Business Perceptions of Biodiversity as Social Learning

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Dr. Thomas Smith, Dr. George Holmes, and Dr. Jouni Paavola of the University of Leeds. They recently published an article in Organization & Environment entitled “Social Underpinnings of Ecological Knowledge: Business Perceptions of Biodiversity as Social Learning,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they reflect on the methods, and contribution of their research:]

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Despite mounting concerns regarding the degradation and loss of species, habitats and ecosystems occurring worldwide, biodiversity remains an underexplored issue in corporate sustainability. Increasingly, conservationists, policymakers and organisations such as the WBCSD are focussing on business contributions to tackling biodiversity loss. Yet we know little of how different institutional contexts influence efforts to reduce operational impacts on biodiversity, for instance. It is also unclear how different stakeholders can help – or hinder – reform.

This paper integrates social learning and institutional theory to understand business approaches to controlling impacts on biodiversity. Social learning is often used to examine processes of knowledge transfer and reform in natural resource management, but tends to focus on local communities and public bodies rather than businesses. Combined with institutional theory, social learning demonstrates how social systems shape responses to ecological contexts.

This paper adds to ONE research by demonstrating that to understand business responses to biodiversity, it is vital to focus on interactions between social and ecological systems, rather than each system in isolation. Biodiversity is complex, varying across contexts: successfully conserving it means integrating multiple forms of knowledge and values. Business responses to biodiversity need to be examined across multiple contexts, developed to developing country, tropical to temperate, terrestrial to marine, etc.

Although corporate sustainability scholars must be mindful of social and ecological factors specific to one or another context, this should not prevent us from seeking to identify universal principles underlying best practice. Work on stakeholder engagement and institutional views of the firm applied to other issues in corporate sustainability might be used to inform best practices. There is much left to consider and to research regarding business and biodiversity.

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Family Firms and the Choice Between Wholly Owned Subsidiaries and Joint Ventures

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Maria Cristina Sestu of the University of Pavia and Antonio Majocchi of the University of Pavia. They recently published an article in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice entitled “Family Firms and the Choice Between Wholly Owned Subsidiaries and Joint Ventures: A Transaction Costs Perspective,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, They briefly describe the motivation and impact of their research.

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What motivated you to pursue this research?

Recent entry mode research has largely ignored the ownership characteristics of the MNCs. We investigate the entry mode decisions of family and non-family firms and explore the role of family involvement on both the MNC side and the local partner side. We contend that the mixed results produced to date are a consequence of a lack of attention to family or non-family involvement on both sides in general and on the local firm side in particular. In the paper, we address why and how family involvement affects entry strategy.

Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research?

Recent official data show that the value of cross border M&A and partial acquisitions deals in Italy reached a new high making the Italian companies the most targeted by foreign acquisitions in the EU along with France and just after the UK. A number of these acquisitions by family and non-family MNCs targeted iconic brands owned by family firms such as Loro Piana, Valentino, Pomellato and Krizia. Commenting the acquisitions on the news the managers involved on the deals often highlight the relevance of being a family firm. This suggests us that the family nature of both the target and the investing companies were still an underdeveloped issue in the management literature and convince us to further investigate the topic.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

The intuition that studying the differences between the entry mode policies of family and non-family firms was a promising field of research proved right. We show that whether the investor and target are a family firm or not has an impact on the entry mode choice as family control is relevant on both sides of the transaction. We prove that future research in the field would be more fruitful if corporate governance characteristics were taken into account. We also show that family involvement generates some firm specific asset that affects family firm policies. In this way we contribute to the development of the theory of family firms.

