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10:15-11:15 Session 2A: What is the Value of Work?
Location: Bronfman 620
Michael Gibson-Light (University of Arizona, USA)
Class Difference behind Bars: Inmate Labor Stratification and Access to Formal and Informal Prison Markets

ABSTRACT. Much research on penal labor explores how participation in prison work programs shapes ex-offenders’ reentry outcomes, such as recidivism (see Wilson et al. 2000) or formal labor market participation (see Seiter and Kadela 2003) rates. While some studies find positive effects of skilled labor or vocational training towards these ends, such work opportunities are rare (Lynch 2010) and relatively few inmates have access. Further, the impacts of work on the experiences of inmates during incarceration remain underexplored. This paper—part of a dissertation research project—adopts a more nuanced perspective, viewing the prison as home to a stratified employment system offering a range of pay and skill levels. The status of inmates in the stratified labor hierarchy affects access to formal and informal prison economies. In this closed labor market, earnings differentials have social, familial, emotional, and health implications.

To explore these phenomena at the intersection of prison labor and economies, I draw on ethnographic data from 18 months working alongside medium security inmate workers and staff members in a US state prison. The anonymous institution, called “Sunbelt State Penitentiary” (SSP), is a large state prison in the Sunbelt region. 82 in-depth interviews with inmates and prison staff supplement observations. Participants were drawn from four work programs spanning the penal labor hierarchy: a call center and a sign shop (the “best prison jobs,” according to participants), an auto garage (a mid-tier job in terms of desirability), and a food prep warehouse (the most derided position in the institution).

At SSP, inmate workers compete for a few higher-paying, higher-skilled positions (“good prison jobs”) and seek to avoid lower-paying, deskilled positions (“bad prison jobs”). To navigate the prisoner labor pool and secure high-paying, skilled work, successful inmates draw on a variety of capitals and cultural repertoires. Social capital (ties to inmates or staff in “good jobs” or with some pull), cultural capital (knowledge and skills relevant to competing in formal labor markets, e.g., resume writing or interviewing talents), and work skills (abilities relevant to production processes) may all affect how inmates are sorted into different work sites, stations, and tasks.

The outcomes of this job sorting are of consequence. A 30-fold difference in pay separates the lowest- and highest-paid inmates at SSP ($0.10 – $3.00/hour). Inmates rely on these wages to purchase desirable food, clothing, entertainment, and other goods in the formal prison economy via the commissary store. Inmate pay is also used in the informal prison economy through participation in the black market, in which inmates rely on ramen noodle packets as currency to purchase goods (e.g., contraband food, cultural goods) and services (e.g., laundry, cleaning). Inmates may also become “prison capitalists” in this underground economy by operating black market “stores” from their beds.

Finally, this paper discusses the implications of formal and informal market access for inmates’ health and nutrition (via food and medical services), emotional state (e.g., via telephone access, entertainment, security), and families (via limiting reliance on outside economic support or sending remittances from prison wages).

Marcel Knudsen (Northwestern- Evanston, USA)
Evaluation at Work: Towards an Economic Sociology of Wages

ABSTRACT. Do wages reflect of systems of evaluation? Although sociological research has come tantalizingly close to asking this question, it remains a significant gap in research on compensation. This article brings the sociology of (e)valuation to bear on the study of wages, a crucial area for understanding patterns of inequality. It argues for an engagement between the fields of workplace inequality and of valuation. It then applies this framework to a study of restaurant workplaces. It ends with a call for more research on hierarchies and wages as an area where the sociology of work and economic sociology overlap.

Managerial decisions about wages, promotion, and hiring are sites where inequalities are reproduced. Research on social stratification in the workplace has explored how gender and race impact the evaluation of workers, leading to wage gaps and job segregation. This literature provides a partial perspective on workplace evaluation, emphasizing the linkages between status and perceived worth. The sociology of evaluation contributes a framework on how these systems are formed, legitimated, and maintained. This study argues that managers apply “criteria of worth,” when estimating the value of employees. These criteria can be examined by analyzing raises, promotions, and similar decisions in organizations. Hierarchies of wages and worth are intertwined within firms, legitimating both structures. However, this process creates possibilities for inconsistency, where the “fairness” of organizational decisions is challenged.

This article applies this framework to an illustrative example: restaurant industry hierarchies and wage decisions. It draws on 90 interviews with owners, managers, and workers conducted during a study of minimum wage increases. Three primary “criteria of worth” are identified: skill, tenure/loyalty, and work ethic. These criteria are used by owners and managers to describe the value of workers, and to justify wage hierarchies. In addition, the criteria are reflected in compensation practices. Finally, this study shows that systems of worth impacted decisions following minimum wage increases. Pay hierarchies were maintained and reinforced, even at significant expense to owners themselves.

10:15-11:15 Session 2B: Networks, Brokerage, and Institutional Change
Location: Bronfman 210
Tanja Collavo (Said Business School (Oxford University), Italy)
Managing networks to foster Social and Institutional Change: Brokerage in the Social Entrepreneurship sector

ABSTRACT. This paper explores how incumbent organizations in an emerging civil society sector use brokerage as an institutional strategy (Lawrence, 1999) to shape its boundaries and definition, involve in it organizations from multiple sectors, set membership criteria and attribute roles and rules of interaction. In the last decade there has been an increasing focus on the connections between networks and the emergence and change of institutions and sectors. Some of this work hinted at the role of brokerage in allowing institutional entrepreneurs and change agents to acquire power, resources and legitimacy. This research extends this general focus on networks and brokerage, by exploring in detail what organizations actually do when connecting parties and facilitating collaborations between them to define sector boundaries and diffuse membership criteria, roles, practices and shared meanings. To do so, this paper makes use of the well-developed literature on brokerage strategies, which focuses on tertius gaudens and tertius iugens orientations and activities. I collected data on four organizations creating and managing networks through brokerage practices in the social entrepreneurship sector in England and contributing to its establishment and growth. Data included 62 interviews with members of these four agencies and of their networks and over 2000 published documents and online posts produced by the four organizations, their network members and external parties involved in the sector. I used qualitative methods tools to develop a thematic analysis of brokerage practices and of their consequences on the network and on its members with intent to explore their impact on the sector in terms of defining its meaning and boundaries, the practices and roles adopted by its members and its structure. This paper focuses on those practices that can be seen as belonging to a tertius gaudens strategic orientation – i.e. that enable the broker to obtain benefits from the management of a network, for example in the form of information arbitrage opportunities and power. Across the four organizations, it was possible to identify two different gaudens-oriented brokerage strategies: one based on a “soft-power” approach and one based on a “hard-power” approach. Both approaches, despite their differences in terms of brokerage activities used to create and manage a network, allow the brokering organizations to obtain control and information advantages. The “soft-power” approach transforms the network and its members into an amplifier of the views of the brokering agency on the sector and on the appropriate practices and roles to adopt inside it. The “hard-power” approach directly enhances the legitimacy and power of the brokering agency inside the sector, thus increasing its opportunity to diffuse its own views and to make others adopt them. Overall, this paper contributes to the literature on brokerage by expanding the concept of tertius gaudens, by exploring different approaches to adopt this strategic orientation and by showing the connection between brokerage and the possibility to shape an emerging sector’s boundaries and to diffuse shared meanings, practices and roles.

David Obstfeld (Cal State Fullerton, USA)
Assembly Microsocial Action Logic: Firm, Industry and Field Change through Orchestration of Networks, Knowledge, and Creative Projects

ABSTRACT. How does adaptation in firms, industries, and institutional fields arise at the microsocial level? We introduce the BKAP model (i.e., brokerage, knowledge articulation, and projects) to suggest a microsocial process to theorize the collective, action, mobilization and scaling that accounts for how local action leads to larger impact. The BKAP action model is premised on strategic actors’ social skill defined by Fligstein and McAdam (2012, 46) as “the ability to induce cooperation by appealing to and helping to create shared meanings and collective identities.” Consistent with these authors, we argue that social skill is an important tool for strategic actors, whether those actors are operating within existing orders or endeavoring to create new ones, requiring a capacity to forge linkages within and across contexts. The BKAP model proposes that social skill is a function of networks, tertius iungens combinatorial action (Obstfeld, 2005) and knowledge articulation in pursuit of routine and non-routine innovation or creative projects. Per Padgett and Powell (2012) and Sgourev (2015), we further argue that this microsocial crucible of action may serve not only as a source of local mobilization, but as a catalyst of systemic “tipping” or a chain reaction whose impact extends well beyond the broker’s immediate efforts. The vehicle of such tipping, we will argue, is the creative project.

While the organizational literature often emphasizes how routines lead to inertia and stability. Recent work on routines (Feldman & Pentland, 2003; Feldman, 2000) has found more capacity for change within routines than previously acknowledged in the earlier organizational routines literature. These accounts of organizational routines, even when allowing for their plasticity and adaptive potential, however, do not account for how many forms of escalating change in organizations, industries, and fields is created. As an alternative, creative projects, emergent trajectories of interdependent action that introduce change into a social context (Obstfeld, 2012), and organizational routines, repetitive trajectories of interdependent action, are proffered as two interactive forms of organizational coordination. We further argue that different strategic initiatives and their associated implementation trajectories of coordinative action emerge as either creative projects or routines. Organizations and fields involve evolving ecologies of projects and routines where projects evolve into, punctuate, and change routines. Organization change and adaptation involves not only a variation, selection, and retention (VSR) of organizational routines but of routines and projects. VSR processes may lead to competition but also to escalating growth. Implications for incremental and radical innovation, mobilization processes, and ecological views of organizational change are discussed.

10:15-11:15 Session 2C: Corporate Governance and Finance
Location: Bronfman 179
Richard Benton (University of Illinois, USA)
Brokerage and Closure in Corporate Control: Structural Sources of Power for a Fractured Corporate Elite

ABSTRACT. Managerialist corporate governance models remain surprisingly robust in the modern era, even as shareholder-value norms have gained prominence. Recently, the fracturing of the corporate interlock network threatens corporate managers’ capacity to act as a unified group in support of their shared interests, potentially destroying managerialism and elevating shareholder oriented corporate governance models. Paradoxically, however, the fracturing of the corporate elite has not led to a widespread retreat of managerialism. Drawing on structural theories of social capital, this paper argues that corporate managers have replaced their collective structural resources, embedded in the board network, with particularistic structural resources located within their focal firms. By adopting lone-insider board structures, where the CEO is the only employee on the board of directors, CEOs establish brokerage positions within their focal firms allowing them to preserve their autonomy even as the broader network withers. This paper applies a cohesive network blocking technique to uncover the nested structure of the board interlock network and locate firms within more or less structurally cohesive network communities. Analysis from panel regression models of firm-level data reveals that firms nested in cohesive were the first to adopt lone-insider boards, supplementing and eventually replacing closure with brokerage as a structural resource. Analysis also reveals that these alternative structural resources operated to preserve managerialism during different times. Network closure traditionally helped to preserve managerialism against shareholder pressure but this effect disappeared as the network fragmented in the mid-2000s. In its absence, managers increasingly rely on particularistic brokerage positions to maintain their autonomy. Consequently, managerialism remains surprisingly robust in the era of a fractured corporate elite because top managers have become more focused on establishing positions of power within their own firms.

Adam Goldstein (Princeton University, USA)
Bringing the Financiers Back In: Passive Investors and the Social Consequences of Shareholder Value Capitalism, 2001-2015

ABSTRACT. This paper examines how varying forms of institutional ownership shape financial extraction, employment downsizing, and short-termist investment strategies among publicly-traded corporations. We focus in particular on the role passive index funds, which have grown rapidly in size and influence since 2008. By 2015, over 40% of fund-held stock equities were in passive funds. The so-called big three passive managers (Vanguard, Blackrock, and State Street) together represent the largest ownership block in over 40% of all listed U.S. firms, and in 88% of the S&P 500. Vanguard alone has a >5% stake in 468 of the S&P 500 firms, up from just 3 in 2005.

The rise of passive funds is particularly interesting because their long-term horizons ("patient capital") represent a potentially countervailing force against the pervasive short-termism which is often ascribed to shareholder-value capitalism. Indeed, passive fund managers have become vocal critics of short-term orientations. The CEO of Blackrock, Lawrence Fink, has publicly chided firms for rampant use of buybacks and other tactics to boost stock prices at the expense of longer-term sustainability. In a letter sent to the CEO of every Fortune 500 firm, he demanded that firms devise written, long-term plans. The fact that Blackrock is the largest single investor in a plurality of public firms implies that such pressure could carry influence.

The surprising growth of patient capital at the heart of U.S. finance complicates received views about the role of institutional investors in contemporary shareholder value capitalism. It also raises questions about what effect these long-term investors might have, if any, in staunching shareholder-value driven disinvestments in employees and production? Is there evidence that growing passive control might augur a shift away from what William Lazonick calls the “downsize and distribute” mode of corporate behavior?

We address this question by assembling quarterly data on the ownership and behaviors of all publicly-traded firms in the U.S. from 2001-2015. We analyze an array of outcome measures, including employment (levels, layoffs, and employee benefits expenditures); financial extraction (stock buybacks, total shareholder distributions); and long-term productive investments (CAPEX, R&D expenditures).

Our analysis addresses two interrelated questions: first, what is the unconditional association between passive ownership share and firm-level outcomes? We expect that more passive ownership will be associated with less financial extraction, less short-termism, and fewer employment reductions. If so, what is the threshold at which passive ownership matters?

Second, how do we reconcile the enormous growth of patient capital with the divergent aggregate trend toward intensified financial extraction in recent years via buybacks (e.g. the "cannibalized company")? There are three possible relationships: 1) No effect of passive ownership -- despite its massive size, patient capital remains ineffectual in shaping behavior at the firm-level, or is only effective under certain conditions. 2) Marginal effect of passive ownership, but outweighed by countervailing trend. 3) Counter-intuitive complementarity between passive ownership and extraction because large passive blocks provide resource for activists and/or attract activists (Appel et al.)

We test these alternatives using simple fixed-effects models, as well as instrumental variable estimates.

10:15-11:15 Session 2D: Marking the Borders of Professional Identities
Location: Bronfman 245
Alison Gerber (Uppsala University, Sweden)
There Be Monsters: Valuation and occupational boundaries

ABSTRACT. In this paper, I show that valuation processes are central to occupational identity and legitimacy and explain how such processes orient identity formation, sanction some activities while denying the validity of others, and allow for in- and outgroup distinctions. Drawing on data from 80 in-depth interviews and ethnographic fieldwork from a study on visual artists, I argue that the relationships that form in practice between multiple orders of worth constitute particular occupational landscapes of meaning and show how accounts of worth both provide for “types” of occupational actors but also allow for the development of cautionary tales, caricatures that teach actors how not to be.

