Castles made of sand? On the Interplay of Material Artifacts, Times and Institution
Date: October 2022
By: Tristan May
Advisor(s): Bernard Forgues, Grégoire Croidieu
By venturing into the field of electric guitars, my thesis investigates over a century of cultural history and spotlights the intertwinedness of the instrument with zeitgeisty values and beliefs. Therein, it aims to crystalize the co-constitution between the artifact and the institutional arrangements as well as the shifts in meanings and structural relations that the diverse interpretations of the electric guitar both shaped and have been shaped by. Building on the philosophical considerations of Heidegger and Wittgenstein, the thesis casts novel conceptual and theoretical perspectives on the material dimension within institutions, which highlight the intertemporal dynamics within the practical and symbolic understanding of artifacts as well as the strategic leeway these dynamics convey.
Treading Carefully: Politics and Expert Work in a Government Agency.
Date: July 2022
By: Samantha Ortiz-Casillas
Advisor(s): Ruthanne Huising, David Courpasson
Governments employ workers with expertise to perform technically complex tasks such as studying social phenomena, collecting and analyzing information, designing policies and regulations, and implementing programs that affect the day-to-day of citizens. These workers bring special knowledge and practices—acquired through professional training and accumulated experience—necessary to fulfill the techno-legal mandate of organizations. Yet, government work is not only guided by expert knowledge, tools, and criteria but is also conditioned by the public and political context in which it takes place. This dissertation considers how workers effectively manage and solve tensions across the political, democratic, social, and bureaucratic expectations and conditions of their work—and how this work is configured as a result. Drawing on a 13-month ethnography of a government agency, I examine the work of policy and regulatory analysts as they fulfill their mandates in interaction with democratically elected leaders, political appointees, and various government actors. Analysts face administrative pressures and political demands that complicate or contradict their techno-legal mandate. I find that these government experts go beyond the boundaries of their legal mandate and technical rationality and expand their expertise to include political knowledge and practices necessary to perform their work. Work occurs along a continuum formed between strict adherence to legal mandates, norms, and technical criteria on one side, and the interests and directives of powerful actors on the other. As the political context in their work changes, analysts must adapt their expertise to continue to achieve legally and politically acceptable compromises along the continuum. Rather than acknowledging or condemning the role of politics in government work, this dissertation looks at how political actors, interests, and dynamics configure expertise in this agency. In light of political polarization and the rise of populism, understanding the capacity of workers to navigate hostile political environments and fulfill their techno-legal mandates can help us understand more about government work and the resilience of public organizations.
Stripping food-delivery platform work: a feminist ethnography
Date: July 2021
By: Claire Le Breton
Advisor(s): David Courpasson, Mar Perezts
This feminist thesis aims at stripping food-delivery platform work. Departing from the existing treatments of platform work that often view platforms as technologically-based organizations and examine the relation between work practices and the technology, I chose to focus on food-delivery platform couriers as embodied workers. Synonymous with deconstructing, stripping refers to the process of progressively taking off layers of taken-for-grandness. The choice of words is deliberately evocative of a sexualized performance associated with women's bodies consisting of progressively taking off layers of clothes. Yet, while these performances generally aim at pleasing a masculine gaze, the performance I engage into does not share such an objective. Rather, I propose stripping as both a theoretical and a methodological tool for understanding social phenomena.
Theoretically, my thesis explores the tension between the structural heterogeneity of the working crowd and platforms' structural tendency toward homogenization of work conditions to understand the surprising lack of collective endeavors in an otherwise heavily castigated industry. I follow a stripping process to analyze the effects of this tension on work practices, workers identities and structures, progressively getting at the core of the phenomena under study, from an empirical, theoretical, and methodological perspective. Thus, the first empirical and theoretical chapter (1.2) addresses aspects of food-delivery platform work that are more easily observable: practices and exchanges on digital groups of workers. The second empirical and theoretical chapter (2.2) dives deeper in food-delivery platform work since it addresses identities and takes into account workers' personal and social trajectories. The third empirical and theoretical chapter (3.2) dissects food-delivery work and exposes its flesh and bones through an examination of a developing organizational structure.
Methodologically, my thesis illustrates the becoming of a feminist ethnographer as a stripping process along which I progressively take off layers to reveal a vulnerable but powerful nakedness that was previously dressed and policed. The chapter 1.1 exposes my ethnographic methodology: while I give minute details about the data collection and the overall research journey, I present a dressy version of the story. In contrast, to write the chapters 2.1 and then 3.1, I progressively take off some clothes to finally propose a naked version of this ethnography. In the chapters 1.3, 2.3 and 3.3, I discuss the insights of the two preceding chapters and conclude the corresponding part.
Along with traditional critical literature, I explain that platform capitalism engenders relations of domination and potentially harmful working conditions and explain how workers find ways to compensate for organizational voids. Yet, departing from a widespread white and masculine tendency to fantasize over the resistance of oppressed populations and to subsequently associate political dimensions of the studied phenomenon with the resisting efforts of individuals who seek empowerment, I develop in this thesis a different approach on how organization studies could tackle the political dimension of new forms of work. Political shades of platform work materialize through the tension between a digital and deemed neutral algorithm that guarantees homogenization of treatment between individuals and the strong atomization of highly different, and sometimes even hostile one towards another, workers. I shed light on the micropolitical mechanisms that atomize food-delivery platform crowd: suffering from precarious working conditions and an associated low status, socially heterogeneous workers dissociate from collective formulations of shared grievances and contribute to an individualization of trajectories structurally induced by algorithmic management. Political shades of platform work are deeply inscribed in working bodies: racialized, gendered and classified depending on their social origin and financial capacity, bodies inspire the mechanisms of fragmentation that concur to maintain a corporeal capitalist industry that nourishes from workers' precariousness.
Taking initiative: From firm orientation to work on the shop floor
Date: December 2020
By: Marjolaine Rostain
Advisor(s): Ruthanne Huising, Jean Clarke, Nevena Radoynovska
This dissertation examines how firms that are designed and managed to run according to hierarchical principles, with highly formalized roles, rules, and routines, may yet have spaces, moments, and interactions in and through which employees learn, innovate, and express themselves. These space, moments, and interactions are often invisible to management. However, they are means through which the work of the organization gets done in a relatively smooth and efficient manner. When employees on the shop floor operate in an innovative and creative manner they do not change the organization but they do alter their skills and experiences at work. I explore this disconnection between what is variously referred to as the structure (Mintzberg, 1993) or culture (Quinn and Cameron, 2006) of an organization, and the operation of an organization, to examine the processes and conditions that support an alternative experience on the shop floor.
The first paper, which has received a Revise and Resubmit at Journal of Business Venturing Insights, analyzes the impact of organizational culture (OC) type on the entrepreneurial orientation (EO) of the firm. While the importance of this topic has long been of interest to scholars and practitioners, there remains contradictory results about the impact of OC on EO. Drawing upon the competing value framework (CVF), I conducted a meta- analysis of 70 papers to better understand this relationship. My results highlight first that, contrary to common thinking, there is not only one particular organizational culture that impacts positively EO. Clan, Market and Adhocracy all have a positive impact on EO. Second, even if each of these OC types have a positive impact on EO, the impact on each dimension of EO (Innovativeness, Risk-taking and Proactiveness) may vary.
The second paper, under review at Administrative Science Quarterly, studies the ongoing evolution of skill, in an automated factory, after more than thirty years of use of the same technology. Drawing on an ethnographic study of machine operators, develop the concept of epistemic skill. Epistemic skill refers to machine operators' ability to access and manipulate the conceptual materials that designers, programmers, and supervisors use to plan and conceptualize products, and create step-by-step instructions for shop-floor workers. This skill allows machine operators to independently reconceptualize and alter how they do their work, and facilitates the ongoing generation of conceptual knowledge that informs their work. Through the use of epistemic skill the division of conception and execution work is—at least periodically—eroded. While not formally recognized by the organization, epistemic skill is crucial to understanding how automated work proceeds in the face of numerous everyday contingencies that planners cannot anticipate and machines cannot process.
The third paper, under review at Human Relations, based on the same ethnographic setting as the second paper, looks at the pervasiveness of craft values in worker's behaviours. This paper introduces John Ruskin and his treatise of mediaeval gothic craftwork as a means to reflect on the moral potential of ‘good labour'. Focusing predominantly on the experiences of shop floor workers, we show that even in coercive organization, workers seek to bring the ‘gothic' values of free craftsmen into their everyday activities. Our findings demonstrate that workers devotion to craft, commitment to collective production and passion for continuous innovation enabled them to create the conditions for self-realization through work. We argue Ruskin's work on gothic offers a means to understand what it is about work that makes us human, that which allows workers in Ruskin’s terms to become ‘men’ rather than remain ‘tools’.
Competing on identity: Essays on the effect of occupational market identities on partnership selection, location choice and organizational survival
Date: March 2020
By: Laura Dupin
Advisor(s): Filippo Carlo Wezel, Bernard Forgues
Market identities affect the development of behavioral norms, perception of categorical demarcations, appropriate ways of doing business, and choice of strategic behavior. Identities however, are not always fixed guideposts informing market interactions, rather they can be fragmented and oppositional among producers. This leads to a competition of identity where co-existing belief structures, norms and cultural understandings are in conflict with each other. The dissertation is structured around the following research question: How do producers, who are competing on identity, strategically position themselves in order to influence the extent to which their identities are perceived as legitimate by audiences of co-producers or consumers?
The first study, empirically set in Lyon's silk-manufacturing guild (1700-1788), examines the dilemma of gatekeepers trying to maintain professional identity norms amidst the emergence of a new creative occupation that threatens to disrupt existing social structures. The study uses the theoretical framing of relational work (Zelizer, 2012) to understand how gatekeepers choose creative partners while grappling and negotiating the cultural and political dimensions of creative workers' social ties. Findings suggest that during times of occupational identity conflict, gatekeepers privilege social ties that reinforce cultural and political social ties aligned with their own professional identity. When occupational identity conflict diminishes, gatekeeper selection of partners is less focused on cultural and political homogeneity of partners.
