance projects replicating these successful models and their respective
methodologies and tools in order to expand microcredit “best practices” around the world (Diniz et al.,
2013). However, these initiatives did not always provide good results.
In fact, the host countries often needed to significantly adapt the original methodology so it could be
implemented in a sustainable way in their own context, or, in other cases, the replication and
implementation of the foreign model simply could not be achieved (Lavoie et al., 2011). A number of
scholars undertook to investigate the question of microcredit methodology replication but, in spite of
these initiatives, the theme remains poorly understood. In this paper, we attempt to shed some light on
conditions enhancing social inclusion by investigating the expansion of local community banks in
Brazil based on one specific organizing model – Banco Palmas.
The model called Banco Palmas has been spreading throughout the country since 2005, when the
Brazilian government decided to provide resources for the creation and consolidation of new
community banks (Jayo et al., 2009). Created in 1998, Banco Palmas is a community bank whose
initial mission was to offer microcredit loans to residents of the neighborhood.
Working under the principles of solidarity finance and dealing with the territory to which they belong,
community banks such as Banco Palmas have as their main goal the building of local networks of a
solidarity economy through the articulation of local producers and consumers. This association of
local producers and consumers strengthening local economies creates networks of "prosumers”.
Economic resources for those networks come from microcredit lines for production and local
consumption and alternative instruments, such as social currencies. As part of Banco Palmas’
methodology, three instruments were designed to be used in combination with the microcredit issued
by the bank. These instruments involve a social currency, a map of local production and consumption,
and intensive professional training to trigger small business initiatives.
In 2006, Instituto Palmas becomes partner of Banco do Brasil, the biggest commercial bank in the
country, which starts to introduce the correspondent banking model into the Banco Palmas project,
empowering the growth of their microcredit operations. Developed to offer a cheap alternative for
banking outreach, regulation for correspondent banking in Brazil had been evolving since the year
2000. The rapid growth in the number of correspondent banking outlets, that surpassed five times the
number of regular branch banks in 2010, helped Brazilian Federal Government to expand the delivery
of social benefits and at the same time to allow commercial banks to operate in locations with poor
infrastructure (Diniz, 2013).
The new partnership not only brought Banco Palmas enhanced new ICT technology and an improved
microcredit operational model, but also permitted Banco Palmas’ credit portfolio to be expanded,
offering bank branch’s similar services to a bankless community, providing services such as open and
managing banking accounts and payment of bills. Prior to this partnership, the scale of the
microfinance project at Conjunto Palmeiras, was constrained by Banco Palmas limited access to funds
and technology.
Giving the positive results that Banco Palmas methodology started to show, other community banks
begun to be created in poor regions of the Northeast of Brazil. Following this trend, in 2010 and 2011,
governmental resources were invested, allowing the creation of the first national policy for solidarity
finance in Brazil. These efforts contributed to expanding the number of community banks to other
regions. In November 2013, the Brazilian network of community banks listed 103 community banks
taking part in the network (Instituto Palmas, 2013).
Our paper revisits the emergence of Banco Palmas and the expansion of community banks across the
Brazilian territory from a sociomaterial lens. Our lens is influenced by three theoretical streams: social
constructivism, socio-technical approaches and critical thinking. By analyzing our empirical material
from a lens that expresses the inseparability of different levels of analysis – micro and macro – and the
inseparability of the material and social aspects of a phenomenon, we show how the interplay among
material artifacts – ATM terminals, social currencies and prosumers’ maps – with evolving roles, rules
and partnerships helps to partially explain and understand the expansion of the Banco Palmas model.
Our contribution to the workshop is to showcase an impressive Brazilian social innovation as an
empirical example in discussing the possibilities of a sociomaterial lens for improving our ability to
understand such social innovations and, even more, to be able to act in the field in order to help their
Diniz, E.; Jayo, M.; Pozzebon, M.; Foguel, F. & Lavoie, F. (2013) “ICT helping to scale up
microfinance: The case of a successful bank-MFI partnership in Brazil”. Submitted to Journal
of Global Information Management (JGIM), Special Issue on ICT in Brazil: Global Issues and
Challenges, Forthcoming in December 2013.