While much of the literature on logics of action and value that take a structural or institutional view imply that such logics are stable and drive similar expressions and outcomes no matter the context (e.g. Freidson 2001; Ruef and Scott 1998; Thornton and Ocasio 1999; Thornton 2001), a good deal of contemporary economic sociology is focused on showing when, why, and how even markets (arguably the most stable, important, and unbending of such logics) work differently, and mean different things, in different places and times (e.g. Anteby 2010; Aspers 2009; Childress 2012; Healy 2006; Spillman 1999) The paper shows how marriages between accounts represent important, stable, and widespread routes to value and legitimacy within occupations. The relationships between accounts are not “compromises”, in which juxtapositions of diverse orders of worth are both temporary and fragile, (Boltanski and Thévenot 2006) nor are they “ambiguities”, in which flexible opportunists argue that first one, then another base of value is the one that counts (Stark 2009). While distinct orders of worth might be logically incompatible, accords between them are not empirically untenable, and in fact some fields may be constructed so as to virtually require pairings and other relationships between diverse orders. Though the empirical field here is generally understood through a Bourdieusian lens (1984, 1985, 1993), the ways that relationships between accounts of value outlined in this paper suggest that the arts are not as distinct from other occupational fields as we might imagine. Further, it argues that actors in occupational fields including the arts are both less positionally stable than previously assumed and that they lack access to the kinds of dualistic purity that Bourdieu’s model allows.

Caricatures define the unacceptable upper limit of each account of value; in the arts, the scheming artist-as-speculator and others shape artists’ narratives, though they cannot be seen to populate the real world. These caricatures are meaningful “types” of artists, and though no individual artist fits any one profile, these archetypes define the boundaries of the world of contemporary art practice. Each marks the outer limit of one route to the valuation of practice; continue down this path, these caricatures tell us, and you are no longer an artist. The caricatures that define the outer limits of an occupational landscape serve as archetypical cautionary tales, shaping our understanding of appropriate goals, behavior, and accounts within an occupational community.

Michel Anteby (Boston University, USA)
Nicholas Occhiuto (Yale University, USA)
The Rise and Challenges of “Stand-in Labor”: Cowriters, Ghostwriters, and the New Economy of the Outsourced Self

ABSTRACT. The notion of meeting our most personal needs with the help of paid strangers—or what Arlie Hochschield (2012) labels the “outsourcing of self”—has become ubiquitous in today’s economy. This development has afforded new opportunities for workers to help people create these seemingly “authentic” selves. We refer to the production of someone else’s authentic selfhood as “stand-in labor.” This study explores one type of stand-in labor to better understand what such labor more broadly entails. Drawing on interviews with 62 cowriters who write other people’s memoirs, as well as with 8 industry insiders (i.e., publishers, editors and agents), we find that this form of labor proves quite unique. First, these writers learn to disappear and monetize their disappearance by increasing their fees in exchange for staying out of public sight. Second, writers make sense of this invisibility by highlighting the virtue of disappearing to better capture and represent the subject’s authentic voice. Importantly, however, writers also highlight the role they have in the crafting of another’s self. That is, cowriters’ own self-views are inherently attached to their ability to shape another person’s self, rather than to the final shaped self. More broadly, stand-in labor seems to call for a peculiar reframing of workers’ self-views from the outcome to the process of creating a self. In that sense, stand-in labor challenges precisely the central tenet that gave rise to its existence, namely the value put on the outsourced produced self since stand-in workers value the process over the outcome.

10:15-11:15 Session 2E: Workforce Diversity
Location: Bronfman 410
Fiona Kay (Queen's University, Canada)
Elizabeth Gorman (University of Virginia, USA)
Corporate Clients and the Progress of Women and Racial Minorities in U.S. Law Firms

ABSTRACT. This paper examines the impact of major clients on the demographic composition of law firms, particularly the representation of women and racial minorities in law firm partnerships. Numerous studies have examined individual characteristics and structures of internal labor markets that may shape minority representation in organizational leadership. However, recent work suggests corporate clients may exert an influence on the demographic make-up of the firms that provide services to these clients. Drawing on institutional and structuralist perspectives, as well as bargaining power and homophily theories, this paper examines the impact of corporate clients on the representation of women and racial minorities among law firm partners. We use data on 1,718 law offices from the 2005 editions of the NALP Directory of Legal Employers and the National Law Journal client list to examine both attorneys’ client responsibilities as well as the attributes of law firm clients, such as type of business, fields of legal services, revenue, and ranking. Our analysis also examines women and minorities in key leadership positions in client organizations, including general (legal) counsel and the board of directors, as well as the role of the role of call-to-action pledge signatories in building women and minority representation within law firms. Our analysis of partnership ranks within law firms reveals positive effects of women chief legal officers among corporate clients, corporate clients with a significant mass of female executives (over 20%), and the influence of dependency on a few key corporate clients has on shaping women’s representation among partner ranks. We also examined gender and minority representation among associate ranks of law firms and our analysis shows firms with corporate clients that had taken the Sara Lee Call to Action pledge (to support minority representation in law firms that provide services) augmented women and racial minority representation within law firms at the ranks of associates. Law firms with greater dependency on a few key corporate clients also more inclined to hire women and minorities. Law firms servicing clients whose business is finance and insurance also had greater presentation of women and minorities among the associate ranks. Overall, our results reveal the importance of women’s representation among executives and chief legal officers of corporate clients in shaping women’s rise to partnerships in law firms, as well as client attributes of call-to-action pledge signatory, client business, and law firm dependency on key clients for shaping both women and minority representation at the associate ranks.

Eunmi Mun (Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA)
Jiwook Jung (School of Labor & Employment Relations, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA)
Change above the Glass Ceiling: Corporate Social Responsibility and Gender Diversity in Japanese Firms

ABSTRACT. This article examines how local organizations respond to the global norm of corporate social responsibility, focusing on the case of workplace gender diversity in Japan. While many global institutional investors have declared their commitment to the principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR), whether and how their investment actually improves local practices has yet to be examined. We argue that changes implemented by local firms in response to pressure from global institutional investors are shaped by political dynamics among local professionals. Based on our interviews with CSR managers and consultants in Japan, we explain that CSR managers pushed for gender diversity only in the upper ranks of their organizations. This helped managers limit resistance from human-resources (HR) managers, who wanted to maintain the traditional employment system, while still gaining support from investor-relations (IR) managers, who supported changes visible to investors. Our findings from panel data analysis further document this change above the glass ceiling. Analyzing 800 Japanese firms between 2001 and 2009, we show that both foreign institutional ownership and the within-firm influence of CSR and IR managers increase the number of women in board-director and managerial positions, yet without increasing their representation in non-managerial or entry-level positions. Hence, rather ironically, in the case of Japanese firms where gender inequality remains high, gender diversity increases above—but not below—the glass ceiling, as a result of pressure from foreign investors and the inter-professional struggle that follows. Our study contributes to the research on global diffusion and organizational change by investigating how foreign actors and local professionals shape the local implementation of global norms. We also add a new empirical finding about the effect of foreign institutional ownership on gender diversity to the studies of globalization and workplace gender inequality. We conclude by discussing how our findings can also be relevant to broader research areas of professions, rankings and ratings, and social movements.

11:30-12:30 Session 3A: Organization and Workplace Governance in a Neoliberal Age
Location: Bronfman 245
John Krinsky (The City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center, USA)
Maud Simonet (Centre National de la Recharche Scientifique/IDHES, France)
Reorganizing Public Work, Justifying Profits: Parks Maintenance in New York City

ABSTRACT. Since the early 1980s, New York City has radically reorganized the care of its parks. In the wake of two fiscal crises (1975-1977 and 1990-1992), it reduced the number of full-time workers in the Parks Department by nearly half. In order to maintain services, it reorganized by networking parks governance; relying on unpaid labor, both voluntary and coerced; and marrying a rhetoric of civic virtue with efforts that vastly increase the value of real estate surrounding parks. Based on 130 interviews and four years of fieldwork in New York City’s parks for our book, Who Cleans the Park? Public Work and Urban Governance in New York City (Chicago, 2017), we outline these three moves. In so doing, we show the ways in which economic-sociological studies of value and its justifications combine with, and are integral to, the reorganization of urban governance.

Nonprofit park stewardship organizations--"conservancies"—were born in the aftermath of the 1970s' fiscal crisis in New York City, a crisis widely understood to have ushered neoliberal urban governance into the United States. The large nonprofits that the city created differed in style and in their relation to civil service employment, making the networked governance of parks in the post-crisis era politically and operationally variegated. The proliferation of nonprofit parks groups beginning in the 1990s built on the models created a decade earlier and have endured as widely imitated models elsewhere.

As an adjunct to the fiscal-crisis-induced networking of the 1970s and ‘80s, the city tried to mobilize volunteers to take up some of the work that would be left undone in the wake of mass public layoffs. This effort, like embryonic efforts to compel welfare recipients into unpaid work assignments, would only get to scale in the wake of the second, less-severe fiscal crisis of the 1990s, when a more neoliberal approach to governance was more firmly established. This state-led labor-disciplining project, like the conservancies, was varied: it underwent several permutations under different mayors, revealing and reinforcing racial and gender inequalities in the public workplace, in the process.

The operational successes occasioned by these first two moves have resulted not just in public-sector savings, but even more significantly, in the value of real estate in proximity to parks. Even while the Parks Department and conservancies have touted these results, they have also promulgated a rhetoric focused on celebrating the role that the civic virtue of volunteers and philanthropists play in maintaining the parks. This rhetoric, furthermore, has a reverse-side: in extolling the virtue of volunteers' "giving back" to the community, it casts more coerced workers--workfare workers, job-training program participants, and community-service sentencees, more likely to be women and people of color--as "giving back" as well, but in a way which might partially restore their citizenship implicitly damaged by idleness and crime.

We argue, therefore, that a historical and ethnographic understanding of the reorganization of parks maintenance reveals actually-existing neoliberal governance as characterized by hybrid rhetorical and organizational forms that stabilize it across political regimes.

Erin Kelly (MIT, USA)
Phyllis Moen (University of Minnesota, USA)
Selling and Sustaining New Ways of Working?

ABSTRACT. We are writing a book addressing the promise and challenge of new ways of working, drawing on rich and diverse data from a randomized field experiment, semi-structured interviews with professional/technical employees and managers, and fieldwork in the IT division of a Fortune 500 firm. We describe the increased intensity and decreased security of professional and managerial jobs and evaluate a “work redesign” approach that shifts control over when, where, and how work is done to employees. The Work, Family, & Health Network study demonstrates that this organizational initiative (called STAR) relieved some of the stress and strain felt by IT professionals and reduced turnover intentions and voluntary exits from the firm (Kelly et al. 2014, Moen et al. 2016, Moen et al. 2017).

And yet, in the wake of a merger, senior management revoked STAR, again requiring management permission to work at home or shift work hours. Employees were expected to “work at work” during the conventional workday and week and to “be flexible” by responding 24/7 to technical problems, participating in conference calls at 5 a.m. or 9 p.m., and accepting changes in project scope that increased work without changing deadlines. Institutional logics around management-driven flexibility, which we call flexibility for “business needs,” were further legitimated, even as emerging logics around employee-driven flexibility that had worked well under STAR were rescinded.

The chapter we aim to present investigates this reassertion of managerial control and considers how theories of organizational change should attend to the context of a competitive global economy. Our analysis recognizes structural power but also investigates how cultural discourses of flexibility, professionalism, and markets are deployed to revoke a popular initiative and set up much more restrictive rules. STAR deinstitutionalized the embedded assumption that managers determine work patterns and partially institutionalized employees’ latitude and team coordination as “just the way we work.” But STAR did not challenge the institutionalized hierarchy in which HR policy decisions are appropriately made by upper management, regardless of the perspective of those in the ranks, nor question whether upper management decisions reflect “market responses” or protection of their own power and influence. Many employees and middle managers viewed the decision to revoke STAR as stupid, but also asserted that “it is their [i.e. upper management’s] right to decide.”

On the structural side, employees’ and middle managers’ acquiescence reflects their limited power to challenge upper management’s decisions when downsizing is routine. Furthermore, upper management’s own job insecurity in the merging company motivated even STAR champions to defer to the “different culture” of the acquiring firm and its executives. The uncertainty of the merger, in conjunction with the longer trend of increased offshoring, meant those who might protest –executive champions and frontline employees – were unwilling to voice their concerns.

We draw on evidence from this case to integrate theories of institutional change with the realities of intensified and insecure knowledge work. This conference will provide a useful venue to share our (still developing) argument and learn from a diverse group of scholars.

11:30-12:30 Session 3B: Workforce Management, Organizational Culture, and Performance
Location: Bronfman 620
Jinia Mukerjee (Montpellier Business School, France)
Anca Metiu (ESSEC Business School, France)
It’s play time: Work and true play in a high-tech organization

ABSTRACT. Playfulness has long been shown to be part of organizational life. The intermingling of work and play seems to have intensified nowadays, partly driven by results of studies showing the benefic effects of playfulness on individuals (for a review see Mainemelis & Ronson, 2006). Research has identified two main types of playfulness, diversionary that mainly provides a respite from work (Roy, 1959), and serious play that is supposed to provide innovative solutions to a work problem (Schrage, 2013). There are good reasons to question the feasibility of the intermingling of play and work episodes in work organizations though. Modern work requires focus and sustained effort (Metiu & Rothbard, 2013), both of which can be easily interrupted by playful episodes. Furthermore, if play is of the ‘true play’ type as conceptualized in anthropology, as a ‘magic circle’ characterized by absorption and intensity (Huizinga, 1955/2014), the potential for distraction from work tasks seems stronger, its co-existence with intense work even more intriguing. Our paper explores whether and how work and playfulness can coexist in a work organization, and examines the way people transition between play and work episodes. Given the incipient stage of understanding of these issues, we conducted an ethnographic study. Our setting is an entrepreneurial innovation-based firm operating in the online travel industry and located in India. Work is highly demanding, as Playgo’s survival rests on a stream of new ideas and products. The most striking aspect of the organization, to the observer and to its employees, is the intense and pervasive playfulness, which although encouraged by management, is neither monitored nor imposed. We studied Playgo for three years, and collected over 500 hours of non-participant and participant observation (including shadowing), 152 open-ended interviews, and a variety of documents. Our analyses were guided by Glaser and Strauss’s (1967) method of comparing and contrasting play and work episodes and interactions. Our findings reveal that employees engaged frequently not only in diversionary and serious play, but also in what we call ‘true’ play, i.e. in playfulness that is intense and absorbing, engaged in spontaneously, and visible. True play was different from diversionary play as it was intense, and from serious play as it was not related to work tasks. We also identified three mechanisms that enabled employees’ transitions between work and true play. The first entails the meaning members attach to true play: as proof that their organization treats them as free, autonomous individuals, who can be entrusted to use their own judgment about when and how much to play and work. The second mechanism includes several striking similarities between ‘true’ play and innovative work (intense and absorbing, freely chosen, openly carried out, and usually carried out collectively). The third mechanism consists of employees’ constant calculations, whereby they keep an eye on task accomplishment even as they’re playing intently. The finding that intense, innovative work can be done while intermingled with ‘true’ play, sheds new light on control issues that are the core of organizations, and enriches the theory of play.

