American Slaughterhouses: The Meatpacking and Methamphetamine Relationship

[We’re pleased to welcome author Josh A. Hendrix  of RTI International, Research Triangle Park. Hendrix recently published an article in the Organization & Environment entitled “American Slaughterhouses and the Need for Speed: An Examination of the Meatpacking-Methamphetamine Hypothesis,” co-authored by Cindy Brooks Dollar of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. From Hendrix:]

What inspired you to be interested in this topic? A few years ago, I was teaching an undergraduate Sociology of Social Deviance course.  In class one day, we were reflecting on an article we had just read and were bringing up examples of how deviant behavior can be influenced by structural or cultural factors that go beyond individual psychopathology.  I brought up an example I had recently come across in Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation; specifically, the notion that methamphetamine use can be a re122874634_b6873ca52d_z.jpgaction to social pressures for productivity within competitive Western societies.  Although the idea is provocative and made for a good example, I realized that there was no empirical research that could show whether there is in fact a relationship between animal slaughter and methamphetamine use in the United States.  I recruited one of my colleagues who I knew had the right skill set for this type of project:  an open, critical, and creative mind, and strong analytical skills, and the project really developed from there.

Were there findings that were surprising to you? We were surprised to find any support for Schlosser’s hypothesis that there is a connection between the meatpacking industry and methamphetamine use, simply because the idea is so radical and far out there.  At the same time, it was surprising that the relationship did not hold when breaking down our analysis by different types of meat.  This suggested to us that the relationship is more complex than we had first imagined but also made us realize that more research on this topic using different types of methods was necessary.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice? We would love to see additional work on this topic, and especially a project that uses qualitative methods to elaborate on why methamphetamine may be used by slaughterhouse workers.  Alternatively, a study that examines methamphetamine usage prior to, and following the construction or relocation of slaughterhouses would be interesting and informative.

Stay up-to-date with the latest research from Organization & Environment–sign up for email alerts through the homepage.

Slaughterhouse photo attributed to benketaro (CC).

From the Ordinary to Corruption in Higher Education

[We’re pleased to welcome author Mildred A. Schwartz of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Schwartz recently published an article in the Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “From the Ordinary to Corruption in Higher Education.” From Schwartz:]

When I moved to New Jersey after many years of teaching in Chicago, my interest as a political and organizational sociologist was piqued by theJMI_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpg kind of corruption I learned of.  Not fully satisfied with existing theories and explanations, I began thinking of how to approach corruption as a sociological phenomenon.  Then, when I read local press coverage about misconduct at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), I felt that I had found the ideal case
for exploring how corruption could arise even within such an unexpected setting–a university dedicated to the health care professions.

Of all the findings that came from my research, at least two were surprising.  One was the prevalence of many of the illegal or unethical behaviors found at UMDNJ in other U.S. universities that had medical schools.  The second was the ability of UMDNJ and other universities, despite misconduct, to still fulfill their duties to train health care professionals, advance scientific research, and treat the sick.

I would like to think that my findings will inspire efforts at controlling organizational corruption, particularly as it is manifested in higher education.  At least three guidelines emerged from the larger research, discussed in my book, Trouble in the University:  How the Education of Health Care Professionals became Corrupted (Brill, 2014).  One is the importance of enough transparency to allow organizational participants to understand how decisions are made.  Second is the need for accepted avenues through which to express complaints without fear of reprisal.   Third, and this is especially relevant to state-supported universities although it is not confined to them, is the need for firm boundaries between politics and education.

Sign up for email alerts through the JMI homepage. 

 

Protecting Students’ Intellectual Property

14620308240_c746067daf_z[We’re pleased to welcome Sarah Wright of the University of Canterbury. Sarah recently published an article in Journal of Management Education entitled “Protecting Student Intellectual Property in the Entrepreneurial Classroom,” highlighting her interview with Jerome A. Katz of Saint Louis University.]

The interview I conducted with Jerry Katz looks into an important, but overlooked problem in entrepreneurial courses within universities – the ownership of student ideas. Who owns the intellectual property a student creates while enrolled in a course Current Issue Coverat university, using university resources? Jerry and I began talking about this dilemma at the Vancouver AOM meeting. I was puzzled as to why there has been no widespread discussion of this issue – in the literature, within universities, or in general?! It seems like everyone is scrambling for revenue streams for universities created from innovation and commercialisation, and in doing are so making sure the academics and the universities’ interests are protected. But it seems the students, and their families, interests have been forgotten in the process. We think this oversight, purposeful or otherwise, is quite worrisome. Professor Katz’s solution is to put the students’ interests at the heart of any university policy on commercialisation of intellectual property (which is only starting to happen now), and to create strong classroom norms around the protection of ideas.