Diniz, Eduardo H. (2013) Correspondentes banc rios e bancos comunit rios de desenvolvimento. In:
Banco Palmas 15 anos: resistindo e inovando. S o Paulo, A9 Editora
Easterly, W. (2006). The white man’s burden: why the West’s efforts to aid the rest have done so
much ill and so little good, New York, Penguin Press, 436 p.
França-Filho, G. C.; Silva-Júnior, J. T. & Rigo, A. S. (2012). Solidarity finance through community
development banks as a strategy for reshaping local economies: lessons from Banco Palmas.
Revista de Administraçao de Sao Paulo 47 (3), 500-515.
França-Filho, G. C. & Silva-Júnior, J. T. (2009) Bancos comunitários de desenvolvimento. In: Cattani,
Antonio D. et al. Dicionário internacional da outra economia. 1.ed. Coimbra: Edições
Almedina, 2009. v.1, p.31-36.
Instituto Palmas (2013). Inovação para a inclusão socioprodutiva, financeira e bancária. Working
Jayo, M.; Pozzebon, M. & Diniz, E. (2009). “Microcredit and Innovative Local Development in
Fortaleza, Brazil: the Case of Banco Palmas”. Canadian Journal of Regional Science (CJRS),
Special Issue on Social Innovation and Territorial Development, Edited by Klein, Juan-Luis,
vol. 32 no. 1.
Lavoie, F.; Pozzebon, M. & Gonzalez, L. (2011). “Challenges for Inclusive Finance Expansion: the
Case of CrediAmigo, a Brazilian MFI”. Management International, 15(3): 57-69. Spring 2011
Lavoie, F. & Pozzebon, M. (2011) Communities bank and social currency: mechanisms for local and
sustainable development from Brazilian experiences 3ème Colloque international du CRISES
- Pour une nouvelle mondialisation: le défi d’innover. 7 et 8 avril, 2011, Université du
Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Quebec.
Soares, C.L.B. (2009) Moeda social. In: Cattani, Antonio D. et al. Dicionário internacional da outra
economia. 1.ed. Coimbra: Edições Almedina, p.255-259.
Woller, G.M. & Woodworth, W. (2001). “Microcredit as a Grass-Roots Policy for International
Development”, Policy Studies Journal, vol. 29, no. 2, p. 267-282.
Unfolding practices with unfolding objects: standardization work in global branding
Anna Morgan-Thomas, University of Glasgow
Standardization represents a key concern in global branding. Global brands emerge and thrive through
the development and control of common rules that assure consistency, integrity and coherence
(Dimofte et al. 2010; Douglas et al. 2001; Ozsomer and Altaras 2008). Uniform brand image across
borders underlies a strong identity, which in turn enables a brand to stand out in the crowded global
market place (Cayla and Penaloza, 2012; Whitelock and Fastoso 2007). Convergence of consumer
tastes all over the world and the growing emphasis on low-cost though economies of scale means that
standardization is also an economic imperative (Levitt, 1983; Backhaus & van Doorn, 2007). For over
half a century now, marketers have examined the antecedents and outcomes of standardization
(Katsikeas et al. 2006; Ozsomer 2012).
Although significant efforts have focused on the question how the standardization of global branding
works, very little research concerns standardization work i.e. how actors, objects and practices come
together in the development and control of standards (see Chabowski et al. 2013). Whilst branding
offers detailed advice on the normative notions such as the need to deliver a consistent and integrated
brand (Douglas et al. 2001), practical understanding how these aspirations come about is largely
missing (Fastoso and Whitelock 2012). Marketing practices are rarely examined (Araujo et al. 2008;
Simakova 2010) and all too frequent discrepancies between aspirations and international branding
realities remain unexplained or dismissed as “implementation issues” (Fastoso and Whitelock 2012).
