Innovating for Sustainability Salon Meeting

The next virtual meeting of the Innovating for Sustainability Salon will be held on October 1, 2019, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm Eastern Time. The theme for the session is: From Local to Global: The study of sustainable innovation at various systems levels

The study of sustainable innovation at various systems levels. Solutions to grand challenges are being addressed at different levels in the system. Increasingly, many sustainability approaches advocate the implementation of local solutions to tackle global challenges. This approach presents both advantages and limitations. For instance, district levels are seen as critical to effectively innovate small-scale infrastructures for renewable energy upgrades such as mini-grids and local energy communities, enabling neighbourhood sustainable grid configurations. However, for policies such as those intervening on climate change, this approach might compromise their effectiveness, since they address environmental damages extending beyond local jurisdictions. The systems nature of grand challenges calls for systems solutions. While a local approach to grand challenges comes with limitations, a holistic approach to sustainable innovation presents many challenges. The next salon seeks to explore the study of sustainability innovation at different levels in the system.

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Information Disclosure or Opaque Transparency

My latest paper — Opaque Transparency: How Material Affordances Shape Intermediary Work — is now published. Co-authored with Miron Avidan (McGill University) and Dror Etzion (McGill University), this research examines the emergence of FracFocus, self‐regulatory initiative with strong industry ties, charged with disclosing data pertaining to the chemicals used in oil and gas wells completed using hydraulic fracturing technology (fracking) in the United States and Canada. It is part of a larger program of research that has looked at numerous aspects of unconventional shale development and hydraulic fracturing.

The article was published in Regulation & Governance as part of a special issue “Exploring the Formal and Informal Roles of Regulatory Intermediaries in Transnational Multi-Stakeholder Regulation,” edited by Luc Brès, Sébastien Mena, and Marie‐Laure Salles‐Djelic.

Citation details:

Avidan, M., Etzion, D. & Gehman, J. Opaque Transparency: How Material Affordances Shape Intermediary Work. Regulation and Governance. In press. doi:10.1111/rego.12217.

Awarded Chair in Free Enterprise

Today, the Alberta School of Business announced the following research chairs have been awarded for a five-year period, beginning July 1, 2019.

  • Telus Chair – Trish Reay
  • Cormie Chair – Emily Block
  • Alberta School of Business Chair in Free Enterprise – Joel Gehman

The selection committee was comprised of Kyle Murray (committee chair), David Deephouse and Jennifer Argo.

New Organization Theory Journal Announced

In January, I was asked to join the editorial team for Organization Theory, a new open access journal being launched by the European Group for Organization Studies and published by Sage.

Organization Theory is a multi-disciplinary journal, rooted in the social sciences, inspired by diversity and paradigmatic plurality, and open to commentary and debate. Given this pluralistic ethos, papers can adopt different theory building styles and can be written up as research articles or perspective-taking essays, in both longer and shorter formats. Besides regular articles, Organization Theory publishes review papers and a series of commissioned essays that speak to the bigger theoretical topics and debates in the field.

Editorial Team:

  • Joep Cornelissen, Editor in Chief, Erasmus University, Netherlands
  • Markus Höllerer, Consulting Editor, University of New South Wales, Australia
  • Eva Boxenbaum, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
  • Penny Dick, Sheffield University Management School, UK
  • Joel Gehman, University of Alberta, Canada
  • Juliane Reinecke, King’s College London, UK
  • David Seidl, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Sophia Tzagaraki, Managing Editor, Greece

Today, we officially came out of stealth mode.

New Article on Legitimacy and Crowdfunding Just Accepted

Today, my paper — “The Legitimacy Threshold Revisited: How Prior Successes and Failures Spill Over to Other Endeavors on Kickstarter” — co-authored with Jean-François (JF) Soublière (University of Alberta) was accepted for publication in the Academy of Management Journal.

The paper asks: How does the legitimacy conferred on entrepreneurial endeavors affect the legitimacy of subsequent ones? We extend the notion of a “legitimacy threshold” to develop and test a recursive model of legitimacy. Whereas extant research has focused on whether entrepreneurial endeavors garner sufficient support from key audiences to cross this threshold, we argue that the order of magnitude by which they succeed or fail is consequential for later entrants, too. Distinguishing “blockbuster” from “unsung” successes, and “path breaking” from “broken path” failures, we contend that recent successes and failures affect related subsequent endeavors in predictable, though sometimes counterintuitive ways. We test our hypotheses by examining 182,358 entrepreneurial endeavors pitched within 165 categories over a six-year period on Kickstarter, one of the most important crowdfunding platforms. We show that individual outcomes, taken collectively, generate legitimacy spillovers, either by encouraging audiences to repeatedly support other related endeavors or by discouraging them from doing so. Our research contributes to understanding the recursive nature of legitimacy, the competitive dynamics of entrepreneurial efforts, and crowdfunding platforms.

Ranked No. 13 on the Latest #thinklist

I was ranked #13 on a “list of the most influential faculty thinkers on issues of responsible business in social media.” Just ahead of me on the list was one of my heroes in the field of management, Marc Ventresca (University of Oxford). Dubbed the #thinklist, the ranking was compiled by the Centre for Business, Organisations & Society at the University of Bath.

Awarded EEPRN Grant

Today I learned I was awarded a grant of $9,800 from the Economics and Environmental Policy Research Network (EEPRN), part of the Smart Prosperity Institute at the University of Ottawa. The funding will support development of the Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals Open Data Project as described below

Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals Open Data Project — The widespread adoption of hydraulic fracturing has ushered in a “shale revolution,” but also has raised concerns about its potential environmental, health and safety effects. In light of these developments, the goal of this project is to compile and distribute a comprehensive database of hydraulic fracturing chemicals injected at more than 150,000 wells in Canada and the United States from 2011-2018. All wells will be identified using their well identifiers, allowing this database to be easily linked to numerous other datasets which also reference these same identifiers. Data will be gathered from public sources, such as the website, and government agencies, such as the US Environmental Protection Agency, Alberta Energy Regulator, and the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission.

Article on Opaque Transparency Available Online

Last week my latest article — Opaque Transparency: How Material Affordances Shape Intermediary Work — was published online. Co-authored with Miron Avidan and Dror Eztion, both at McGill University, the paper asks: How do the material aspects of intermediary work affect regulators, targets, and beneciaries? Continue reading