Aruna Ranganathan (Stanford University, USA)
Alan Benson (University of Minnesota, USA)
Hemming and Hawing over Hawthorne: Work Complexity and the Divergent Effects of Monitoring on Productivity

ABSTRACT. The extent to which an employer monitors its workers is at the heart of the economic, social, and psychological contract that defines the employment relationship (e.g. Burawoy 1979). Scholars have known since at least the Hawthorne experiments that the act of monitoring itself can affect workers' productivity, imbuing the study of monitoring on productivity both theoretical and methodological impetus (Mayo 1933).

On net, monitoring has been heralded as an effective management practice: many academic studies have found that monitoring enhances worker performance either in itself or as part of a system of complementary management practices (see, for example, Basker 2012; Bloom et al. 2011). However, other studies caution that monitoring can lead workers to focus on the performance outcome at the expense of other productive activities such as risk-taking and innovation (Holmstrom 1991; Kerr 1975), and could impair productivity by infringing on workers' sense of privacy (Deci and Ryan 1975, Bernstein 2012). Given that well-executed studies have found conflicting results, we argue that instead of debating whether monitoring generally has a net positive or negative effect on worker productivity, a more appropriate question might be: under what conditions does monitoring increase or decrease worker productivity, and why?

To shed light on this question, we investigate how monitoring affected productivity at a large garment manufacturing plant in India. The monitoring intervention was implemented in three of twelve production lines in late 2012. The intervention involved tagging work-in-progress garments with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, allowing the plant to monitor individual worker productivity in real-time. In this context, we collected three sources of data: (1) six years of daily line-level productivity before and after the intervention for all lines, (2) daily operation-level productivity for a sample of days before and after the intervention, and (3) qualitative field data.

To preview our findings, when we pool estimates for the effect of monitoring on productivity across all treated lines, we find that monitoring had no statistically significant effect on productivity. However, motivated by field observation, we further examine whether the effect of monitoring depends on the complexity of the work being performed. Using variation in work complexity both across and within production lines, we find that monitoring significantly increased productivity for simple work but significantly decreased productivity for complex work. To explain these findings, we argue that workers' understandings of monitoring systems could underlie the effects of monitoring on productivity. In particular, our qualitative data suggest that monitoring was seen as a game for simple work but as micromanagement for complex work, and in this way, the same management practice had differential effects on productivity.

This paper makes three important contributions to the study of monitoring and worker productivity. First, we shift the debate from whether monitoring affects worker productivity to the conditions under which monitoring increases or decreases productivity. Second, we identify work complexity as a key variable moderating the direct effect of monitoring on worker productivity. Third, we suggest that monitoring might sometimes affect productivity through workers' experiential understanding of monitoring systems.

11:30-12:30 Session 3C: Negotiating Professional Identities Through the Lense of Race and Ethnicity
Location: Bronfman 410
Alexandra Kalev (Tel Aviv University, Israel)
Noah Lewin Epastein (Tel Aviv University, Israel)
Joshua Guetzkow (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)
Erez Marantz (New York University, USA)
Market-Driven Diversity: The Case of Arab-Israelis Pharmacists in the Jewish Labor Market

ABSTRACT. While boosters describe the business case for diversity in terms of expanding creativity, talent and consumer markets, for many employers the business case for minority employment remains labor cost and control. Such market-driven diversity raises many questions: How does minority employment look when not under diversity management? Does it advance societal goals of equality and antidiscrimination? How does it affect minority men and women? Answering such questions is important for developing a fuller understanding of the ways in which minorities are incorporated into labor markets and work organizations and for theorizing the interface between markets and organizations. We build on market theories of segmented labor markets (Sorensen 1983), ethnic, and local labor markets (Lewin-Epstein and Semyonov 1994), and literature on work organizations (Kanter 1977; Vallas 2003; Smith-Doerr 2000; Kalev 2009) in exploring the ways segregation and discrimination of disadvantaged minorities shape exploitative business strategies while at the same time eradicating social, political and organizational barriers to minority integration. We examine this issue looking at the incorporation of Arab-Israelis into the Jewish professional labor market in Israel, using the case study of pharma-retail. Over the past decade a significant number of Arab-Israelis entered retail pharmacy, mostly in Jewish businesses. This trend is an outcome of the de-regulation and re-structuring of the pharma-retail industry that expanded demand for inexpensive and flexible labor. On the supply side access to higher education in Jordan provided Arab-Israelis an alternative route to professional education, in the context of limited education opportunities in Israel. These changes offered new economic opportunities for the highly disadvantaged Arab-Israeli minority. The share of Arab-Israeli workers in the pharma industry doubled from approximately 17% to 35% in the last fifteen years. Yet, no employer in the field adopted a single diversity or work-family program, policy or staff member. Based on over 100 in-depth interviews with Jewish and Arab-Israeli pharmacists and managers in the pharma-retail industry, this research examines the careers and lived work experiences across ethnic and gender groups, exploring multiple implications of market-driven integration. Our research shows that although retail pharma employers report high demand for labor, Arab-Israeli social disadvantage translates to labor market disadvantage as well. They lack the social and cultural capital needed for getting good jobs, their unemployment prospects are high, as is their pressure to work and return loans, and they are evaluated with much bias. These translate to difficulties getting a job and to bad working conditions, including extremely long commutes, disregard of religious rights, worse shifts, low pay, and exposure to harassment, especially from customers. We also find a significant silver-lining of this exploitative employment. At the workplace, social boundaries between Jewish and Arab pharmacists erode and . In their communities, Israeli-Arab professionals gain economic independence and ability to achieve middle class mobility. Women, especially, gain an opportunity to break from restrictive traditional expectations while employment in big pharma chains also allows them the geographic flexibility needed for integrating work and family. The paper ends with theoretical and research implications as well as policy. recommendations.

Kelly Thomson (York University, Canada)
Joanne Jones (York University, Canada)
You Belong Here? How professionals in “strange bodies” negotiate position in the “global” accounting profession

ABSTRACT. Scholars in the field of diversity have extensively documented patterns of exclusion; however, there has been far less attention to patterns of inclusion. Diversity is usually operationalized in organizations by counting the numbers of people in bodies that mark them as members of groups constructed as disadvantaged or different, e.g., women, non-white “races”. We argue that simply counting actors with particular biological characteristics implicitly treats identity in an essentialist way, disguising the wide range of ways in which those who share an embodied identity perform that identity at work. Not only do these approaches treat marginalized actors as essentially the same, they also treat inclusion and exclusion as binary alternatives and fail to account for what Puwar (2004) calls “differentiated inclusion”, i.e. the subtle way in which particular bodies are seen as fitting into particular positions in fields. Critical diversity researchers have generated a growing body of empirical work illustrating how marginalized actors exercise agency, negotiating positions for themselves in organizations and professions from which they have been historically excluded. To date this literature has focused on the tactics employed by marginalized actors to navigate barriers; however, the link between the tactics actors use and where they are ultimately positioned in a field deserves additional attention from scholars. We examine the range of ways in which the professional identity of “accountant” is performed and constituted in interactions amongst putative members of a professional field. Postcolonial and feminist scholars have highlighted how professional fields are structured by an implicit “ideal” that reflects a gendered and raced “somatic norm” (Puwar, 2004). We begin with an overview of how post-essentialist, performative approaches to identities have been conceptualized, arguing that Goffman’s (1959, 1963, 1983) dramaturgical approach offers a valuable “toolkit” for analyzing how identities are performed and negotiated in interactions. We then provide an overview of how postcolonial theorists complement a dramaturgical analysis. We outline our methods and how we analysed the performances of migrant accountants seeking to negotiate inclusion in professional contexts in Canada and where they are positioned. Our findings illustrate the strategies and tactics migrant accountants used to negotiate entry to the Canadian profession as well as the responses they describe from Canadians. Drawing on these life stories we illustrate how professionals sharing a categorical identity each deployed distinct strategies and encountered a variety of responses from Canadian professionals. We theorize these tactics as various forms of mimicry (Bhabha, 1994) and examine how these approaches were received by Canadians, resulting in a wide array of subsequent positionings in the profession. We argue that the body techniques used to navigate strange bodies in performing identities have the capacity to significantly affect the life chances of professionals with some positioned on the periphery of the profession while others were able to penetrate into the centre, becoming trusted “team” members with relatively senior positions.

11:30-12:30 Session 3D: The Economic Consequences of Closeness
Location: Bronfman 210
Laura Doering (McGill University, Canada)
Chris Liu (University of Toronto, Canada)
Entrepreneurs in the Making: The Causal Effect of Micro-Geography on New Business Formation

ABSTRACT. Research on entrepreneurship emphasizes the importance of geographic locations. However, much of this literature focuses on regions and cities, overlooking the potentially important impact of neighborhood configurations. We refer to these configurations as micro-geographies and theorize that proximity to local pedestrian flows has a causal effect on individual rates of entrepreneurship. To test this notion, we use data from a multi-story, public housing complex in Colombia where residents are randomly assigned to live close to or distant from ground-floor pedestrian flows. We find that individuals assigned to the ground floor are more likely to become entrepreneurs and that their entrepreneurial ventures earn significantly more than those on upper floors. For the entrepreneurs in our context, operating a small business on the ground floor versus an upper floor means the difference between living above or below the poverty line. This study reveals that minor differences in spatial location have a powerful, causal effect on new business emergence and performance. More broadly, it extends the literature on entrepreneurial location choice to highlight the important effect of local, neighborhood configurations.

Brandy Aven (Tepper School of Business, CMU, USA)
Lily Morse (Mendoza College of Business, Notre Dame University, USA)
Alessandro Iorio (Tepper School of Business, CMU, USA)
Honest Mistakes? Uncovering the effects of the Auditor-Client Relationship on Errors in Audits

ABSTRACT. External auditors provide regulatory oversight of financial systems, including banks, whose performance statements and operational reports require objective verification (Gendron et al., 2006). Yet, auditors frequently fail to detect financial misreporting committed by companies (Bazerman et al., 2002), particularly in the commercial banking industry, which has the second highest concentration of fraud lawsuits against top executives in the United States (Persons, 2006). As an explanation for this misreporting or fraud, we focus on the strong relationships that commonly form between the banks’ managers and external auditors. Strong social relationships are frequently perceived to benefit economic transactions by increasing the trust shared between two individuals, reinforcing obligations, and fostering interdependence (Granovetter, 1985; Uzzi, 1997); however, these strong relations are also paradoxically a precondition for fraud and collusion (Aven, 2015). In this analysis, we examine three possible explanations for how close relationships between commercial bank managers and their external auditors might lead to auditing failures. First, the strong relationship may encourage auditors to be positively disposed towards the abilities and intentions of the bank managers, unintentionally leading the auditors to monitor their clients less stringently (Moore, Tetlock, Tanlu, & Bazerman, 2006). Second, commercial banks can represent a large proportion of the revenues for an auditing firm, and over time the auditing firms may become increasingly dependent upon a particular bank’s business. In such cases, where there are strong and power-dependent relationships, auditors will be more vulnerable to coercion by the bank managers to overlook corporate fraud (Pfeffer and Salancik, 2003). Finally, a strong relationship also presents the necessary conditions for both parties to collude in a fraud, in which both parties intentionally misreport financial statements. In such cases, trust encourages both parties to engage in high-risk behaviors together. We test these predictions with both archival data on U.S. commercial banks and lab studies. First, we examine the extent to which relationship tenure between auditors and banks increases reporting both earnings restatements and Securities and Exchange Commissions litigations. We use a longitudinal dataset of the auditing relationships between commercial banks and auditors from 2000 to 2016 (N= 3,805). Interestingly, we find a U-shape relationship between auditor-bank tenure and financial restatements. And both financial restatements and longer tenure are positively correlated with litigations. Next, we experimentally examine the effect of relational tenure in a simulated auditing task to further clarify the relational mechanisms for auditing failures and fraud. Participants are randomly assigned to either the roles of bank managers or auditors. Although the stakes are lower in our lab setting, we designed the incentives and risks to mirror those of an actual auditing task. We find that a greater amount of managers over reported their earnings when the auditor was a friend as compared to a stranger. Similar results were evident for the auditors; of auditors allowed managers to over report earnings in the friend condition, whereas only of auditors permitted it in the stranger condition. We use these data to test for three mechanisms of financial misreporting.

11:30-12:30 Session 3E: Narratives and Practices Around Debt
Location: Bronfman 179
Steven Lopez (The Ohio State University, USA)
Corey Pech (The Ohio State University, USA)
Busted: Debt and Working-Class Unemployment

ABSTRACT. An emerging sociology of debt has begun to examine the consequences of debt for individuals, presenting a nuanced picture of how debt can sometimes enhance people’s lives and sometimes become a crushing burden. Recently, scholars in this emerging literature have claimed that the negative psychosocial effects of debt fall more heavily on the middle class than on working-class individuals, and that more positive psychosocial effects of debt (such as mastery and self-esteem) on young people appear greater for working-class individuals than for the middle class. As the first research program attempting to systematically study how debt intersects with social class and well-being, this new literature is important. However, this literature, relying as it does on population surveys for data about debt, suffers from three related methodological problems. First, because few surveys collect data about financial difficulties, these kinds of studies are mostly unable to grapple with the way that debt can easily be transformed from manageable to unmanageable in the context of income shocks. Second, we therefore know very little about the potentially divergent consequences of different kinds of debt for working class and middle class people in financial hardship. And third, largely because of the way debt is conceptualized and measured, some of the most important kinds of debt for working-class people – such as falling behind on rent, utilities, or other bills, and informal debts to network members – have potentially large impacts on well-being but go unstudied by the literature on debt. In this paper, we analyze in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 32 working-class job searchers in a major Midwestern US city who had all been stably employed prior to experiencing extended unemployment. We show that (1) unsecured consumer debt, despite being the most common form of debt studied, presents the fewest immediate problems for working class individuals in crisis; (2) the real significance of secured debt to working class people in crisis is that having cars repossessed greatly complicates the problem of finding a new job and magnifies the stresses of unemployment itself; (3) even relatively small amounts of educational debt taken on to secure a credential or certification can lead to severe financial hardships without improving working-class people’s labor market situation; (4) falling behind on rent and bills – which is not usually included in studies of debt at all-- appears to generate far more fear, stress, and worry than any of the preceding forms of debt; and (5) informal debts to network members are also important forms of debt that typically go unstudied while being highly stressful and emotionally fraught. These forms of debt are also subject to repayment in currencies other than money, raising deeper questions about what debt is and how it should be measured and studied. Based on these findings we suspect that claims about the supposed greater psychosocial burden of debt on middle-class individuals relative to those in the working class are at least partially an artifact of the way debt and well-being have been conceptualized and measured so far.

Charlie Eaton (Stanford Graduate School of Education, USA)
Debt by Design: How a Slow Motion Fiscal Crisis Led to a New Dependency on Student Loans

ABSTRACT. The rising dependence of colleges and students on student debt in the U.S. is a paradigmatic case of financialization. The state facilitated this new resource dependence with most lending occurring through government subsidized programs. Yet lenders and colleges were critical players in the expansion of these programs, particularly through a set of federal policy changes adopted at the beginning of the 1990s. This paper details how a slow motion fiscal crisis in the 1980s opened the door for lenders to successfully push these policy changes with support from colleges. Colleges that once preferred state funding and federal Pell Grant support for students became open to student debt after a decade of growing resource strains. This process shows how pressures leading to new resource dependencies in social provision can build slowly to a breaking point. As the breaking point approached, lenders were able to step in with student loans as a new resource. Turning to student debt as a private resource for social provision, however, allowed lenders to extract large profits at a steep price for many student beneficiaries.