By offering values-free normative guidelines, absent from marketing discussions is the contested
nature of standardization practice. Yet, the development and control of standards involves power
relations, negotiation and conflicts between competing visions and outcomes (Lyytinen and King
2006; Nickerson and Muehlen 2006). The complex standardization practice revolves around objects
(D'Adderio 2011). Surprisingly, tools and are technologies of standardization are also absent from
marketing literature. Although digital objects, such as websites, social media or sales management
systems are omnipresent and enthusiastically adopted by international marketers (Morgan-Thomas and
Bridgewater, 2004), there seems a paucity of studies that consider the confluence of digital objects and
practices, including standardization practice.
The current study focuses on the entanglement of global branding and digital artifacts. The project
explores how digital objects are co-instituted and co-implicated in the generation, stabilization and
control of international marketing practice. Our specific focus is on brand standards; we examine how
digital affordances mesh with practices to enable and constrain standardization work.
The philosophical stance taken here is that of sociomaterilaity, an approach that does not privilege
neither the deterministic nor the constructivist view of digital objects (Orlikowski 2007; Orlikowski
and Scott 2008). The theory of practice specifically Schatzki’s (2002) notion of practice in sites,
provides the theoretical foundation for this study. Using practice lens to study digital objects means
focusing on marketing practitioners and their activities with close examination of everyday marketing
rituals and routines. Practices, that is doings and sayings that are underpinned by practical
understandings, rules and teleoaffective structures, are interwoven with multiple digital objects, which
are characterised by incompleteness (Garud et al. 2008; Kallinikos et al. 2013). Rather than examine a
particular technology, this study takes an affordance ecologies stance (Lindberg and Lyytinen 2012)
and explores how configurations of affordances are enacted through multiple digital objects within
The setting for this examination is a large higher education institution in the UK. Higher education
provides an ideal site of global branding practice. The combined effects of the large scale of the
organization (6200 employees), its heterogeneity and service nature means that the development and
maintenance of brand standards represent an ongoing challenge. The sector has been subject to
significant resource cuts and internationalization is a key strategic imperative. The higher-education
marketplace is both global and highly fragmented with multiple participants competing for the
attention of young consumers. Strong brands as well as digital artifacts, such as websites and social
media, represent important facets of the competitive struggles.
Following other studies on situated practice (Prasad 1993), the project employs multi-method
approach to data collection. Semi-structured interviews are complemented with the analysis of
documents (meetings minutes, jobs descriptions, formal rules and procedures, online materials) and
participant observation (shadowing). Data collection occurs at multiple levels of analysis: individual,
team and organization. Data analysis follows established procedures (Glaser and Strauss 2011) with
continual, iterative cycling between pre-existing theory, the data and emerging theory until the point
of saturation.
This study hopes to contribute to our understanding of technology and organization in several
important ways. The examination reveals self-referential and self-perpetuating nature of objects and
practice. A key contribution here concerns effects of digital objects on practice’s teleoaffective
structures. In addition to shaping the more observable rules and activities, the development of objects
affects macro-level shared perceptions of desirable ends, oughtness, acceptability, that is deontic
aspects of practice (von Wright, 1951). These shared understandings then influence localized
enactment of practice. The macro-level phenomena exert an overarching influence over the technology
choices and implementation processes.
The study offers an account of unfolding practice with unfolding objects where both the practice and
the objects are always unfinished and ever morphing, producing continually adjusting interactions.
Organization develops as heterogeneous assemblage of digital affordances and practices (DeLanda
2006). The fluid nature of practice with digital objects calls for a major shift in conceptualizing and
managing standards (Kallinikos et al. 2013).
The study’s straddling over multiple levels of analysis shows how the unfolding nature of practices
and objects is subject to power struggles and how standards emerge out of competing interests
(Leonardi and Barley 2010). A key finding here is that normative guidelines and best practice
approaches are frequently violated by powerful actors elsewhere, whose interests and attention do not
concerns the specifics of standardization work. Failure of standardization is thus a facet of power
struggle and not an implementation problem, as suggested in international marketing literature
(Fastoso and Whitelock 2012).
Araujo, L., Kjellberg, H., & Spencer, R. (2008). Market practices and forms: introduction to the
special issue. Marketing Theory, 8(1), 5-14.