The abstract for the paper:

While universities are intensely protective of revenue streams related to intellectual property interests for the institution and professors, the financial and legal interests of students in the entrepreneurial process have largely been overlooked. This lack of attention, both in universities and in the literature, is intriguing given the mushrooming growth in entrepreneurial education courses in almost every U.S. university. This article builds and reflects on an original article by Katz, Harshman, and Lund Dean where the authors advocate for establishing classroom norms for promoting and protecting student intellectual property. We present research, insights, and reflections from Professor Katz regarding the controversial ethical and legal issues related to student intellectual property in university settings and provide suggested resources for faculty traversing these issues.

You can read “Protecting Student Intellectual Property in the Entrepreneurial Classroom” from Journal of Management Education free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Management EducationClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Copyright symbol image attributed to Chris Potter (CC)

How Do Small Businesses in Developing Countries Participate in Social Irresponsibility?

10127264163_3280e1b6e0_z[We’re pleased to welcome Vivek Soundararajan of Birmingham Business School. Vivek recently published an article in Business & Society entitled “Small Business and Social Irresponsibility in Developing Countries: Working Conditions and ‘Evasion’ Institutional Work” with co-authors Laura J. Spence and Chris Rees of University of London.]

This article is an outcome of my ongoing research about working conditions in developing country supplier facilities. My fieldwork observations in small knitwear exporting facilities located in Tirupur, India shook numerous assumptions drawn largely from a developed country perspective that we usually work with when dealing with small businesses. This prompted me to write this article along with my co-authors Prof. Laura J. Spence and Prof. Chris Rees. A prevailing notion among scholars BAS Coverand policy makers about developing country small suppliers of developed country buyers is that they are resource dependent, powerless and passive. Indeed, small suppliers are resource dependent and may hesitate to retaliate against multinational corporations’ requirements or other institutional demands related to working conditions. But, they do not simply agree with everything or abandon the relationship. They discreetly bypass various institutional demands by engaging in numerous irresponsible business practices which we refer to as ‘evasion work’ – a form of institutional work. In this article, we illustrate numerous ways in which they engage in ‘evasion work’ and the conditions that enable them to engage in such work. We believe that our study highlights the need for a more critical research on the organization of working conditions in small businesses that are part of global supply chains. Our study also adds to the ongoing conversation about the agency of resource-dependent and powerless actors. In terms of practical implications, we emphasize the need for sustainability initiatives tailored to meet the capabilities and characteristics of suppliers in developing countries.

The abstract for the paper:

Small businesses in developing countries, as part of global supply chains, are sometimes assumed to respond in a straightforward manner to institutional demands for improved working conditions. This article problematizes this perspective. Drawing upon extensive qualitative data from Tirupur’s knitwear export industry in India, we highlight owner-managers’ agency in avoiding or circumventing these demands. The small businesses here actively engage in irresponsible business practices and “evasion” institutional work to disrupt institutional demands in three ways: undermining assumptions and values, dissociating consequences, and accumulating autonomy and political strength. This “evasion” work is supported by three conditions: void (in labor welfare mechanisms), distance (from institutional monitors), and contradictions(between value systems). Through detailed empirical findings, the article contributes to research on both small business social responsibility and institutional work.

You can read “Small Business and Social Irresponsibility in Developing Countries: Working Conditions and ‘Evasion’ Institutional Work” from Business & Society free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know about all of the latest research from Business & Society? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Bazar image attributed to michael_swan (CC)

Vivek Soundararajan (PhD, Royal Holloway, University of London) is a research fellow at Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom and a visiting lecturer at Royal Holloway University of London. His research interests include corporate responsibility, multistakeholder initiatives, labor and environmental standards, sustainable global supply chains, small business responsibility, and emerging country contexts. He has obtained various grants, honors and awards for excellence in research, including two prestigious awards for his doctoral dissertation, namely, “Best Dissertation Award, Social Issues in Management (SIM) Division, the Academy of Management, USA” and “Honourable Mention, Thomas A. Kochan & Stephen R. Sleigh Best Dissertation Competition, Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA), USA.”

Laura J. Spence (PhD, Brunel University/Buckinghamshire College) is professor of business ethics in the School of Management at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research includes a wide range of critical approaches to understanding corporate social responsibility and business ethics. In particular, she is known for her work on small- and medium-sized enterprises and the emerging concept of small business social responsibility. Her articles have been published in Accounting, Organizations and Society; Business Ethics Quarterly; California Management Review; and Organization Studies.

Chris Rees (PhD, University of Warwick) is professor of employment relations in the School of Management at Royal Holloway, University of London. His research interests include the sociology of work, employee voice, and transnational and European labor regulation. His work has appeared in journals such as European Journal of Industrial Relations, Human Resource Management Journal, Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, and Public Management Review.

What Can Leaders Learn from Rock Climbing?

