OS Editor Picks: Organizing the Environmental Governance of the Rare-Earth Industry

[We are pleased to welcome Trish Reay, Editor-in-Chief of Organization Studies.]

Organizing the Environmental Governance of the Rare-Earth Industry: China’s passive revolutionLe Bo, Steffen Böhm, and Noelia-Sarah Reynolds

Are you interested in business-government-civil society relations, in the context of China’s rare-earth industry, and how it has changed over the past 30 years? How have the severe environmental challenges faced by this industry been addressed? In what way has the central Chinese state retained power and control in the face of manifold top-down challenges and bottom-up pressures?

In their forthcoming article in Organization Studies, authors Le Bo, Steffen Böhm, and Noelia-Sarah Reynolds provide answers to these questions in light of the neo-Gramscian literature, with a focus on the disruption of hegemony in China’s passive revolution. It’s an enlightening article to read!

From the Abstract:OSS

The rare-earth industry is of strategic importance for China and many ‘clean’ technologies worldwide. Yet the processes of mining, smelting and separating rare-earth ores are heavily polluting. Using a neo-Gramscian perspective in the context of organization studies, this article analyses the dynamic interactions between government agencies, business and civil society in the development of the environmental governance of China’s rare-earth industry over the past 30 years, with a particular focus on China’s ‘top-down’ passive revolution. Making use of rarely granted access to China’s biggest rare-earth company, one of the country’s key strategic assets, the analysis makes visible the changes of environmental contestations among five different governance actors over what we identify as three environmental governance eras in China. Besides offering unique empirical insights into the organizational processes that constitute the dynamically evolving hegemony of China’s rare-earth industry, the article makes three theoretical contributions to the field of organization studies. First, we analyse the changing role of state institutions in a non-Western context, which has been de-emphasized by existing organization scholars. Second, we conceptualize the dynamics of environmental governance in China as a form of top-down ‘passive revolution’. Third, we problematize the dual role of Chinese NGOs as both supporting and challenging state power. Overall, we contribute to our understanding of the organization of governance systems in non-Western contexts, which has been neglected in organizational studies.

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You can read Organizing the Environmental Governance of the Rare-Earth Industry: China’s passive revolution by Le Bo, Steffen Böhm, and Noelia-Sarah Reynolds free for the next 30 days. 

 

#OSEditorPicks: Identities in Organization Studies

[We are pleased to welcome Trish Reay, Editor-in-Chief of Organization Studies.]

Brown, Andrew. OnlineFirst, 2018. Identities in Organization Studies. Organization Studies.

Are you interested in self-identity – how individuals see themselves – and why it matters in Organization Studies? If so, you need to read this engaging and concise review of recent research on the topic written by Andrew Brown. In this article, you’ll find an overview of key concepts with explanations about how they fit together and contribute to ongoing debates. Identity is a concept that facilitates cross-disciplinary and multi-level research, encourages nuanced, contextual analyses, and focuses on people in processes of organizing. Read Andrew’s article to learn more!
Trish Reay, Editor-in-Chief, Organization Studies

From the Abstract:OSS

Identities scholarship, in particular that focused on self-identities, has burgeoned in recent years. With dozens of papers on identities in organizations published in this journal by a substantial community, doubtless with more to come, now is an appropriate juncture to reflect on extant scholarship and its future prospects. I highlight three key strands of self-identities research in Organization Studies with particular reference to six articles collected in the associated Perspectives issue of this journal. In reviewing the contribution that work published in Organization Studies has made to debates on the nature of identities, how identities are implicated in organizational processes and outcomes, and the micro-politics of identities formation, I seek also to contribute to ongoing deliberations and to raise issues and questions for further research. I conclude with a call for increased efforts to integrate self-identities issues into the research agendas of sub-fields within organization theory.

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You can read Identities in Organization Studies by Andrew D. Brown free for the next 30 days. 

 

#OSEditorPicks: Constructing Women’s Leadership Representation in the UK Press During a Time of Financial Crisis

[We are pleased to welcome Trish Reay, Editor-in-Chief of Organization Studies.]

Elliott, C. & Stead, V. (2018). Constructing Women’s Leadership Representation in the UK Press During a Time of Financial Crisis: Gender Capitals and Dialectic Tensions. Organization Studies, 39(1): 19-45.

In this timely article, Carole Elliott and Valerie Stead investigate how women’s leadership was represented in the printed media during the global financial crisis of 2008 – 2012. They show how textual and visual discourses combine to promote different conceptualizations of what it is to be a leader, and can make a difference in the advancement of women into leadership roles. I encourage you to read this article to learn more about the power of everyday discourse in promoting (or not) women into positions of leadership.