Cayla, J., & Peñaloza, L. (2012). Mapping the play of organizational identity in foreign market
adaptation. Journal of Marketing,76(6), 38-54.
Chabowski, B. R., Samiee, S., & Hult, G. T. M. (2013). A bibliometric analysis of the global branding
literature and a research agenda. Journal of International Business Studies, 44, 622-634.
D'Adderio, L. (2011). Artifacts at the centre of routines: performing the material turn in routines
theory. Journal of Institutional economics, 7(02), 197-230.
DeLanda, M. (2006). A new philosophy of society: Assemblage theory and social complexity.
Continuum International Publishing Group.
Dimofte, C. V., Johansson, J. K., & Bagozzi, R. P. (2010). Global brands in the United States: How
consumer ethnicity mediates the global brand effect. Journal of international marketing, 18(3),
Douglas, S. P., Craig, C. S., & Nijssen, E. J. (2001). Integrating branding strategy across markets:
building international brand architecture. Journal of International Marketing, 9(2), 97-114.
Fastoso, F., & Whitelock, J. (2012). The implementation of international advertising strategies: An
exploratory study in Latin America. International Marketing Review, 29(3), 313-335.
Garud, R., Jain, S., & Tuertscher, P. (2008). Incomplete by design and designing for incompleteness.
Organization Studies, 29(3), 351-371.
Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. 2011. The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative
research. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company.
Hagberg, J., & Kjellberg, H. (2010). Who performs marketing? Dimensions of agential variation in
market practice. Industrial Marketing Management, 39(6), 1028-1037.
Kallinikos, J., Aaltonen, A., & Marton, A. 2013. The ambivalent ontology of digital artifacts. MIS
Quarterly, 37(2): 357-370.
Katsikeas, C.A., Samiee, S. & Theodosiou, M. (2006), “Strategy fit and performance consequences of
international marketing standardization”, Strategic Management Journal, 27(9), 867-90.
Leonardi P.M. & Barley S.R. (2010). What’s under construction here? Social action, materiality, and
power in constructivist studies of technology and organizing. Academy of Management
Annals, 4(1):1–51.
Lindberg, A., & Lyytinen, K. (2013). Towards a Theory of Affordance Ecologies.Materiality and
Space: Organizations, Artefacts and Practices, 41.
Lyytinen, K., & King, J. L. (2006). Standard making: a critical research frontier for information
systems research. MIS Quarterly, 30, 405‐411.
Nickerson, J. V., & Muehlen, M. Z. (2006). The ecology of standards processes: Insights from Internet
standard making. MIS Quarterly, 30, 467-488.
Orlikowski, W.J. (2007). Sociomaterial practices: Exploring technology at work. Organization
Studies, 28(9), 1435–1448.
Orlikowski W.J., Scott S.V. (2008), Sociomateriality: Challenging the separation of technology, work
and organization. Academy of Management Annals 2(1):433–474.
Özsomer, A. (2012). The interplay between global and local brands: a closer look at perceived brand
globalness and local iconness. Journal of International Marketing, 20(2), 72-95.
Özsomer, A., & Altaras, S. (2008). Global brand purchase likelihood: a critical synthesis and an
integrated conceptual framework. Journal of International Marketing, 16(4), 1-28.
Prasad, P. (1993). Symbolic processes in the implementation of technological change: A symbolic
interactionist study of work computerization. Academy of Management Journal, 36(6), 1400–
Schatzki, T. R. (2002). The site of the social. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University
Simakova, E. (2010). RFID ‘Theatre of the proof’: Product launch and technology demonstration as
corporate practices. Social studies of science,40(4), 549-576.
Vrontis, D., Thrassou, A., & Lamprianou, I. (2009). International marketing adaptation versus
standardisation of multinational companies. International Marketing Review, 26(4/5), 477500.
Von Wright, G. H. (1951). Deontic Logic. Mind 60(237), 1‐15.
Whitelock, J., & Fastoso, F. (2007). Understanding international branding: defining the domain and
reviewing the literature. International Marketing Review, 24(3), 252-270.
