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sabbatical advice?

Orgheads:

I am going to take a sabbatical in the 2015-16 academic year. On the Facebook group, I asked for input and got one good suggestion. Here, I widen the query. What advice would you give to someone planning a sabbatical? Good places to go?  Do’s and don’ts? Other ideas?

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz/From Black Power

Written by fabiorojas

September 12, 2014 at 12:01 am

Posted in academia, fabio

does organizational sociology have a future? the final part

This is the third and final installment of the “Does Organizational Sociology Have a Future?” panel from ASA, featuring Ezra Zuckerman’s presentation and the Q&A. Here’s part 1 and part 2.

Ezra Zuckerman closed on an up note with “some reasons to be bullish.” Rather than reviewing the past or summarizing trends, Zuckerman highlighted three pieces of work he’s excited about by younger scholars.

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Written by epopp

September 4, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Posted in academia, education

does organizational sociology have a future? the answer, part 2

[This is a continuation of the summary of the "Does Organizational Sociology Have a Future?" ASA panel. Part 1 featured Howard Aldrich and Lis Clemens; tomorrow I'll wrap up with a recap of Ezra Zuckerman's presentation and the Q&A that followed the panel.]

Harland Prechel spoke third. He described himself as being located outside organizational sociology early in his career but was drawn to its useful analytical tools and incorporated organizational sociology into his research over time. Organizational sociology has a lot to offer. So why is it in decline?

A central problem is there is no integrated theory of organizations. Instead, there are numerous competing perspectives that rise and decline over time.  This occurs, in part, because each perspective has a narrow scope that constrains what can be examined, explained, and predicted. For example, given that the behaviors that contributed to the 2007-2008 financial crisis occurred inside organizations, why did organizational researchers failed to predict or anticipate it? One viable answer is the prevailing theories did not direct researchers’ attention toward the underlying structures that permitted the risk-taking behaviors associated with the crisis.

Another part of the explanation for the decline in organizational sociology is that business schools have begun to produce their own PhDs in organizational studies and have become less dependent on sociology departments. Also, organizational sociology is perceived to be less relevant to managing organizations. Given these conditions, it is likely that the job market for organizational sociology in business schools will decline in the future.

Given all this, should we do more of the same? Or, should we be doing something different?

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Written by epopp

September 3, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Posted in academia, education

does organizational sociology have a future? the answer, part 1

By popular request (really—several!), I’ve written up a summary of the “Does Organizational Sociology Have a Future?” panel, held Monday, August 18th, at ASA in San Francisco. Organized by Elizabeth Gorman, the discussion featured Howard Aldrich, Elisabeth Clemens, Harland Prechel, Martin Ruef, and Ezra Zuckerman. The audience was sizable—perhaps 80 folks, including many established people in the field.

The summary is long, so I’m going to break it into a couple of parts. What follows is part one, sans commentary, from notes I took during the session. The rest will be posted over the next day or two. The panelists have all had a chance to review the summary and make edits. Also, there has been some suggestion that slides may be posted at the Work in Progress blog — I’ll post a link if that happens.

I’m not going to be able to capture the humor and asides, alas, but hopefully this will give a flavor of the main themes. If you don’t have the time or inclination to read, the quick version: does organizational sociology have a future?

  • Prechel: Yes.
  • Zuckerman: Yes.
  • Clemens: Yes, if there’s space for thinking outside the box of professionalization and top journals.
  • Aldrich: I’m going to answer a different question.
  • Ruef: Only if Howard Aldrich doesn’t go fly fishing.

Okay, that’s a bit flip. More below.

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Written by epopp

September 2, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Posted in academia, sociology

what do 1st-year grad students need to know?

I’m back from ASA and engaging in a little just-in-time production of syllabi. (For anyone who’s wondering, I did take notes on the “future of orgs” panel and will write those up, but want to run them by the presenters before I post them.)

As grad director, I get to run the proseminar for first-year graduate students. Ours is one hour a week, both semesters. In the past, about half of it has been faculty introducing students to their research areas — e.g. urban week, work & orgs week, demography week, etc.

But grad students have expressed dissatisfaction with this format, and I don’t think faculty are overly thrilled with it, either. So I’m trying to mix things up a bit and make it more immediately useful.