-Trish Reay, Editor-in-Chief, Organization Studies

OSSA continuing challenge for organizations is the persistent underrepresentation of women in senior roles, which gained a particular prominence during the global financial crisis (GFC). The GFC has raised questions regarding the forms of leadership that allowed the crisis to happen and alternative proposals regarding how future crises might be avoided. Within this context women’s leadership has been positioned as an ethical alternative to styles of masculinist leadership that led to the crisis in the first place. Through a multimodal discursive analysis this article examines the socio-cultural assumptions sustaining the gendering of leadership in the popular press to critically analyse how women’s leadership is represented during the GFC of 2008–2012. Highlighting the media’s portrayal of women’s leadership as a gendered field of activity where different forms of gender capital come into play, we identify three sets of dialectics: women as leaders and women as feminine, women as credible leaders and women as lacking in credibility, and women as victims and women as their own worst enemies. Together, the dialectics work together to form a discursive pattern framed by a male leadership model that narrates the promise of women leaders, yet the disappointment that they are not men. Our study extends understandings regarding how female and feminine forms of gender capital operate dialectically, where the media employs feminine capital to promote women’s positioning as leaders yet also leverages female capital as a constraint. We propose that this understanding can be of value to organizations to understand the impact and influence of discourse on efforts to promote women into leadership roles.

 

Join the conversation on Twitter with #OSEditorPicks

You can read Constructing Women’s Leadership Representation in the UK Press During a Time of Financial Crisis: Gender Capitals and Dialectic Tensions by Carole Elliott and Valerie Stead free for the next 30 days. 

 

ILR Call for Papers, Industry and Organization Studies

The ILR Review features a special series on Industry and Organization Studies in partnership with the Industry Studies Association (ISA). Submit today!

ILR_72ppiRGB_powerpointThe ILR Review has published the top, peer-reviewed theoretical and empirical research on work and employment relations for more than 65 years. Published five times a year, ILR features international and interdisciplinary research that advances new theory, presents novel empirical work, and informs organizational and public policy. It is published by the Cornell University ILR School, and is fully indexed in RePEc.

For more details click here.

Manuscripts should be submitted electronically to http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/wfr.

You will need to create an account in order to submit your manuscript. The system will notify you once we receive the manuscript and have sent it out for review.

Don’t forget to sign up for email alerts through the journal homepage so you never miss the latest research.

Is Business Ethics Too Important to be Left in the Hands of Business: A Democratic Alternative?

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[We’re pleased to welcome author Carl Rhodes of the University of Technology, Sydney. Rhodes recently published an article in Organization Studies entitled “Democratic Business Ethics: Volkswagen’s Emissions Scandal and the Disruption of Corporate Sovereignty,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Rhodes reflects on the inspiration for conducting this research:]

Cover image for latest issue of Organization Studies

When people think of business ethics they normally imagine what businesses can or should do to be judged as ethical.  Whether the focus is on breaches of ethical norms by corporations, or models for the achievement of ethical business, the common approach is that it is organizations themselves who are the ethical agents.

This assumption is limited because it fails to account for how corporate responsibility does not necessarily arrive through the voluntary actions of corporations themselves. In response, in my own research I have been exploring a more democratic and socially focussed understanding of how business ethics is practiced.  The results were recently published in my article in Organization Studies called ‘Democratic Business Ethics: Volkswagen’s Emissions Scandal and the Disruption of Corporate Sovereignty’

The 2015 Volkswagen emission scandal illustrates what I call democratic business ethics; an ethics where citizens and the institutions of civil society hold corporations to account for their actions, and in so doing disrupt the self-interested abuse of corporate power.  At the time the scandal broke, Volkswagen was the world’s largest auto manufacturer, and a company widely heralded for its environmentalism and its corporate social responsibly activities.  Despite impeccable ethical credentials, the scandal revealed a corporation whose success had been boosted by sophisticated cheating on fuel emission tests.

The paper shows how Volkswagen was brought to justice for its actions not because of its own proclaimed ethics or moral hubris, but because of the interaction of individuals and institutions from outside of business, in this case NGOs, scientists, law makers, government agencies, the media, and the general public.  This was a demonstration how business ethics manifested in the interruption of a flagrant case of corporate fraud, deceit and criminality.