Seeking legitimacy with ‘best practices’ for ICT in higher education facilities projects
Anouk Mukherjee, Université Paris-Dauphine
Information and communication technologies have had an ongoing impact on the material conditions
of higher education at all levels for many years. Not only is this process documented by scholarly
work (Dutton & Loader 2002; Dutton et al. 2004; Temple 2008; Jamieson et al. 2000), but its results
are made visible by the increasing presence of ICT artifacts in the form of projectors, screens,
computers, Wi-Fi routers, Ethernet access points, power outlets and all the mobile computing carried
by students and teaching staff alike. The emerging pedagogical practices based on new technologies
have pushed higher educational institutions to adapt their traditional spaces of learning such as
classrooms, lecture halls and shared campus areas. New building projects on university campuses
incorporate a strong consideration for ICT-supported learning activities. This is an important point
given that billions of US Dollars are spent annually on building or renovation projects by higher
education institutions around the globe (universitybusiness.com). The stakes for getting it ‘right’ are
very high from an industry perspective.
Although localized institutional constraints are fundamental to the shaping of new physical spaces for
learning in higher education, external competitive forces drive many - if not most - renovation or
building projects. Amongst these forces are the evolving and ever-increasing demands from staff,
students and academics for advanced information and communication equipped facilities. Some of
these demands can be directly translated into objectives for facilities projects, however most of the
time, higher education institutions turn to what they consider to be the ‘best practices’ in their industry
for guidance on how to produce new higher educational spaces incorporating new technologies. This
process of seeking to align with industry ‘best practices’ can be best explained by the quest for
legitimacy. Eventually, it can be from these industry ‘best practices’ which emerge industry standards.
These standards are not only institutionalized, but also formalized with the creation of organizations
and bodies tasked with the maintenance, documentation and communication of these industry
standards (Besen & Farrell 1994).
The objective of this contribution to the workshop will be to examine how a higher educational
institution has sought legitimacy by following industry ‘best practices’ for ICT in a facilities
renovation project. Indications of how this process can lead to the establishment of industry standards
will be explored as well.
This presently proposed contribution to this workshop will be developed within the framework of an
ongoing thesis project on the relationship between higher educational space and information and
communication technologies. This thesis project is a multiple case study of three university
environments dispensing management education. Each of these institutions has recently undertaken
building or renovation projects that have taken into consideration requirements for ICT-based
learning. The results of initial fieldwork on the first of these cases – Université Paris-Dauphine will be
the basis of the proposed contribution. This university has already renovated four of its language
classrooms with a strong emphasis on technology. It is currently putting together plans for a 100
million euro renovation program beginning in 2015. These plans are already taking into account ‘best
practices’ on ICT-supported learning from elsewhere and have been touted as a manner to ‘improve
the institution’s image’ (from an interview with the Facilities Manager).
Besen, S.M. & Farrell, J., 1994. Choosing How to Compete: Strategies and Tactics in Standardization.
The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 8(2), p.117–131.
Dutton, W.H., Cheong, P.H. & Park, N., 2004. The Social Shaping of a Virtual Learning
Environment: The Case of a University-wide Course Management System’, Electronic.
Internet Institute, 1, p.69–80.
Dutton, W.H. & Loader, B.D., 2002. Digital academe the new media and institutions of higher
education and learning, London; New York: Routledge.
Jamieson, P. et al., 2000. Place and Space in the Design of New Learning Environments. Higher
Education Research & Development, 19(2), p.221–236.
Temple, P., 2008. Learning spaces in higher education: an under‐researched topic. London Review of
Education, 6(3), p.229–241.
Diffraction and Imbrication Lenses for Understanding Sociomaterial Constitutive
Entanglement: E-service of Land Records in Bangladesh
Muhammad S. Alam, University of South Alabama
Understanding entanglement between the social and the material is a central metaphor of
sociomateriality, a recent theoretical and philosophical strand in study technology and
organization(Jones, 2013). Study of technology and organization as well as IT for development has
evolved into two distinct and ever contrast streams: technological determination and social
constructivism. The former seeks that technology shapes the organization and human behaviors.
