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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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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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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Finding Theory-Method Fit: A Comparison of Three Qualitative Approaches to Theory Building

Today, our forthcoming Journal of Management Inquiry article — Finding Theory–Method Fit: A Comparison of Three Qualitative Approaches to Theory Building — was published online. Co-authored by Joel Gehman (University of Alberta), Vern L. Glaser (University of Alberta), Kathleen M. Eisenhardt (Stanford University), Denny Gioia (Pennsylvania State University, Ann Langley (HEC Montreal), and Kevin G. Corley (Arizona State University), the article provides a synthesized summary of a Showcase Symposium held at the 2016 Academy of Management Annual Meeting.

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Theory-Method Packages Showcase Symposium

The video below was recorded during a Showcase Symposium held at the 2016 Academy of Management Annual Meeting in Anaheim, California. The event was organized by Joel Gehman and Vern L. Glaser (both from the University of Alberta). Speakers included Kathleen M. Eisenhardt (Stanford University), Dennis A. Gioia (Pennsylvania State University), Ann Langley (HEC Montréal), and Kevin G. Corley (Arizona State University).

How Institutions Matter!

Nice to find these waiting in my mailbox this morning. This double volume presents a collection of 23 papers on how institutions matter to socio-economic life. The papers delve deeply into the practical impact an institutional approach enables, as well as how such research has the potential to influence policies relevant to critical institutional changes unfolding in the world today. In Volume 48A, the focus is on the micro foundations of institutional impacts. In Volume 48B, the focus is on the macro consequences of institutional arrangements. Our introduction provides an overview to the two volumes, identifies points of contact between the papers, and briefly summarizes each contribution. We close by noting avenues for future research on how institutions matter. Overall, the volumes provide a cross-section of cutting edge institutional thought and empirical research, highlighting a variety of fruitful directions for knowledge accumulation and development.

Gehman, J., Lounsbury, M. & Greenwood, R. (eds). 2017. How Institutions Matter! Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 48A. ISBN 978-1-78635-430-3.

Gehman, J., Lounsbury, M. & Greenwood, R. (eds). 2017. How Institutions Matter! Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 48B. ISBN 978-1-78635-432-7.

Cultural Entrepreneurship Article In Press

Today, my article — Cultural Entrepreneurship: From making Culture to Cultural Making — was published online. The article was co-authored Jean-François Soublière, a Ph.D. student I am supervising, and will appear in the newly re-launched journal Innovation: Organization & Management, co-edited by Markus Perkmann and Nelson Phillips, both of Imperial College London. I also have joined the journal’s editorial board.

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Connecting Innovation with Sustainability

Professors Tima Bansal (Ivey Business School), Joel Gehman (University of Alberta), and Marie-France Turcotte (Université du Québec à Montréal) have been awarded a $2.5 million grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to help companies connect innovation with sustainability. In this Q&A, the researchers discuss why this work is so important, what it will accomplish, and how businesses can get involved.

Q1. Why do innovation and sustainability need to go together? How hard is it to accomplish this in business?

Answer: Sustainability is about creating shared value—value for the business and for society simultaneously. It means business activities benefit a range of stakeholders—shareholders, employees, the community, society, the ecosystem—today and over time.

But if sustainability was easy, everyone would be doing it well. It’s not easy. It’s complex and it’s uncertain. In an effort to simplify, firms often think about sustainability as an ‘add on’ to what they’re already doing. This approach results in a vastly distorted picture of a firm’s long-term sustainability potential.

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Hidden Badge of Honor

Today, our forthcoming Academy of Management Journal article — Hidden Badge of Honor: How Contextual Distinctiveness Affects Category Promotion Among Certified B Corporations — was published online.

Co-authored with Matthew Grimes (Indiana University), the research asks: Why would an organization pursue membership in an organizational category, yet forego opportunities to subsequently promote that membership? Drawing on prior research, we develop a theoretical model that distinguishes between basic and subordinate categories and highlights how organizations may differ in their promotion of the same subordinate category. We hypothesize that a subordinate category’s contextual distinctiveness within different basic categories increases promotion, and that these effects are amplified in relatively larger subordinate category peer groups. To test our hypotheses, we developed a proprietary web-based software toolset, CULTR, and gathered data regarding B Corporations’ web-based promotion of their certification. We supplemented our statistical analysis with interviews of Certified B Corporation executives and entrepreneurs. Our findings challenge prior assumptions about the causes of promotional forbearance, while extending our understanding of category distinctiveness within contexts as well as sources of intra-category variation.

Hydraulic Fracturing, Newspaper Coverage, and Social License to Operate

We have been hard at work transforming research originally prepared for our report for Canadian Water Network into a series of interdisciplinary peer-reviewed publications. The first of what we hope will be a trilogy of articles was published today in the open access journal Sustainability. The article — “Comparative Analysis of Hydraulic Fracturing Wastewater Practices in Unconventional Shale Development: Newspaper Coverage of Stakeholder Concerns and Social License to Operate” — was co-authored by an interdisciplinary team, including Joel Gehman (professor at the University of Alberta, Department of Strategic Management & Organization), Dara Y. Thompson (former M.Sc. student at the University of Alberta, Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology), Daniel S. Alessi (professor at the University of Alberta, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences), Diana M. Allen (professor at Simon Fraser University, Department of Earth Sciences), Greg G. Goss (professor at the University of Alberta, Department of Biological Sciences).

The starting point for the overall project was the conceptualization of the hydraulic fracturing wastewater context as comprised of three potentially interrelated spheres of action (Figure 1). By delineating between operator practices, regulatory requirements, and stakeholder concerns, our goal was to better understand the extent to which these different spheres affected one another, if at all. In essence, we conceptualized the hydraulic fracturing wastewater context as a dynamic process in which any one sphere has the potential to influence the other two. Relative to the overall conceptual framework, this article focuses on one of these spheres specifically: stakeholder concerns.

Figure 1. Conceptualization of the hydraulic fracturing wastewater context.

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