The paper develops the idea of democratic business ethics by focussing on how civil society in particular can and should ensure that corporations are made morally responsible for what they do. This is an ethics made practical through forms of dissent and contestation that redirect power away from centres of organized wealth and capital, returning it to its democratically rightful place with the people.

The conclusion is that business ethics is far too important to be left in the hands of business, and needs to be exercised in the democratic sphere so that corporations are serving society rather than the other way around.

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How Can Lying Become Valued and Institutionalized in the Workplace?

15669811804_089795fefd_z[We are pleased to welcome Trish Reay, Editor-in-Chief of Organization Studies.]

In spite of the fact that lying is an endemic feature of social life, organizational researchers to date have almost ignored the topic. In the Organization Studies article Trusted to Deceive: A Case Study of ‘Strategic Deception’ and the Normalization of Lying at Work, authors Sarah Jenkins and Rick Delbridge investigate how lying can become institutionalized, rationalized and socialized into the structure and culture of an organization. They conducted an in-depth case study of VoiceTel (pseudonym) an organization that provides virtual reception services for businesses; telephone calls are answered by receptionists who conceal their geographic location when speaking with clients. As a result, deception becomes a strategic feature of business models in virtual service work.

Current Issue Cover

Jenkins and Delbridge develop a model to explain how deception can become established and normalized so that employees accept lying as an intrinsic and enjoyable feature of their work, allowing them the opportunity to be creative and inventive. These features help to explain how lying can become embedded, maintained and strengthened over time in organizations, and as a result deception can become positively linked with providing good customer service. Jenkins and Delbridge also provide insights into the broader consideration of how workplace practices are institutionalized – examining how ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ processes can dynamically support the perpetuation of individual and collective practices. I invite you to read the whole article to find out how employees can learn to take joy from lying for a living.

The abstract for the paper:

Lying is an endemic feature of social life but has remained under-researched in organization studies. This paper examines the case of VoiceTel, a market leader in the high-quality virtual reception business that practised ‘strategic deception’ (Patwardhan et al., 2009). Receptionists concealed that they were not physically located in their clients’ premises and lying was an intrinsic and enduring feature of their work. We adapt and extend Ashforth and Anand’s (2003) ‘normalization of corruption’ framework to develop a new model of the ‘normalization of lying’. We examine how lying becomes institutionalized, rationalized and socialized into the structure and culture of an organization such that it becomes embedded, maintained and strengthened over time as a legitimate and integral part of the job. Our model of normalization integrates organizational and group levels to examine the significance and interaction of ‘bottom-up’ as well as ‘top-down’ processes. Employees gained recognition from their proficiency in deception and drew considerable satisfaction, self-esteem and status as employees who are ‘trusted to deceive’.

You can read Trusted to Deceive: A Case Study of ‘Strategic Deception’ and the Normalization of Lying at Work from Organization Studies free for the next 30 days by clicking here. Want to stay current on all of the latest research published by Organization StudiesClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

How Do Societal Institutions Affect Organizations and the Way That Work Is Organized?

5999449329_023f404bbd_z[We are pleased to welcome Trish Reay, Editor-in-Chief of Organization Studies.]

There is a wealth of information in studies categorized as Comparative Institutionalism that can provide important insights into current questions about the collective organizing of work. In the latest virtual Perspectives issue of Organization Studies, authors Jasper Hotho and Ayse Saka-Helmhout provide an overview of the literature on comparative institutionalism and show how key themes within this body of research can make important contributions to current debates in organization theory. For example, by paying more attention to the institutional differences across societies, researchers can respond to calls for a more contextualized and holistic understanding of organizations. Current Issue CoverBecause institutional scholars have recently been focused on the organizational field level, they have almost ignored previous studies showing how organizations and society tend to reflect each other structurally. Hotho and Saka-Helmhout explain how established knowledge about the connections between societal institutions and organizations can facilitate new organizational insights.

More specifically, Hotho and Saka-Helmhout identify three themes in the comparative institutionalism literature that can inform our understanding of organizational behavior. Theme 1: Societal differences in modes of organizing have consequences for organizational work practices. Theme 2: Relationships between societal institutions impact economic organization and the market structure within which organizations pursue multiple paths to performance. Theme 3: Different societal institutions hold significant implications for multinational enterprises because they must straddle the variety.

These themes are elaborated on with particular attention to eight previously published articles that have contributed to the development of key ideas and turning points within comparative institutionalism. These articles are available to access for free online in the Comparative Institutionalism Perspectives issue, which you can access here.

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*Building image attributed to Peter Alred Hess (CC)