The second study examines how location choice is strategically used by producers to contest opposing ontological understandings of taken-for-granted traditional practices, norms and values of an occupation. Set in Lyon's bakery market (1998-2017), the study investigates how locations are chosen among 177 producers representing two opposing classes of bakeries, the traditional (i.e., purist) and non-traditional (i.e., pragmatist) bakery. I find that producers wishing to maintain traditional practices (i.e. purists) choose locations to contrast differences with their ontological rivals (i.e. pragmatists). In doing so, purist producers expect to direct consumers’ attention towards the authenticity differential that sets them apart from non- traditional producers located within their vicinity. To the extent that colocation emphasizes such differences, purist producers expect that their ontological rivals will be perceived as inauthentic and insincere to categorical expectations. Inversely, pragmatist producers with an intention to modify existing cultural models chose discrete locations so as to not be noticeably different from traditional producers, whereby they gradually adapt expectations “under-the- radar” of the producer community.
The third study, also set within Lyon’s bakery market, illustrates how producers’ choice of organizational naming is evaluated based on identity expectations of consumers. This study interrogates the likelihood of organizational mortality on consumers evaluation bakery’s usage of “boulangerie” conditioned on whether the owner is French or an immigrant. The third study argues that some institutionalized names are culturally-evocative, affecting who can legitimately claim them. Findings suggest that entrepreneurs who use organizational names reflecting a collective social identity, to which they are not affiliated, are perceived as illegitimate and are more likely to experience business failure. However, when incongruency with the collective is overtly signaled in an organizational name, audience evaluations are more tolerant and organizations are more likely to be accepted as legitimate. This conclusion contributes to our understanding of how buyer communities may shift their expectations of producers on the basis of cultural in-group and out-group identity perceptions.
Three essays on how and when new business models create value for firms
Date: December 2019
By: Muhammad Imran
Advisor(s): Alain Fayolle, Jean-Luc Arregle
The business model has emerged as a key element in the process of creating and capturing value in companies. In this dissertation, I analyze the effect of adopting a new business model on a firm's performance in different contexts. In the first chapter, using a meta–analysis based on 120 primary empirical studies from 23 countries, the extant knowledge on the relationship between business model innovation and firm performance is synthesized. Dynamic capabilities perspective is adopted to theorize that the assumed positive relationship between business model innovation and firm performance is contingent on multiple factors. Specifically, it is argued and demonstrated that the positive relationship between business model innovation and performance is weaker for large firms and in countries characterized by high levels of uncertainty avoidance, masculinity, and business regulations, and stronger in countries with high levels of customer orientation. Contrary to the theory, the results could not detect any effect in relation to industry, collectivist cultures and level of education and training.
In the second chapter, the paper analyzes the role of organizational capabilities in the success of new business models. In particular, it is argued that when a firm engages in the process of adopting a new business model, existing capabilities are activated and new capabilities are developed that lead to an improvement in the firm's performance. In addition, the moderating role of managerial and creative capabilities on the assumed positive relation between new business models and firm performance, is analyzed. Furthermore, it is argued that a firm's business group affiliation can influence the capabilities of the firm and hence play a role in value creation from the new business model. The proposed framework is analyzed using data from the advertising industry and the results support most of the hypotheses. The study contributes to business model literature by shedding new light on the role of organizational capabilities and business group affiliation.
In the third chapter, the literature streams on sustainability practices and organizational business models are integrated, leading to the development of a theoretical argument on the impact of a firm’s sustainable value proposition on the potential for creation and capture of micro-economic value, as reflected in subsequent market-based financial performance. The proposed theoretical framework was tested empirically using a large panel dataset comprising firms listed in the U.S. (2243 companies over 18 years) across different industries. The findings corroborate the thesis that sustainable value proposition has a positive impact on a firm’s market-based financial performance (Tobin’s Q); yet, this impact turns out to be highly context-dependent. In particular, it is shown that the firm’s R&D capabilities enhance value creation from the sustainable value proposition. At the same time, sustainable practices regarding employee relations reduce the effect of the sustainable value proposition, arguably due to the costs associated with a loss in employee interest during the process of adopting sustainable business model elements.
In sum, these three chapters use the dynamic capabilities perspective to analyze the effect of a new business model on a firm’s performance and the conditions under which a firm will perform better.
The corporality of collective action: An ethnography of activist work in a French non-violent climate movement
Date: November 2019
By: Yousra Rahmouni Elidrissi
Advisor(s): David Courpasson, Ignasi Marti
There is no doubt that we live in a time of Climate Emergency (Gills and Morgan, 2019). The recent dynamics of protest of the last few years show the reemergence of civil disobedience as a privileged strategy of action among grassroots' climate movements. Using non-violent collective action, these actors are reconfiguring the way we understand the role of the body in social movements' organizing.
Acknowledging the critical dimension of the orchestration of bodies in non- violent activist organizing where activists collectively experience the world, the self and the other through embodiment (McDonald, 2007), this dissertation offers some insights into the bodily regimes that inform the construction of collective action. Based on the ethnography of an activist movement' organization in becoming, I argue that collective action’ organizing relies -for its efficacy and sustainability- on the articulation between reflexive coherent activist selves and the inter-corporeal relations they create with others in the environment.
First, I examine the relation between corporeality and space in order to understand how multiple bodies synchronize their movements so as to function as one during collective actions. Drawing on Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology, this study advances practice-based research on inter-corporeal learning by investigating the underexplored role of lived space in the emergence of a collective body in non-violent performances. It therefore shows how the spatiality of movements unfolds as new ways of inhabiting one’s body as a non-violent activist, allowing for the creation of new forms of relations with others, based on body potentialities but also recognizing its limits.
Second, I discuss the culture of self-sacrifice through which activists’ identity is regulated and reveal the everyday tensions between passionate commitment and vulnerable bodies. More specifically, this study explores how body breakdowns lead activists to separate their passion for a cause from the organizational culture and ultimately make their exit. It thus contributes to research on identity regulation by highlighting the precariousness of this process and demonstrating the political potential of bodies to resist controlling regimes. It thereby shows that the construction of coherent reflexive selves is necessary for sustaining collective action.
Third, reflecting on my ethnographic journey as an apprentice activist- ethnographer, I examine the relevance of putting one’s body on the line(s) and attending to one’s vulnerability in the field. Through an exploration of my own embodiment while immersed in this movement’ organization, I show how the evolution of my carnal posturing shaped the dynamic of the research situation. In other words, this essay fleshes out the process through which my body guided the way research was problematized and data analyzed, hence crafting my understanding of activism as it was lived, felt and expressed. Shedding light on the cultural dynamics at play and the connections between identity and embodied practice, I end by laying out the implications of a carnal approach to research through bodily engagement in the field.
Antecedents and consequences of workforce differentiation
Date: December 2018
By: Oksana Grebinevych
Advisor(s): Jean-Luc Arregle, Bernard Forgues
New regionalism - current trends in economic and market integration of countries at a regional level – and recent skepticism on globalization have led to a new surge of interest in geographic components of international strategies in international business research. This dissertation, composed of three essays, examines regional strategies of multinational enterprises (MNEs) and how regional effects influence location choices. By providing a comprehensive overview of research advancements on regional strategies in international business literature and adjacent academic disciplines, the first essay elaborates on a conceptual model that integrates key theoretical advancements and empirical findings in the field.
The second essay examines semiglobal strategies of MNEs as well as how and why the regional strategies vary across firms and locations (regions). First, we argue that the extent of semiglobalization is contingent on the type of region in which a firm operates. Multinational firms employ semiglobal strategy as a complexity mitigating mechanism to manage their expansion within foreign regions while following a different behavioral pattern within their home region. Second, greater intra-regional diversification (that is, diversification within a region) reinforces the semiglobal pattern of internationalization, as it creates additional options for a firm to develop and sustain region-bound firm-specific advantages. Third, due to time compression diseconomies inherent in rapid internationalization, speed is negatively associated with (i.e., decreases) semiglobal pattern of expansion.
Finally, the third essay analyzes firms' internationalization beyond their home region. As opposed to previous studies on regional aspects of internationalization that have focused on home region orientation of MNEs - propensity to localize their activities within home region, in the third essay, we shift the scholarly attention to the conditions in which multinationals expand their operations beyond their home region, and we also investigate drivers that cause systematic variation in a firm's propensity to expand beyond its home region. First, we theorize that degree of international diversification within a home region positively impacts a firm's internationalization into host regions. Second, private firms (vs. public) demonstrate lower internationalization into host regions. Third, MNEs internationalize more intensively in neighboring (to the home region) than remote host regions. Both of the latter essays rely on a comprehensive original dataset involving foreign expansion of the population of international grocery retailers during 2000-11.
Emerging, organizing and collaborating: Three essays on institutional change in professional fields.
Date: June 2018
By: Marco Bottura
Advisor(s): Ignasi Marti,Bernard Forgues
Professionals and professional organizations are important actors to focus onto, in order to better understand how complex processes of institutional change unfold. I start from the consideration that a better integration between the sociology of profession and new institutional theory is desirable. With the subsequent chapter I aim to show how exploiting the synergies deriving from using these two powerful theoretical frameworks we can advance in our understanding how professionals impact the way in which take- for-granted practices, organizational setting and inter-personal arrangement are defined and redefined in a context of institutional change.
With that purpose in mind, in chapter two we analyze institutional change at the field level, focusing on the emergence of a new profession, the professional winemaker, in the Italian wine industry. We find that, following local and international pressures, incumbent wineries brought in non-competing new entrants, i.e., professional winemakers, to access key resources. In the process of defining their professional jurisdiction and their network of relations, these new entrants brought new material skills, which accelerated the transformation of the field. Our setting is the Italian wine industry between 1997 and 2006 and our data cover 74,000 wines, 2,000 winemakers and 3,000 wineries. We focus on the evolution of higher status denomination wines (DOCG), and compare the network of already institutionalized DOCG producers with the network of emerging DOCG producers to understand the impact of the professional winemakers and their role in the spreading of the barrique oak barrel. Our findings contribute to institutional and professions literatures, unveiling how the emergence of a new profession, together with its practices and skills, can accelerate the pace of institutional change in a field.