Conversely, the latter, social constructivism finds society and organization shapes IT. However,
sociomateriality has been emerged as a middle ground of these two contrast steams in study of
technology and organization. It argues that materiality i.e. the material property of technology and
social practices surrounded technology cannot be separated either chemically or centrifugally or
socially (Barad, 2007). It opines that technology and organization; technology and human beings need
to be understood through their relationality, incapability and entanglement. Pioneer of sociomaterial
thinking, Karen Barad (2007), a physicist and professor of feminism, applies diffraction analyses to
understand entanglement between social and material. On the other hand, Intorna and Hayes (2011)
and Avison and Zorina (2011) apply imbrication to understand sociomateriality. This paper argues that
diffraction and imbrication analyses are complementing to understand sociomaterial constitutive
A greater understanding of constitutive entanglement is (IS) discipline. However, so far this
understanding has remained obscure and jargon. We have illustrated how diffractive and imbrication
analyses with a case study of land records in Bangladesh with a view to enhancing the understanding
of constitutive entanglement. We have conducted an interventional and longitudinal study along with
action design ethnographic research. This study findings show that the diffraction analysis is a
potential lens to understand how constitutive entanglement shifts dynamically and how the aperture of
diffraction moves from one area to another. We have presented the significance of the diffraction
analysis to investigate how infomediaries and informal intermediaries are dynamically entangled and
disentangled with the land records service in Bangladesh. Therefore, we argue that diffractive analysis
is a suitable approach to understand a ceaseless process of constitutive entanglement.Moreover, a
diffraction analysis can be applied as a potential lens in Information Systems research in the complex
contexts of developing countries as a powerful theoretical tool.
This paper focuses on constitutive entanglement of infomediaries and intermediaries in land records
related services in Bangladesh. The concept of intermediary is widely used in IS literature especially
in the context of developing countries. Notably there are various forms of intermediaries: formal and
informal. Although the concept of intermediary is heavily studied in IS research, the role of informal
intermediaries has not yet received attention. The informal intermediaries are involved in the practice
of middleman and brokering with an inherent tradition through their knowledge, skill and networks
over a long period of time in developing countries. Conversely, formal intermediaries are mostly
involved in bridging the digital divide, connecting between service providers and citizens and
facilitating citizens’ access to services and information through employing ICT(Sein and Furuholt,
2012; Díaz Andrade and Urquhart, 2010). Thus the formal intermediaries can be seen as infomediary;
in other words they can be seen as the information workers(Sein and Furuholt, 2012). They mediate
citizens’ access to information and services through ICTs. This paper, in line, explores how informal
intermediaries and infomediaries are continuously entangled and disentangled. In order to understand
the constitutive entanglementa sociomaterial lens have been applied illustrating with a case of Eservice of land records in Bangladesh.In particular, we have applied Barad’s diffractive analysis to
understand the constitutive entanglement of infomediaries and informal intermediaries (Barad, 2007).
The paper outline consists of conceptualizations of infomediary and informal intermediary in the
context of developing countries. Thereafter, we discussedprecisely methodology and background of
the case in section two. Since Sociomateriality is an umbrella approach and has many streams, this
paper focused on Barad’s diffractive analysis to understand constitutive entanglement (Barad, 2007).
Section three gives a theoretical framework of constitutive entanglement. Finally, section four
analyzes the process of constitutive entanglement and disentanglement of infomediaries and informal
intermediaries in E-service of land records in Bangladesh.
Barad, K. (2007) Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter
and Meaning, Duke University Press, Durham.
Díaz Andrade, A. and Urquhart, C. (2010) "The Role of Social Connectors in Seeking Computermediated Information in Rural Societies", HUMAN IT, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 1-29.
Introna, L.D. and Hayes, N. (2011) "On sociomaterial imbrications: What plagiarism detection
systems reveal and why it matters", Information and Organization, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 107-122.
Jones, M. (2013) "Untangling Sociomateriality" in How Matter Matters Oxfor University Press, .
