Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

this blog is not dead, it’s pining for the fjords

A few years ago, I honestly thought orgtheory was dead. Most of our writers have moved on to other activities, comments declined in number, and, most importantly, there is now direct competition from social media and anonymous rumor boards. Still, I persisted. As I wrote before, blogs still have a number of very desirable features. I continued to blog but expected the audience to continue shrinking to zero.

That did not happen. For the first time in years, I checked the daily usage stats of the blog. I found that yes, ortheory, did experience a massive decline in audience but it also stabilized around 2016. We had a peak year of almost 950,000 yearly views. Now, we are at about 375,000 yearly views. This number was stable in 2016 and 2017. And if the rest of the year is like January-May, we’ll easily hit that number.

The message is clear – there is a core, stable audience for orgtheory. Not only do the stats make that clear, but people still email me about stuff they read on the blog.* Orgtheory posts are republished, such as a discussion of student evaluations that appeared at the James G. Martin website. And of course, occasionally a blog post will spark a debate, like my post about job talks.

So what explains the survival of this dinosaur? A few ideas: There was always a core of people seriously committed to debate and dialogue, but the numbers were inflated. Before social media, people stuck with blogs as the only place where they could easily vent and be snarky. Now that we have social media, those people have left but the core remains. Another possibility is that people simply enjoy long form writing and they want some level of accountability. You may hate me and this blog, but I stand by what I say and I’m willing to put a voice out there and you really appreciate that. That simply isn’t what social media and rumor cesspools do.

So I thank you for being a new or old reader of this blog. I’ve met so many of you over the years and it’s made my life better. I hope we can continue the conversation!

*Yes, that includes bizarre book review related hate mail. And yes, I’m talking about you, Professor Zorro.


50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)
A theory book you can understand!!! Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)
The rise of Black Studies:  From Black Power to Black Studies 
Did Obama tank the antiwar movement? Party in the Street
Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome!

Written by fabiorojas

May 24, 2018 at 4:01 am

Posted in blogs, fabio, uncategorized

if you have something stupid to say, please send it in the form of a blog post!

Did you get desk rejected at PLoS ONE? Does your advisor ignore you… when you are standing right in front of him in the elevator? Does the cruel and uncaring academic system just ignore your screaming into the wind?

We won’t. Orgtheory has the lowest publication standards in all of academia. If you have a commentary, rant, critique, self-promotion, or whatever, send it over. We’ll publish it and we will never ask to see your data.  You have nothing to lose except your dignity!

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)/Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street / Read Contexts Magazine– It’s Awesome! 

Written by fabiorojas

March 19, 2018 at 4:07 am

Posted in blogs, fabio, uncategorized

recent randall collins

One of sociology’s best kept secrets is Rand Collins’ blog. Occasional but high quality posts. Recent topics:

Each is a novella, but worth the read.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($4.44 – cheap!!!!)/Theory for the Working Sociologist (discount code: ROJAS – 30% off!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street 

Written by fabiorojas

May 16, 2017 at 12:45 am

Posted in blogs, fabio, uncategorized

why blogs persist

A few months ago, we discussed the general shift from blogs to social media and anonymous boards. But a question remains: if that’s true, why bother with blogs at all? In fact, our evil twin blog surrendered and admitted defeat, while retreating into Facebook. Why continue?

Answer: Only a blog does what a blog does well. In other words, blogs are good at specific things and social media is good at other things.


  • Searchable – orgtheory is completely searchable going back to the first post in 2006. Twitter only allows searches of the last 3k tweets (which is, like 5 minutes, for some Tweeters like Tressie Mc).  Facebook is basically unsearchable for content.
  • Accountability and identity – Blogs are good for creating an identity, which means accountability. Even if we used pseudonyms, we’d still create an identity that would help you assess the quality of the post.
  • Quality – I’m sorry, but most social media simply isn’t good at producing high quality content. Twitter may be fun, but it won’t replace a sustained argument. Facebook allows length, but it is often buried deep inside a walled garden. A lot of social media is good for “in the moment discussion” rather than sustained truth seeking.

