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unresolved controversy bleg

Installing Order, the sociology of science and technology blog, has a request – can you identify scholarly work about unresolved scientific controversies? 

I need your help: anybody know a few research papers or a book specifically about unresolved controversies? It would be terrific if there was some conceptualization, or even a functional analysis of the manifest and latent consequences of unresolved controversies. In fact, it would be amazing to see research on “intentionally unresolved controversies.”

My hunch is that they should be rare because writers probably want to focus on narrative with clear stories. Anthropology is full of unresolved controversies, so maybe focusing on the writing surrounding Napoleon Chagnon might be helpful.

What would you suggest?

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Written by fabiorojas

November 28, 2016 at 12:33 am

org bleg: looking for comp exam reading lists in organizations

[Edited to add: Since posting this, lists of various sorts have come in from Indiana, Notre Dame, Michigan, Stanford, UIC, and Chicago…thanks to all who have sent them, and more are welcome!]

I need to update the core reading list for our comprehensive exam in organizations. In my department, the nature of these lists vary from field to field. Some subfields provide a well-defined reading list, some are pretty student-driven, and some (including orgs) have a core list which students supplement with additional readings in their areas of interest.

Only a few sociology departments (Arizona, Maryland, Toronto) post standard lists for qualifying exam areas. A few more post past exam questions (Wisconsin), sometimes with a few reading lists (Texas). And not all these places offer organizations comps, of course. I am not finding any equivalent lists from business schools. Organizations syllabi are, of course, easier to find, but aren’t quite the same.

If you’ve given or taken a comprehensive exam in organizations in the last five years (or a closely related area, like “work and organizations”), I’d love to see a copy of the reading list to help update ours. I will keep these private, but if I receive several, can post some summary information here on what sorts of material people are including. You can email me at epberman@albany.edu. Comments on what should be included or excluded or general reading list advice are also welcome below.

Written by epopp

July 21, 2015 at 2:14 pm

Posted in academia, bleg, sociology

book naming contest: round 2

Written by fabiorojas

July 14, 2015 at 12:01 am

how much publicity work should book authors do?

Hi orgheads,

A colleague emailed me to ask whether I thought hiring a PR specialist would be helpful for getting the word out about a forthcoming university press book. While a university press will send books to venues at the author’s request and place ads in academic venues like the Chronicle of Higher Ed, the author may consider doing more, usually using his/her own resources. Looking at the book publicist’s webpage, buying this person’s services would mean access to radio talk shows.

Based on conversations with book authors over the years, I know that opinions vary about how much effort authors should expend to publicize their work:

At one end, one colleague thought that the “work should stand on its own.” While it’s possible that an audience will flock to an unpublicized book, not doing anything to announce the arrival of a book could effectively consign years of work to the remainders shelf of a bookstore basement or warehouse.

At another end, a few colleagues might go on the radio talk show circuit, give talks at universities, book stores, and other venues, do interviews with high profile magazines (possibly in exchange for a pricy ad placed), and have ads on public transit stations. The trade-off here is emotional energy expended and the opportunity cost of working on other projects, spending time with family/friends, etc.

For my book, I adopted a middle route:
– made a webpage
– joined facebook
– made postcards of the book cover and handed these out to colleagues at ASA and Burning Man attendees
– bought books (at author’s discount) to gift and share
– asked colleagues at universities to order the book for their libraries (note: this was during the financial meltdown, so some libraries were unable to order)
– said yes to invitations to give talks for classes
– guest-blogged on orgtheory and other venues
– did “author meets critics” sessions at regional association meetings

Colleagues have also noted that depending on a professional association’s rules, authors can self-nominate books for section or professional association awards.

So, orgtheory readers, soliciting your experiences and thoughts here:
What’s the sweet spot?
Is it worth a couple $K to hire someone to do publicity?
What tangibles and intangibles does an author get with this extra effort?
Please do share in the comments.

Written by katherinechen

March 17, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Posted in bleg, books

Tagged with

b-school org change syllabi bleg

To my brothers and sisters in the business schools:

I am interested in masters/doctoral level syllabi on the topic of organizational change, especially with a strategic management emphasis. Please provide links or email me directly. Much appreciated.

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Written by fabiorojas

October 31, 2013 at 12:05 am

i need a nerd, have cash or credit

I need a nerd who can perform the following task – take a MeSH number and produce text for each part of the number and the complete number. E.g., take D.34.27 and turn it into “AIDS research.” I have a data base of about 60,000 medical journal articles that need their topical MeSH numbers turned into English.

I have a small amount of cash, or you can be a co-author. Serious inquiries only and do a little research first to see if you can do it. When I tried to do it, the text came out weird.

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Written by fabiorojas

September 13, 2013 at 12:01 am

Posted in bleg, fabio, mere empirics

david graeber book forum

Update: Someone just helped out with a few sample chapters. Thanks!

