Grappa: A Radical Success Story

3351710029_88bd725653_zThere was a time not too long ago when grappa, the popular Italian grape-based brandy, was considered a poor man’s drink. During the 1970s, grappa’s status was a sharp contrast to comparable foreign spirits, like cognac and whisky, both of which were considered higher quality alcohols. And yet, toward the end of the 1970s, perceptions of grappa shifted radically–grappa became not only a popular, more expensive spirit, but also one that was considered on par with cognac and whisky. This radical shift begs the question, how did grappa shed its bad reputation? In the recent article from Administrative Science Quarterly entitled “How Cinderella Became a Queen: Theorizing Radical Status Change,” authors Giuseppe Delmestri and Royston Greenwood explain that the grappa itself never changed. Rather, grappa producers took steps to break grappa from its prior image. The abstract for the paper:

Using a case study of the Italian spirit grappa, we examine status recategorization—the vertical extension and reclassification of an entire market category. Grappa was historically a low-status product, but in the 1970s one regional distiller took steps that led to a radical break from its traditional image, so that in just over a decade high-quality grappa became an exemplar of cultured Italian lifestyle and held a market position in the same class as cognac and whisky. We use this context to articulate “theorization by allusion,” which occurs through three mechanisms: category detachment—distancing a social object from its existing category; category emulation—presenting that object so that it hints at the practices of a high-status category; and category sublimation—shifting from local, field-specific references to broader, societal-level frames. This novel theorization is particularly appropriate for explaining change from low to high status because it ASQ Coveravoids resistance to and contestation of such change (by customers, media, and other sources) as a result of status imperatives, which may be especially strong in mature fields. Unlike prior studies that have examined the status of organizations within a category, ours foregrounds shifts in the status and social meaning of a market category itself.

You can read “How Cinderella Became a Queen: Theorizing Radical Status Change” from Administrative Science Quarterly free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Administrative Science QuarterlyClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

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*Grappa bottles image credited to star5112 (CC)

Celebrating Holiday Traditions From Around the World!

If there is one thing to be said about the holiday season, it is that there are plenty of unique holiday traditions practiced across many cultures. While some traditions are relatively new, other holiday traditions have been practiced for hundreds of years. Here are some fun facts about our favorite holiday traditions:

391px-Illustration_Viscum_album0Mistletoe:

  • Hanging mistletoe is a long-standing holiday tradition that can be traced back to ancient Druid civilization in Europe. [1]
  • Mistletoe behaves like a parasite–it will grow by anchoring itself onto a host plant, and its root will invade the host. [1]
  • Current biochemical research on mistletoe juices show promise for use in breast cancer treatment. [1]

St. Lucia’s Crown of Candles:394px-NannetteDapper1967

  • In Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, girls wear a white dress with a red sash and a crown of candles to celebrate Saint Lucia’s Day.[2]
  • Swedish legend alleges that a ship carrying a maiden wearing white and crowned in light gave food and clothing to the needy during a famine in Värmland.[3]

13929346818496Symbols of Kwanzaa:

  • There are seven symbols of Kwanzaa: Mazaao (Crops), Mkeka (Mat), Kinara (Candle holder), Muhindi (Ears of corn), Zawadi (Gifts), Kikambe Cha Umoja (Unity Cup), and Mishumaa Saba (Seven Candles). [4]
  • The Seven Candles are mean to represent the Seven Principles central to Kwanzaa: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). [4]

800px-Iftar_beguniEid ul-Fitr:

  • In Arabic, “eid” means something habitual, or festivity. [6]
  • Eid ul-Fitr is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. It is  three-day-long celebration that symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. [6]

466px-Dreidel_001

The Dreidel:

  • Jewish lore alleges that the dreidel was used in ancient times, when Greek-Syrians prohibited Jews from studying the Torah. The Jews would hide their religious books and play with dreidels as a decoy.[5]
  • The word dreidel comes from the German word “drehen,” meaning “to turn.”[5]
  • Gambling games centered around a spinning top have been played for centuries in Europe. The Jewish dreidel game likely evolved from a German gambling game.[5]

How Can Anthropology Bring a New Perspective to Corruption Research?