14:00-15:00 Session 4A: Diversity & Homophily in Work Organizations
Location: Bronfman 410
Apoorva Ghosh (University of California-Irvine, USA)
Mary Bernstein (University of Connecticut, USA)
Workplace Incivility and Gendered Institutions

ABSTRACT. Following the development of workplace incivility’s scientific measure (Cortina, et al. 2001), and amid a sea of studies emerging thereafter on incivility’s organizational, behavioral, and health outcomes (e.g. Pearson and Porath 2005; Lim, et al. 2008, etc.), a range of scholars also studied the antecedents of incivility at work. Within that domain, applied psychologists (e.g. Grandey, et al. 2004; Bowling and Beehr 2006) concentrated largely on individual traits, such as negative affectivity, i.e. a negative worldview of the recipient, or work traits, such as job autonomy of the recipient to explain workplace incivility. This is troubling given that a consolidated review suggests that incivility at work results far more from structural imbalances in organizations (see Salin 2003). Later scholarship foregrounds empirically that incivility at work results from institutional inequalities based on race and gender that affects incivility experienced at multiple levels (Lim and Cortina 2005; Cortina 2008). We extend this research by viewing workplaces as inherently gendered (Acker 1990), and examining the impact of gendered institutions on experiences of incivility.

Using data from an original quantitative survey, entitled, “Gender, Sexuality, and Workplace Experiences Survey,” which examines the experiences of women, gay men, and lesbians in corporations (mainly the Fortune 1000 and large nonprofit businesses, such as healthcare), we untangle the impact of gender presentation and sexual orientation to explain the conditions under which they experienced incivility at work. Within and across these groups, we parse out the effects of gendered institutions at personal, workgroup, organizational, and societal levels.

The ordinary least square regression results and fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis suggest that workplace incivility is predicted largely by gender conformity for men and by marital status for women. Gay men with low gender conformity experienced high incivility in an organization with a poor diversity climate. Whereas, gay men with high gender conformity experienced more incivility at work when they had lesser tenure in the organization they were working for. The unmarried and divorced lesbians faced higher incivility when their job was less masculine, i.e. required them to depend on others for making decisions, whereas for heterosexual women in the same category, working in a masculine organization attracted more incivility. Overall, we conclude based on our study that differential outcomes on incivility at work for gay men, lesbians, and heterosexual women are highly pronounced based on gendered inequalities at the individual, group, and organizational levels.

[References attached as PDF]

Santiago Campero (HEC Montreal, Canada)
Olenka Kacperczyk (London Business School, UK)
Like Attracts Like? Revisiting Demographic Homophily in Entrepreneurship

ABSTRACT. New high-tech ventures are an important source of job creation in the United States. However, access to job opportunities in high-tech entrepreneurship varies significantly across demographic groups. A well-established finding suggests that there is a strong tendency towards homogeneity both in the formation of entrepreneurial founding teams as well as the hiring of early employees. Prior work has emphasized the importance of founders’ influence over personnel selection processes in explaining the tendency towards homogeneity in start-ups’ workforces. However, disentangling the influence of personnel selection processes in producing workforce homogeneity from other possible mechanisms presents a significant challenge. Here, we propose that workforce homogeneity in start-ups may also result from workers’ tendency to self-sort into start-ups whose founders resemble them demographically. We use a unique dataset on the recruiting and hiring processes at a sample of high-tech start-ups to attribute between these different accounts. Our results suggest that the origins of demographic homogeneity between founders and the workers they hire lie in start-ups’ tendency to attract job candidates that resemble their founders, rather than their propensity to favor these candidates in personnel selection.

14:00-15:00 Session 4B: Emotional Work and Payment in Professional Services
Location: Bronfman 620
Eliza Benites Gambirazio (University of Arizona and CREDA/IHEAL, USA)
Selling a house: The social and moral work on value in residential sales

ABSTRACT. Drawing on ethnographic observations and interviews, the article sheds light on the social and moral work performed by real estate agents on the process of residential housing valuation. Real estate professionals are not random intermediaries, as houses are not commodities like any other, there are factices in a Polanyian sense as they do not hold an intrinsic value and fluctuate as the market goes up and down. Realtors® mission, as described through the code of ethics, is to provide professional expertise during a transaction. Sociological investigation aims to decipher to which extent their work and interpretations of facts presented as “real” are inherited from the social world they have been trained in. They are taught to believe certain facts are always true (houses are generally appreciating), others that are known to be dependent on market conditions (this is a good time to buy because prices are getting up). The information they hold is most profitable when they know how to communicate it in an effective way: if houses depreciate and buyers need to take a tremendous amount of debt to acquire one, then how do realtors® work to advocate for the benefits of the transaction?  For the present research, I use the conceptual framework of market intermediary work (Cochoy and Dubuisson 2012) as agents’ activities consist in representing their clients while buying or selling a house and in creating the conditions for the match between supply and demand. Considering the case of real estate workers as a point of entry for the social construction of value (Beckert and Aspers 2010; Karpik 2010; Zwick and Cayla 2011), I explore how agents are engaged in a peculiar market work – including a mix of relational (Zelizer 2010) and taste work (Sherman 2011) with strong moral standpoints (Wilkis 2015) – to sell houses and credits. Agents do not solely rely on the economic capital of their clients but try to establish a climate of trust, learning to read their clients and matching their status, using moral frames to locate their work. I argue that agents perform through their authority figure a moral and social labor through two main arguments: the financial stability and the homeownership expected benefits (reproduction strategies and lifestyle). They use formal, informal knowledge, technical devices, and socio-cultural tools to present goods as stable moral and social investments. I draw on the internal socialization of agents in their companies as they are trained to view houses as stable commodities, to create a discourse around the benefits of homeownership, and to handle objections; and on the moments of exchange between agents and clients, in which they project economic, social and financial security of homeownership, using the reference of the “market” as an “outside legitimizing force” and the moral value of homeownership.

Daniel Fridman (University of Texas - Austin, USA)
Psychologists and Money: the Payment for Psychotherapy in Argentina

ABSTRACT. This paper analyzes the uses of money among psychologists in Argentina, a country with a disproportionate number of psychologists for the size of its population, its level of economic development, and the strength of its social welfare services. In Buenos Aires, there is one active professional for every 126 people, the highest rate in the world. With such an unusual amount of psychologists, the sheer volume of money transfers between patients and therapists, although never calculated, is non-negligible.

Professionals have no official regulation of rates. Most of these transfers happen in idiosyncratic ways, mainly direct cash payments between patients and therapists. Psychologists constitute a quintessential case of what Lucien Karpik (2010) calls an economy of singularities, in that the matches between supply and demand as well as pricing do not happen like in regular markets. Psychologists do not normally advertise their prices, finding a professional requires recommendations from informal networks, and evaluation of quality relies on opaque information.

In the last couple of decades, sociologists and anthropologists have taken money as a research topic increasingly more seriously (Dodd 2014; Maurer 2006). Classic sociological analysis of money often treated it as a neutral medium that homogenized social ties or, worse, destroyed them. The pioneering work of Viviana Zelizer (1994, 1996, 2005) in economic sociology has opened research avenues for a more nuanced view of the role of money in modern societies. Inspired by Viviana Zelizer’s insights and by the growing anthropological work on money and exchanges (Guyer 1995; Hart and Ortiz 2014; Maurer 2006), research on money has moved from analysis of abstract money movements to analysis of its concrete uses on the ground. The case of psychotherapists offers a unique window to everyday uses and thinking about money in modern societies and to the entanglements of money and social relations in everyday life. The research for this paper is based on thirty in-depth interviews with psychologists in Buenos Aires.

Professionals work in a variety of modalities (insurance companies, private service, public health institutions, or as part of therapy centers) that demand different rate arrangements with patients. Some professionals have a fixed rate, others ask the patient how much they can pay, while others charge patients according to their income level. Like other transactions that mix the professional, the monetary, and the intimate, psychologists establish a way of charging that allow those three worlds to cohabitate peacefully. However, unlike similar professional relationships (care work, private tutoring, etc.), psychologists have a theoretical apparatus that helps them interpret payment, and which links the issue of money to classic taboos like sexuality and fecal waste. Payment also appears as a way of signaling patients and therapists the professional character of a relationship that is necessarily very intimate. Most important, the act of payment is usually part of the analysis of the patient, and it is often used to advance therapy.

14:00-15:00 Session 4C: Workplace Finance
Location: Bronfman 245
Angelina Grigoryeva (Princeton University, USA)
Company Compensation Structures and Employees’ Financial Risk-Taking

ABSTRACT. In the course of the financialization of the U.S. economy, firms in the high-tech and increasingly other industries have adopted compensation packages that include financial instruments as a way to reward, retain, and attract employees across the occupational ladder. For example, since the 1980s, the number of employees holding stock options has increased about nine-fold (NCEO 2016). Such compensation packages likely increase employees’ financial risk tolerance through (involuntary) exposure to financial markets and broadening financial acumen. In turn, risk tolerance has been found to predict a wide range of financial decisions, with implications for overall financial well-being. However, existing explanations for variation in financial risk-taking, mostly in psychology and economics, largely emphasize either individual-level attributes (e.g., gender, genes) or macroeconomic conditions (e.g., stock market performance). In this study, I focus on company compensation structures as an organizational-level explanation for variation in individual financial risk-taking.

Using restricted access data from the NBER census survey of fourteen large American companies across various industries, I show that company-wide employee stock option plans, stock purchase plans, and stock ownership plans are associated with higher financial risk-taking among employees, even after controlling for other factors. Interestingly, I also find that a company’s publicly traded status is associated with higher risk-taking among employees. In contrast, company-sponsored 401(k) plans are associated with lower levels of financial risk-taking, possibly reflecting the life-course nature of retirement savings. Furthermore, the associations remain significant even if these compensation packages are offered to a restricted group of employees, rather than on a broad-based basis (i.e., with eligibility extended to all employees). The effects are consistent for attitudinal and behavioral measures of financial risk-taking.

To address possible self-selection based on risk tolerance into companies with compensation structures that include financial instruments, I conduct the analysis separately for occupational groups. The assumption here is that the self-selection likely varies by occupational hierarchy. As employment in the U.S. labor market has become more precarious especially among lower-paid workers, it seems reasonable to assume that individual selection based on risk preferences is likely to be lower for employees in less prestigious occupations than in more prestigious occupations. The effects continue to hold for all occupational groups except upper-level management.

Finally, a limitation of the NBER data is that it is a nonrandom sample of a small number of firms, and as such, is not representative. To address the issue of generalizability, I complement the main analysis with supplementary analysis of nationally-representative data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). In turn, a limitation of the SCF is that it does not distinguish among various compensation structures that include financial instruments. The analysis of SCF data point to similar conclusions.

This research contributes to the literature by suggesting that organizational membership may influence individual behaviors even outside of the immediate organizational context. It also offers valuable policy implications by pointing to workplaces as a potential avenue for policy interventions targeting individual financial risk-taking.

Yally Avrahampour (Department of Management, London School of Economics, UK)
Towards a financial sociology: Explaining the rise and transformation of UK occupational pension funds (1948-1960)

ABSTRACT. This paper draws on a tradition of fiscal and financial sociology (“finanzsociologie”) (see Schumpeter ([1918], 1953) to explain the mid-twentieth century rise of occupational pension provision and the internalizing of obligations relating to occupational pensions by UK corporations. This history is of substantive interest because the mid-twentieth century was associated with increased financial security for retirees and reduced income inequality, and because changes to the organization of occupational pension provision followed inter-war arrangements relating to occupational pension provision that are analogous to those pertaining today. The internalizing of obligations relating to occupational pension provision by corporations is of theoretical interest because it provides a novel opportunity to reassess our understanding of the boundary of firms.

In contrast with recent history, in the mid-twentieth century there was a takeoff in self-administered, defined benefit occupational pension provision, in which guarantees relating to the level of income in retirement provided to beneficiaries were internalized by sponsoring firms. Previously, corporations either avoided such obligations by offering defined contribution pension provision (see Hannah, 1986:109-110), or outsourced the obligations associated with defined benefit provision to life insurance companies (Hannah, 1986:31-45, 185: n. 8). The mid-twentieth century was also associated with investment by pension funds in common stocks (the “cult of equity”) and the decentralization of pension fund management from the sponsor’s treasurer or chief accountant to the pension manager (Hannah, 1986).

I argue that these changes were the consequence of the promulgation, between 1953 and 1960, of the first UK financial accounting standard relating to disclosure of pension cost and funding. Drawing on archival records of the council minutes of six professional associations, including those representing accountants, actuaries and pension funds, interviews of six leading consulting actuaries and pension fund managers who practiced in the 1950s, and technical texts relating to actuarial and accounting standards, I provide a two-part historical sociology of the role of the setting of financial accounting standards relating to the cost of occupational pension provision in the rise of occupational pension funds. First, I explain the division of expert labour between professional segments in the accounting and actuarial professions as reflecting the setting of standards relating to governance. I provide a history of the shifting jurisdictional boundary between these professions and its implications for the rigor or permissiveness of standards relating to pension fund governance. Second, I outline a relational and social constructivist account of agency in which the agent; the pension manager, uses ambiguity to reconcile between two principals with conflicting objectives; shareholders and beneficiaries.

The paper contributes to our understanding of the role of standards relating to governance and valuation in the division of expert labour, the nature managerial agency and of firm boundaries.


Hannah, Leslie. 1986. Inventing Retirement: The Development of Occupational Pensions in Britain.

Schumpeter, Joseph. [1918] 1953. “Crisis of the Tax State” Pp. 1 – 71 in International Economic Papers vol. IV, translated and edited by Stolper, Wolfgang, and Richard Musgrave.

14:00-15:00 Session 4D: Networks: What Are They Good For?
Location: Bronfman 210
Steve McDonald (North Carolina State University, USA)
Vincent Chua (National University of Singapore, Singapore)
Elena Obukhova (McGill University, Canada)
Joonmo Son (National University of Singapore, Singapore)
Of Markets and Networks: Chinese Marketization and Job Lead Receipt

ABSTRACT. How does increased marketization – the application of free market principles, policies, and institutions – influence the role that social networks play in the job allocation process? Market Transition Theory suggests that market competition generates incentives for allocating resources based on educational credentials and marketable skills. These incentives should breakdown traditional patronage systems that allocate employment opportunities through network membership. Despite the breakdown of patronage systems, other researchers have suggested that social network connectedness may become more, not less, beneficial for job finding in liberal market economies than in coordinated economies. Further development of market institutions could lead to increased interpersonal sharing of employment opportunities for two reasons: 1) an increased premium on access to job information due to heightened job insecurity and precarity; 2) brokerage opportunities arising from differentiation of market segments and growth in market intermediaries.