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Artificial Intelligence and Social Simulation: Studying Group Dynamics on a Massive Scale

[We’re pleased to welcome authors, Jesse Hoey of the University of Waterloo, Tobias Schröder of Potsdam University of Applied Sciences, Jonathan Morgan of Potsdam University of Applied Sciences, Kimberly B. Rogers of Dartmouth College, Deepak Rishi of the University of Waterloo, and Meiyappan Nagappan of the University of Waterloo. They recently published an article in Small Group Research entitled “Spotlight on Methods: Artificial Intelligence and Social Simulation: Studying Group Dynamics on a Massive Scale,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, They discusses some of the findings of this research:]

SGR_72ppiRGB_powerpointTechnological and social innovations are increasingly generated through informal, distributed processes of collaboration, rather than in formal, hierarchical organizations. In this article, we present a novel combination of data-driven and model-based approaches to explore the social and psychological mechanisms motivating these modern self-organized collaborations. We focus on the example of open, collaborative software development in online collaborative networks like GitHub (github.com). The synthesized approach is based in affect control theory (ACT), and a recent framing in Artificial Intelligence known as Bayesian affect control theory (BayesACT). The general assumption of ACT is that humans are motivated in their social interactions by affective alignment: They strive for their social experiences to be coherent at a deep, emotional level with their sense of identity and general worldviews as constructed through culturally shared symbols. This alignment is used in BayesACT as a control mechanism to generate artificially intelligent agents that can learn to be functioning members of a social order (see bayesact.ca for further information).

We show in this article how such a model solves two basic problems in the social scientific study of groups and teams. First, because empirical research on groups relies on manual coding, it is hard to study groups in large numbers (the scaling problem). Second, conventional statistical methods in behavioral science often fail to capture the nonlinear interaction dynamics occurring in small groups (the dynamics problem). The ACT-based models we present allow for sophisticated machine learning techniques to be combined in a parsimonious way with validated social-psychological models of group behaviour such that both of these problems are solved in a single computational model.

The purpose of the present article is to discuss the promises of this cross-disciplinary, computational approach to the study of small group dynamics. We review computational methods for using large amounts of social media data, and connect these methods to theoretically informed models of human behaviour in groups. To use a metaphor, we are digging into digital group dynamics data with a sophisticated, artificially intelligent shovel, and showing how computational social science can be taken to a new level with this unique and novel combination of data-driven and model-based approaches. The work is an international collaboration called THEMIS.COG (themis-cog.ca) between researchers in Canada (University of Waterloo), the USA (Dartmouth College), and Germany (Potsdam University of Applied Sciences).

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Defining Marijuana Tourism

Dr. Lorraine L. Taylor of Fort Lewis College, Colorado, recently published an article in the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, which is entitled “Defining Marijuana Tourism.” We are pleased to welcome her as a contributor and excited to announce that the findings will be free to access on our site for a limited time. Below Dr. Taylor reveals the inspiration behind the research, as well as additional information not included in the final publication.

2JHTR07_Covers.pdfWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

As the first state to sell legal recreational marijuana in 2014, there were many unanswered questions. Within the tourism industry, destinations were unsure how marijuana would impact the visitor experience. While there are certainly many questions to be answered, this study sought to better understand the marijuana tourists, their characteristics, behavior, and motivations.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?

Compared to other tourism research I have completed, this study had a very high response rate from participants. Very few people refused to participate, and rather wanted to contribute to the understanding of marijuana tourism.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

Researchers in Colorado had the privilege of being first movers with studying marijuana tourism, though it is critical that data is collected in other geographical locations to validate the findings.

What did not make it into your published manuscript that you would like to share with us?

This project determined that the target market of marijuana tourists is heterogenous. A follow-up study will be conducted to dig deeper into the nuances of different niche segments within the market.

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Rest, Zest, and My Innovative Best: Sleep and Mood as Drivers of Entrepreneurs’ Innovative Behavior

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Amanda J. Williamson of the University of Sheffield, Martina Battisti of the University of Portsmouth, Michael Leatherbee of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and J. Jeffrey Gish of the University of Oregon, Eugene. They recently published an article in Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice entitled “Rest, Zest, and My Innovative Best: Sleep and Mood as Drivers of Entrepreneurs’ Innovative Behavior,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they briefly write about the motivation and impact of their research, and speak about their research in a short video abstract.

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What motivated you to pursue this research?

We noticed that sleep is commonly undervalued by early-stage entrepreneurs, and realized that we know very little about what impact poor sleep quality has on entrepreneurially-relevant outcomes.

While the quality of our sleep is broadly declining, entrepreneurs in particular are under pressure to be “on” constantly. Recent studies indicate that early stage entrepreneurs feel that they need to be contactable and to work long hours in order to perform. Adding insult to injury, we noticed that entrepreneurial camps are often designed in a manner that encourage poor sleep, and that our media often celebrate poorly rested entrepreneurs as dedicated heroes.

This worried us, as evidence indicates that poor sleep can be dangerous. The long-term effects of poor sleep are evident in terms of our personal health, and the short-term effects are noticeable for our cognitive functioning. We started to wonder whether poor sleep could therefore be harmful for start-up performance, and if so, whether we might find an entrepreneurially motivated reason for entrepreneurs to prioritize their sleep. As innovative behavior is at the heart of effectively creating a venture, we thought it would be a great place to start exploring this topic empirically.

Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research?

We felt that the time was right for this research. While there is a growing interest in entrepreneurial well-being, entrepreneurial sleep has received limited attention to date. We hoped our research could help trigger an emerging conversation and provide empirical evidence on the important role that sleep plays for entrepreneurial wellbeing and entrepreneurship more generally.

What advice would you give to new scholars and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?

To date, only a handful of studies have explored sleep in the context of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behavior, thus we have barely scratched the surface on what could be a very promising line of research in the field. We encourage scholars to explore the topic further. Some of the many questions that remain open include:
1. What role do naps have on entrepreneurs’ performance?
2. What influence do circadian rhythms have on the dynamics of entrepreneurial teams and daily fluctuations in entrepreneurial performance? When is it good or bad to have diversity in circadian rhythms within an entrepreneurial team?
3. Are there interventions that are particularly effective for improving entrepreneurs’ sleep?
4. Are there any entrepreneurial sleep impairment trends? For example, are particular entrepreneurial events and stages in the entrepreneurial process related to poor sleep? Is sleep impairment similar according to venture types or within teams? How does sleep compare between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs?
5. How does sleep impairment impact upon other aspects of entrepreneurial performance? For example, on how entrepreneurial pitches are delivered and evaluated?
6. What are the effects of entrepreneurs’ sleep for the longer-term performance of the individual, team, and startup?
7. When does it pay to sacrifice sleep in entrepreneurship?

 

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New Scriptologies of Organization Studies

[We’re pleased to welcome author Dr. Carl Rhodes of the University of Technology Sydney. He recently published an article in Management Learning entitled “Sense-ational organization theory! Practices of democratic scriptology,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Rhodes briefly describes his research and its significance to the present:]

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I was motivated to write this paper out of a long standing concern with the somewhat restrictive textual politics that is present in the field of organization studies. As with many other sites of the social sciences, this is a politics where those of us who work in it either consciously or inadvertently feel the pressure to write our work in a disembodied fashion that imagines what we are doing is simply offering an objective account of research and/or theorising.

While this approach to academic writing has long been dominant, so have challenges to it. The paper is published in a special issue edited by Sarah Gilmore, Nancy Harding, Jenny Helin and Alison Pullen that sought to “break out of the constraints of scientific writing in order to better develop insights and understanding about management and the world of work, and how to communicate those ideas”.

My response to this call was to do a review of the use of alternative and experimental modes of writing in organization studies from the 1980s onwards, beginning when scholars like John Van Maanen claimed that our writing could free itself up to be impressionistic and fragmented, and Barbara Czarniawska was exploring organization studies as a literary genre. In conceiving of the paper my idea was to describe the alternative alternatives that had been published over past 40 years or so as well as to explore how they relate to the politics of knowledge that still marginalises forms of poetic, artistic, unruly and creative writing in favour of colder scientific genres.

To offer a way of explaining this, the paper proposes the notion of ‘scriptology’ as a counterpoint to ‘methodology’. Just as a methodology provides an explanation and justification of the methods with which research conducted, a scriptology would do the same thing for the form in which research is written. The problem is, of course, that scriptology is largely taken for granted such that the dominance of masculine-rational scientific writing is taken for granted to the level of virtual domination.

I try to consider organization studies as an aesthetic phenomenon that contains competing claims of what forms of writing ‘count’ as knowledge. This focus on aesthetics is meant to attest to a ‘democraticization’ of knowledge, to the extent that people strive to create freedoms that enable different knowledges to enter in to the realm of what makes sense to our field.

While the paper reviews a range of historical examples of non-conventional writing, it also shows that in recent years the most productive and provocative of these have come from feminine and feminist writing. This amounts to the beginning of an aesthetic revolution that channels important political contestations over the gendered character of the inscription of research. This has been done not just in the name of stylistic pluralism but by considering the relationship of writing to forms of oppression and discrimination based on sex, gender and sexuality.

The scriptologies that have been developed in this emerging tradition criticize the masculinity of dominant mode of writing. More productively they emphasize and exemplify fluidity, plurality, reflexivity, embodiment, affectivity, non-sameness, and multiplicity of identities and relations as pivotal to the possibilities of feminine writing.

My intended contribution is limited to attesting to the work of others as manifest in a range of examples of feminine and feminist scriptologies. These include, inter alia, Brigitte Biehl-Missal practice of ‘feminine creation’, Briony Lipton’s ‘creative academic fiction’, Ajnesh Prasad’s rearticulation of Donna Haraway’s ‘cyborg writing, and Janet Sayers’ ‘feminist dogwriting’ and ‘meat-writing’.

The emerging sense that this writing portends is not about justification of different research genres so as to broaden forms of expression and extend knowledge, but rather it is about shifting and destabilizing the very meaning of what we might take knowledge to be. While the article explores the development and value such non-conventional writing in organization studies, I can only conclude by saying that reading the original works would promise to be more illustrative than relying on my exegesis.

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ORM Best Paper Awards

orma_21_3_coverWe are excited to congratulate the following authors for winning the Organizational Research Methods 2017 Best Paper Award. This year two papers tied for Best Paper! Below are the abstracts of each article. Please note that the full articles will be free to read for a limited time.


Congratulations Jose M. Cortina of George Mason University, Jennifer Green of George Mason University, Kathleen Keeler of George Mason University, and Robert J. Vandenberg of the University of Georgia.

Below is the abstract from the award winning article, Degrees of Freedom in SEM: Are We Testing the Models That We Claim to Test? in which their research processes and findings are briefly introduced.

800px-6dof_en.jpgStructural equation modeling (SEM) has been a staple of the organizational sciences for decades. It is common to report degrees of freedom (df) for tested models, and it should be possible for a reader to recreate df for any model in a published paper. We reviewed 784 models from 75 papers published in top journals in order to understand df-related reporting practices and discover how often reported df matched those that we computed based on the information given in the papers. Among other things, we found that both df and the information necessary to compute them were available about three-quarters of the time. We also found that computed df matched reported df only 62% of the time. Discrepancies were particularly common in structural (as opposed to measurement) models and were often large in magnitude. This means that the models for which fit indices are offered are often different from those described in published papers. Finally, we offer an online tool for computing df and recommendations, the Degrees of Freedom Reporting Standards (DFRS), for authors, reviewers, and editors.


Congratulations Thomas Roulet of King’s College London, Michael Gill of the University of Bath, Sebsatien Stenger of the Institut Superieur de Gestion, Paris, and David Gill of the University of Nottingham.

You can find the abstract from their outstanding article, Reconsidering the Value of Covert Research: The Role of Ambiguous Consent in Participant Observation below, in which the authors briefly explain their research methods and introduce their interesting results.people-295145_960_720

In this article, we provide a nuanced perspective on the benefits and costs of covert research. In particular, we illustrate the value of such an approach by focusing on covert participant observation. We posit that all observational studies sit along a continuum of consent, with few research projects being either fully overt or fully covert due to practical constraints and the ambiguous nature of consent itself. With reference to illustrative examples, we demonstrate that the study of deviant behaviors, secretive organizations and socially important topics is often only possible through substantially covert participant observation. To support further consideration of this method, we discuss different ethical perspectives and explore techniques to address the practical challenges of covert participant observation, including; gaining access, collecting data surreptitiously, reducing harm to participants, leaving the site of study and addressing ethical issues.


Thank you for your hard work and dedication!

Meet the ORM editorial team! Click here to view their bios.


Degrees of Freedom Photo attributed to Free Photos.

Observation Photo attributed to Free Photos.