[We’re pleased to welcome Bertrand Venard of Audencia Nantes School of Management and Wharton School of theJMI_72ppiRGB_powerpoint University of Pennsylvania. Professor Venard recently published an article with Davide Torsello of Central European University Business School and University of Bergamo, in the Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “The Anthropology of Corruption.”]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

I was inspired by the complete lack of consideration of the anthropology field in management literature that studies corruption. I thought an anthropological view of corruption could offer a stimulating perspective for organizational scholars.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Anthropologists have been doing research about corruption for decades. Their research could add value to the organizational field, particularly on the matter of corruption and general wrongdoings in organizations. In their research, anthropologists stress the importance of using a definition of social actors, rather than a universal definition. Thus, for anthropologists, corruption is what the locals names “corruption.” Considering the native perspective, anthropologists reject a moralistic view of corruption. Instead, they present the cohesive influence of corruption.

Furthermore, anthropologists see corruption as a process, not a statistical phenomenon. This demand for a historical account of corruption has led academics to use ethnography as a method of inquiry, a method that is known in management but not frequently used to study corruption. Anthropology allows an interesting perspective, using corruption as a single point of entry to the whole culture. Corruption should not be used for itself, but for the understanding it provides about the complete culture.

  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

Our research may influence organizational scholars to consider the anthropology field when doing research about corruption. In particular, researchers may use more qualitative methods to study corruption, especially ethnography. By focusing on local, social and cultural aspects of corruption, it may be possible to better understand why corruption is a phenomenon resistant to eradication, and why, for instance, executives from countries where corruption is not an issue engage in wrongdoings when they go to emerging markets.

You can read “The Anthropology of Corruption” for free in Journal of Management Inquiry by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this from Journal of Management Inquiry? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!


Davide TorDavide Torsellosello is an associate professor of socio-cultural anthropology at Central European University Business School, Hungary, and University of Bergamo, Italy. He is a leader of the unit “The ethnographic study of corruption” in the EU FP7 research project ANTICORRP (Anti-corruption Policies Revisited. Global Trends and European Responses to the Challenge of Corruption). Recently, he published The New Environmentalism? Civil Society and Corruption in the Enlarged EU (Ashgate).

Bertrand Venard is a professor of strategy at Audencia Nantes School of Management (France) and visiting Bertrand Venardprofessor, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (USA). His research interests concern deviance, fraud, and corruption. He has published more than 50 academic articles. He is involved in a working group of the United Nations (Global Compact, PRME, Principles of Responsible Management Education) aiming at reducing corruption through curriculum development.

Quattrone (2015). Governing Social Orders, Unfolding Rationality, and Jesuit Accounting Practices: A Procedural Approach to Institutional Logics

Republished with permission. The original post was published on the ASQ Blog.

***

Authors:
Paolo Quattrone – University of Edinburgh Business School

Interviewers:
Federica Foce Massa Saluzzo – Universita´di Bologna
Daniela Iubatti – IESE Business School

Article link: http://asq.sagepub.com/content/60/3/411

Question 1. An eye-opening element of your paper is the discussion on the procedural approach to logics in which you suggest that scholars should develop methodologies that allow them to explain what “cannot be framed”. In the case of the Jesuits what cannot be framed is God, or more generally social order. What would the “unframed” be in the modern corporation and who are the agents enacting the practices of the progressively updating logic?

