howard aldrich on his intellectual trajectory and the history of organizational studies

Orgtheorist and loyal orgtheory commenter Howard E. Aldrich is featured in a video about his intellectual trajectory and the history of organizational studies.  Learn about Howard’s start in urban sociology and organizational studies, why he finds cross-sectional studies “abhorrent,” his years at Cornell where he overlapped with Bill Starbuck, and how he got started publishing in organizational ecology.  He also explains how the variation, selection, and retention VSR) approach was a “revelation” for him, and how various institutions (University of Michigan, Stanford, and others) have promoted his intellectual development via contact with various colleagues, collaborators, and graduate students.  Towards the end of the interview, Aldrich describes his latest research on the Maker movement, including hacking and the rise of affordable 3-D printing and other hardware and software that may propel technological innovation.*

The videoed interview is courtesy of Victor Nee’s Center for Economy & Society at Cornell University.  More videos, including a presentation on his work on entrepreneurship, are viewable here.  Also, those looking for an organizational studies text should see his seminal Organizations Evolving with Martin Reuf here.

* The Maker movement has strong affinities with Burning Man.  In fact, that’s partly how I started attending Maker Faire – check out my photos of past Maker Faires, which included performance artists from the now-defunct Deitch Art Parade.

Written by katherinechen

November 25, 2013 at 12:55 am

3 Responses

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  1. Jerry Davis will be doing a lecture & interview in this same series at Cornell in a little more than a month. He’s also interested in the maker movement &, in fact, is doing participant observation in Detroit! I expect to see him at the head of the maker vanguard soon!


    Howard Aldrich

    November 25, 2013 at 2:00 am

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Howard! Orgtheory folks and makers might be interested in an online conversation with Howard, me, Ted Hall (founder of ShopBot, which makes inexpensive CNC routers), and others on the organizational implications of low-cost CNC and 3D printing. Is our future a maker heaven or a nightmarish Walmart/Amazon duopoly?



    November 25, 2013 at 2:19 pm

  3. Thanks for sharing, Howard and Jerry. You two (and other readers) might be interested in thinking about how the Maker movement ties in with prosumption; see the American Behavioral Scientist special issue on prosumption, edited by George Ritzer, Paul Dean, and Nathan Jurgenson at (Guess who has an article on prosumption on Burning Man in that issue… :) )



    December 3, 2013 at 5:07 am

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