25285219503_a885d3f520_z[We’re pleased to welcome Diane Bischak and Jaana Woiceshyn. Diane and Jaana recently published an article entitled “Leadership Virtues Exposed: Ethical Leadership Lessons from Leading in Rock Climbing” in Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies.]

Diane has been an avid participant in rock climbing for many years, a sport which has a very tangible leadership element. She was wondering if the lessons she had learned about leading in rock climbing could be applied to business, which (operations management in particular) she teaches. She asked me, a strategy and business ethics professor, to explore that with her. Having tried rock climbing and also participated in wilderness expeditions both as a leader and a team member, I was immediately interested—because leadership clearly matters, in business and beyond.

The exposed nature of leadership practices in rock climbing makes them highly observable, unlike leadership in business and many other contexts where such practices are mostly opaque to researchers who typically are outsiders to organizations they study. So we pursued our analysis to see what we would find, with a focus on positive practices guided by leadership virtues.

Three findings were particularly surprising. First, the parallels between rock climbing leadership and business leadership are closer than one would think at the first glance, given the strong cognitive component and long-term orientation of rock climbing leadership. Second, rationality, which is often not recognized as a leadership virtue at all, appears to be fundamental to virtuous leadership in rock climbing, and also in business. Third, we did not detect confirmation for the notion of leaders as servants in the rock climbing world. Rather, leaders and JLOS_72ppiRGB_powerpointfollowers achieve best outcomes (successful climbs over the long term) by trading value for value, instead of leaders merely serving the needs of their followers.

We think our findings suggest practical implications for leaders in business and other realms by emphasizing the trader relationship of leaders and followers, and rationality—adherence to facts by the means of observation and logic—as the fundamental virtue guiding sound leadership practices. Rest of the virtues, such as honesty and justice, are derived from rationality.

As for research, we hope to see further qualitative and quantitative studies of the leadership virtues we identified in the context of rock climbing, including textual analysis and surveys.

The abstract for the paper:

Leadership clearly has an impact on organizational outcomes, and previous research has revealed the antecedents and consequences of leadership styles and the effects of leaders’ personality traits. We focus on an area that has received much less attention: ethical leadership practice and the virtues that guide it. Following the positive turn in leadership research, we examine what constitutes virtuous action of leaders. We draw on observations made in a novel realm, rock climbing, and integrate them with the literature on leadership virtues while drawing parallels to business. We identify six essential virtues at the core of the ethical leadership model we propose: rationality, honesty, independence, integrity, justice, and pride. Three of these—rationality, independence, and pride—are not conventional virtues, but we suggest that they are critical for ethical leadership, as is the standard of human flourishing and the leader’s relationship with followers as a trader of values. Our analysis is summarized in testable propositions.

You can read “Leadership Virtues Exposed: Ethical Leadership Lessons from Leading in Rock Climbing” from Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

During the month of April, you can access 1.5 million article across SAGE Publishing’s 940+ journals for free–how? Sign up here for free trial access!

Follow the Leader: Leadership Lessons from Rock Climbing

Rock Climber

Although the concept of ethical leadership has not been neglected in leadership studies, it remains a vague and poorly defined idea. A direct consequence of this ambiguity is the challenge of practicing ethical leadership in real-life situations. In an effort to better define ethical leadership and provide leadership principles that leaders can strive for, Diane P. Bischak and Jaana Woiceshyn explore what makes a virtuous leader and outline six essential virtues at the core of ethical leadership–rationality, honesty, independence, integrity, justice, and pride. In their article, “Leadership Virtues Exposed: Ethical Leadership Lessons from Leading in Rock Climbing,” published in Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, the authors utilize their observations of leadership in rock climbing to break down the concept of ethical leadership into moral action principles that are easier to define, and thus easier for leaders to apply.

The abstract:

Leadership clearly has an impact on organizational outcomes, and previous research has revealed the antecedents and consequences of JLOS_72ppiRGB_powerpointleadership styles and the effects of leaders’ personality traits. We focus on an area that has received much less attention: ethical leadership practice and the virtues that guide it. Following the positive turn in leadership research, we examine what constitutes virtuous action of leaders. We draw on observations made in a novel realm, rock climbing, and integrate them with the literature on leadership virtues while drawing parallels to business. We identify six essential virtues at the core of the ethical leadership model we propose: rationality, honesty, independence, integrity, justice, and pride. Three of these—rationality, independence, and pride—are not conventional virtues, but we suggest that they are critical for ethical leadership, as is the standard of human flourishing and the leader’s relationship with followers as a trader of values. Our analysis is summarized in testable propositions.