Sein, M.K. and Furuholt, B. (2012) "View from practice:Intermediaries: bridges across the digital
divide", Information Technology for Development, vol. iFirst, pp. 1-13.
Zorina, A. and Avison, D. (2011) "When Environment Matters: Inter-Organizational Effects on
Sociomaterial Imbrications and Change", ICIS Conference 2011 .
“Regulating a Masterpiece:
Management of Materiality and Organizational Change in Public Museums”
Irene Popoli, Stockholm School of Economics
Contemporary organizations are confronted with the necessity to define internal regulations (Jackson
& Adams, 1979) and, at the same time, they result immersed in environments where rules are set by
external institutional actors to address actions, procedures, routines and relationships. The ability to
manage and act upon these controlling and limiting features has become a fundamental skill for many
organizations (Sullivan, 2010).
At the same time, organizations are demanded to relate with their material components, constantly
interacting with each other and with all other aspects of the firm (structure, culture, resources): in this
sense, organizations' scholars as well as practitioners are asked to consider that “the social and the
material are constitutively entangled in everyday life” (Orlikowski, 2007: 1437) and that the material
aspects of an organizations are to be regarded with the same accuracy and attention that is reserved to
other characteristics of a firm. A managerial and organizational evidence corroborating the advocation
for a more integrated analysis of organizations as both social and physical, that is of the fundamental
relevance of materiality is, in fact, constituted by the recurring presence, in firms, of regulations and
rules particularly addressed to ease and control the interaction occurring between immaterial and
material aspects of the organization.
If it is important to note that the extent to which the material component can condition a firm and the
nature and diffusion of correlated practices of rules definition vary in respect to the characteristics of
the organization's industry, field, structure, inter-organizational and institutional network, then, at the
same time, it is important to stress the pervasiveness, across organizational fields and forms, of the
crucial interconnection between social and material features.
In this paper, I will present the case of an organization whose material component constitutes the very
reason of its existence and where regulations (often issued by external actors) are mainly defined to
control and preserve the very materiality of the organization.
By proposing a case study of an italian public museum, I will engage with the analysis of the
relationship between material artifacts and uniqueness (in that the museum's collection is constituted
by works of art or other kind of heritage objects that are irreplaceable and that feature immaterial,
cultural, social, sense-making qualities, see also (Pels, Hetherington, & Vandenberghe, 2002)) and
with the consequences, in terms of regulations, that this relation can have on the organizations
interacting with them.
In particular, the purpose of the research is to verify the connection between the materiality of an
element (in this case the collection) that is part of an organization – or, in this case, whose material
conservation and management is the main purpose and core mission of the organization – and the
compliance of the same organization to external regulations defined to protect the physical integrity of
the collection – with particular reference to the definition of internal regulations absorbing the
limitations imposed by external institutions and to the effects in terms of organizational roles (the
creation of professional figures specifically devoted to the management of objects and the
acquiescence to external rules).
Museums have been (and still are) founded with the explicit purpose of protecting a community's
heritage and, possibly, of allowing its fruition without compromising its preservation and transmission
to future generations. In this sense, they represent a paradigmatic example of the entanglement
between social and material objects (Engeström & Blackler, 2005) within organizations. Material
objects conserved by public museum institutions are part of the heritage of a nation (or more locally,
of a community): in this sense, they are protected by laws that are external to museums themselves
even if their management and conservation are activities designated to the single organization. This
condition generates the necessity, for museums, to define procedures and rules complying with
externally defined limitations, making them part of their own system of regulations. From the simple
conservation of works of art, to their transfer to other institutions for loans and exhibitions, public
museums are in the constant position to necessarily follow procedures that are externally induced. This
is requested not only to respect existing legislation, but also to match up with the social role of
“heritage preservers” that has been assigned by society and institutions: in this sense, the compliance
to external regulations – and the well-timed advertisement of their strict observation – can be also
considered part of a strategic choice to guarantee themselves continuous support and legitimacy from
institutional actors that are usually also public museums' main financial resource holders.