We address this question with data from the Social Capital-China survey. China is an excellent context in which to study variations in marketization because its transition to capitalist institutions has been uneven across provinces. Fielded at the end of 2004 and the beginning of 2005, SC-China was a telephone survey of 3500 urban residents across nearly all Chinese provinces. Respondents were asked, how many times during the last 12 months “did someone mention job possibilities, openings or opportunities to you, without your asking, in casual conversations?” This serves as the key dependent variable: number of unsolicited job leads received. We matched these data with a province-level index of marketization (constructed by the National Economic Research Institute). In addition to assessing overall marketization effects, we also examine five dimensions of marketization: 1) government-market relations, 2) private sector development, 3) product market development, 4) factor market development (i.e., financialization), and 5) legal intermediary development. Furthermore, we include a measure of job placements by formal placement agencies. Multilevel models (random effects by provinces) are used to examine the relationships between marketization and job leads, net of gender, age, education, income, supervisory authority, network extensity, industry, and province GDP.

The findings (see attached table) offer little support for the notion that increased marketization reduces job information sharing. Rather, marketization is positively associated with the receipt of unsolicited job leads. Market-friendly government relations, the size of the public sector, and the development of product markets are all unrelated to job lead receipt. However, respondents reported receiving significantly more job leads when in provinces with highly developed factor markets, legal intermediary proliferation, and active job placement through government exchanges. The results help to clarify the mechanisms through which marketization facilitates informal exchange of job information. Specifically, access to informal job information seems to blossom under conditions of market brokerage rather than through direct market competition. Our next steps will be to examine the extent to which sectoral and job level differences moderate the impact of marketization on job lead access.

Mark Suchman (Brown University, USA)
Meghan Kallman (Brown University, USA)
Net Negatives: Transcending Pro-Network Bias in Organizational Analysis

ABSTRACT. In recent years, the organizational studies literature has often portrayed social networks – within firms, between firms, and occasionally in place of firms – as the organizational form of the future. The past quarter century has witnessed a mutually-reinforcing conjunction of: (a) methodological advances in the measurement and modeling of network processes; (b) theoretical advances in the understanding of network-related topics, (c) interdisciplinary synergies around the study of network phenomena across the natural and social sciences; and (d) popular fascination with networks, both as a marker of sound business practice but more broadly as an emblematic metaphor of modern life. As network analysis gains prominence, however, the need for balance becomes increasingly pressing: The burgeoning literature attests to networks’ many appeals; but absent an equivalently well-developed understanding of networks’ characteristic failings, the appeals can become a siren song. Nothing inherent to either networks-as-structural-configurations or networks-as- governance-mechanisms dictates that these effects will always be victimless, virtuous, or viable. To begin the hard work of rectifying this imbalance, the present article seeks to develop a forward-looking roadmap for identifying, locating and navigating the tangle of adverse processes that we label “net negatives.” We begin with a conceptual overview of the existing literature, leading to a broad-based typology of the various ways in which networks can be abused, can fail, or can harbor dysfunction – as seen from the varying perspectives of insiders to the network, outsiders to the network, and society at large. Building on this typology, the analysis culminates in a set of problematics, propositions, and predictions to orient future research and guide future practice.

14:00-15:00 Session 4E: Language and Organizational Performance
Location: Bronfman 179
Pedro Aceves (University of Chicago, USA)
The Effect of Language Structure on Group Performance

ABSTRACT. The linguistic relativity hypothesis, which claims that the structure of the language a person speaks influences their cognition, has received substantial research attention, but only in the context of individual’s language and cognition. I extend the argument to explore the influence of linguistic structure on social interaction, asking whether and how differences in language structure affect the performance of groups. I create innovative estimates of the average rate of information density contained within the world’s languages as well as the average speed of communication for these languages. I argue that information density facilitates movement through the conceptual space of a language and that communicative efficiency overcomes the “articulatory bottleneck” that slows down interpersonal information transfer. Each of these mechanisms shape different group level dynamics by affecting the nature of social interactions as well as the manner in which information flows through those interactions. Tracing the outcomes of all monolingual expeditions to the Himalayas from 1905 to 2015, I show that speaking high information density languages is associated with summiting a larger proportion of team members, and conditional on reaching the summit, with arriving more quickly. In contrast, I show that speaking more communicatively efficient languages is associated with a lower likelihood of experiencing deaths during the expedition. This study enriches the sociological understanding of group performance, which has previously focused on the manner in which network structures influence trust and information flow within and between groups, but has yet to focus on the structure of the language and communication system used. I extend insights from the study to explore how and why other contexts of social action are likely to be influenced by information density and communicative efficiency.

Matthew Corritore (Stanford University, USA)
Amir Goldberg (Stanford University, USA)
Sameer Srivastava (UC Berkeley, USA)
What Difference Does Difference Make? A Language-Based Model of Cultural Heterogeneity and Firm Performance

ABSTRACT. An extensive literature has sought to identify the link between culture and firm performance (Chatman and O’Reilly 2016). Yet empirical evidence of this relationship remains scant and inconclusive. Nevertheless, firms invest considerable time and money in building and maintaining corporate cultures, which they assume will yield lasting competitive advantage.

In this paper, we bring fresh empirical light on an important facet of corporate culture—cultural heterogeneity—and its relationship to firm performance. Previous research on this topic points to a conceptual puzzle: cultural heterogeneity can dampen firm performance by fostering behavioral inconsistency (Denison and Mishra 1995); however, it can also provide the breadth of resources needed to explore, innovate, and adapt to changing circumstances (Sørensen 2002).

We seek to resolve this puzzle by decomposing cultural heterogeneity into two distinct constructs—compositional heterogeneity and substantive heterogeneity—and by considering their relationships to two different facets of firm performance—profitability and market value. By compositional heterogeneity, we mean the extent to which organizational members diverge in their characterizations of the culture. Substantive heterogeneity instead references the breadth of topics that constitute the culture. Bringing together insights from cultural sociology, organization theory, and strategic management, we posit that compositional heterogeneity limits a firm’s ability to exploit existing opportunities, while substantive heterogeneity promotes adaptability and the exploration of new opportunities (e.g., March 1991; Swidler 1986). Thus, we hypothesize that: (1) compositional heterogeneity predicts low profitability; while (2) substantive heterogeneity heralds increases in market value.

Most previous work on corporate culture has relied on survey-based measures, which are static and prone to bias. We instead apply the tools of computational linguistics to derive novel measures of compositional and substantive heterogeneity using a sample of nearly 500 publicly traded companies on a career intelligence website, which allows employees to evaluate and comment on their firms. Given that cultural content can appear in a wide variety of reviews, we use unsupervised learning to identify distinct cultural topics in the nearly one million sentences that contain the word “culture” and its synonyms. We train a topic model, which we then fit to the employee reviews in our sample. Our measure of compositional cultural heterogeneity is derived by comparing the topic vectors for each pair of reviews using the Jensen-Shannon (JS) divergence. Our measure of substantive cultural heterogeneity is derived using the Herfindahl index over the aggregate topic probabilities per firm.

To address concerns about endogeneity, we use Coarsened Exact Matching to pair observations that are high or low on each dimension of cultural heterogeneity and on other observable features (e.g., period, industry, firm size, and number of reviews). Our preliminary results lend support for our two core hypotheses and point to the utility of language use as a vehicle for understanding the dynamically complex relationship between culture and firm performance.

15:15-16:16 Session 5A: Recruitment and Management of the Workforce
Location: Bronfman 245
Roberto Fernandez (MIT Sloan School of Management, USA)
Brian Rubineau (Desautels Faculty of Management McGill University, Canada)
Network Recruitment and the Glass Ceiling in Biotech

ABSTRACT. Many studies have adopted the metaphor of the “glass ceiling” to describe the phenomenon where gender inequality in outcomes is more severe at the top of the reward distribution. Although many other factors are theorized to be at play, some recent research has sought to understand the external sources of the glass ceiling pattern (Fernandez and Campero 2016; Fernandez and Abraham 2010, 2011). One of the factors that is often invoked to account for gender differences in outcomes is firms’ reliance on hiring through social networks. This line of reasoning states that in the presence of gender homophily, recruitment through employee referrals is likely to further disadvantage women in hiring. This logic is often connected to the glass ceiling by arguing that recruitment to higher levels of the organization are likely dominated by an “old boy’s network.”

In this paper, we examine whether network recruitment is a determinant of the glass ceiling. We study hiring during 2014 by level of the organization for a Biotech company. There is a “glass ceiling” pattern observed in the firm: the percentage of females declines over increasing levels of the hierarchy. We build on the insights of two recent papers (Rubineau and Fernandez 2013, 2015) and examine how network recruitment affects hiring outcomes. Specifically, we isolate the net effects of referring and identify the equilibrium percentage of females toward which network recruitment is pushing the firm. Moreover, we examine the network contribution to the glass ceiling by calculating this equilibrium by level of the firm.

We find that for the lowest levels of the organization, network recruitment is contributing to the glass ceiling pattern by pushing these jobs to be skewed even more female than they already are (i.e., from 50 to 60 percent female). At higher levels, however, network recruitment is ameliorating the glass ceiling pattern observed among incumbents of the firm: the equilibrium percent female is moving away from a glass ceiling pattern and toward gender equity (incumbents are 43 percent female, while the equilibrium percentage is 48 percent). Surprisingly, this latter effect can be traced to the actions of male referrers at higher levels of the organization who tend to bias their referrals toward women. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our findings for research on gender inequality in organizations and organizational interventions designed to counter the glass ceiling.

Valery Yakubovich (ESSEC Business School, France)
Roman Galperin (Johns Hopkins University, USA)
Mouna El Mansouri (ESSEC Business School, France)
Flexibility, Insecurity, and Employment with Dynamic Commitment in a Virtual Call Center

ABSTRACT. Improvements in information and telecommunication technology have dramatically reduced the costs of flexible arms-length contracting in labor markets. As a result, flexible employment arrangements are proliferating and researchers look at companies like Uber to understand the new organization of work. We analyze data from a large virtual call center (VCC) that pioneered the arms-length flexible employment model a decade before the organizations currently being studied and discussed. We argue that the evolution of employment relationships at the VCC highlights some inherent tensions in the spot-market-like approach to employment and hints at some general solutions. The tensions arise from the need to balance the flexibility that arms-length, transactional employment relationships bring to both the workers and the firm with (i) the insecurity arising from the variation in effective wages workers earn, and (ii) the unpredictability of labor supply faced by the firm. Through trial-and-error, the VCC arrived at an employment arrangement we call dynamic commitment that aims at optimizing the trade-off. We discuss some implications of dynamic commitment for theories of embeddedness and employment.

15:15-16:15 Session 5B: What Affects Wages and Wage Inequality
Location: Bronfman 620
Nathan Wilmers (Harvard University, USA)
Wage Stagnation and Economic Governance: How Buyer-Supplier Relations Affect U.S. Workers’ Wages, 1978-2014

ABSTRACT. During the 1970s, U.S. workers’ wages ended a three-decade period of steady increase and have since stagnated. In the same period, lax anti-trust enforcement and corporate restructuring left many companies increasingly dependent on sales to large corporate buyers. Suppliers in the manufacturing, wholesale and transportation industries, former bastions of middle-income employment, were particularly exposed to buyer consolidation: in 2014, the average publicly traded manufacturing firm received more than 25% of its revenue from large customers, up from 10% in the early 1980s. Case study research suggests that some buyer-supplier relations foster high-road employment practices (Whitford 2006:155), but that the recent wave of buyer concentration allowed large buyers to hold “the whip hand over manufacturers, while workers found their remuneration and working conditions subject to competitive pressures that often debased their status” (Lichtenstein 2012:8). In this article, I develop the argument that rising buyer power has undermined workers’ wages. This argument departs from prior research on wage stagnation, which relies on a model of wage determination in which labor supply and technological change determine productivity (Autor, Dorn, and Hanson 2013; Goldin and Katz 2007), while union bargaining and other pay-setting institutions only modify wages within firms (Mishel 2015). Under this model, whether an employer sells to one buyer or many should have little effect on wages. I argue instead that institutional changes have made unequal exchange relations between companies central to the distribution of economic resources. Multiple sectors of the U.S. economy are now governed by relations between buyers and sellers in which buyers hold asymmetrical power. When suppliers depend on a buyer for revenue, the buyer can pressure suppliers to reduce prices, which eliminates rents that the suppliers’ workers could otherwise bargain for. Since the 1970s, the rising share of transactions structured by these asymmetrical commitment relations between buyers and sellers has contributed to wage stagnation. I test this argument by estimating the effect of changing inter-firm relations on workers’ wages. Company-level panel models test the wage effects of the share of sales to key buyers increasing; of selling to one compared to multiple buyers; of increasing buyer power through mergers; and of increases in the length of continuous contracting between suppliers and their buyers. Results are robust to alternative model specifications that address concerns about selection and missing data. I draw on these models to quantify the contribution of increasing reliance on key buyers to U.S. wage stagnation since the 1970s. This study brings the analysis of economic governance to the sociology of wage determination. Instead of a return to the vertically integrated, monopolistic corporations of Fordist production, or the rise of an egalitarian, networked economy, U.S. production is increasingly governed by asymmetrical commitment relations. Suppliers face increased cost pressure from dominant buyers, which destroys rents for workers and contributes to wage stagnation. These findings suggest that interventions to regulate inter-firm relations could help reverse wage stagnation. Likewise, antitrust policy has affects beyond price increases for consumers: the consolidated power of corporate buyers pushes down wages among their suppliers.

Tom Vanheuvelen (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA)
Unionization, Wage Inequality, and the Moral Economy: A Longitudinal Reassessment

ABSTRACT. I] Argument and Contribution: The rise and fall of labor unions has played a central role to changes in wage inequality since the mid-20th century. Unions not only raise wages of covered workers, but also provide workers bargaining power against employers and compress wages of both covered and non-covered workers. A recent theoretical development in the literature emphasizes the general institutional importance that unions have on the moral economy, or broadly shared norms of fair distributions. High union membership tends to yield cultural, political, and institutional power to egalitarian schemas, thus providing wage compressing effects beyond the specific firms in which unionization, and unionization threat, occurs. This idea, first explicitly linked to wage inequality by Western and Rosenfeld (2011), has proven to be theoretically powerful and resonant, as it assists in unifying a diverse series of empirical and theoretical studies of labor unions. Yet the specific argument of the moral economy has received little empirical follow up investigation. Of course, in labor economics, the relationship between union membership and wages is a textbook example of the potential confounding importance of unobserved heterogeneity, as worker abilities, motivations, and tolerances for risk might influence selection into union membership and union-dense industries. In the current research, I reexamine the direct (union coverage) and distal (industry-region unionization, a proxy of the moral economy) mechanisms of labor unions on wage inequality outlined by Western and Rosenfeld net of worker-level unobserved heterogeneity.

II] Methodology (for empirical papers) I use 40 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamic (PSID) to assess how both union coverage and industry-region unionization influence wage inequality net of time invariant worker-level unobserved heterogeneity.

