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Journal of Management Inquiry -- July 2020 Issue

  • 1.  Journal of Management Inquiry -- July 2020 Issue

    Posted 08-26-2020 17:16


    Apologies for cross-postings. Articles from the July 2020 issue of the Journal of Management Inquiry are now available. Please enjoy free access through September 30 by clicking on the URL for each article.


    Corralling Organizational Institutionalism

    Sean Buchanan


    Volume: 29 issue: 3, page(s): 251-253

    In this essay, I respond to Alvesson, Hallett, and Spicer's recent piece focusing on the problems stemming from organizational institutionalism's unprecedented growth and proliferation. I focus my attention specifically on the current definitional problems in the literature and offer some suggestions for how scholars in the area might address these issues in the future.

    Keywords: organizational institutionalism, institution, institutional logics, institutional work


    Boundaries, Bridges and Brands: A Comment on Alvesson, Hallett, and Spicer's "Uninhibited Institutionalisms"

    Matthew S. Kraatz


    Volume: 29 issue: 3, page(s): 254-261

    This essay responds to Alvesson, Hallett, and Spicer's recent critique of the instiutional literature. While it affirms and extends some of their particular criticisms, I reject their bleak assessment of the larger field and find value in some of the very features that they find to be most objectionable. I also offer some alternative suggestions for reform and future development. These include an explicit embrace of theoretical pluralism, a renewed focus on values, and a return to institutionalism's pragmatist roots.

    Keywords: institutions, pluralism, pragmatism, values


    Institutions: Everywhere But Not Everything

    William Ocasio, Shelby L. Gai


    Volume: 29 issue: 3, page(s): 262-271

    Recent critiques by Alvesson, Hallett, and Spicer have characterized neo-institutional theory (NIT) specifically as confronting a mid-life crisis and institutional theory (IT) more generally as uninhibited. While offering valid points, these critiques lack a fundamental understanding of how organizational institutionalism (OI) has become distinct from NIT. In contrast to NIT's master hypothesis of isomorphism and focus on structural determinism, OI has made remarkable progress in explaining institutional variation and change. Notably, like organization theory more generally, OI is not a coherent theory, but rather a big tent community with its own set of internal differences, and at times confusing concepts. Rather than abandoning the concept of institutions, we suggest continued progress in OI requires greater clarification. Institutions are everywhere, but not everything, so it is important for researchers to specify which institutions are being studied, distinguish between institutions and culture, and ascertain the relationship between institutions and organizations.

    Keywords: culture, institutional theory, institutional logics, institutions, organizations




    "Aliens" in the United States: A Collaborative Autoethnography of Foreign-Born Faculty

    Joelle Cruz, James McDonald, Kristen Broadfoot, Andy Kai-chun Chuang, Shiv Ganesh


    Volume: 29 issue: 3, page(s): 272-285

    We draw from our lived experiences as foreign workers in the U.S. academy to explore how foreign academic worker identity is constituted in the contemporary United States. We practice intersectionality by considering how our experiences of "foreignness" in the academy are intertwined with other markers of difference, including race, gender, sexuality, national origin, and age. We also draw from tenets of collaborative autoethnography, producing insight on three constitutive features of foreign worker identity through four narratives that draw from different genres in the autoethnographic tradition. The article highlights the value of collaborative autoethnography as a method of inquiry and reflection in organizational studies, provides a rare account of the ways in which intersectionality is negotiated in everyday life by foreign-born academics, and identifies features of the performance of foreign worker identity related to spatiality, presence, and absence.

    Keywords: affect/emotions, diversity/gender, qualitative research, legal issues and employment law


    Distrust: Not Only in Secret Service Organizations

    Sabina Siebert, Barbara Czarniawska


    Volume: 29 issue: 3, page(s): 286-298

    In this article, we discuss the issue of distrust in the most extreme example of distrustful organizations: secret service organizations. Distrust may be a basic organizing principle in such organizations, but how is it produced and maintained? Inspired by actor–network theory, we analyzed the devices, codes, rules, and procedures used in secret service organizations, and then asked whether these devices, codes, rules, and procedures differ from those used in ordinary organizations. Based on our analysis, we make two contributions. First, we draw researchers' attention to distrust that is intentionally built and maintained rather than distrust that is accidental and indicative of faulty management. Second, we identify the material manifestations of distrust. We argue that in future studies of trust and distrust in organizations, it will be necessary to focus on the technologies, physical objects, and quasi-objects. These, together with discourses, guarantee the stability of connections among organizational actions. 

    Keywords: actor-network theory, distrust, objects and quasi-objects, secret service organizations, trust


    Whips, Chains, and Books on Campus: How Emergent Organizations With Core Stigma Gain Official Recognition

    Erica H. Cosler, Brett Crawford, Barbara G. Brents


    Volume: 29 issue: 3, page(s): 299-316 

    This article explores how emergent organizations with core stigma manage stigma, and work toward official recognition. The qualitative research design used organizational constitutions, listserv communications, and interviews to examine officially-approved student organizations focused on kinky sexuality in U.S. universities. Our findings indicate (a) due process and impersonal evaluations enable official approval of emergent organizations, particularly if this focuses on operational concerns; (b) emergent organizations leverage credible social discourses, such as individual rights, to emphasize issues pertinent to approval bodies and mainstream throughout society; (c) organizations can strategically embrace stigma, entailing complex decisions about balancing revelation and concealment; and (d) organizational tactics shift depending on the maturity of the stigmatized issue, important because organizational stigma can be resilient and persistent despite organizational legitimacy. The article contributes to research on organizational management of stigma by examining how emergent organizations with core stigma manage stigma while moving from informal to official status.