In chapter three, I concentrate on the process of organization and re-organization of an established profession: the general practitioner. I investigate how a pioneering group of professionals foster change in a particularly resilient Institutional field: the Italian Primary Healthcare system. The in-depth qualitative analysis composed of 81 interviews conducted in 2014 and 2015, and 417 documents covering a 40 years' period, show how these groups of general practitioners, first created and then utilized their professional organization – the cooperative – to re-establish their relevance in the field. Three macro-processes are proposed to capture the proactive role of professionals in the field: Serving their community, which connected their original motivations; and, innovating and diffusing, which related to the institutionalization of the new organizational model throughout the field.
In chapter four, I focus on inter-professional collaboration and, especially, how field level institutional logics permeate professional service firms. I argue that the different mix or constellation of logics influence, impede or favor inter-professional collaboration in multi-professional organizations. Drawing on a case study focused on an experimental Italian medical home managed by a cooperative of physicians, I analyzed 36 semi-structured interviews with the different professionals who inhabited the medical home during its 18 months' project duration. The results of this analysis point to the presence of a specific logic mix, composed of the Professional Logic and two blended logics (Corporate for Professional Logic and Market for Community Logic), which deeply influenced the collaboration pattern inside the multi-professional setting.
I conclude highlighting how these three distinct empirical studies answer the overarching research question guiding this study and how generally this dissertation contribute to our theoretical understanding of the roles and effects of professionals and professional organizations in processes of institutional change.
Exploring transformative creativity and its enactment in non-traditional organizational settings: Art, activism, and practice philosophy
Date: March 2018
By: Natalia Korchagina
Advisor(s): Eero Vaara, David Courpasson
Strategizing, struggling and negotiating within the context of market formalization: An empirical study in Yaoundé, Cameroon
Date: October 2017
By: Aurélie Toivonen
Advisor(s): Ignasi Marti, David Courpasson
How do micro-entrepreneurs negotiate the requirements of formalization rules that at times conflict with the demands of their commercial activities and their ability to provide for the basic needs of their family? We use the case of the rehabilitation of the city of Yaoundé, Cameroon to examine efforts from meso level institutions to build market infrastructures that are expected to boost local entrepreneurship and contribute to the overall development to the city. Our inductive qualitative study explores the dynamism of the responses to the pressure to formalize at the micro-level. We raised three research questions that enable us to tackle three different but related aspects of the meaning of formalization on the ground level: How do actors respond to the removal of institutional voids in a market? How do actors whose behaviors are singled out as immoral resist and develop or render explicit alternative moralities, based on other kinds of orders of worth? How does the political environment constraint resurgence within an abeyance structure?
Our data consist of primary data such as 52 tape-recorded interviews lasting about an hour each, 26 spontaneous interviews lasting about 10 minutes each that were not recorded, as well as ethnographic observations notes taken during a combined 45 days of field work between 2014 and 2015. The field work occurred at the Yaoundé City Council (YCC) and at six carefully selected marketplaces. In addition, we have secondary data such as newspapers from the local press dating from 2004 to 2015 that we collected using FACTIVA. We also collected press releases, work documents and reports, and entrepreneurs data from the YCC‘s document center. Altogether, the secondary data amount to over a thousand pages. The data analysis followed an inductive approach, which was relevant for interesting and unexpected findings to emerge from the data.
In response to our first research question, we find that informal micro-entrepreneurs respond to the removal of institutional voids following three main categories: some street vendors and peddlers accept the new rules, some reject them, while others try to negotiate them daily as they go about their commercial activities. Our findings show that such responses are associated with different profiles of entrepreneurs which can be linked to how street vendors and peddlers originally adapted to the institutional voids. Finally, we show how the realized formalization rules differ from the enacted ones after they are “inhabited” and thereby negotiated by the entrepreneurs. We contribute to the literature on institutional voids by pointing to the importance of the understudied phenomenon of the removal of the voids. We also contribute to the literature of informal entrepreneurship by linking the choice to formality or informality to different profiles of informal micro-entrepreneurs.
For our second research question, our analysis suggests a set of formalization rules that have direct relevance for moral regulation in the observed markets. Our results show that the local government acts as a moral entrepreneur and devises three sets of activities to moralize marketplaces: building moral infrastructures, dividing practices, as well as educating and controlling. We find out that that markets actors use tactics such as: making the fix, which a temporary solution to save face, making the pass, which is a tactic to transfer blame to other groups, accepting immorality by embracing the given status as well as its associated consequences as long as it allows them to make ends meet. They use claiming strength as a final tactic that enabled them connect their street vending status to greater societal changes and issues. This paper contributes the literature on the morality of the market by showing how a project of moral regulation of market behavior is lived by entrepreneurs and how they resist daily in order to create an alternative morality.
Finally, we look at the path to social movement abeyance so as to better understand the dynamism within abeyance as well as the likelihood of future insurgency. We find that abeyance structures are inhabited by the remnants of past struggles, which translate into backstage resistance by the activists and backstage repression by their challengers. This backstage confrontation is the pillar of what we refer to as abeyance order; which is a system in equilibrium but with cracks that carry the hopes of future insurgency. We contribute to social movement literature by shedding lights on the understudied phenomenon of the decline of social movements. We show how the external political environment practically constrains the ability of activists in engaging in collective action.
This thesis research project shows the role of formalization in removing institutional void, in moralizing markets and settling conflicts at the marketplaces. Our findings show that the micro-entrepreneurs negotiate the requirements of formalization rules that at times conflict with the demands of their commercial activities and their ability to provide for the basic needs of their family by accepting, rejecting or negotiating new rules that clash with their traditional arrangements based on their profiles and aspirations. Secondly, they play around rules that question their morality and values by pushing forward and alternative order of worth. Finally, despite the official settlement of the negotiations and conflicts between the formalizers and the formalized, individual and collective small acts of resistance that sow the seeds for the possibility for future insurgency. This study contributes to the literature on market creation by showing the role of formalization in establishing new markets infrastructures and rules of the game. Our study conducted in Yaoundé, Cameroon also contributes empirically to the socio-political dynamics of market creation in institutionally different contexts.
I feel so attached: Influence of attachment orientations on leader perception, transference and prototypicality
Date: September 2017
By: Dritjon Gruda
Advisor(s): Philippe Jacquart, Christophe Haag
Previous literature has argued that leadership is created by both leaders and followers alike; leaders and followers constantly and mutually influence each other's perceptions, emotions, and behavior. Based on this research, I argue and examine leadership impressions through a follower-centric attachment theory perspective across three chapters in the presented dissertation. Firstly, I discuss attachment orientations as possible antecedents for leader preferences, in particular the degree of leader autonomy, i.e. to which degree individuals with different attachment orientations differ in preferring an autonomous and self-reliant leader. Results of two studies indicate that highly avoidant attached individuals prefer an autonomous leadership style, while individuals who score high on anxious attachment prefer a less autonomous leadership style. Secondly, using an online experimental research design, I examine and find that attachment orientations serve as possible antecedents to socio-cognitive processes related to the transfer of expectations from a previous leader to a new one. Findings indicated that individuals scoring higher on anxious attachment are more likely to hold high just treatment expectations of new, similar leaders. Conversely, avoidant persons held low just treatment expectations of new similar leaders and perceived new similar leaders as less effective. In addition, more general and relationship-specific attachment working models played a role depending on whether it predicted broader cognitive concepts such as perceived leader effectiveness. Third, observed cognitive transference effects were moderated by culture. These observations are in line with a dynamic view of adult attachment organization and with broader models of situated social cognition. Finally, in a sample of informal student teams, I examine attachment orientations as antecedents of leader prototypicality. Findings indicated that avoidantly attached individuals were likely to be perceived as leader prototypical than anxiously or securely attached individuals. Findings are interpreted based on the nature of the work task, and in the context of an evolutionary perspective of attachment orientations. In sum, this dissertation highlights the importance of attachment orientations in the perception of leaders, followers' transfer of expectations from previous to new leaders, and the emergence of leadership in team settings.
Maintaining and challenging institutionalized forms of exclusion: Agency, institutional work and postcolonialism
Date: March 2017
By: Tapiwa Winston Seremani
Advisor(s): Ignasi Marti, Bernard Forgues
Drawing from the rich heritage of studies of exclusion in studies of organizations, this dissertation focuses on exclusion and the institutional structures that sustain and reproduce it. Addressing this relationship between institutions and exclusion inherently involves factoring in questions about power, vested interests and agency as institutions invariably reflect and reproduce the interests of powerful actors (Levy & Scully, 2007; Seo & Creed, 2002;Clegg, 2010). Different social orders create different forms of power in relation to different issues (Haugaard, 2003), hence enabling empowerment or inclusion as well as disempowerment and exclusion via structural constraints. From this perspective institutions are not to be seen as politically neutral monoliths but as outcomes of negotiations, power struggles and differently embedded interests (Fligstein 2001; Lawrence, 2008: p. 173; Oliver, 1992: Schneiber, 2013). As such, in this dissertation, we shed light on how actors with different interests may influence the institutional arrangements around them, in process either escaping or propagating different forms of exclusion embedded in the institutions around them.
We center our study on the former system of racial segregation in South Africa, Apartheid. Apartheid was a system designed to systematically exclude non-white South Africans from all spheres of life. Whilst apartheid officially ended in 1994, its influence continues to be felt in some spheres of life. Specifically, we study two aspects of the continued exclusion in South Africa, public spaces and land ownership. We are interested in understanding how some apartheid era practices and institutions prevail despite the formal end of apartheid. We want to better understand the preservation of such vested interests in a context of change. Thus, the broad research question that guides the inquiry of this dissertation is: how do dominant actors who benefit from existing institutional arrangements react to preserve their interests in the face of impending institutional change?