One challenge is that while we want students to get the message about the need to publish, etc., in the past they’ve found such messages a bit overwhelming in the first year, when they’re still trying to figure out how to get through Durkheim. So I’ve tried to approach this from the perspective of, “What do you need to know your first year of grad school?”

Here’s what I’m thinking in terms of weekly topics. This is by substantive area, not chronological. Most weeks will involve guest speakers; I’ll lead perhaps 1/3 of them.

  • How to get around the university
    • Intro to the grad curriculum (DGS)
    • Introduction to the department (department chair)
    • How to get things done in the department (graduate secretary)
    • Guide to library resources  (librarian)
  • How to get through the first year of grad school
    • How to “read” 1000 pages a week (DGS)
    • What I wish I knew my first semester (2nd and 3rd year students)
    • Mid-semester check-in (open discussion)
    • Surviving stats (stats faculty, 2nd-year grad student)
    • The “hidden curriculum” (including race, gender, class issues; DGS and possibly grad students)
    • Successful TAing (one faculty, one student)
    • Making the most of your RA experience (ditto)
    • Time management (DGS? Or someone better with time management skills…)
    • The personal side of grad school (social life, psychological challenges) (not sure…)
  • Thinking about the next year
    • What do I do in the summer? (2nd and 3rd year students)
    • Reverse CV exercise—find people whose jobs you want—what did they have to do to get there? (DGS)
    • Planning years 2, 3 and 4 (DGS)
    • Looking back—how’d the first year go? (open discussion)
  • Thinking about finances
    • Fellowships and grants (DGS)
    • Financial aid & personal finance (financial aid office rep, advanced students)
  • Learning about the profession
    • An overview of the profession (DGS)
    • Developing a publishable research project (one student who collaborated with faculty, one who published from MA?)
    • Developing mentors (advanced grad students)

Then there are a few topics that seem important, but that are not primarily first-year topics. I may include some of these, but open the meetings up to advanced grad students as well:

  • My first article (advanced grad student)
  • Publishing in AJS/ASR (faculty)
  • Will your dissertation be a book? (book faculty)
  • Types of jobs (guest panel—research, teaching, non-academic)
  • Presenting at conferences (advanced students)
  • Choosing a dissertation topic (advanced student + faculty)
  • Finding postdocs (???)
  • The transition to becoming faculty (new junior faculty)

What do you think? Additions? Omissions? Things to skip?

Written by epopp

August 22, 2014 at 1:35 am

Posted in academia, sociology

an ASA bingo retrospective

ASA Conference Bingo is on a permanent vacation pending its return around 2030 in a nostalgic comeback that warms the hearts of fans old and new. But as several people have asked me about it, here is a collection of the cards from years past. Not available in stores.

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Written by Kieran

August 13, 2014 at 11:10 am

Posted in academia, sociology

what’s up with impact factors?

Usually when someone starts throwing citation impact data at me, my eyelids get heavy and I want to crawl into a corner for a nap. Like Teppo wrote a couple of years ago, “A focus on impact factors and related metrics can quickly lead to tiresome discussions about which journal is best, is that one better than this, what are the “A” journals, etc.  Boring.” I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, I’ve heard a lot about impact factors lately. The general weight of impact factors as a metric for assessing intellectual significance has seemed to skyrocket since the time I began training as a sociologist. Although my school is not one of them, I’ve heard of academic institutions using citation impact as a way to incentivize scholars to publish in certain journals and as a measure to assess quality in hiring and tenure cases. And yet it has never struck me as a very interesting or useful measure of scholarly worth. I can see the case for why it should be. Discussions about scholarly merit are inherently biased by people’s previous experiences, status, in-group solidarity, personal tastes, etc. It would be nice to have an objective indicator of a scholar’s or a journal’s intellectual significance, and impact factors pretend to be that. From a network perspective it makes sense. The more people who cite you, the more important your ideas should be.

My problem with impact factor is that I don’t trust the measure. I’m skeptical for a few reasons: gaming efforts by editors and authors have made them less reliable, lack of face validity, and instability in the measure. Let me touch on the gaming issue first.

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Written by brayden king

August 8, 2014 at 6:15 pm

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