You can read “Leadership Virtues Exposed: Ethical Leadership Lessons from Leading in Rock Climbing” from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Food Banking and Hunger in the United States

JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpoint[We’re pleased to welcome Michael Elmes of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Professor Elmes published an article entitled “Food Banking, Ethical Sensemaking, and Social Innovation in an Era of Growing Hunger in the United States” with Karla Mendoza-Abarca and Robert Hersh in the Journal of Management Inquiry.]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

For the past 10 years I have been very interested in food, and more recently hunger. Through my involvement with the Sustainable Food Systems Center at WPI founded by Bob Hersh (one of the authors of our paper), I became more interested in causes of hunger and the role that food banks are playing in trying to mitigate hunger. This led me to the area of food justice and how some food banks, including the Worcester County Food Bank, have started to experiment with food justice practices or social innovations, including mobile farmers markets to serve low income communities, partnerships with local farms, and engagement in educational activities, especially with inner city youth. The fact that hunger and food insecurity is an enormous and growing problem in the US is a shock to many people and is partly what motivated us to write the paper; that these experiments are happening in Worcester County and across the world is inspiring.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

It was surprising to learn hunger is a growing problem in the US and that food banks have become routine sources of food, rather than infrequent sources of emergency food assistance. It was also surprising that some food banks continue to use a food in/food out approach–that is, accruing as much donated food as possible and providing it to as many people as possible–rather than experimenting with more sustainable, regional approaches that”shorten the line” at food banks. I also found myself admiring food bank managers who live in both of these worlds–the world of food justice and experimentation with new approaches to solving hunger, and the world of providing donated food to as many people as need it. Working in the paradox of these competing processes is challenging.

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

I see this research as an effort to theorize under what conditions some leaders engage in ethical sensemaking, and how food banks can work effectively filling the short-term gaps in the emergency food system while building new practices that solve the problem of hunger at regional levels. The next step is conducting case studies at more innovative food banks across the US and understanding how they decided to engage in social innovation with an ethical orientation.

The abstract:

This article considers the critical role that food bank leaders play in sensemaking around the ethical and justice dimensions of hunger and food-related illnesses in the United States. It presents the discourses of industrial agriculture and food justice and, using an illustrative case study, proposes a preliminary model of ethical sensemaking. This model serves as a starting point for understanding how some (but not all) food bank leaders in the United States have been triggered to engage in ethical sensemaking and adopted a variety of innovative, sustainable, and just approaches to food banking that try to address the root causes of growing levels of hunger in the United States. The article concludes with an invitation to consider this investigation through the lens of Dewey’s moral imagination and Gergen’s forms of inquiry that generate practices to solve social problems and that invite researchers to participate in world-making.

You can read “Food Banking, Ethical Sensemaking, and Social Innovation in an Era of Growing Hunger in the United States” from Journal of Management Inquiry by clicking here. Did you know that you can have all the latest research from Journal of Management Inquiry sent directly to your inbox? Just click here to sign up for e-alerts!


Michael B. Elmes is a professor of organization studies and director of the New Michael ElmesZealand Project Center at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts. His current research interests include social innovation and food systems, place in organization studies, sensemaking and organization change, and governance challenges in cooperative organizations. In 2005, he was a Fulbright Scholar at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, where he studied constructions of nature and biotechnology. His research has appeared in Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Learning and Education, Human Relations, Organization Science, Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, Management Learning, Information and Organization, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Management Inquiry, and Journal of Organizational Change Management, among others. He is also the coeditor of Managing the Organizational Melting Pot: Dilemmas of Workplace Diversity (SAGE Publications, 1997) and is an associate editor for the Essays section of the Journal of Management Education. He teaches courses on leadership ethics and organizational change. When not teaching or writing, he can often be found in his garden.

Karla Mendoza-Abarca

Karla Mendoza-Abarca is an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She obtained her PhD in marketing and entrepreneurship from Kent State University. Her research interests include social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial opportunities. Her work within social entrepreneurship focuses on the creation of social ventures and the strategies these organizations use to fulfill their social mission, achieve financial sustainability, and enable social innovation. She is also interested in how food-related organizations develop and implement social innovations to address food insecurity. Her research on entrepreneurial opportunities includes investigations regarding the use of creative cognitions in the opportunity identification process, cross-country studies about the role of human agency in opportunity recognition, and studies regarding the pursuit of multiple opportunities by new social ventures. Her work has been published in Journal of Business Venturing and Journal of Social Entrepreneurship. She teaches courses in entrepreneurship and innovation, and social entrepreneurship at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Robert Hersh

Robert Hersh, before coming to Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2004, worked for a number of years as a fellow at Resources for the Future (http://www.rff.org/), a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., that conducts research an d policy analysis on environmental quality and natural resources, and as the Brownfields Director at the Center for Public Environmental Oversight (CPEO). At Worcester Polytechnic Institute, he directs the Center for Sustainable Food Systems. His broad substantive interests include regional food systems, contaminated site cleanup and revitalization, and community participation in environmental decision making. He has published extensively in the scholarly literature and has written reports for federal and state regulatory agencies. Research sponsors have included a range of foundations, think tanks, and federal agencies.