I construct industry-region unionization rates from the Current Population Survey (CPS), following Western and Rosenfeld (2011), and map these rates to 1970 and 2000 Census Industry codes in the PSID. I then estimate variance function regression (VFR) models, which provide parametric information on how union coverage and IR-unionization influences wage premiums (between-group) and wage compression (within-group). I assess the importance of these dimensions net of worker-level fixed effects.

III]Key findings and/or implications Key findings are thus far the following:

1] Both between- and within-group associations of union coverage and industry-region unionization in the PSID closely follow those found by Western and Rosenfeld in the CPS, simply illustrating the robustness of their findings and the appropriateness of using PSID for the current study.

2a] For both men and women, the wage premium (average increase in wages) is substantially reduced with the inclusion of worker fixed effects, by upwards of 50%.

2b] For both men and women, the compressing effect of industry-region unionization is underestimated when using cross-sectional CPS data.

3] The compressing effect of the moral economy is primarily confined to non-union covered workers.

15:15-16:15 Session 5C: Professional and Organizational Ethics
Location: Bronfman 410
Kartikeya Bajpai (Northwestern University, USA)
Klaus Weber (Northwestern University, USA)
Explaining Occupational Variation: Privacy Officers in the United States, France and Canada

ABSTRACT. Social scientists have generated a multitude of insights on the relationship between expertise (Brint, 1996), regulatory styles (Dobbin, 1994), political structures (Dobbin, 2009), cultural norms (Lamont, 2009), and occupation-level outcomes (Abbott, 2014). Scholars have also articulated variations in these relationships across nations (Fourcade, 2009, 2006; Hamilton and Biggart, 1988).Yet, while it is common for researchers to compare professions- either transnationally or cross-nationally-these comparisons remain grounded in the essential similarities of occupational groups across national boundaries.

Left undertheorized are the mechanisms which give rise to fundamental differences in occupational features. Few studies empirically explore how occupational traits- such as position within hierarchies, expertise, status and agency- are locally constructed (as opposed to being globally homogenous givens). Conclusions from extant research are undermined by a lack of clear theories about the processes through which occupational features arise in different national climes. Instead, most previous work presupposes occupational commonality before tracking trajectories of different professionalization projects- neglecting the situated nature of the vary features they seek to explain. Substantively, theorizing the privacy occupation across regions is important as extant socio-legal scholarship treats privacy officers as either implicitly unproblematic ‘professionals’ (Clearwater and Hughes 2013), or explicitly as pragmatic responses to regulatory environments (Bamberger and Mulligan 2015).

The current study focuses on the case of the privacy occupation, i.e. people tasked with designing and implementing programs to ensure the protection of private information in organizations. We take a step back and ask, what accounts for differences in the status and organization of an occupation in the face of similarity in terms of issues, market demand and (to some extent) regulation? Our study examines variation in the constitution of the privacy occupation across the United States, France and Canada. Analysis reveals that distinctive privacy-related cultural norms, regulations, and institutional arrangements of nations create varying degrees of organizational ambiguity and risk. Further, these perceptions of uncertainty induce different patterns of occupational sensemaking and sensegiving (Weber and Glynn, 2006; Weick, 1995) behaviors at the occupation level. In France- where organizations face situations of low ambiguity and minimal risk- privacy officers occupy lower levels of the organizational hierarchy, possess limited role flexibility and are largely constrained to documentation and administrative tasks, i.e. privacy officers largely rely on regulatory sensegiving. In contrast, American organizations face the double bind of high ambiguity and significant risks- necessitating privacy officers who are domain experts, upwardly-mobile and endowed with a strategic orientation, i.e. privacy officers who are involved in sensemaking at the occupation-level, and not just passive receivers of regulatory diktats. Importantly-and paradoxically-we find that regulatory under-specificity may lead to better occupational outcomes-elevating privacy officers within organizational hierarchies and furthering their professionalization projects.

Sarah Babb (Boston College, USA)
Not Your Grandfather's IRB: Institutional Logics and the Decline of Amateur Ethics Review

ABSTRACT. Once upon a time, Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) were low-budget amateur ethics review bodies governed by faculty volunteers. Since then, faculty volunteers have turned over regulatory and managerial responsibilities to paid staff, and the amateur board of decades past has been displaced by a newer, more professionalized model. In this paper, I argue that one major consequence of professionalization has been the creation of a densely-networked, thriving organizational field. The human subjects protection field has been structured by two parallel institutional logics. The first is what I call the logic of compliance, which values attention to regulatory detail. The second is a logic of efficiency, which values expeditious review so that research can commence. Literature on compliance professionals emphasizes the ceremonial function of their activities. In contrast, I show that the IRB profession has been pushed toward embracing norms of efficiency by resource constraints and market forces. It was possible for the IRB field to adapt effectively to both compliance and efficiency logics, but only at the expense of amateur ethics review.

15:15-16:15 Session 5D: Organizational Fields
Location: Bronfman 210
Aaron Horvath (Stanford University, Department of Sociology, USA)
Christof Brandtner (Stanford University, Department of Sociology, USA)
Walter W. Powell (Stanford University, Graduate School of Education, USA)
Serve or Conserve: Mission, strategy, and multilevel nonprofit change during the Great Recession

ABSTRACT. Change is frequently afoot in the nonprofit sector, both in the wider institutional environment in which nonprofits operate and within the organizations themselves. Environmental transformations – funding sources, supply and demand for collective goods, and administrative norms – create the circumstances in which organizations operate. Internally, change involves the alteration of goals, practices, and personnel. To explore how multiple aspects of change intersect across levels, we ask how organizations’ practices influence their experience of and reaction to changes in the environment. Turning open systems theories inside out, we argue that internal planning, routines, and missions give rise to organizational mindsets that imbue evolving environmental circumstances with meaning. We illustrate our argument using a unique longitudinal dataset of 196 representative 501(c)(3) public charities in the San Francisco Bay Area from 2005-2015 to assess both accelerators and obstacles of change. Empirically, we investigate predictors of organizational insolvency and the ability to serve constituents in the wake of the Great Recession. We find that strategic planning decreases the likelihood of insolvency whereas an orientation towards the needy increases spending. We conclude with our contributions to understanding of multilevel organizational change and nonprofit strategy.

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey (University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA)
Dustin Avent-Holt (Agusta State University, USA)
Producing Organizational Resources

ABSTRACT. Organizations are social inventions designed to absorb resources from their environment and employ those resources to motivate their members to do the work necessary to accomplish organizational goals. We refer to this process as resource pooling, although it goes by other names – value added, surplus generation, cash flow. This flow of resources into organizations is a fundamental constraint on both the existence of the organization and its inequality regime. Understanding the overall size of the pie, more technically speaking the surplus, to be distributed and its sources are critical to understanding the link between inequality regimes and distributional outcomes. In addition, differences in the size of the pie, the volume of resources available to be distributed, generate a substantial portion of total inequality in any population. In fact, much current research suggests that increased variability across firms in their average wage rates and profitability are key drivers of rising national inequality in multiple countries.

In this paper we stress three processes that determine the size of the organizational pie: internal efficiencies and innovations in production, field level market power, and (re)configuring organizational boundaries to capture resources. We illustrate these processes with a series of examples drawn from work, economic sociology and organizational sub-fields. Cases include work on managerial citizenship behavior, high and low road labor process strategies, market power and embedded exchange, the rise of the “Frightful Five” in IT, Big Pharma and Biotech, Airline Deregulation, financialization and the disintegration of the vertically integrated firm.

15:15-16:15 Session 5E: Cultural Barriers and Contestation in Market Emergence
Location: Bronfman 179
Edward Walker (UCLA, USA)
Ion Bogdan Vasi (University of Iowa, USA)
The Situation Room: Stigma Management and the Claims-Making of Contested Industry Groups

ABSTRACT. Firms and industries involved in contested areas of work often face multiple challenges to their practices, emerging from social movement organizations, negative media reports, policy threats, and/or scientific findings that challenge the safety and legitimacy of industry practices. For these reasons, industry groups must often take both reactive and proactive measures to respond to such challenges in the public sphere, and these measures often take the form of collective stigma-management efforts. In this study, we investigate data from thousands of press releases issued between 2009-2015 by the two predominant industry associations in the fracking-heavy region of the Marcellus Shale: Energy in Depth and the Marcellus Shale Coalition. We investigate a variety of influences on industry claims-making: anti-fracking protests, negative media reports about fracking, press releases of scientific reports that raise questions about the safety of fracking for workers and communities, and broader political and economic factors. We focus on how these influences affect both the content and the valence of these pro-fracking press releases, highlighting the ways that these claims reflect the severity of perceived threat to the industry’s collective reputation. We highlight implications for theory and research on social movements and stakeholders, work in the energy sector, public relations strategies, and organizational theory on stigma and reputation management more broadly.

Focusing on the contested industry of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, which is an industry that has been facing substantial social movement activism that has reshaped public discourse around the practice (Vasi et al., 2015), this study will investigate the ways that industry groups act to manage collective threats. Our research will be able to reveal, for instance, a number of key aspects of this process: (1) which external threats generate the greatest volume of press release activity across all claims, (2) under which conditions the industry responds directly to the threat (perhaps by “shooting the messenger” or directly attacking activist groups or scientists) versus when they respond obliquely by simply highlighting the environmental safety and economic benefits of the practice, (3) we will be able to learn which particular social movement campaigns have been seen as the most threatening by industry, thereby further opening up the “black box” of strategies deployed by social movement targets.

John Park (Goizueta Business School, Emory University, USA)
Anand Swaminathan (Goizueta Business School, Emory University, USA)
Religious Denominations and the Institutional Legacy of Prohibition: Evidence from the US Brewing Industry

ABSTRACT. We examine the impact of regional culture on the population dynamics of economic organizations. Specifically, we test how religious denominations affect the founding of breweries across U.S. states in three distinct periods, the pre-national Prohibition phase from 1890 to 1918, the post-Repeal period from 1933 to 1941, and the craft brewery movement from 1976 to 2010. We add to the recent literature on the influence of geography and culture on organizations (Molotch, Freudenburg and Paulsen 2000; Freeman and Audia 2006; Marquis and Battilana 2009) by providing empirical evidence on how variations in religiosity may have a lasting impact on the geographical distribution of firms.

Our main data sources are the brewery life history data compiled by Carroll and Swaminathan (2000), updated to 2010, and the adherence rate of religious denominations (Association of Religion Data Archives) classified into religious traditions (Steensland, Robinson, and Wilcox 2000). Other socio-demographic variables were collected from the U.S. decennial Census data, and missing values were imputed linearly for annual observations. The dependent variable for the periods 1890-1918 and 1976-2010 is the number of breweries founded in each year, and we employ fixed-effects Poisson models with robust standard errors to account for state-level heterogeneity. For the period 1933-1941, we treat the firm as the unit of analysis and estimate Weibull models of restarting a brewery that had previously disbanded due to prohibition. We identified 927 breweries at risk of restart, of which 56% restarted after 1933. Since most restarts are concentrated in the early years of observation, we use a proportional hazard model with a Weibull distribution. We control for relevant socio-economic variables, and the impact of social movements.

Apart from the negative influence of legislative changes (population living in dry areas) and the efforts of temperance movements (Anti-Saloon League and Women’s Christian Temperance Union), Protestant denominations suppress the founding rates of breweries during the period, 1890-1918. Higher adherence rate to Evangelical Protestant denominations, however, has a stronger effect than adherence rate to Mainline Protestant denominations. Further, we find that breweries that ceased operations due to Prohibition are more likely to restart, after the repeal of the 18th Amendment if located in states with lower adherence rate to Protestant denominations. Again, the negative impact on restarts of Evangelical Protestant adherence is stronger than that of Mainline Protestant adherence. Thus, by influencing the baseline density of breweries immediately after the Repeal, Protestant denominations may have exerted a lasting influence on the population dynamics of breweries. Finally, long past the repeal of national Prohibition, we find that Protestant denominations continue to exert negative pressure on the regional founding of craft breweries over the period 1976-2010, but only the Mainline Protestant denominations have a significant effect. These results are driven mainly by Methodist denominations whose deep historical ties with the temperance movement may explain this persistent effect. On the other hand, the fragmentation of Evangelical Protestant denominations may diminish their effect on craft brewery founding despite holding negative attitudes towards alcohol consumption.

16:30-17:30 Session 6A: Who creates markets and why? (Mentor: Mike Sauder, University of Iowa)
Location: Bronfman 620
Tim Rosenkranz (The New School for Social Research, USA)
Processing the Nation: Organization and Contingencies of National Destination Marketing

ABSTRACT. Marketing and branding today emerge as main practices for nation-states in global competition to attract mobile capital, or migrants from labor to tourists. Through the qualitative research of the national tourism destination marketing efforts of 45 different nation-states in India and the USA, this paper explores the conditions and relations of marketing a nation to consumers. Situated at the intersection of economic sociology and the sociology of organizations and professions, this paper analyzes the organization of national destination marketing as local professional relations and processes of speculation, brokerage and translation. These simultaneously enable and limit the possibilities of a national competition based on image.

National destination marketing in tourism presents a primary case to examine the organization of the nation-state as actor and object in global market environments. Almost all nation-states have created official marketing organizations, National Tourist Offices (NTOs), to compete for the global flows of tourism. These NTOs form globally expanding networks of local branches in source-markets, i.e. the places where potential tourists come from. The German NTO for example has marketing offices in New Delhi for the Indian source-market, in New York for the US-source-market, etc. Based on 15 months of qualitative field-research (including participant observation and 79 in-depth interviews) in India and the USA, this paper shows that national destination marketing is rarely a direct relation between the NTOs and the consumer. Instead marketing involves multipliers from different professional fields such as the local travel media and the travel industry, whom NTOs provide economic resources (marketing funds, flight tickets, etc.) to translate the destination into desirable marketing images for the potential consumer.

Analyzing these obfuscated marketing practices of exchange and control structuring these local socio-economic fields, I theorize national destination marketing as three interrelated processes: 1.) Translation as cultural and economic production destination images under the principle of presumed consumer preferences; 2.) Brokerage as transfer and control of resources between NTOs and multipliers; 3.) Speculation as uncertain, delayed activation of national cultural wealth through marketing. These findings contribute to the understanding of the production process of marketing and branding; specifically the economic, organizational and cultural challenges to managing coherent, global destination identities. I argue that this contingent marketing process exemplifies the expansion and externalization of national imagination as “fictitious commodity.”