To address these questions, we draw on a mixture of methods and sources of data including participant observations, interviews and documentary analysis. Our findings point out several things. First, we illustrate how incumbent actors may preserve their interests via actions of agenda setting when institutional change becomes inevitable. We show this with the case of the continued skewed land ownership in South Africa. Second, we show that sometimes actors may temporality escape institutional pressures and situations of exclusion without necessarily any strategic action or calculation. In some moments institutions are simply “put on pause”. We show this with our analysis of interactions in a public space. Finally, we highlight the challenges facing postcolonial theory's attempts to give voice to previously silenced non-Western perspectives. We argue for the importance of paying greater attention to questions about epistemology to create an even basis for the inclusion of previously excluded perspectives in OMT. We introduce the notion of “epistemological third spaces” as an initial step in this direction.
We contribute to several ongoing discussions. We contribute to the growing questions being raised about over-rationalized notions of agency as the only sources of escape from institutional demands. In so doing we highlight blind spots in approaches such as institutional work and institutional entrepreneurship. We also highlight the role of power in influencing outcomes of conflicts over institutional forms. We highlight how agenda setting, power in the second dimension (Lukes, 2005), can be deployed to influence the directions in which challengers channel their efforts. Incumbents may do this to preserve their vested interests whilst allowing some components of the institutional fabric to be altered by challengers. Finally, we also contribute to the growing calls for the creation of a more inclusive management scholarship in general. With the notion of epistemological third spaces that we have advocated for, we contribute to calls to pay greater attention to epistemology
Symbols, actors and artifacts: Towards a semiotic perspective on institutional analysis
Date: December 2016
By: Wenyao Zhao
Advisor(s): Bernard Forgues, Philippe Monin
New institutionalism in organization studies has undergone a number of important shifts in focus over the decades, generating profound and fascinating insights on society, organizations, and individuals. This flourishing of insights has been underlined by the constant search of our field for general theoretical and empirical frameworks for elucidating meanings, which are at the core of the explanatory power of new institutional theory. This dissertation argues and seeks to demonstrate that semiotics, with its theoretical and methodological wealth, constitutes an ideal candidate for such a framework. To this end, this dissertation synthesizes major institutional research with insights of semiotics, and reviews and contrasts the core tenets of the two classical semiotic branches, i.e. Saussurean semiology and Peircean semiotics (Introduction Chapter). It goes on to apply semiotic insights to illuminate on three important issues in contemporary institutional research, i.e. understanding proto-institutionalization (Chapter Two/Study One - largely qualitative with quantitative evidence), unpacking actorhood in institutional work (Chapter Three/Study Two - theoretical), and unraveling multimodality in rhetorical artifacts (Chapter Four/Study Three - methodological, illustrated with a quantitative study with qualitative elements).
Exploring the link between CEOs’ short career horizon and their decision-making: Three essays
Date: November 2016
By: Chittima Silberzahn
Advisor(s): Pierre-Yves Gomez, Jean-Luc Arrègle
This dissertation adopts a behavioral approach on CEOs' decision-making at their last career stage. When CEOs are on the verge of retirement, their career horizon becomes shorter than their firm's investment horizon. Therefore, according to the agency logic in corporate governance, the period directly preceding CEOs' retirement is likely to incur conflicts of interests between themselves and their firm. This dissertation examines whether CEOs’ personal characteristics, including decision framing, cognitive abilities, risk preference, and organizational identification, influence their investment decisions at the end of their career, and provides more fine-grained understanding of their motivation than a traditional approach simply assuming a common behavior of CEOs’ self-interest.
The first essay adopts individual decision-making theories to develop a theoretical framework and propositions on near-retirement CEOs’ short-term decisions to provide a better understanding on their underlying motivation. The second and third essays empirically examine the influence of near-retirement CEOs’ personal characteristics on their long-term decisions. The sample used to test the hypotheses covers all near-retirement CEOs from non- financial firms in the Executive Compensation database, containing firms on S&P1500, during 1999-2010. The results suggest that CEOs’ cognitive abilities, risk preference, and other psychological factors influence their risky and/or long-term investment decisions toward the end of their career. However, these influences, in general, seem to still be dominated by their self-serving motivation. In other words, the strength of CEOs’ self-serving behavior when approaching retirement depends on their personal distinction. However, when CEOs strongly identify with their firm, their behavior seems to align with the firm’s interests.
This dissertation contributes to the CEO career horizon literature by shifting the research focus from the principal-agent relationship level to the CEO level. Examining the influence of near-retirement CEOs’ cognitive and psychological factors allows us to understand their decision-making in more fine-grained level, which is also of interest for corporate governance in practice. Decision makers are dispositional and bounded-rational. Therefore, to understand their decisions or behaviors, one needs to take into account their dispositions. This dissertation thus also adds new dimensions in a new research setting, supporting and simultaneously showing the limitation of the arguments of behavioral strategy and corporate governance literatures.
Antecedents and consequences of workforce differentiation
Date: March 2016
By: Michael Koch
Advisor(s): Tessa Melkonian, Bernard Morard (University of Geneva)
This thesis examines workforce differentiation, which is the customisation of Human Resource Management practices for different categories of employees such as “talent” or “high potentials”. Workforce differentiation is increasingly common among firms, but its antecedents and consequences are not well known yet. The thesis first investigates on which basis employees are selected into different talent categories. It is hypothesized that “hard” characteristics, such as employee human capital and objective employee status, as well as attitudes towards employer and supervisor, such as person-organization fit and leader-member exchange, predict categorization in a workforce differentiation system. Next, the impact of workforce differentiation on employees' perceptions of organisational justice and turnover intentions is analysed. The results showed that workforce differentiation is positively related to intentions to remain. It is also shown that workforce differentiation affects perceived organizational support via perceptions of overall organizational justice.
Police work: An ethnography of the identity work of officers in a changing institution
Date: October 2015
By: Vanessa Monties
Advisor(s): David Courpasson, Ignasi Marti Lanuza
What we do and the environment in which we carry our work impact who we are. Our personal self and our social self are co-constructed (Kreiner et al, 2006; Watson, 2008). In this dissertation I take a symbolic interactionist perspective focusing on “the relationships among individuals and how people create meanings and social relations” (Hallett et al., 2009: 488), as well as how “the construction and negotiation of meanings and identities by individuals” (Davies and Thomas, 2008) are processed. To investigate these processes, I carried a 12-month ethnography during which I followed two operational squads of police officers specialized in investigation and intervention.
A great majority of the studies on identity work apprehends and explains the phenomenon within a narrative, ideational, and individual perspective (Alvesson and Willmott, 2002; Beech, 2008; Ibarra and Barbulescu, 2010, Snow and Anderson, 1989; Sveningsson and Alvesson, 2003; Watson, 2009). In this dissertation I propose a complementary approach that focuses on the embodied, carnal, and collective aspects of identity work. I contend that the construction of identities does not only occur at an ideational level but also at an embodied, carnal level that has been neglected in the literature. The body as a working tool and crucible of identity, and the body as a manifestation of resisting strategies appear as the cornerstone of identity work particularly in organizational settings that involve physical engagement, taint, and risk taking. The second dimension that is addressed in this study is the collective strategies that people developed to cope with and resist to identity tensions. I explain how at the group level, members craft and generate meanings and codes that are shared by the group and used as resources to buffer their preferred identity from threat.
After a chapter presenting my ethnographic experience, I introduce this collective framework on the identity work approach. Whereas the literature on identity work has mainly focused on an individual perspective, I provide an overall view of the work setting of my informants in analyzing the triggers of identity tensions that lead them to engage in identity work at the collective level. My focus here is on what Schwalbe and Mason-Schrock (1987: 121) called subcultural identity work, the creation of “signs, codes, and rites of affirmation that become shared resources for identity-making” (ibid.). My informants built a “body of meanings, signs, and signifying practices that are distinct from, yet linked to, a larger culture” (ibid.). These shared elements help them to protect and secure their preferred identity, defined in this study as the “good cop” and threatened by the emergence of a new work ethos (Weber, 1968) conveying new codes and values. The chapter addresses the clash between the preferred work ethos of police investigators implying action, risk, autonomy, physical strength and mastery, as well as a symbolic and mythical dimension, and the new work ethos dictated by the procedural and bureaucratic system that slows down and sanitizes their work environment.
The last chapter focuses on an identity work dimension that is often missing in the literature: the corporeal and carnal dimension. We contend here that the identity of police investigators is framed through and by the body, whether it is the police officer's body or the Other's body. Thanks to the appropriation of their body as an efficient tool and trough the distancing with the body of the Other, our informants deal with the taint associated with their occupation (Ashforth and Kreiner, 1999; Bittner, 1970; Hughes, 1951; Kreiner et al., 2006). Furthermore corporeal identity work is manifested in particular physical spaces that police investigators appropriate to live their preferred identity. Drawing from Wacquant (2000) carnal sociology, we show that bodies are intelligent and transient assemblages of shared skills, enabling the creation of individual corporeal proficiency and its relation to the occupationally constituted power held by many police officers despite growing pressures to change their work image. Through their bodies, police officers define who they are and who they want to be. It is the main component to which they anchor meanings and practices that support their preferred identity and stabilize a work environment from which they feel more and more estranged. To sum up, this doctoral dissertation addresses the question of identity work at two different but intertwined levels: a collective level and a corporeal level. I also show that the nature of the methodology participated in the way findings were discovered and analyzed.
Exploring network microdynamics: Tie formation, tie dissolution and tie duration in the context of open multipartner alliances
Date: September 2015
By: Rand Gerges-Yammine
Advisor(s): Jean-Luc Arregle, Bernard Forgues
In this dissertation, I present a holistic extension of the field of network dynamics by offering a lens on the formation, dissolution, and duration of ties. This dissertation extends the perspective on network dynamics to account for an overarching perspective on network evolution. Empirical studies on network dynamics have been extremely scarce over the past few years in spite of the continuous calls for research. The lack of empirical studies has been particularly linked to the complexity of accessing longitudinal data and the difficulty of analyzing networks over an elongated period of time. Yet, in order for the field to progress, scholars need to build a body of empirical support for theoretical assumptions regarding the genesis and dynamics of networks. To do so, I analyze firm behavior in nine open multipartner alliances in the mobile phone industry. I compile a unique database based on four data sources namely archival (Internet Archive), publicly available databases (COMPUSTAT and CapitalIQ), company websites and interviews with open multipartner alliance presidents. The database encompasses data on 2,016 firms entering and exiting all nine open multipartner alliances in the mobile phone industry from 2000 till 2012 inclusive. In the three main chapters of my dissertation, I establish building blocks to advance our knowledge on network dynamics in the empirical context of open innovation. Following the introductory chapter in my second theoretical essay, I analyze the drivers of the formation of ties. I thus build a theoretical model of interorganizational imitation that specifies the various reference groups contingent on the open multipartner alliance network entry. To do so, I draw on interorganizational imitation studies to argue that prior to entry into open multipartner alliances, firms will imitate similar others in terms of country of origin or industry. Subsequent to the initial entry into the open multipartner alliance, firms become exposed to another set of similar others. Firms will now rely on structurally equivalent firms embedded in the network when deciding on entering subsequent open multipartner alliances. Therefore in this chapter, I offer a holistic model that sheds light on the formation of both, socially distant and socially proximate ties. I extend literature on network dynamics by proposing an explanation for the formation of ties that eventually translates to changes in the whole-network structure. In the third essay, I investigate the effect of imitation of competitors and the moderating effect of the formal and informal power of firms on firm exit decisions from open multipartner alliances, which coincides with tie termination. Building on social influence models, I argue that firms tend to mimic the behavior of similar others under conditions of uncertainty. However, powerful firms are relatively immune to imitation pressures and thus, display autonomous behaviors. I decompose power into two sources, formal and informal, which are captured by hierarchal position and network centrality, respectively. My analysis reveals that (1) firms imitate similar others in terms of exit decisions and (2) power immunizes firms against social influence. The microbehavior of actors' decision to exit will lead to subsequent changes on the whole-network level. In the fourth essay, I extend the research agenda on network dynamics by introducing the notion of time. Scant research in network studies explicitly incorporates the time dimension. Therefore, I aim in this chapter to explore the drivers of duration of stay in the open multipartner alliance. This study examines the impact of sub-group leadership, group leadership, boundary spanning, and central network positions on firm duration of stay in open multipartner alliances. Building on group structure theory, I argue that firms occupying strategic roles are more likely to stay longer in the focal open multipartner alliance. The results suggest that (1) working group leaders, (2) open multipartner alliance leaders, (3) boundary spanners and (4) central firms are more likely to stay longer in the focal open multipartner alliance due to their advantageous positions. In this dissertation, I contribute to the broad agenda of network dynamics as well as open innovation literature.
Entrepreneurship and opportunity: A temporal storytelling perspective
Date: June, 2015
By: Duncan Pelly
Advisor(s): Alain Fayolle, Véronique Bouchard, Pablo Martin de Holan
This thesis explores the ability of temporal storytelling to reshape the understanding of entrepreneurship and opportunity. It is comprised of an introduction, a methods paper, two empirical papers, and a conclusion. Each of these papers depicts different components of temporality and storytelling in entrepreneurship. The introduction provides an in-depth theoretical background designed to support the residual papers of the thesis. The methods paper, A Case for Autoethnography, explores the methodology employed in this thesis and explains why it is pertinent to a temporal understanding of entrepreneurial opportunity. The first empirical paper, A Bureaucrat's Journey from Technocrat to Entrepreneur through the Creation of Adhocracies, illustrates how temporal stories emphasize future potentiality and, thus, represent an opportunity for entrepreneurship. The second empirical paper, How Temporality Saved Christmas at the Military Post Office, illustrates the power of past potentiality, or the opportunity to revive previous entrepreneurial opportunities. The conclusion voices the story of this thesis in an informal way and leaves the reader with closing thoughts.
The introduction commences with a story of the inspiration behind the thesis and proceeds with a description of the empirical setting. The work includes an overview of the current debate in entrepreneurial opportunity, in particular a discussion as to whether opportunities are discovered or created, and introduces a temporal explanation of opportunity. In lieu of teleological perspectives of entrepreneurship, the introduction proposes that opportunity is merely a moment in time, and more importantly, a moment where there is an alignment among the abstract, the entrepreneur/entrepreneurial organization, and the context. The role of the entrepreneur is, therefore, to articulate a potentiality-laden story designed to advance or reverse the passage of process-based time. This paper also introduces the overall research question of the thesis of how entrepreneurs can use a storytelling approach to articulate opportunities. Lastly, the introduction outlines the balance of the thesis and provides the adhesive binding the remaining papers. The principle contribution of this section is the elaboration of the theory contained within this thesis so that the outstanding papers do not require the same degree of theoretical discussion.
The second paper, A Case for Autoethnography, outlines the methodology used in this thesis. This work elucidates why autoethnography is particularly relevant to the study of entrepreneurship, especially with respect to the constraints of binary epistemology. If one rejects the binary epistemology for the study of entrepreneurship, then alternate methods must also be proposed, such as autoethnography. This paper introduces a definition of autoethnography that revolves around a critique of the self within a specific context, which delineates autoethnography as an orientation instead of a rigidly defined set of practices. This work proceeds with a comparison of two approaches to autoethnography: the analytic autoethnography and the evocative autoethnography. The composition introduces an alternate approach, the organizational autoethnography, which is the methodology likewise employed in this thesis. Finally, it contributes to the overall thesis by liberating the remaining papers from lengthy methodological discussions.
The third paper, A Bureaucrat's Journey from Technocrat to Entrepreneur through the Creation of Adhocracies, is empirical and illustrates the power of future potentiality. This writing elaborates on the empirical setting described in the introduction, the Camp Humphreys Post Office. This article describes an important duty of the military post office: to ensure that unit mail rooms are handling mail in a manner that is in accordance with federal law and principles of good customer service. Due to the unusual command structure of the post office, using formal military authority to coerce negligent mail rooms was impossible. However, both sets of parties, the military post office and the unit mail rooms, had an inherent interest in supporting efficient mail room operations. It was through storytelling that my stakeholders and I were able to realize a future potential state where joint needs could be realized. To reach this desirable future state, we created an adhocracy – a temporary organization that operates on a kairological timeline different than the surrounding environment. Through this accelerated timeline, we were able to accomplish tasks in a few days that would otherwise have taken months to achieve under ordinary bureaucratic schedules. Furthermore, after the dissolution of the adhocracy, their primordial narratives lingered and were integrated into the larger bureaucratic setting, resulting in sustained gains. The contribution of this paper is to emphasize the importance of future potentiality in entrepreneurial storytelling and serve as an empirical illustration of entrepreneurial opportunity as a future alignment of the abstract, the entrepreneurial organization, and the context.
The fourth paper, How Temporality Saved Christmas at the Military Post Office, explores the antithesis of the situation proposed in the third paper, or the role of past potentiality. In this manuscript, I explore the impact of the holiday mail surge – an influx of mail that exceeded the operational capacity of the military post office and drove the probability of successfully processing all the mail in a timely fashion to zero. In order to accomplish the mission, I used a story to communicate a prosaic emergency – or an emergency that is not going to result in a loss of life, limb, or eyesight, but provides a sense of urgency through a narrative. I utilized this emergency to reveal a limited degree of future potentiality to our stakeholders, which paved the way for our joint reinterpretation of the past for the benefit of a present situation. As a result, our stakeholders agreed that it was desirable to recreate prior experiences, such as memorable and wonderful holiday experiences, at Camp Humphreys. We determined that presents and gift giving, as well as community service, were important parts of this experience; consequently, our stakeholders agreed to volunteer in the post office to assist in the delivery of all the holiday gifts. The outcome was one large holiday adhocracy where labels such as consumer and producer were blurred in favor of overcoming the prosaic emergency. Working together, we ensured that all of the gifts were delivered on time for the holidays. The contribution of this composition is to depict the power of emergencies in facilitating a reinterpretation of the past and represents a case of entrepreneurial opportunity articulation as a return to previous alignment of the abstract, context, and entrepreneurial organization and the accompanying behaviors.
Finally, the conclusion informally tells the story of the journey of writing this thesis. It thanks the people I have met along the way and provides a brief summary of the papers. It also discusses the contributions and limitations of this thesis. Finally, it imparts how I will use the research of this thesis in future endeavors before providing my final thoughts.
The construction of a political community: Three essays on work
Date: May 2015
By: Pablo Fernandez
Advisor(s): Ignasi Marti, David Courpasson
A longstanding question in social sciences is how it is possible that the poor and powerless get organized and build the necessary conditions to bring about social change for them and their communities, especially when communities have been typically seen as apolitical entities –i.e., as spaces where contestation is avoided, unthinkable, and prevalent power structures are accepted. This dissertation addresses this question through the study of the day-to-day lives of a group of unemployed people who organized themselves and created Cooperative La Juanita, a workers' cooperative in a poor neighborhood in Buenos Aires. Following their case allowed me to think about work in new terms, conceiving it as political action –in the Arendtian sense. Drawing from the data collected, I show, in the second chapter, that work can be organized and lived in ways –what people in the cooperative call a ‘culture of work'- that enable the members of the cooperative to create a political community to resist their previous situation of marginalization and social exclusion.
In the third chapter I study how this resisting community has managed to endure. Both social movement scholars and activists recognize the difficulties of mobilizing people for the long haul, moving from the effervescence of the protest to the dull and ordinary work necessary to produce sustainable change. To answer that question, I look at the responses that long-lasting unemployed people developed from and for their neighborhood. I identified concrete and local practices and interventions –which I call mundane and everyday politics- that are embedded in a territory. I argue that it is after the encounter with particular and close problems, and experiencing togetherness in the neighborhood, that mundane politics are crafted aiming at enhancing capabilities, creating solidarity ties and normalizing the space.
Finally, in chapter four, I focus on the leadership of the social movement from which the cooperative has been created. I maintain that leadership –an overlooked theme on social movement studies- is critical for cases in which those mobilized have seen shattered their capacity to act, and to act together. I found that the leader's identity work consists not only on framing (in the case of Cooperative La Juanita, a discourse about resisting to the political use of poverty) but also, and importantly, on the creation of an “ethos of resistance” and on the “personification of the resister”. By personifying the resister, the leader offers a role model to the other members of the movement, showing that resisting to oppressive structure is possible.
Construction, maintenance and dynamics of an intentional community: Producing social innovations through a collective re-appropriation of life
Date: May 2015
By: Carine Farias
Advisor(s): David Courpasson, Ignasi Marti
Capitalism in all its variants, and the market disconnect economic exchanges from social relations (Adler, 2001; Polanyi, 2001). As such, it has always been perceived as a potentially dangerous system, prone to systematically destroy affective links (Adler & Heckscher, 2006; Tönnies, 1988). The current phase of advanced capitalism dominated by financial logics can even result in the subjugation of life (Banerjee, 2008; Fleming, 2013a, 2013a). Emancipating from this subjugation not only requires putting capitalism in question (Adler, 2013; Parker, 2002), but also realizing collective processes of territorial (Pickerill & Chatterton, 2006), economical (Gibson- Graham, 2006), and political re-appropriation at the local level.
In this sense, pre-capitalist and community-based forms of organizing, which re-socialize the economy and re-integrate it in a territory, benefit from a renewed interest (Adler, 2013; Gibson-Graham, 2006). In fact, establishing an intentional community involves a rejection of the norms established in the surrounding environment for trying out alternative social arrangements (Kanter, 1972; Pitzer, 2014). As such, it constitutes political attempts to appropriate civil society through the (re)creation of meaning, without confronting directly with the sources of power (Schehr, 1997).
However, alternative organizations drifting and challenging dominant institutions necessarily face the essential challenge of being embedded in (and dependent of) the larger system while resisting it (Cheney, Cruz, Peredo, & Nazareno, 2014; Meira, 2014). Hence they are always at risk of being co-opted (Flecha & Ngai, 2014; Vieta, 2014) or caught in a process of degeneration (Cornforth, 1995). If scholars have well documented the paradoxes and tensions existing in the everyday life of alternative organizations, we still know little about the conditions under which a sustainable process of re-appropriation of economic exchanges, life and work is possible. How do people interact within these autonomous geographies, and with the larger society, so as to construct a project of collective empowerment? The present dissertation builds on an ethnographic study of Longo Maï – a European network of intentional communities created in 1973 to experiment an alternative mode of living – to explore how a group of people construct, maintain and develop a community aimed at producing collective empowerment and social innovations.
This question is addressed in three parts: we first look at how the group interacts with the larger society, then focus on how they relate with each other inside their territories, and finally, we explore how production is organized in a small world of equals. It is proposed first that the neutralization of symbolic threats coming from the environment helps the group in creating an alternative culture of exchanges; second, that the use of the territory allows the group to frame specific political actions and to craft an oppositional relational structure based on friendship and hospitality; and finally, that the existence of a functional hierarchy allow them to survive as an economic unit. These aspects have been identified as essential conditions in the shaping, maintenance, and development of Longo Maï, as an enduring collective project of empowerment and social transformation. More precisely, the analysis shows that Longo Maï is continuously shaping a productive community in which economic exchanges, work and life are re-embedded in social relationships and in a territory.
From this analysis, we conceptualize praxis-based form of collective empowerment facilitating the ongoing production of social innovations. Instead of relying on a strong and unified ideology, actors experiment various and fragmented practices which incorporate political beliefs. This praxis approach, associated with the crafting of a perpetual democratic dialogue, and with the nurturing of hospitable practices, facilitates the production of social innovations through the crafting of collective forms of empowerment based on a re-appropriation of life .
This study contributes to ongoing discussions around the possibility of constructing sustainable community-based and value-rational organizations (Adler, 2013; Cheney et al., 2014; Gibson-Graham, 2006; Stohl & Cheney, 2001) by analyzing collective processes of enduring and empowering social transformation at the small group level (Fine, 1979; Fine & Harrington, 2004; Harrington & Fine, 2000). It can also contribute to current discussions on processes of collective empowerment (Drury & Reicher, 2005; Rao & Dutta, 2012; Vallas, 2006) leading to social innovation. More largely, this is a story of an organization facing several contradictions and striving to survive, not only in spite of them, but also with them. As such, this study can contribute to organization theory by analyzing processes through which ambiguity and disorder are accepted in daily organizational life (Robertson & Swan, 2003; Stark, 2011; Thanem, 2006), and appropriated so that to facilitate the maintenance and development of the organization.
Who needs it and who cares? Essays on social evaluation and organizational response
Date: March 2015
By: Tao Wang
Advisor(s): Bernard Forgues, Filippo Carlo Wezel
Social evaluation, especially negative social evaluation has recently received increasing attention in management research. While the general consensus regarding potential detrimental effects and consequences on organizations is well known, one important piece of puzzle is still understudied, namely the standpoints of multiple evaluators. By questioning social positions of multiple evaluators and organizational repertoires my dissertation addresses the question: how do organizations present themselves and engage in market relationships when social evaluation is complex, changing, and critical?
The first study examines why organizational publicly respond to unfavorable consumer evaluations. Two explanations for the selective response of producers are offered: the extent of devaluation, and the questioning of taken-for-granted elements of quality assessment. Stronger devaluations are more threatening to producers and therefore are more likely to be responded to. Some dimensions of devaluation involve taken-for-granted elements that take a rule-like status and are considered as the unquestionable way of doing things. I propose that the likelihood of observing a response from a producer will be higher when devaluations are coupled with a negative assessment of a taken-for-granted element of quality.
The second study complements the first study by investigating what kind of organizational responses are more likely to address consumer devaluations. In addition to the findings in the first study, I suggest that organizations, when faced with severe devaluations, are more likely to craft responses that justify their actions and behaviors in order to rebuild positive impressions among consumers and develop a social relationship with them. Moreover, the effects of devaluations will vary across organizations depending on their reputation.
The third study focuses on one type of negative social evaluation – illegitimacy – and examines the transformation of social practices from an unsettled state of being non-legitimate to a consolidated state of being illegitimate. It considers evaluation as a contested and negotiated socio-political process involving various actors and reveals a three-stage- model of illegitimacy construction: scientization, moralization, and politicization.
The research questions of my dissertation are investigated in two distinct settings: rating and ranking of hotels in London on TripAdvisor (Studies 1 and 2) and classification of absinthe in French history (Study 3). The first dataset contains 209,950 reviews and 33,286 responses from 596 hotels in London from January 2002 to June 2012. The second dataset consists of archival data, interviews, and published books and articles covering the history of absinthe in France from 1859 to 1915.
When employees leap to self-employment: Do business ideas, occupations and policy matter?
Date: September 2014
By: Frédérik C. Witte
Advisor(s): Frédéric Delmar, Simon C. Parker
What is the most important problem facing employees in the modern economy once they come up with a new business idea? Maybe it is the decision whether or not to leap into self-employment. The dissertation is an inquiry into the economics of entrepreneurship, and the research question “Why do some employees leap into self-employment, and others do not?” I study the determinants of self-employment entry, using two sources of data: 7 years of employer–employee matched data from Statistics Sweden, and an economic experiment. The results suggest that employees are more likely to enter into self-employment when they invest effort in their own business idea, and are employed in occupations with high wage variance and low mean wages. They also suggest that unincorporated and incorporated entries are structurally different from each other, and should be studied as separate phenomena. The four essays are based on a randomized laboratory experiment, a multilevel survival model, a statistical learning procedure, and a theoretical model. The findings contribute to research on occupational choice, entrepreneurial decision making, and self-employment entry.
Three essays on the king versus rich dilemma faced by founder-CEOs at IPO
Date: April, 2014
By: Asma Fattoum
Advisor(s): Frédéric Delmar, Pierre-Yves Gomez
This thesis comprises three essays that investigate the king versus rich dilemma confronting founder-CEOs at IPO. Indeed, IPOs dilute founder-CEOs' cash-flow rights, which may weaken their control over the firm. To prevent any loss of control, founder-CEOs can put in place defensive mechanisms such as dual-class shares, pyramid control structures and voting pact agreements. However, because defensive mechanisms may create opportunities for principal-principal agency costs and discretion for private benefits expropriation, founder-CEOs implementing defensive mechanisms are likely to suffer financial penalties at IPO. Hence, founder-CEOs face a dilemma at IPO: Either (1) select the king alternative by putting in place defensive mechanisms and suffering financial penalty or (2) choose the rich alternative by not using defensive mechanisms and risking loss of control over the firm but securing higher firm valuation at IPO.
In the first essay, I investigate whether founder-CEOs are more inclined than non- founder-CEOs to choose the king alternative. I also examine whether firm age, firm size and venture capital voting power influence founder-CEOs predisposition to prefer the king over the rich alternative. Relying on the literature highlighting founders' intrinsic and extrinsic specific attributes as well as their emotional biases, I suggest that founder-CEOs are more likely than non-founder CEOs to prefer the king alternative at IPO. I also suggest that firm age and firm size positively impact the use of defensive mechanisms in firms led by founder- CEOs. In contrast, I suggest that venture capital and private equity shareholders are likely to resist implementation of such mechanisms. I test hypotheses empirically using the full population of 467 firms that went public over the period 1992-2010 in France. Findings show that founder-CEOs are more likely than other CEOs to choose the king alternative rather than the rich alternative and that venture capital and private equity investors oppose defensive mechanisms implementation. In contrast, results indicate that founder-CEOs' propensity to opt for the king alternative is not influenced by firm age and firm size.
In the second essay, I examine whether the king and rich alternatives are mutually exclusive at IPO. In particular, I assess whether the king alternative necessarily leads founder- CEOs to leave money on the table at IPO. I also investigate whether founder-CEOs who choose the king alternative can successfully use affiliation with reputable underwriters and agreement on restrictive share lockups as credible signals to reduce the financial penalty incurred at IPO date. Building upon principal-principal agency theory, I argue that the king alternative produces a significant financial penalty because defensive mechanisms exacerbate adverse selection and moral hazard problems at IPO. Moreover, drawing on signaling theory I suggest that greater underwriter reputation and more restrictive share lockup conditions lower the financial penalty suffered by founder-CEOs selecting the king alternative. I test hypotheses empirically using the full population of 287 founder-CEO led firms that went public over the period 1992-2010 in France. Results show that the king and rich alternatives are mutually exclusive at IPO date. Founder-CEOs who adopt the king position suffer considerable financial penalties at IPO. Furthermore, affiliation with reputable underwriters and agreement on restrictive lockups do not constitute sufficiently credible signals to mitigate those financial penalties at IPO.
In the third essay, I address three aspects of the long-term consequences of the king versus rich dilemma faced by founder-CEOs. First, I examine whether founder-CEOs who choose the king alternative by putting in place defensive mechanisms at IPO are actually experiencing fewer non-voluntary turnover events than founder-CEOs who choose the rich alternative. Second, I assess whether financial penalties suffered at IPO by founder-CEOs who choose the king alternative persist in the long-term post-IPO. Finally, I explore the effects of the king versus rich choice on firm dividend policy. Drawing on a panel data set that includes 287 IPO firms led by founder-CEOs over the period 1992-2010 in France, I show that the higher the number of defensive mechanisms implemented by founder-CEOs, the less likely they will experience non-voluntary turnover event post-IPO. Moreover, in line with stewardship theory arguments I found that the negative effect of defensive mechanisms on firm valuation observed at IPO date shifts progressively and becomes positive in the long- term post-IPO. More importantly, I found that founder-CEOs who select the king alternative are able to largely recover over the long run money left on the table at IPO date, and hence, they can achieve the king and rich outcomes sequentially over time. Finally, in agreement with stewardship theory expectations I found that firms led by founder-CEOs who select the king alternative exhibit lower dividend payout than other firms.
In sum, the results of this dissertation contribute to entrepreneurship and corporate governance research investigating the consequences of founders’ emotional biases on their strategic choices and personal wealth. In particular, this dissertation does confirm that founder-CEOs exhibit idiosyncratic behavior when their control over the firm is at risk. When a founder-CEO faces the king versus rich dilemma that involves (1) a high degree of control using defensive mechanisms, but important short-term economic loss resulting from high underpricing and low price premiums; and (2) no defensive mechanisms against dilution of control, but higher IPO valuation, the striking winner is the king choice. In contrast, when a non-founder CEO is confronted by the king versus rich dilemma, s/he is more likely than a founder-CEO to choose the rich course of action. Moreover, this dissertation confirms that founder-CEOs exhibit stewardship behavior in the long-term, even in situations where their king posture allows them to easily extract private benefits. Evidence of higher price to book ratios for firms in which control is locked by founder-CEOs using several defensive mechanisms suggests that founder-CEOs do not use such devices to extract private benefits but instead use them to implement long-term value maximization strategies. This stewardship behavior enables founder-CEOs who choose the king alternative to recover in the long-run money they left on the table at IPO.
Capability portfolios, evolution, and performance implications
Date: January, 2014
By: Ji Won Sarah Park
Advisor(s): Bernard Forgues, Jean-Luc Arrègle
This dissertation presents a collection of three essays that investigate the relationship between capability portfolios and performance using the data from Formula One industry. The first essay identifies distinct types of capability portfolios and examines how different configurations of capability portfolios contribute to performance. Analyses show that four different types of configurations of capability portfolios exist and focused capability portfolios perform better than all other portfolios. The second essay analyzes the evolutionary trajectories of capability portfolios of Formula One teams over time and the performance implications of different evolutionary trajectories of capability portfolios. Analyses show that teams differ to the frequency and the timing of capability portfolio reconfiguration, and teams that follow atypical evolutionary trajectories perform better than other teams. Finally, the third essay investigates the impact of capability configuration on firm performance. Findings revealed that while capability portfolio upgrades are related to immediate performance increase, the impact of capability portfolio downgrade on performance is delayed. These findings enrich our current understanding of capabilities and how they contribute to firm heterogeneity.
Online community construction as a collective entrepreneurial process
Date: January 2014
By: Mathieu-Claude Chaboud
Advisor(s): David Courpasson, Ignasi Marti
This dissertation presents a collection of three essays exploring online community interactions and actors related to audio software piracy, doing so this qualitative study aims at uncovering the dynamics and mechanisms of community building, boundaries and maintenance. This setting, composed entirely of systematically archived asynchronous conversations happening on the Internet, is ideally suited to study community formation and evolution just as actors themselves experience them. From an ethnographic description of software piracy as a social phenomenon and of the underlying industry/users relationship, this research project proposes a vision and redefinition of communities as collective entrepreneurial processes.
Social Influence Interpretation of Members’ Interpersonal Processes Over Time and Team Level Outcomes using Informative Hypotheses and Bayes Factors
By: Alan R. Johnson
Advisor(s): Frédéric Delmar, David Courpasson
The purpose of the study was to investigate how members' interpersonal processes observed at the individual level determine team outcomes at the cluster level. I focus on two dimensions of interpersonal processes from previous research and theory, the extent to which members discuss and disagree about their work. I labeled the first construct dimension task debate, which is based on the information sharing literature (Stasser & Titus, 1985, 1987), and the second construct dimension task conflict, which is based on the intragroup conflict literature (Jehn & Mannix, 2001; Jehn, 1995). From minority influence theory (Moscovici, 1980, 1985a), I hypothesized that task conflict moderates (generally positive) relations between task debate and team outcomes. However, I extended De Dreu and West's (2001) contingent model in two ways. Firstly, I propose that the moderated effects have alternate directions in early, middle, and late episodes of specific projects. Secondly, I generalize the moderated relations to several important outcome variables from the team effectiveness literature (Mathieu, Maynard, Rapp, & Gilson, 2008); performance measured at the cluster level, satisfaction measured at the individual level, and creativity measured at both levels. Specifically, in early episodes, task conflict is a positive moderator; in middle episodes, it is negative; and in late episodes, it is positive again. I explore my thesis using a sample of 60 student teams (360 individuals) working together for 5 months (21 weeks) to write a first business plan for a new venture. I used self-reported data collected from members on weeks 1, 9, and 17 about their interpersonal processes and used data from archival, observer-rated, and self-reported sources on outcomes in week 21. I used Bayesian estimation for my multilevel structural equation modeling (MSEM) approach (B. O. Muthén & Asparouhov, 2011); (a) to indicator measurement error, (b) to individual selection error, and (c) to missing data on the predictor variables. Finally, a Bayes factor analysis of my informative hypothesis revealed moderately convincing support from the data for my model, where no such support was forthcoming from traditional graphing and post hoc probing of the moderated relations.
Catching up and middle management in emerging markets: The case of the Chinese Hypermarket Industry
Date: November 2013
By: Jie (Jay) Xiong
Advisor(s): Phillippe Monin
The objective of this dissertation is to understand the catching up process and middle managers in emerging countries. In the first study, we elucidate the ‘catching up' processes that exist when launching a novel industry in a new host country. Drawing on a longitudinal analysis of such a scenario in China, we examine the processes different groups (group of domestic firms and group of foreign entrants) utilize for catching up in the new market. We use the data gathered to develop a five-stage model illustrating the evolution of the industry in question, with an emphasis on catching up phenomena. To be specific, we theorize a staged multilevel model of catching up between domestic and foreign groups of retailers, consisted of five stages: export of a new business, birth of an industry, shift in government policy, reform and upgrade, and convergence.
In the second study, we focus on middle manager's practices and the roles these practices are linked to. It is different from the majority of research on middle management, which has tended to focus on normative strategy implementation roles (e.g., championing, synthesizing, facilitating and implementing). Based on four longitudinal case analyses of hypermarket retailers in China (Carrefour, Walmart, RT-Mart and China Resources Vanguard), we find that middle managers enact boundary-spanning roles (e.g., roles belonging to other intra-organizational management levels) in addition to their normative roles. By comparing the practice-role linkages before and after market liberalization, we identify four ways middle managers enact various roles: namely replicating, relocating, redefining and readapting. Middle managers replicate existing practices and relocate new practices in order to enact normative roles, while at the same time redefining existing practices and readapting new practices in order to fulfill boundary-spanning roles. This study also examines the influence of organizational control systems and environment change on the process of middle managers' practice-role management. Our lens on middle management practices in grocery hypermarket retailers extends theory on middle managers’ normative roles. This dissertation contributes to existing research in two main perspectives. The analysis of catching up adds to extant literature by providing group level of analysis. It also extends research on the catching up practices of the technology industry with theoretical insights from other industries, thus creating new possibilities for the research domain. The second study enriches the literature with analysis of the boundary-spanning roles of middle managers, in addition to deducing four ways middle managers enact these various roles. We further draw performance implications by studying the interactions of middle managers’ normative, boundary-spanning and resisting roles with regards to organizational capability building.
Empirically, we extend the catching up process study from the focus of high technology-based industries to low-tech based industries in emerging economies. Our study enriches the understanding of catching up processes and learning process along with the industry evolution in emerging countries. Meanwhile, we take a holistic view of middle managers in both subsidiaries and operational departments, providing insight into the contribution of middle management in transitional economies. Our broad consideration of middle managers’ practices and roles in both organizational control systems and different market periods of China benefit the understanding of middle management studies based on developed countries.
The Effect of Corporate Entrepreneurship and Organizational Knowledge Creation on Firm Second-order Competences: Evidence from Knowledge-Intensive Sectors
Date: July 2013
By: Rasmi Kokash
Advisor(s): Alain Fayolle, Zied Guedri
Whereas corporate entrepreneurship (CE) is viewed to influence firm competences, their relationship, along with organizational knowledge creation, remains largely unexplored. Towards that end, this research examines what and how different forms of CE actions (e.g. innovation, strategic renewal and corporate venturing), influence various firm second-order competences such as second- order marketing and R&D competences. It is further argued that firm second-order competences are also influenced by firm knowledge creation modes. By proposing a linkage between CE and firm competences- herein referred to as second- order competences, along with organizational knowledge creation effects, this research develops, and then, tests a model of firm-level entrepreneurship in context of competence development. Informed by literatures of Austrian school of economics, entrepreneurship, resource based view of the firm and organization knowledge creation perspective, it is proposed that firm second- order competences are variously influenced, in part, by different firm-level entrepreneurship activities, and, in part, by different organizational knowledge creation modes. Analysis of data collected from 37 firms, from various knowledge-intensive sectors, using regression modeling, confirms the proposed model.
A Comprehensive View of Social Entrepreneurship through Theoretical and Empirical Considerations
Date: July 2013
By: Giovany Cajaiba-Santana
Advisor(s): Alain Fayolle, Ignasi Marti
This dissertation contributes to the legitimization of social entrepreneurship as a research field through a critical review of the four main paradigms commonly used in entrepreneurship research namely: opportunity, innovation, value creation, and new venture creation. Although those paradigms are widely accepted in traditional entrepreneurship research, their use in the context of social entrepreneurship demands a critical and ontological review based on the specificities of the field. Throughout the four essays that this dissertation is made up of, I propose different viewpoints from which one can conceive and understand social entrepreneurship based on new stances of these paradigms. Instead of trying to conceive social entrepreneurship as a monolithic unity, I have presented it here as a complex phenomenon that can be understood and analysed from different perspectives with contributions to research and practice.
Alliance portfolios, firm resources, and performance
Date: October 2012
By: Seong-Young Kim
Advisor(s): Bernard Forgues, Zied Guedri
This dissertation presents a collection of three essays which focus on the relationships between alliance portfolios, firm factors, and performance. Because these relations remain understudied, I tackle them through three empirical studies in the semiconductor industry. The first essay explores how diversity in alliance portfolios and firm factors influence firm performance in the context of the U.S. semiconductor industry (1995–2009). Findings suggest that three types of diversity – alliance functions, technological resources, and positional resources – have varying effects on focal firm's market performance, while those links are contingent upon the firm's market experience. These findings contribute to the debate on portfolio diversity in alliance portfolios literature. The second essay investigates the relationship between partners' bargaining positions, a focal firm's resources, and its performance. Findings in the global semiconductor industry (1997–2007) suggest that the effect of relative bargaining power on performance depends upon a firm's relative resource commitment and portfolio cohesion between partners. These findings contribute to alliance portfolio literature, by highlighting a focal firm's aspect in the context of partners' endowments. The third essay examines the effect of resources fit between a firm and its partners on firm performance. Analyses using data of the global semiconductor firms (1997– 2007) show that increasing complementarity of technological resources and compatibility of organizational resources influences firm's profitability. These findings contribute to alliance portfolios literature, by extending the current debate on partner endowment to resource fit between firm and partners.
Entrepreneurship Education & Learning Processes: What does Evidence Show about Learning & Motivation Outcomes?
Date: June 2012
By: Narjisse Lassas-Clerc
Advisor(s): Alain Fayolle, Frederic Delmar
One size fits all? Tailored programme design and learning outcomes in entrepreneurship
Date: May 2012
By: Janice Byrne
Advisor(s): Alain Fayolle, Frederic Delmar
This thesis presents a collection of four articles which focus on programme design and learning outcomes in entrepreneurship education and training. I adopt a multi-theoretic, socio-cognitive lens to study three different target populations in entrepreneurship education: women, engineering students and middle managers. A conceptual model of entrepreneurship education teaching (Fayolle and Gailly, 2008) encapsulates the research questions and acts as a unifying framework for these four articles. Theories and concepts from the disparate fields of feminism, educational science, team processes, management development and training evaluation are drawn on to provide useful insights into the development of entrepreneurs. I conclude by drawing convergent lessons from these four articles for future research in entrepreneurship education research.
Knowledge Management, Innovation Processes and Market Building in Emerging Markets: The Case of the Indian Insurance Industry
Date: May 2012
By: Mohit Anand
Advisor(s): Philippe Monin, Ignasi Marti
My thesis is presented in the form of three research papers (Chapter 3, 4 and 5). The introductory chapter presents a detailed background on the two research streams upon which my research rests i.e. „Strategic Management‟ and „International Business‟. From the strategic management perspective, the first paper explores and identifies key knowledge management processes among international joint venture partners while doing innovation in emerging markets. The research question is: How do knowledge management processes in IJVs enable innovation in emerging markets? Therein I elaborate on the theoretical background of literature in the fields of resource and knowledge based view and international joint ventures.
The second and third papers use the lens of international business perspective to identify and explain certain innovation processes that respond to emerging market issues. This leads us to the second research question of: How do organizations innovate and what kind of innovation processes do they develop to respond to typically emerging economy issues? While innovating, these actors help to further develop and build nascent industries in these markets. This brings us to the third and final research question of: how do actors build markets in emerging countries? In this chapter, I further present detailed literature on emerging markets with focus on the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) segment and innovation studies.
The anchor themes for all the three papers are: the given context of an emerging market (India), a nascent industry (insurance sector), with similar organizational structure (IJVs) and innovation being the outcome under analysis. The thesis is presented as follows: Chapter - 1 provides the basic foundation of literature review on the two streams of strategic management and international business, further analyzed in detail in the three research papers accordingly. Chapter - 2 presents details on empirical setting, research design, sources of data and case studies. The three papers are then presented in Chapters - 3, 4 and 5 respectively. Finally, Chapter - 6 elucidates on the contributions, limitations, discussing avenues for future research summing up with brief conclusion of my thesis.
Plurality in business ethics: Creating an instrument to measure the various ethical frameworks in organization
Date: April 2012
By: Caroline Coulombe
Advisor(s): Zied Guedri, Christophe Roux-Dufort
The purpose of this dissertation is to develop an empirical instrument able to capture the variety of ethical principles used by managers in organizations. The philosophical literature offers dozen of principles based ethical frameworks, and the business ethics literature recognizes this plurality. Yet, most business ethics papers are normative, and few discuss more than three frameworks. In addition, a systematic search has produced only a handful of empirical papers attempting to measure this plurality, among which few are in accordance with received methodological conventions. Our process followed three steps. We first identified the ten most cited ethical frameworks in the business ethics literature, and summed up each of them with five assertions deemed accessible to practicing managers. In the second step, we analyzed extensively readings describing each ethical framework in order to synthesize the essence of the philosophy in five basic assumptions. In the third step, we empirically assessed the quality and significance of the questionnaire and its results. By and large, our results confirm the coexistence of a plurality of ethical frameworks in the representations of managers. They also show that managers tend to use frameworks based on a recombination of principles sometimes pertaining to more than one of the canonical moral theories discussed in the literature.
How Institutions Persist: Three Essays on Mechanisms in the Wine Industry
Date: December 2009
By: Gregoire Croidieu
Advisor(s): Philippe Monin, Frederic Delmar
My dissertation builds upon institutional theory in organizational sociology and examines the persistence of social orders over time. Though institutions “connote durability and stability”, the mechanisms that sustain and enable this persistence remains fairly unexplored. I address this issue around three essays in the wine industry.
The first essay mixes qualitative and quantitative evidence and explores why institutionalization occurs in the context of the 1855 Médoc wine classification, France (1815-1995). Findings suggest that three mechanisms, interests, collective identity and shared beliefs, are at play and that durable institutionalization results from the entrenchment of the emerging institution in a collective identity as it further shapes both interests and beliefs. These findings contribute to the institutionalization literature.
The second essay is qualitative and compares four regions in three countries to study why effective innovations sometimes fail to diffuse. Findings suggest that regional identities shape the interpretative judgment of appropriateness of the potential adopters. This judgment assesses the fit between the regional identity and the innovation and hence explains the non-diffusion of effective innovations. These findings contribute to the diffusion literature.
The third essay examines qualitatively and quantitatively how and why wine producers legitimately resist to wine critics in the Saint-Emilion wine field, France (1982-2007). Findings suggest that wine producers activate organizational logics, that their proximal (personal) and distal (family) history provide, to resist. When the pressures increase, the distal past further drives resistance. Loyalty as a sense of consistency and as a moral obligation explains this resistance. These findings contribute to the institutional logics and to the resistance literatures.
What Value Drivers to Bet on? A Delicate Path from Rent Generation to Rent Appropriation in French Biotech Firms
Date: June 2008
By: Olga Bruyaka
Advisor(s): Rodolphe Durand
The objective of this thesis is to provide new theoretical and empirical insights on how small firms in a high-tech industry (biotechnology) leverage key strategic factors in order to balance rent generation and rent appropriation in a short-term and over a longer period. Specifically, the following research issues are studied: 1) Questioning the direct relationship between rent generation and rent appropriation; 2) Investigating differing effects of particular value drivers – diversity of technology application, exploitation alliances, and strategic orientation – on rent generation vs. Rent appropriation; 3) Investigating alliance portfolio diversity effects on firm exits. The key contributions of this thesis are primarily within strategy research field in that it advances our knowledge about the role that particular value drivers play in conditioning high-tech firms' competitive advantage. The research topics examined in this thesis also intersect with entrepreneurship research field, particularly the conditions of small entrepreneurial firms' development and survival.