    Keywords: core stigma, legitimacy, official recognition, dispassionate approval bodies, student organizations, constitutions, higher education, kinky sexuality




    The "Tango Argentino": A Metaphor for Understanding Effectuation Processes

    Steven Pattinson, Malgorzata Ciesielska, David Preece, John D. Nicholson, Anna Alexandersson


    Volume: 29 issue: 3, page(s): 317-329

    The authors use the analogy of the Argentine Tango to illuminate entrepreneurial effectuation as a process of becoming. Drawing on the metaphor of dance, the authors highlight seven areas for theory development that could further a performative theory of effectuation. These include the study of the micro-level movement and flow in the dance as "intimate steps," and understanding the interplay between entrepreneur and ecosystem as "contextual rhythms." They further propose that the study of changing leadership in the dance could illuminate how causal processes "become" effectual and suggest a concept of "attunement" to consider how inexperienced entrepreneurs learn contextual rhythms and, therefore, benefit for effectuation processes. Finally, they posit that the intimate steps leading to creativity in the dance relative to different levels of proximity and distance between the dancers should be understood alongside the movements and flows through which dancers maintain their individuality during such intimate movements and flows.

    Keywords: entrepreneurship, effectuation, metaphor, performativity, becoming, tango



    Traveler's Mind: A Narrative-Based Account of Working and Living Mindfully

    Erik Dane, Kevin W. Rockmann


    Volume: 29 issue: 3, page(s): 330-337

    Traveling to novel destinations can give rise to a state of attention referred to here as a "traveler's mind"-a state in which two forms of a popular concept in management and organization studies, mindfulness, occur in tandem. In this essay, written as a personal narrative, I explore the nature of a traveler's mind, discuss the conditions under which this state of attention is most likely to arise, and consider how this state connects to and informs our understanding of related concepts of note (e.g., mindfulness and sensemaking). I also propose that a traveler's mind can be achieved not only through travel but also on a more mundane basis and highlight practices organizations and their members can adopt to foster this state of attention. Together, the observations provided here suggest that cultivating a traveler's mind is as much a matter of mind-set as of geography.

    Keywords: mindfulness, sensemaking, traveler's mind


    Playing the Game: Unpacking the Rationale for Organizational Corruption in MNCs

    Stelios Zyglidopoulos, Maureen Dieleman, Paul Hirsch


    Volume: 29 issue: 3, page(s): 338-349

    What conditions must be present for multinational companies (MNCs) to benefit from corruption? We argue that corrupt acts by organizations can be profitable if four conditions are met: there must be an opportunity to do so, the risks must be perceived as low, the organization must be willing to engage in corruption, and it must have some skill in converting such acts into organizational advantages. We believe all of these conditions are necessary for organizational corruption to "pay off." We argue that these conditions would most likely be present in MNCs from corrupt environments investing in other countries rife with corruption. However, if each of the conditions must be present for the return on corruption to be sufficient, each also offers opportunities to eliminate organizational corruption.

    Keywords: corruption, bribery, MNC, developing economies




    A Designer on Designing: A Conversation with Johannes Torpe

    A Designer on Designing: A Conversation with Johannes Torpe

    Marc StierandJérôme HeeleinCharalampos Mainemelis


    Volume: 29 issue: 3, page(s): 350-359

    Organizational research has explored how design thinking can fulfill the human needs of customers or users, but it has largely overlooked how it is shaped by the designer's subjective experiences. In an attempt to stimulate greater scholarly interest in exploring the designer behind the process of design thinking, we integrate materials from three interviews conducted with the renowned designer Johannes Torpe. Throughout the interviews, Johannes stresses the interpersonal aspects of his work, especially how he interacts with customers and how he fosters (and also controls) the creativity of the other designers that he employs in his studio. As our conversation unfolds, Johannes responds to our questions as an evolving creative person, a celebrated designer, a manager of a creative collective of designers, a top designer employed by a large corporation, and a business owner of a celebrated Danish design studio.


    Keywords: creativity, interviews, qualitative research




    Navigating an Academic Maze: Experiences of an International Female Scholar

    Ileana Stigliani


    Volume: 29 issue: 3, page(s): 360-363

    Academia is a world filled with bright people searching for explanations for phenomena around us, and developing and testing new theories to explain the hows and whys of our experience. It is a world defined by a drive to expand the boundaries of knowledge, and is ostensibly characterized by intellectual enlightenment and relentless progress. But is academia truly progressive? Perhaps for some of us. For others, however, it is still a world where many people struggle to be seen, to be heard, and to succeed-especially if you are in the minority (e.g., you are female, international, a person of color, or have other features that put you in a minority category). In this essay, I share some of my personal experiences as an international female academic, with the hope that my challenges-and the ways I work to overcome them-will resonate with other people in the margins of our presumably progressive field.

    Keywords: academic life, female academics  




    The Editors and Editorial Board of JMI thanks Sage Publications for its generosity in sharing published articles openly.  

    Richard Stackman
    University of San Francisco
    San Francisco
    (415) 422-2148