Brandon Folse (University of Oregon, USA)
Arafaat Valiani (University of Oregon, USA)
Legitimating Chinese Birth Markets in the United States Through Quasi Metrics

ABSTRACT. Scholars suggest that market legitimacy is a consequence of the process in which professionals define which occupational practices are morally and ethically appropriate which affords their enterprise, and thus the market as a whole, with legitimacy. Favoring an institutionalist position, other researchers suggest that markets derive their moral legitimacy from the category of goods that are traded. We build on these literatures by investigating the role of metrics in legitimating markets. Employing qualitative research methods, we examine the case of Chinese ‘birth tourism’ to the United States which has grown significantly over the past decade. This field consists of Chinese and US based organizations which sell travel, accommodation and medical treatment services to pregnant Chinese women (and their families) in order to facilitate travel to the US for childbirth. Interpreting collected interview and textual data, we argue that organizations in the US birth tourist market strive to attain legitimacy of their firms and the services that they sell by making evidentiary ‘demonstrations’ for potential clients. We illustrate how consultants within such organizations create and share testimonials as a quasi statistic which quantitatively and qualitatively affirms the legitimacy of their organizations ability to furnish a ‘safe’, comfortable and culturally appropriate childbirth for Chinese mothers (and their families) during their stay in the United States. We analyze how such actors use in-person consultations and a combination of old and new media in order to furnish potential clients with ‘evidence’ of the effectiveness of their organization’s travel, accommodations and medical treatment services. We suggest that these ‘quasi metrics’ are effective because they couple selected evidence with cultural understandings of childbirth and postpartum recovery, medical risk, parenthood, travel and mobility. This investigation contributes to literatures in economic sociology, childbirth studies, and migration.

16:30-17:30 Session 6B: State in the Economy (Mentor: Heather Haveman, University of California, Berkeley)
Location: Bronfman 410
Tina Lee (University of Notre Dame, USA)
Contracts, Collusion, and Public Misconduct: Private-Public Coordination in the Chinese Economy

ABSTRACT. A tenet of New Institutional Economics is that organizations arise in matrices of institutional uncertainty—governance gaps created by conflicting, poorly enforced, or absent rules. But what are some of the unanticipated consequences of the emergence of these new organizations, erected to inscribe order and certainty in their institutional environment? And what happens when their functions overlap with extant institutions (i.e., administrative law)? This paper draws on both the primacy of agency and purposeful action central to economic sociology’s embeddedness perspective and the theoretical framework of organizational deviance to reinterpret instances of collusion in the Chinese economy. I draw on data collected from eight months of participant observation at a private industrial firm in China to describe instances where private firm managers violate administrative rules and state personnel sidestep statutes to offer regulatory exemptions. These actions and efforts at coordination serve as prima facie evidence for misconduct on the part of both parties. I suggest however that with a longer time horizon and attention to the professional and organizational histories among the actors of interest, we find evidence instead for the observance of organizational-level commitments in lieu of proximate rules governing administrative procedure. Specifically, I argue that when organizational actors attempt to reconcile “institutional holes” through formal contractual agreements or informal partnerships, or both, provisional redrawing of organizational boundaries change existing governance structures of economic action and nullify proximate rules for controlling opportunism. I draw on these cases to call into question the characterization of regulators (or the regulated) as corrupt when they commit transgressions such as violating the procedural and statutory rules intended to rein in unpredictable behavior on the part of state agents. The paper also challenges the presumption that such rule violations under an authoritarian or one-party state are to be read as neopatrimonial authority, arbitrary exercises of power, or corruption.

Ningzi Li (Cornell University, USA)
Political and Non-Political Connections in Pricing China's Emerging Corporate Bonds

ABSTRACT. Both political and non-political organizational relationships can impact pricing in financial markets independently. These relationships provide information and implicit guarantees that can reduce uncertainty and consequentially lower the demanded prices. It is thus an important question how these two types of forces coordinate when they coexist in the same context. It also remains unclear whether non-political connections wield the same effects across political regimes. Accordingly, this study delineates how political and non-political relationships between organizations mold financial prices in emerging markets, e.g., China.

By analyzing China’s corporate bond interests during 2011-2013, the results demonstrate that the impact of firms’ political ties to the institutions of power outweighs the effect of inter-organizational relationships between firm issuers and bank managers. The interests of bonds issued by firms with political connections are apparently lower than bonds issued by firms without political ties. Bond interests are also less volatile among firms with political connections than those without political relationships. Given the political background, however, firms’ enduring relationships to banks reduce interests for non-politically-connected firms to a larger degree than for politically connected ones. But the frequency of firm-bank interactions has no significant effect on bond interests. In other words, non-political connections can slowly cover the discrepancy in financial pricing resulted from disparate political relationships.

This study aims to bridge the studies of inter-organizational relations to political economy literature on financial pricing. On the one hand, political economy literature has focused on the effect of political power in centralized and stable political structures on value assessments (Fisman 2001). But this school of thoughts overlooks the power of social interactions between organizations that may counteract the predominant impact of political forces. On the other hand, studies on inter-organizational relations are mostly engaged in multi-centered structures without a superior authority, in which context embedded relations between non-political organizations are considered most influential (Baker 1984; DiMaggio and Louch 1998; Uzzi 1999). The findings of this study suggest that embedded relationships between non-political organizations can offset the predominant impact of political connections at a slow annual pace.

In addition, this study resonates Beckert’s (2011) calling for considering “the simultaneous influences and the interaction of different social macrostructures” in price determination. Through the examination of political connections and embedded relationships at the same time, the findings indicate that the inertia political structure in transitioning China is far more impactful in shaping financial valuation than the network structure constructed between firms and banks.

Furthermore, this study contributes to the research on financialization by focusing on the political and social structures in emerging economies. Recent research on developed financial markets has highlighted the evolution of technology (Carruthers and Stinchcombe 1999; Beunza and Stark 2004; MacKenzie 2008) and the shift of exchange platform from face-to-face interactions to impersonal online transactions (Knorr-Cetina and Bruegger 2002; Levin 2005) in reshaping price formation. But neither feature is essential in emerging economies like China where political and social interactions prevail over technology and platform evolutions.

16:30-17:30 Session 6C: Institutional Change (Mentor: Robert David, McGill U.)
Location: Bronfman 210
Chris Rea (UCLA, USA)
The Nature of Regulation: Environmental Protection and Institutional Innovation in the United States and Germany

ABSTRACT. Why do particular forms of economic regulation emerge in specific times and places? Using a comparative and historical analysis of the parallel but largely independent emergence of a novel form of economic regulation, ecological offsetting, in the United States and Germany, this article develops a two-tiered approach to explaining how and why particular forms of economic regulation emerge when and where they do. At the first level of analysis, the article argues that analogous patterns of contentious politics embedded within similar and overlapping historical contexts can drive the development of highly similar regulatory institutions even in different contexts and independently of diffusion processes. This is institutional emergence and regulatory innovation driven by structural isomorphism. At the second level of analysis, however, the article also shows how institutional peculiarities can develop out of context-specific cultural and organizational features and the distinctive patterns of political contention that flow from them. Thus cultural anisomorphism drives institutional divergence--even within structurally analogous social-historical contexts. Taken as a whole, the approach developed herein deepens theories of institutional emergence and organizational change, and contributes to accounts of policy change in environmental social science. Methodological implications are also discussed.

Yuhao Zhuang (University of Chicago, USA)
Spatial Considerateness: The Ecology of Micro-Institutional Change in Organizations

ABSTRACT. For an organization faced with demand of external institutional pressure, what makes change in its institutionalized work practice possible? For decades, theories of new institutionalism and population ecology have dominated our understanding of the relationship between organizational behavior and extra-organizational structural environment. More recently, scholars have questioned earlier research’s overemphasis of field-level dynamics and attended to how competing interests, partisan contestation, and strategic mobilization inside organizations facilitate organizational-level change of work practice. In other words, such new politicizing efforts tend to treat practice change of organization as outcome of deliberate attempts of adherents who more effectively take advantage of available opportunities, discourses, and strategies to defeat their opponents within the same organization. Yet, organizations under external pressure are not only characterized by confrontational political struggles. Compromise, collaboration, and shared understanding also play significant roles in structuring organizational change. Despite an emerging scholarship noting cooperative and collective processes underlying change in organization’s institutionalized practice, the relationship between these processes and the well-studied contestation dynamics still remains largely unknown. Within organizations under imminent external pressure, under what circumstances are intra-organizational confrontations mediated by mutual collaboration and negotiation? How do presence and absence of such mediation lead to distinct outcomes of institutionalized practice change in organizations?

In this article, I tackle these puzzles by drawing on data from a two-year ethnographic study of two Chinese grassroots nonprofit groups faced with a new administrative order. According to this order, the two nonprofit groups (pseudonyms Subway Club and Grassroots Venture Association) were required to be formally affiliated with a state-owned transit agency. The two organizations studied were comparable in terms of prior performance, top-managerial influence, initial intra-group political confrontation, and other characteristics that have been previously demonstrated to affect change in organizational work practice. Nevertheless, formal affiliation was eventually achieved in Subway Club but not in Grassroots Venture Association.

To trace the processes leading to divergent outcomes in the two grassroots organizations, I follow human ecology of Chicago School of Sociology and develop an ecological account of organization’s change in institutionalized work practice under external pressure, or named micro-institutional change. Drawing on and extending relational, spatial, and temporal perspectives of human ecology, I argue in this article that outcomes of micro-institutional change can be traced back to distinct pre-existing patterns of work interactions that evolve differently in time and physical space. In the context I studied, change in institutionalized work practice was achieved within unfragmented workplaces where organizational members had long worked in close physical proximity before the introduction of new demand. Unfragmented spatial arrangement can not only promote long-term work interdependency conducive to mitigation of political contestation among members expressing distinct opinions of external demand, but reinforce members’ awareness of such work interdependency and direct them to collective problem-solving and organizational-level consensus through cumulative day-to-day work interactions. I call such dual effect of unfragmented workplace spatial considerateness. Highlighting the roles of ecological process and physical space of organization, this study contributes to current understandings of intra-organizational interaction and organizational change.

16:30-17:30 Session 6D: Workplace practices: Trust, Cooperation, Control (Mentor: Joseph Broschak, U. of Arizona)
Location: Bronfman 179
Brittany Bond (MIT Sloan School of Management, USA)
Dilemmas of Embeddedness: Structured Management Practices and Performance Management

ABSTRACT. Embedded managerial relationships- the ongoing social relations between managers and employees- are viewed as valuable to organizations in part because they produce trust and cooperation that is expected to improve productivity. However, such relational strengths can also limit the effectiveness of embedded managerial relationships during important organizational processes. In particular, embedded managerial relationships may complicate official employee evaluations, especially in the case of employee under-performance. 

This paper explores how organizations can balance the benefits of fostering embedded relationships between managers and employees with the need to make constructive performance management decisions. Given that trust and cooperation between workers and management on the whole enable an array of competitive advantages, the question then becomes how to prevent such generally beneficial byproducts of embedded managerial relationships from backfiring in important personnel processes. I investigate this question in a pharmaceutical company with generally high levels of reported employee cooperation and trust across the organization. The higher the level of trust and cooperation a manger reports, the less likely they are to accurately down-rate an under-performing employee. However, the more structured the approach taken to managing, the more likely a manager is to accurately down-rate an under-performing employee. Interestingly, the more highly a manager perceives their own manager to take a structured management approach, the more likely the focal manager is to accurately down-rate an under-performing employee. 

Managers with a highly structured orientation to management practices may be more willing to make objective decisions regarding rating their under-performing employees, even within embedded managerial relationships. Previous research argues that firms with more structured management practices - the deliberate use of monitoring, goal setting, incentives and data in decision making - are more efficient, more likely to persist, and more able recruit and retain workers with higher average human capital. Managers who practice a structured approach to managing their employees may therefore make more efficient and productive decisions when evaluating their employees’ performance. 

The importance of how structured management practices and embedded managerial relationships can operate independently are highlighted. Finally, possible mechanisms for why perceptions about how one’s own manager manages matter more than how the focal manager’s management style in performance evaluation outcome are explored.

Jillian Chown (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, USA)
Negotiating change in professional organizations

ABSTRACT. Organizations often struggle with managing and directing their professional workforce, particularly in the context of organizational change. But given the professionals’ central positions in the organization’s most important knowledge and workflows, failing to engage professionals can have a negative impact on the change outcomes and sustainability. Given the potential value it can unlock, how can organizations engage professionals in organizational change? Drawing on an ethnography of one hospital’s change implementation across five internal units, I explore how physician engagement and autonomy is negotiated and contested within the change teams. While prior literature has shown that professionals will defend their autonomy over tasks in their technical jurisdiction (i.e., physicians treating patients), I show that professionals enact (and defend) their autonomy more broadly than their technical work into more processual domains (e.g., scheduling, clinic preparation). Organization-professional conflict arose because the organization’s proposed changes targeted how the hospital’s resources were deployed and the workflows within the clinic; by doing so, they infringed on the professionals’ enacted jurisdiction in these processual domains. While many physicians disengaged and simply stopped participating in the change (thereby limiting the changes’ potential impact), some physicians, in some instances ceded their control and participated in the new practices willingly. Physicians’ willingness to comply with the organizational changes was shaped by the clinic team’s ability to adapt the centrally-designed tools to both reflect physicians’ idiosyncratic characteristics and ensure they generated value to the individual physicians. By doing so, the teams fundamentally altered the trajectory of the change process. This study contributes to our understanding of organizational change and control in settings dominated by professionals by providing an alternative mechanism to engage professionals in change: the articulation of value. This study also expands our understandings of what is a professional jurisdiction, how professionals enact their autonomy within organizations and how jurisdictional contests between organizations and professions are resolved.

16:30-17:30 Session 6E: Precarious work (Mentor: Michel Anteby, Boston U.)
Location: Bronfman 178
Jina Mao (Skidmore College, USA)
Yongqiang Xue (SUNY Polytechnic Institute, USA)
Career Contingencies and Perspectives of Work in McJobs: A Case Study of Fast Food Work

ABSTRACT. With the rise of precarious employment also comes the growing polarization of the occupational structure, characterized by the widening wage inequality between high-pay high-skill and low-pay low-skill jobs (Autor, Katz, & Kearney, 2008; Kalleberg, 2011). Thus, the consequences of precarious employment are said to assume disparate forms depending on the labor market “segmentation” (Vallas & Prener, 2012). There is no singular experience with precarious work, rather, there may be a “differential vulnerability based on education, age, family responsibility, occupation, industry, welfare, and labor market protections” (Arnold and Bongiovi, 2012, p. 290). While a large portion of the literature on precarious work has focused on professional, technical and managerial workers in white-collar occupations and/or knowledge-intensive organizations (Okhuysen, Lepak, Ashcraft et al., 2013), we know little about how low-wage low-skill work employees navigate the precariousness of their work arrangement and exercise agency in managing their careers (Smith, 2010). Through an ethnographic study of employees of FoodCo, a popular US fast food restaurant chain, we seek to understand how individuals of different social background and at different stages of the life course make sense of their work and careers in the context of low-wage low-skill precarious employment. Data collection took place in three FoodCo stores, sampled based on location to maximize the opportunity to meet employees from a variety of backgrounds and socioeconomic standings. 300 hours of participant observation and 50 semi-structured interviews were conducted over the span of nine months. In analyzing the data, we found that the employees have various social, personal, and situational conditions contingent to their entry of and continued employment at FoodCo. We categorize four general life and career patterns: transients, strugglers, skidders, itinerants. In response to these career contingencies, we found that the employees developed coordinated sets of ideas and tactics, called perspectives of work (Becker, Geer, Hughes, & Strauss, 1961; Mead, 1938), in order to help them manage the low-wage unstable nature of their jobs, define their career paths, and orient their efforts toward their life and career goals. We identify three perspectives of work at FoodCo: the coming-of-age perspective, the necessary-evil perspective, and the one-day-at-a-time perspective, that the individuals use to structure their work into acceptable careers and make their life at work tolerable. The findings suggest that individuals’ social structural location as characterized by age, gender, class, and education shape both their career patterns and their subjective experiences of work and career in McJobs. Furthermore, the employees exercise agency by bringing into the workplace “different values and expectations from home and community that have bearing on their involvements and aspirations while at work” (Epstein, 1990, p. 94). Grounded in these understandings, this study furthers understanding of the socially constructed nature of precariousness, and sheds additional empirical light into the interplay between the individual’s career and the broader social and institutional contexts environing the workplace.

Shelly Steward (UC Berkeley Dpt of Sociology, USA)
Making Sense of Precarious Work in Flexible Capitalism: A Comparison of Oil and Tech

ABSTRACT. This project asks how workers make sense of their experiences with precarity and insecurity, focusing on the generation of moral narratives and the development of industry-level commitment in an era of flexible capitalism. It addresses this topic through ethnographic observation of and in-depth interviews with workers in two industries that are characterized by deep precarity: the American tech and oil and gas industries.

The days of full-time, indefinite jobs with benefits and retirement plans are fading into the past. Labor is increasingly characterized by flexibility, instability, and precarity; temporary jobs, part-time work, contracted positions, and project-based employment are increasing, resulting in high levels of anxiety and decreased economic security. The tech industry and the oil and gas industry epitomize this insecurity. In each, entry-level workers face a high risk of lay-offs and a daily discourse of insecurity. These industries, however, also have striking differences. The cycles of the tech industry unfold on a much more compressed time frame and positions are much more likely to require a college degree. The cycles of the oil and gas industry, in contrast, unfold over years and decades, and more positions are available to those lacking college educations. Furthermore, there are deep political and cultural differences between the industries, evidenced by recent elections. These differences make for a rich comparison of processes of meaning-making between workers.

This project consists of both ethnographic observation and in-depth interviews of both industries, based in Silicon Valley and San Francisco for tech, and in Williston, North Dakota and Houston, Texas for oil and gas. For both industries, interviews with workers are combined with observations of interviewees’ workplaces. In addition, there is ongoing ethnographic observation at job development sites in each location: pitch and hiring events in Silicon Valley, a job training program in North Dakota, and three job training programs in Houston.

In both industries, workers develop an account of insecurity rooted in the industry that allows them to approach their work as a moral response to that insecurity. Although taking different forms in each industry, the pattern of narrative construction and response results in similarly intense levels of enthusiasm and commitment. In the oil and gas industry, workers develop an industry account of insecurity rooted in global geopolitics, and see their work as an opportunity to symbolically defend American values that counter that insecurity. In the tech industry, workers root insecurity in an outdated and rigid business structure, and see their work as a way of disrupting and renewing the economy for long-term growth. Both of these accounts intensify commitment to work in the face of increasing precarity through a moral narrative—one that is neither as contingent as workplace-specific consent, nor as deeply internalized as many neoliberal accounts would suggest.

16:30-17:30 Session 6F: Careers and intra-organizational inequality (Mentor: Emilio Castilla, MIT)
Location: Bronfman 422
Sue H. Moon (Long Island University, USA)
H. Colleen Stuart (Johns Hopkin University, USA)
Golden Escalator: Work-Linked Marital Status, Gender, & Career Progression

ABSTRACT. We investigate the role of marriage—and, in particular, “work-linked marital status”—on women’s career progression. Work-linked marital status may characterize partners who are linked by work in one of the following three ways: (1) sharing only an occupation; (2) sharing only an organization; or (3) sharing both an occupation and an organization. We hypothesize that women in work-linked (vs. non work-linked) marriages will experience faster career progression. We empirically test three potential mechanisms for this effect: Positive selection, work-family integration, and social network activation. To help describe the accelerated career progression of women in work-linked marriages, and its underlying mechanisms and implications, we introduce the metaphor of the “golden escalator.”

Theory & Hypotheses First, according to the positive selection hypothesis, women in work-linked (vs. non work-linked) marriages may have personal characteristics (e.g., personality, commitment) that positively contribute to both their work-linked marital status and career progression; rendering a spurious relationship. Second, according to the work-family integration hypothesis, work-linked marriages are may be characterized by integration (vs. segmentation) of partners’ work and family roles. As work-linked husbands and wives share more similar responsibilities in not only the realm of paid work, but also potentially family work, women in work-linked marriages may experience more egalitarian (vs. traditional) division of labor. This may enable work-linked women to devote relatively more time to her career compared to her non work-linked counterparts. Third, according to the social network activation hypothesis, women in work-linked (vs. non work-linked) marriages may be better able to activate social network ties. As work-linked marital status may signal social similarity and in-group membership status, these women may be more likely to be accepted by and taken seriously by higher-status majority group members (men) in male-dominated work settings and therefore receive more information and opportunities. Relatedly, work-linked marital status may embed women in networks characterized by social closure, which allow for the emergence of norms and sanctions that regulate behavior.

Methodology & Results Among the 1,310 surveys administered at a large organization, over one-third (451) were completed. Among women, we found evidence of work-linked (vs. non work-linked) marriages being associated with faster career progression (p < 0.05). While no evidence was found for the positive selection or work-family integration hypotheses, women in work-linked marriages appear better able to activate social network ties. For example, mentorship ties more strongly contributed to the career progression of work-linked (vs. non work-linked) women (p < 0.05).

Discussion While work-linked marriages are prevalent across society, this is among the first study to examine how and why it affects career progression. We find empirical evidence for the presence of a “golden escalator,” or faster career progression in male-dominated settings among women in work-linked marriages, as social network ties may take them more seriously and therefore confer greater career-related assistance. The slowed or stalled career progression of other women and groups, however, constitutes the other side of the same coin. Therefore, an understanding of the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon may provide insights on sources of gender inequality.

Evelyn Zhang (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
Adina Sterling (Stanford University, USA)
Brandy Aven (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
Structural Blindness? Mobility and Performance Disruption in Organizations

ABSTRACT. Intra-organizational mobility represents an important facet of attracting, utilizing, and retaining employees. Despite its benefits, uncertainty exists with moving, thus movers may not be able to replicate their prior success. In this paper, we develop a theory on lateral intra-organizational mobility. We address two questions: (1) how does an internal move affect the mover’s performance? (2) How do pre-existing communication ties, ties to the business unit receiving the mover, affect movers’ likelihood of moving and post-move performance?

We first build on literature on external mobility and expect performance to suffer when employees move across business units. Next, drawing on literature that social relations can benefit external hires by multiple means, we expect that the likelihood of a mover joining a new unit increases with the total number of pre-move communication ties that the mover has to that unit. Nonetheless, ties that facilitate movers’ joining the receiving unit may not be the ties that can help movers perform at the job in the receiving unit. We argue that pre-move communication ties may actually hurt mover’s performance. We suggest the reason for performance disruption is structural blindness, representing the pre-move communication contacts’ structural inability to help movers perform.

We collected data on the internal transfers between branches of retail sales employees at a US-based financial institution from November 2014 to April 2016. The dataset is composed of individual HR demographics information, monthly performance (in dollar), and the email communication behaviors among all employees, including sender, receiver, timestamp and size of each message.

We first investigated the performance of the 729 lateral movers over 11,924 worker-months. With a fixed-effect model (including both individual and month fixed effects), we find that changing business units negatively affects the mover’s performance in the subsequent month. Next, we examined the effect of pre-existing communication ties on the probability that the individual mover joins the receiving group. Our sample includes the observed mover-group pairs, pairing each receiving unit-month with an observationally equivalent business unit-months that movers could have joined but did not. With the conditional logit regression, we find that pre-existing communication ties positively increases the likelihood of movers joining a business unit. Finally, we modeled the effect of pre-existing communication ties on movers’ post-move performance. We find movers with more pre-existing communication ties experience a greater performance disruption than their less connected peers. As time went by, the performance of the movers would slowly recover from the disruption. We also find movers with more pre-existing communication ties also experience a smaller performance recovering rate since moving than their less connected peers, which suggests it will take longer for them to recover to their prior performance level.

This paper examines social structural mechanisms of intra-organizational mobility and find that communication networks play a paradox role. Our theory challenges the conventional wisdom that intra-organizational mobility helps with individual growth and development. Intra-organizational mobility can be counter-productive for the movers. The more the movers rely on communication ties for information search and moving decisions, ironically, the weaker their post-move performance.

16:30-17:30 Session 6G: Entrepreneurship and venture capital (Mentor: Olenka Kacperczyk, London Business School)
Location: Bronfman 245
Adam Hayes (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA)
Business Plans as Rational Myths

ABSTRACT. Contemporary entrepreneurship has developed into an institutionalized set of rituals that must be carried out for a startup company to gain legitimacy in its quest for funding. By following these rituals, nascent firms appear to mimic one another regardless of their ultimate industry segment or product line. One crucial ritual during this isomorphic “pre-organization” phase is to write an extensive business plan. However, more than two decades of empirical work has consistently produced contradictory evidence to the value and importance of formal business planning on a startup’s success. I argue that the business plan serves a symbolic role as a ‘rational myth.’ Rational myths are belief systems of organizational behavior that embody stories about cause and effect that appear rational in that they specify in a rule-like manner what organizations ought to do to be efficient, but they are myths in that their efficacy depends on the fact that they are widely shared rather than inherently correct. If business plans fall into this category, they ought to be a legitimizing force, which at the same time lacks empirical efficacy. In this paper, I test this hypothesis using a nationally representative sample of entrepreneurs and show that startups with business plans are twice as likely to ask for funding, evidence that they grant legitimacy needed to pitch investors. However, when conditioning on those firms that ask for funding, having a business plan has no effect on obtaining funding or startup survival.

Demetrius Lewis (Emory Goizueta Business School, USA)
Anand Swaminathan (Emory Goizueta Business School, USA)
Network Reselection and Familiarity as an Adverse Feedback Loop

ABSTRACT. This paper develops and tests a theory of network reselection and familiarity. Sociological research on networks has illustrated that actors tend to choose exchange partners that are more familiar. Familiarity can function as a heuristic in the face of unclear information, an instrument to reduce uncertainty, or a reflection of an underlying preference for homophily. Each of these motivations may lead actors to choose partners that are suboptimal for a particular task. In markets where tie selection is motivated strongly by familiarity, we should expect not only for there to be inefficient matching, but that a population of actors that would otherwise be culled by selection is allowed to persist. We argue that actors face a tradeoff between expending effort vetting exchange partners versus saving this effort and choosing imperfect, but familiar partners. On the surface, it might appear that this unspent effort can be directed into other activities that make the firm successful. We demonstrate that choosing familiar partnerships does not substitute with the ability to engage greater resources in other dimensions. Instead, choosing based on familiarity causes the performance of the firm to suffer. A second-order effect is that as lower-quality exchange partners are allowed to survive, the vetting cost increases for all firms and promotes familiarity as a decision criterion. This feedback loop generates poorer performance at a population level. We test this theory using data on venture capital investment and entrepreneur performance from 1985-2016. We illustrate that venture capitalists choose to work with entrepreneurs with whom they have worked with before, regardless of whether entrepreneurs exit due to a positive liquidity event or via bankruptcy. For venture capitalists, relying more heavily on reselection tends to reflect a pool of entrepreneurs whose prior outcomes are lower quality, and reselection inhibits overall portfolio performance. For typical entrepreneurs, persistent relationships with investors may teach how to ''fail fast,'' but not how to learn from failure.

16:30-17:30 Session 6H: Inequality, Meaning of Work and Employee Well-being (Mentor: Erin Kelly, MIT)
Location: Bronfman 310
Atsushi Narisada (Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, Canada)
The Unjust Greedy Institution: When Work Outside of Work Doesn't Pay

ABSTRACT. How fair is what you earn on your job in comparison to others doing the same type of work? In an ideal world, all workers would say: “I receive as much pay as I deserve.” The reality, however, is quite different. Roughly half of Canadian and American workers perceive under-reward (Canadian Work, Stress, and Health Study 2015; Saad, 2010). Beyond its prevalence, decades of distributive justice research document the consequences of perceived under-reward (Adams 1965; Homans, 1961). Those who perceive under-reward report more job dissatisfaction, anger, and physical health problems (Hegtvedt 1990; Narisada and Schieman 2017; Schunck, Sauer, and Valet 2015). Research has also established a link between perceived under-reward and outcomes that concern organizations, including lower work effort and higher turnover intentions (Liden and collegues 2004; Geurts, Schaufeli, & Rutte, 1999). However, despite the large literature on the consequences of perceived unjust rewards, there has been a lack of attention on its determinants (Brockner and Carter 2015). Given the wide-ranging consequences of perceived unjust rewards for both individuals and organizations, it is important to understand how individuals come to perceive their rewards as unjust in the first place. To address this gap in the literature, I explore the conditions that shape just earnings––that is, what individuals think they should earn for their work.

In their recent examination of the determinants of just earnings among German workers, Sauer and May (2017) find two key patterns: (1) employees who perceive their actual earnings to be lower than coworkers with similar qualifications report higher just earnings (2) employees with poor social relations with supervisors and coworkers report higher just earnings. The second finding demonstrates that net of social comparisons of earnings that should directly influence just earnings, workplace conditions are also salient in shaping what individuals’ they think they should earn as a fair return for their work. I build upon this work by examining how other pertinent workplace conditions shape just earnings. Drawing on the idea of the “greedy institution,” I integrate perspectives in the literature on the work-family interface and distributive justice to examine a previously unexplored link between work-family role-blurring and just earnings.

I examine data from the 2007 U.S Work, Stress, and Health study, a national sample of American workers. Results indicate that role blurring activities that resemble work investments outside of the temporal and spatial boundaries of the workplace are associated with higher just earnings--but only when it is coupled with negative role-blurring appraisals and work-family conflict. I situate these findings within a broader discussion of how perspectives in distributive justice and the work-family interface can be integrated to illuminate the link between the nature of work and just earnings.

Jason Budge (UW Madison, USA)
Worker Cooperatives: The Limitations of Cooperative Workplaces and the Meaning of Working Together

ABSTRACT. This research paper compares the experiences of workers from cooperatively and conventionally owned firms in order to examine the ways in which workplace democracy and employee ownership affect worker happiness and fulfillment. Classical and modern sociological theories of alienation are revisited in order to better understand the worker experiences. Ethnographic research methods were utilized in this study, specifically seven in depth interviews with participants from six different workplaces. These six workplaces were taken from two industries in the San Francisco East Bay, pizzerias and bicycle shops. Based on the research findings, it appears that the cooperative and conventional workplaces both have their limitations, but that the workers in cooperative workplaces have found a meaning in their work that is missing from their conventional counterparts.