Many things are unframed in the modern and corporate world; a ‘value’ to begin ASQ_v60n3_Sept2015_cover.inddwith. It is increasingly clear that we live in dissonant orders of worth (I refer to the work of David Stark, Boltanki and Thévenot and some work I am doing with Roger Friedland) and a ‘value’ cannot be reduced to shareholder’s values anymore. Enlarging the realms of the measurable (for example, from the ‘economic’ to the ‘environmental’ and the ‘social’) is not the solution in my view. Interrogating what cannot be framed, values in this case, and mediate amongst views, which are impossible to align anyhow, is a possible way forward to regain sanity in the financial word. Other ‘unframable’ categories are uncertainty, risk, volatility, complexity; but those are more immediate and obvious, although the approach to those tends to presuppose that these categories can be framed and do not overflow (as Michel Callon would say). I am currently doing some work on managing major programs (such as mega infrastructure projects). They are interesting sites to explore this impossibility of framing: the risks, the unknowns are everywhere and cannot be reduced.

You also ask about the agents of the updating logics. They are many as well. Technology, if we give agency to material objects, as Bruno Latour and Wanda Orlikowski would do, is surely one of these agents. As much as a medieval book, technologies of representation are increasingly affecting the way in which we imagine the future, our identities and rituals of interaction and social order. Nothing new here, but what is new is to think of technologies as procedures themselves which create spaces of engagement, exploration and mediation which constitute the fabric of institutional logics change.

Question 2. Your work provides alternative lenses to look at the relationship between rationality and techniques of representation, in the specific case of accounting. In the paper you suggest that today, accounting requires less reflection and inventio, having become a taken-for-granted institution. If you were to study rationality through contemporary accounting what would you expect to observe?

If I were to observe rationality through the narrow lenses of what accounting has become (at least in some mainstream departments of accounting of a university completely detached from the world of practice), I would see very little. Contemporary accounting glasses promise transparency but their lenses are opaque. The result is that a search for transparency makes us blind to what being ‘rational’ may mean in different spatial-temporal contexts. There is lot to be done in order to transform these lenses in prisms that are able to show multifaceted worlds. And, interestingly enough, in organization studies, very little attention is given to systems of representation, not to mention to accounting, although accounting is one of the most pervasive technology of calculation of the modern corporate world.

Question 3. Many studies test their theories on contemporary empirical contexts, while few do so analyzing specific contexts from the past. How did you choose this empirical context and how would you generalize your study in different contexts? What would you advice to students willing to follow your example and analyze historical data?

An articulated question that I’ll try to answer in sequence. How did I choose? It happened by chance, of course! Often one becomes interested in research sites and topics because of serendipitous encounters. My case was not different. It dates back to my PhD (a long time ago) in Palermo, my hometown in Italy. My supervisor, who loves history, asked me to look at the accounting books kept at the State Archive of Palermo. I naively thought this was going to be one of the most boring things on earth. It was instead the beginning of a very exciting journey of discovering, which is still ongoing. The paper in ASQ is just the last stop of this journey.

You ask me about generalization. I am not a historian (by no means I can claim I am) and therefore my primary interest in the evidence is theoretical not empirical. So I aim try to generalize in every work I do (also because being Italian we love abstraction and we tend to think, wrongly, that the empirical world cannot surprise us). How can we generalize from particular and unfamiliar cases? By linking them to general and familiar theoretical debates to de-familiarize us from them. This is, I think, what the paper does in relation to institutional logics. I think it always more difficult to look at the normal in a different way than to look at what differs from the norm. Accounting is a very ‘normal’ (and normalized) practice. It becomes interesting only if we look at it in a different way. History, in that sense, helps, as it is a form of ethnography that leads us not only to a different space (the Jesuit Order in my case) but also a different time.