The book forum on “Debt” will start on Dec 1. However, it seems that book distributors are out of copies and none will be ready by Dec 1. I have an order at Boxcar Books, Bloomington’s local non-profit bookstore co-op. Any chance someone can send me a PDF of the first few chapters or loan me a physical copy of the book to tide me over? I’d be in your debt. :)

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Written by fabiorojas

November 25, 2011 at 12:03 am

Posted in bleg, books, fabio

is the asa missing in action?

Earlier this morning, I discussed the Federal governemnt’s proposed changes to the system of institutional review boards. In the comments, Gabriel asked – where is the ASA? He is reponding to the NY Times article on IRB reform:

I was partly pissed off that ASA didn’t appear anywhere in that article (as compared to anthro, three different historical societies, and the consortium). The only thing I could find about this on asanet.org was a reference in the April Footnotes to us paying our dues to COSSA (which in turn does good work on the human subjects issue). Assuming that I didn’t simply miss something, I have to wonder why ASA hasn’t done anything directly about one of the biggest problems facing the discipline.

It would be one thing if ASA deliberately took a minimalist mandate limited to publishing the journals and organizing the annual meeting, but it’s back asswards for ASA to ignore an issue that is core to our professional interests and where we could actually sway administrative lawmaking while taking a position on every hot button political issue that is irrelevant to the practice of sociology and on which we all know the association’s efforts are completely swamped by more powerful political actors. Remind me why exactly we’re paying for them to be on K-Street instead of in (say) Nashville? The way I see it, if the Consortium of Social Science Associations is doing the heavy lifting on lobbying for issues that actually matter to the discipline then I’m all in favor of ASA paying them for their efforts and passing along the costs to the membership. However this also implies that there’s no point in keeping up ASA’s independent lobbying efforts (and the expensive locational decisions that go with that).

So, in good faith, where is the ASA’s statement on this issue? What have they done to lobby the Federal government so we can get a less onerous regulation of human subject research? Can someone direct me to the ASA website that explains what they have done?

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Written by fabiorojas

October 26, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Posted in bleg, fabio, research

organization design bleg

Is organizational design being taught anywhere anymore?  I teach an MBA organization theory class so we have a small section dedicated to org design.  But are there full-fledged org design classes out there?  And, if so, what materials are used?

In my MBA organization theory class I have used the following org design-related materials: Nitin Nohria’s succinct Note on Organization Structure along with his Appex case, the Oticon case (with Nicolai’s excellent Organization Science piece on Oticon as extra reading), and then miscellaneous readings that touch on issues such as legitimacy and structure (so, for example, we’ve read Meyer & Rowan, also an old Mintzberg Management Science piece) as well as some readings related to self-organization.  A couple times I have also used the Hofstede cultural relativity of organizational practices piece.

I’m hoping to increase the amount of coverage I give to organizational design.  I’m in touch with some of our graduates and structure is a matter that they constantly wrestle with.  What other resources would you recommend for this audience?  I really quite like Rich Burton et al’s slim book Organization Design: A Step-by-Step Approach (Cambridge) and a few years ago I also talked to him about the design/structure-related simulation software that he makes available – I’m thinking about incorporating parts of the book.

If there are org design folks anywhere out there – I would be eager to hear what materials you have successfully utilized.

UPDATE: hadn’t been there for some time but just noted that the teachOMT wiki has some nice org design related materials (and, hey, their design looks very familiar).

Written by teppo

October 14, 2011 at 7:18 pm

Posted in bleg, education

organizational strategy as a social choice

I’m pretty enamored by many things (including performativity).  One of them is social choice theory.  I think the intuition developed by scholars like Condorcet, Arrow and Sen is fundamental for any social, political or economic setting.  Now, the theory of course does not capture many issues: social influence, the origins of preferences, and more generally, contextual issues.  Some might even say that social choice theory scarcely corresponds with reality.   But I think it nonetheless is a very powerful theory.

What I like about social choice theory is that it fundamentally is about social aggregation.  And one beef I’ve had for some time is the lack of consideration for aggregation-related issues in organization theory (and strategy for that matter).  Now, sure, aggregation isn’t everything – of course contextual/organizational factors and the environment matter.  But there used to be a brand of organization theory that also dealt with questions of aggregation – a portion of the Simon-March line of work was dedicated to this issue.  A nice articulation of a few of the key issues can be found in Jim March’s (1962) classic (and definitely under-cited) Journal of Politics piece “the business firm as a political coalition.”

So, with colleagues I’ve been working on some papers that try to apply and amend social choice intuition in the context of organizations.  In one paper we develop a formal model of organizational strategy as a social choice.  In the model we specifically allow for particular influence structures to condition and shape social choices in organizations. So, ok, this post is a bleg – my colleague (in electrical engineering) and I would like feedback on this particular paper.

If any of the above sounds even vaguely interesting, you can download the short pdf here (or, I also just posted the paper onto SSRN if that is more convenient).  Any feedback would be appreciated.

Written by teppo

October 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm