Grant Approved by the Sustainability Enhancement Fund

Today I received notice that my Sustainability Enhancement Fund (SEF) grant proposal was fully funded by the University of Alberta Office of Sustainability. Dubbed the “Strategies for Sustainable Business Case Writing Project,” this year-long funding will support the publication of case studies that examine challenges of and solutions for addressing sustainability concerns in managerial and organizational contexts. These case studies will be available for use by business school faculty around the world in teaching the next generation of business leaders. This is my first grant from the SEF.

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Congrats to JF on His Dissertation Proposal Defense

This morning, Jean-François (J.-F.) Soublière successfully defended his dissertation proposal — Essays on Cultural Entrepreneurship: Distributed Cultural Entrepreneurship, Legitimacy Spillovers and Piggybacking, and a Theory of Meaning Cultivation. He is now a Ph.D. candidate, my first Ph.D. student to reach this milestone. I have been J.-F.’s supervisor since he joined our program in August 2014. His other committee members were Michael Lounsbury and Dev Jennings and his outside examiners were Mary Ann Glynn (Boston College) and Tim Hannigan (University of Alberta).

The Business-Society Interface

This afternoon I had an opportunity to give a talk — “The Business-Society Interface: Meeting the Challenges of Sustainability, Social License to Operate, and Innovation” — to a group of oil and gas executives visiting the University of Alberta from India. The talk covered topics such as sustainability, ESG ratings, and fossil fuel divestment, while also drawing on ideas which originated in two of my published articles: Metatheoretical Perspectives on Sustainability Journeys and Social License to Operate.

Goodbye to Cindy Dong

This morning I said goodbye to Cong (Cindy) Dong, a Ph.D. student from China University of Petroleum School of Business Administration in Beijing, who has been visiting me for the past year through a prestigious grant from the China Scholarship Council. During her time at the University of Alberta, Cindy attended doctoral seminars with our Ph.D. students and participated in my Department’s paper development workshops and visiting speaker series.

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Winner of the 2017 ONE Emerging Scholar Award

On August 7, 2017, I received the 2017 ONE Emerging Scholar Award from the Organizations and the Natural Environment (ONE) Division of the Academy of Management. The award “recognizes early career academics who have already made outstanding research contributions in the area of organizations and the natural environment, and who appear to have a strong potential to continue making such contributions in the near future.”

To be eligible, a nominee generally must be within six years of receiving her/his Ph.D. (or other terminal degree), pre-tenure (or equivalent), and a member of good standing in the ONE Division for the past three years. The award committee assesses each nominee’s corpus of work for its relevance, its academic contribution, theoretical and methodological rigor, and practical implications. Continue reading

Research Prospects at the Intersection of Robust Action Strategies and Power

On August 7, I gave a talk at the 2017 Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA as part of a symposium on “Addressing Grand Challenges with Institutional Research: The Critical Role of Power.” My talk was entitled: “Tackling Grand Challenges: Research Prospects at the Intersection of Robust Action Strategies and Power.” The slides of my talk are accessible through SlideShare below.

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2017 Roland Calori Prize

On July 6, 2017, the Roland Calori Prize was awarded for the eighth time at the 33rd EGOS Colloquium in Copenhagen, Denmark. Professors Fabrizio Ferraro (IESE Business School), Dror Etzion (McGill University), and Joel Gehman (Alberta School of Business) won the award for their paper, “Tackling Grand Challenges Pragmatically: Robust Action Revisited.” Read the paper here.

The Roland Calori Prize is awarded bi-annually by the European Group for Organization Studies (EGOS) for the best article published in the journal Organization Studies over the previous two years. Awarded in tribute to professor Roland Calori for his contributions to EGOS, Organization Studies, and EMLYON Business School, the prize recognizes papers that display methodological quality and theoretical innovation, reflecting the diverse perspectives of social sciences as they relate to organizational studies. In the spirit of Roland Calori’s own work, the prize reflects pluralism in research traditions and diversity of paradigms. The prize of €2,000 is sponsored by EMLyon.

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Moral Accounting by Organizations

Our article in the Journal of Management InquiryMoral Accounting by Organizations: A Process Study of the U.S. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission — was published today. The article was part of a special issue on corruption guest edited by Stelios Zyglidopoulos, Paul Hirsch, Pablo Martin de Holan, and Nelson Phillips. Co-authored with two fellow Penn State alumni, Chad Murphy and Shubha Patvardhan, in the article we take an inductive approach to understanding the aftermath of crises, namely, the process by which organizations come to be viewed as morally accountable (or not) for such events.  Continue reading

Social License to Operate: Legitimacy by Another Name

My article — Social License to Operate: Legitimacy by Another Name? — was published in Canadian Public Administration today. Co-authored with Lianne M. Lefsrud (University of Alberta) and Stewart Fast (University of Ottawa), the article draws in part on research I originally prepared for a report by the Canadian Network for Energy Policy Research and Analysis entitled: “Energy Projects, Social License, Public Acceptance and Regulatory Systems in Canada: A White Paper.”

Using BP Neural Networks to Prioritize Risk Management

Today, my latest article was published in the open access journal Sustainability. The article — Using BP Neural Networks to Prioritize Risk Management Approaches for China’s Unconventional Shale Gas Industry — was co-authored by Cong (Cindy) Dong (a Ph.D. student at China University of Petroleum School of Business Administration, currently visiting me at the University of Alberta), Xiucheng Dong (China University of Petroleum, School of Business Administration), Joel Gehman (University of Alberta School of Business), and Lianne M. Lefsrud (University of Alberta, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering).

China has become the top energy consumer in the world. At the same time, China is facing intense international and domestic pressure to reduce the greenhouse gas and other emissions resulting from its primarily coal-based energy system. Given these twin pressures of increasing energy demand while controlling emissions, the development of China’s shale gas industry has emerged as a strategic national priority.The shale gas resource distribution in China is illustrated in Figure 1. Seven provinces—Sichuan, Xinjiang, Chongqing, Guizhou, Hunan, Hubei and Shanxi—account for 68.9% of the nation’s total reserves.

Figure 1. Shale gas resource potential in China’s provinces (trillions of m3).

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