Now the advice. Not sure I am the right person to give advice on whether historical work is worth exploring. I am too biased towards a yes! But think of how relatively ‘easy’ access is when doing historical works: the sources are there waiting to be discovered. They do not escape! But here is also where the easy part ends. Historical work, as much and possibly more than field studies, requires a long process of familiarization with these sources, especially if we go back a long time (I still remember the difficulties I had in understanding handwriting, abbreviations, notations, old Sicilian texts, archaic forms of accounting records, just to name but a few of these difficulties). The issue is also that the sources always change meaning. For me this happened often when I went back to them in the various iterations of the research process. Every time I knew something more about religious, cultural and economic contexts and practices and this made me see in the apparently ‘out there’ archival sources something new. This is possibly the most fascinating aspect I recall from the research, the moment of establishing a connection, for example, between ratio, rationality, accounting and late medieval practices of rhetoric and art of memory is something that has changed not only the way in which I looked at those sources but also how I now conceive of accounting as a contemporary practice. The rewards are huge if one is prepared to link, connect and explore primary and secondary sources in ways that are novel. Another aspect of going to the archive that is worth mentioning? One of the most relaxing things I have done in my life! Archives are interesting and relaxing spaces.

Question 4. The procedural nature of the Jesuits’ logics suggests a drastically different approach to institutional logics. Nevertheless Jesuits are a closed community that diligently and profoundly applies the procedures demanded within the college. In contemporary firms, community spirit and self-reflection are generally considered as less fundamental. How do you think that this contemporary lack of reflection relates to scholars’ understanding of institutional logics? More specifically, do you think that the common lack of reflection in the typical contemporary organization has brought scholars to observe the more substantialist rather than the procedural side of logics?

Are you sure the Jesuits were closed and the contemporary lack a community spirit (I would agree on the lack of reflection)? Let me respond with an anecdote. Once, when I was at Christ Church at Oxford, I organized a series of meetings on religion, institutions and practices. Participants disagreed on many things but we all agreed that nowadays there is more religion in business schools than in the Church and more business in the Church than in business schools! This is also what Michel Antebi suggests with his ethnography of Harvard Business School: the not said points towards the mystery of manufacturing morals and the belief in to a common spirit at Harvard.

This point also relates to the other things you ask. Some of the current literature on institutional logics takes such logics almost for granted: logics are not mysterious anymore. One can observe them in hospitals, markets, in the profession. The risk is to make them less interesting and powerful as heuristic devices. And once one has lost the mystery, what is left is only the material. Imagination, vision, feelings, emotions, and symbols are gone. This is possibly also why capitalism is so material: if one believes that everything can be reduced to a number, to a transaction, to money then the material is the only think one can think of. This applies to researchers as well; especially those who seek to operationalize statistically variables that cannot be reduced to a statistical issue. In Hebrew, the word ‘God’ cannot even be pronounced, otherwise mystery is lost. Uttering ‘God’ would be the “end of the world” (to quote Alessandro Baricco or to refer to Giorgio Agamben’s The Kingdom and the Glory).

Question 5. The search for what cannot be categorically framed, “the unsaid”, is fundamental for scholars wishing to understand the dynamics involving institutional logics. Yet, for the logic update to occur a certain disposition is crucial. What do you think is the role of disposition of the agents both in your paper and more broadly in the debate on institutional logics?

This is a difficult question to answer, as my reply could smell of ‘ontological gerrymandering’. The first reaction would be: Of course dispositions matters! But would not that be a substantive answer? A possible way out is that if we interpret a disposition as a way of looking at the world (and thus in procedural terms) there is hope for not falling back into the trap of a positivist view of this disposition. In other words, I could be disposed towards the ‘other’ and what differs or not. The latter is dangerous and would make research a technical exercise of finding what we already know in a supposedly out there world; the former makes of research a journey of exploration into unchartered territory. So my question to you and the readers is: are you technicians or explorers? Both are useful but the latter is much more fun!

Payal Nangia Sharma on Empowering Leadership Research

GOM 39(6)_Covers.indd[We’re pleased to welcome Payal Nangia Sharma of Rutgers University. Dr. Sharma recently published an article in Group and Organization Management with Bradley L. Kirkman of North Carolina State University entitled “Leveraging Leaders: A Literature Review and Future Lines of Inquiry for Empowering Leadership Research.”]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

We were inspired to write about the topic of empowering leadership given the increasing need for leaders in today’s organizations to rely more and more on involving their employees in work processes, such as decision making, and motivating employees towards higher levels of engagement. In addition, although empowering leadership has many benefits, there is growing research evidence that not all leaders want to empower or that all employees want to be empowered, so we were inspired to help develop scholarly and practical understanding of a more complete picture of the effects of empowering initiatives in work settings.

