Sociomaterial Processes of Category Emergence and Naturalization

This past week, at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting in Boston, I was part of a workshop entitled: Revealing the Cultural in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The other presenters, discussants and organizers included included:

  • Jean Clarke; University of Leeds
  • Joep Cornelissen; VU University Amsterdam
  • Davide Ravasi; Bocconi University
  • Tyler Wry; University of Pennsylvania
  • Krsto Pandza; University of Leeds
  • Howard Aldrich; University of North Carolina
  • Miriam Wolf; University of Leeds
  • Robin Holt; University of Liverpool
  • Charlotte Coleman; University of Leeds

My talk was on Sociomaterial Processes of Category Emergence and Naturalization. It drew on two of my existing papers, as well as ongoing work.

The presentation is available through Slideshare.

B-School Roundup

Recently, the Wall Street Journal published a trio of articles on b-schools.

In Wealth or Waste? Rethinking the Value of a Business Major, we learn that business majors now account for a whopping 20% of all bachelor’s degrees awarded, but that a number of companies are finding such graduates increasingly lack the critical thinking, debating, writing and communication skills that come from exposure to the liberal arts. Last month, the Aspen Institute brought together more than 20 U.S. and European business schools to discuss how to better integrate liberal arts education into the business school curriculum. Participants included George Washington University, Georgetown University, Santa Clara UniversityFranklin & Marshall College, Babson College and ESADE.

According the the article, bachelor’s awarded by field for the 2008-09 academic year:

  • Business: 347,985, or 21.7%
  • Social sciences and history: 168,500, or 10.5%
  • Health professions and related clinical sciences: 120,488, or 7.5%
  • Education: 101,708, or 6.4%
  • Psychology: 94,271, or 5.9%
  • Visual and performing arts: 89,140, or 5.6%

Source: National Center for Education Studies

According to New Lures for ‘Quants’: Wharton Rebrands Itself, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School is, well, rebranding itself. “The new marketing materials rely heavily on charts and graphs, including an infographic with concentric circles to show how far students travel to study at the school and another with colorful vertical bars to represent finance professors’ years of experience.” In addition to the new marketing campaign, Wharton is investing in three strategic areas: innovation, social impact and global presence, each of which is headed by a vice dean.

Finally, in Dean of Cornell’s Johnson School: Reflecting on Five Years of Tenure, Cornell University’s Joe Thomas reflects on his five years of tenure at the Johnson Graduate School of Management. According to the article, his biggest challenge was shepherding the school “through a financial crisis that cut into endowment payouts and temporarily devastated the finance industry.” Whereas 44.5% of the class of 2007 took jobs in finance, only 36.9% of the class of 2010 and 36.2% of the class of 2011 went into finance. “When the crisis first hit, we put extra funds into [job] placement activities, instead of other activities. We hired more [career service] staff, we started paying for buses to drive people back and forth to New York City, [we did] more job treks.”

Pennsylvania Green Energy

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership released the top 50 purchasers of green energy in the country. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is #5 on the list. The state’s annual purchases totaled 500 million green kilowatt hours, equivalent to 50% of total power consumption. Also in the top 50 from Pennsylvania are several universities, including:

  • University of Pennsylvania (#19; 202 million KWh; 48% of electricity consumption)
  • Carnegie Mellon University (#44; 87 million KWh; 75% of electricity consumption); and
  • Pennsylvania State University (#46; 84 million KWh; 20% of electricity consumption).

Out of curiosity, I translated these figures into KWh per student:

Obviously, these are wide ranges and should be interpreted with care. Students are only one source of electricity demand on a college campus.  Moreover, it is not clear whether the figures for Penn State on the EPA website are for just the University Park campus, or for all the Commonwealth Campuses (out of convenience I have assumed the latter). If instead, these figures are for University Park only, then PSU’s electricity consumption for this campus only would jump to 9,493 KWh per student. Additionally, the Penn State University Park campus steam plant consumes about 7,500 tons of coal per year, and produces about 20,000 MWh per year, or 7% of the campus’s electricity demand, as well as about 175 tons of steam per hour, which is used for heating campus buildings. To make an apples to apples comparison, this would also need to be factored in to the calculations.