This condition have determined the definition not only of internal systems of rules receiving the
external regulations, but also of organizational roles dedicated to the correct definition of all
bureaucratic procedures related to the conservation, loan and transfer of objects from a collection – the
The study of this specific kind of organization will offer a particularly poignant record of the effects
that the material nature of some elements within an organization can have on the definition of internal
rules and, more broadly, on the organizational structure of the firm at stake.
The research will analyze the impact of the preeminent material component of an organization on the
whole system of regulations and roles that operate within it: this will constitute a significant
contribution to the debate on the necessity to consider the material elements of an organizations as
significant as all other features and to the discussion on the relationship between material artifacts,
regulations and institutional legitimacy.
While proposing a research that responds to the advocation for more consideration to the materiality in
organizations, the research will bridge the analysis on regulations and rules applied to material
artifacts with that on the intra-organizational effects of external institutional pressures on structures,
procedures and survival through legitimacy.
Materiality, Artifacts, Institutional Regulations, Institutional Constraints, Organizational Structure,
Organizational Rules, Routines, Organizational Behavior, Organizational Change, Museums,
Heritage, Culture, Registrar
Engeström, Y., & Blackler, F. (2005). On the Life of the Object. Organization, 12(3), 307 330.
Jackson, J. H., & Adams, S. W. (1979). The Life Cycle of Rules. Academy of Management Review,
4(2), 269–273.
Orlikowski, W. J. (2007). Sociomaterial Practices: Exploring Technology at Work. Organization
Studies, 28(9), 1435–1448.
Pels, D., Hetherington, K., & Vandenberghe, F. (2002). The Status of the Object: Performances,
Mediations, and Techniques. Theory, Culture & Society, 19(5-6), 1–21.
Sullivan, B. N. (2010). Competition and Beyond: Problems and Attention Allocation in the
Organizational Rulemaking Process. Organization Science, 21(2), 432–450.
First name
Abdalla Mikhaeil
Université Paris-Dauphine
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Muhammd Shahanoor
Brunel University London
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University of Tuscia
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Scuola Nazionale dell'Amministrazione
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Scuola Nazionale dell'Amministrazione
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Rune Thorbjørn
Department of Business Administration, Aarhus University
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University of Technology Sydney
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Miguel Pinah E
Nova School of business and economics
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de Vaujany
Université Paris-Dauphine
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Fundação Getulio Vargas
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LUISS Guido Carli
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university of poitiers
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ICN Graduate Business school
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Aarhus University
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Anna Elina
Tampere University of Technology
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Université Paris-Dauphine
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Giovan Francesco
Bologna University
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Université Paris-Dauphine
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Stanford University & Hanken School of Economica
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The Open University
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Case Western University and LSE
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HEC Montréal
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Italian National School of Government
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Department of EMI - University Federico II
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Department of Business Studies Roma Tre University
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Seconda Università di Napoli
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Maria Gisa
Scuola Nazionale dell'Amministrazione
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INRA (National Institute for Agricultural Research)
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CEREGE-IAE de Poitiers
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Mines ParisTech (CSI)
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ESSEC Business School
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Grenoble Ecole de Management
Turku Centre for Computer Sciences / University of Turku,
Turku School of Economics
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EM Strasbourg Business School
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Mines ParisTech
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Stockholm School of Economics
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HEC Montreal and FGV-EAESP
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University of Edinburgh
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IAE de Paris and CRG-Ecole Polytechnique
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Université Paris-Dauphine
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LUISS Guido Carli University - CeRSI
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Copenhagen Business School
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LUISS Guido Carli
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Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC)
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London School of Economics
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Ecole des Mines de Paris
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University of Rome Tor Vergata
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MINES ParisTech
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Università degli studi di Milano
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LUISS Guido Carli
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Brunel University London
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French embassy (Italy)
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Université Paris Dauphine
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McGill University
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Vaerlander Winterstorm
Stockholm university/Stanford University
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von Pechmann
Ecole polytechnique, CRG
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Paris Dauphine University
VU University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Dept. of
Organization Sciences
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LUISS Guido Carli
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Royal Holloway, University of London
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ESCP Europe
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