  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

Our paper sets the agenda for the next decade on empowering leadership. Based on a set of testable propositions, we first encourage researchers to answer the question of why empowering leadership occurs. Second, we encourage researchers to explore less positive and unintended, negative outcomes of empowering leadership.

The abstract:

We review and synthesize the empowering leadership literature and, as a result, suggest two new provocative lines of inquiry directing future research. Based on a set of testable propositions, we first encourage researchers to answer the question of why empowering leadership occurs. Second, we encourage researchers to explore less positive and unintended, negative outcomes of empowering leadership. To identify opportunities for future work along these two lines, we use four theoretical perspectives including (1) person–situation interactions, (2) followership theory, (3) contingency approaches to leadership, and, (4) the too-much-of-a-good-thing effect. As a result, we set an agenda for the next decade of research on empowering leadership.

You can read “Leveraging Leaders: A Literature Review and Future Lines of Inquiry for Empowering Leadership Research” from Group and Organization Management by clicking here. Did you know that you can have all the latest research from Group and Organization Management sent directly to your inbox? Just click here to sign up for e-alerts!


photo-payal-sharma_0Payal Nangia Sharma is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Management and Global Business at Rutgers Business School. She received her PhD degree in Organizational Behavior at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research focuses on examining and understanding the role of positive and negative factors in leadership processes and team member relationships.

MIE-Kirkman-Official_Headshot.sm_Bradley L. Kirkman is the General (Ret.) H. Hugh Shelton Distinguished Professor of Leadership and head of the Management, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Department in the Poole College of Management at NC State University. He received his PhD degree in Organizational Behavior from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focuses on leadership, international management, virtual teams, and work team leadership and empowerment.

New Podcast: Jean Twenge on Generational Attitudes on Women in the Workplace

PWQ_72ppiRGB_powerpointRecently featured on CBS’s Sunday Morning, Jean Twenge is the author of the best-selling book Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled–and More Miserable Than Ever Before. In the latest podcast from Psychology of Women Quarterly, journal editor Mary Brabeck interviews Jean Twenge about her article on time period and generational differences in attitudes towards women’s work and family roles in the United States. Dr. Twenge collaborated on the article, “Attitudes Toward Women’s Work and Family Roles in the United States, 1976–2013,” with Kristin Donnelly, Malissa A. Clark, Samia K. Shaikh, Angela Beiler-May and Nathan T. Carter.

You can click here to download the podcast. You can also read the article for free by clicking here.

Want to hear more? Click here to browse more podcasts from Psychology of Women Quarterly. You can also sign up for e-alerts and get notifications of all the latest research from Psychology of Women Quarterly sent directly to your inbox!


TwengeJean M. Twenge is a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, the author of Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable Than Ever Before and coauthor (with W. Keith Campbell) of The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement. Her research has appeared in Time, USA Today, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, and she has been featured on Today and Dateline and National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. She holds degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan. Dr. Twenge lives with her husband in San Diego, California.

brabeck_photoMary Brabeck is Professor of Applied Psychology and Dean Emerita of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. Dr. Brabeck is a fellow of APA and of AERA and her research focuses on intellectual development, professional ethics, and teacher education. She published Practicing Feminist Ethics in Psychology and Meeting at the Hyphen: Schools-Universities-Professions in Collaboration for Student Achievement and Well Being. She currently is an elected member of the Board of Governors of the New York Academy of Sciences and is the elected chair of the Board of Directors of the Council on Accrediation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Dr. Brabeck’s awards include an honorary degree from St. Joseph University in Philadelphia, Outstanding Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota, Leadership Award from the American Psychological Association Committee on Women in Psychology, and the Kuhmerker Award from the Association for Moral Education.

Listen to the Latest Podcast from Human Resource Development Review!

HRDR_72ppiRGB_powerpoint[We’re pleased to welcome Seth A. Jacobson, Jamie L. Callahan, and Rajashi Ghosh, all of Drexel University. They recently discussed their article entitled “A Place at the Window: Theorizing Organizational Change for Advocacy of the Marginalized” in the latest podcast from Human Resource Development Review.]

The broader aim of our work is to theorize organizational change that emphasizes the role of the marginalized. Each of us has an interest in organizational change, and the critical perspective associated with marginalized groups resonated strongly with us as well. The interests of the first author, however, formed the context that gave voice to our collective interest—The Roman Catholic Church, the LGBT community, and the influence of Pope Francis.

Author Seth Jacobson is a gay active Catholic within the Church. The changing rhetoric and tone of Pope Francis on topics related to homosexuality were encouraging to him; but he recognized that those on the front lines of working toward LGBT-friendly changes were still often marginalized. Those individuals were not central to the power structures in the Catholic Church and, while they had meaningful and important roles to play in informing change, their voices were potentially ignored or unnoticed. Seth’s goal, with the support of co-authors Jamie Callahan and Rajashi Ghosh, was to find a more theoretical and systematic way of ensuring that, when we research and seek to understand change processes, we are not neglecting the critical work of the marginalized.

Their work challenges traditional notions of what constitutes an ‘organization’ and opens the door for more explorations of HRD in non-traditional organizations. Following Callahan’s earlier work on social movements as a site for HRD engagement, this work addresses a case of the Roman Catholic Church as a trans-national organization influenced by global social movements advocating for equity of the marginalized. The influence that is manifesting appears to be strengthened by those who have the privilege of ‘insider’ status (resource prototypic, as described in the article) and who empathize with the marginalized (schematically marginal). These individuals think differently than other dominant actors, and yet they have access to the resources of those who hold a ‘place at the table.’ They are able to serve as conduits between the place at the window of the marginalized and the place at the window of the privileged; how they adopt this identity and enact this role is important for progressing our understanding of the marginalized in organizational change processes.

This work is grounded in the concepts of social responsibility and critical theory. It is about challenging and deconstructing a change perspective that largely ignores or under-theorizes the role that marginalized actors can play in advancing change. Change is typically addressed from the perspective of those who hold a place at the traditional ‘table’. However, our approach here recognizes and affirms that marginalized actors have advanced (and can continue to do so) meaningful and significant change from their seemingly constrained positions; in other words, they advance change from a place at the ‘window.’

The window as a metaphor inspires the notion of standing outside, and away from, the core power structures of the organization. And, yet, windows are transparent barriers that can open and provide an opportunity for bounded exchange between the core and the margins. This notion inspired our title, “A Place at the Window: Theorizing Organizational Change for Advocacy of the Marginalized.”

Click here to download the podcast on “A Place at the Window: Theorizing Organizational Change for Advocacy of the Marginalized” from Human Resource Development Review. You can also read the article for free by clicking here.

Want to know about more research like this? Click here to browse all of the podcasts from Human Resource Development Review and here to subscribe to the SAGE Management and Business podcast channel on iTunes. You can also sign up for e-alerts and have notifications of all the latest articles from Human Resource Development Review sent directly to your inbox!


PHD-jacobsonSeth A. Jacobson is a PhD Candidate in the School of Education at Drexel University. His research aims to explore resistance, deviance, and change within organizations.

Jamie CallahanJamie L. Callahan is Professor and Program Director of the Human Resource Development Program at Drexel University. Her research applies concepts of learning and development to explore issues of power and privilege in relation to leadership, emotion management and organization contextual issues (e.g., organizational learning, organizational culture, communities of practice).

Rajashi-GhoshRajashi Ghosh is an Associate Professor in the HRD program in the School of Education at Drexel University. Her research aims to explore different factors (e.g., mentoring, coaching, workplace incivility) that can reinforce or hinder workplace learning and development.