I love social media and I have account on Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms. But make no mistake. If you care about writing, blogs are a good format and it’s much better than social media which favors snark and anonymous sniping. So for now, I’m stil McBloggin‘.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street

Written by fabiorojas

September 20, 2016 at 12:01 am

Posted in blogs, fabio, uncategorized

bee stoopid: write 4 orgtheory

Do you enjoy this blog? Why don’t you write a post for us? For the last couple of years, we’ve had a policy of accepting submissions from readers. It’s simple. If you want to discuss a social science issue, or an issue related to the academic profession, send us a post. We won’t repeat recent conversations and we won’t tolerate uncivil discourse, but we’ll take most other stuff. Send your sociological, economic, political, anthropological, and academicological thoughts! Send us self-promotion of articles and books! Join the fun!

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street

Written by fabiorojas

July 29, 2016 at 12:19 am

Posted in blogs, fabio, uncategorized

orgtheory 1.0 v. orgtheoy 2.0

This blog has been around ten years and we’ve had a lot of good times. I wanted to reflect a little about the changes:

  • People: Most importantly, many of the 1.0 bloggers have become very successful. I count at least three department heads and one major journal editor That means less time for blogs from the 1.0 crowd.
  • Content shift: The 2.0 bloggers – Katherine, E-Poppp and Jeff Guhin – are more qualitative and sociological. Between E-Poppp and myself, there is a lot more higher ed posting. High theory has receded on this blog as Omar has moved to other pursuits, but Jeff will likely bring that back. More classic management posts still appear, but less frequently.
  • Novelty: Blogging is no longer innovative. It’s an established format. That means there is less “e-buzz” about orgtheory. It’s just a routine thing that some people do.
  • Alternatives: Now, the blog lives in a world of Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and anonymous gossip garbage websites. Much attention has moved to these formats. Still a lot of readers but most of the contention has moved away from the blog.

Use the comments to discuss what you like about the blog and what you might want to see.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street

Written by fabiorojas

June 21, 2016 at 12:15 am

Posted in blogs, fabio, uncategorized

kieran discusses public sociology in the age of social media

At his web site, Kieran has a nice working paper called “Public Sociology in the Age of Social Media.” The paper, forthcoming in Perspectives in Politics, has some really nice commentary on how the world has changed since Michael Burawoy called for a public sociology. A few clips:

I shall argue that one of social media’s ešffects on social science has been to move us from a world where some people are trying to do “public sociology” to one where we are all, increasingly, doing “sociology in public”. This process has had three aspects. First, social media platforms have disintermediated communication between scholars and publics, as technologies of this sort are apt to do. is has not ushered in some sort of communicative utopia, but it has lowered the threshold for sharing one’s work with other people. Second, new social media platforms have made it easier to be seen. Sadly, I do not mean that it is now more likely that you or I will become famous. Rather, these technologies enable a distinctive field of public conversation, exchange, and engagement. They have some of the quality of informal correspondence, but they are not hidden in typed correspondence. They take place as real-time interaction, but do not depend on you showing up to a talk. Again, as is typically the case with communication technologies, exactly what gets enabled can vary. The field of public conversation encompasses everything from exciting forms of serendipitous collaboration to the worst sort of trolling and harassment. Thirdly, new social media platforms make it easier for these small-p public engagements to be measured. They create or extend opportunities to count visitors and downloads, to track followers and favorites, inflžuencers and impacts. In this way they create the conditions for a new wave of administrative and market elaboration in the field of public conversation. New brokers and new evaluators arise as people take the opportunity to talk to one another. They also encourage new methods of monitoring, and new systems of punishment and reward for participation. Universities and professional associations, for example, become interested in promoting scholars who have “impact” in this sphere. But they are also slightly nervous about associating what they have come to think of as their “brand” with potentially unpredictable employees, subscribers, and members.

About blogs:

In “Science as a Vocation”, Weber remarks that although we do not get our best ideas while sitting at our desks all day doing regular work, we wouldn’t get any good ideas unless we sat at our desks all day doing regular work. In a similar way, successfully engaging with the public means doing it somewhat unsuccessfully very regularly. This fact is closely connected to the value of doing your everyday work somewhat publicly. You cannot drop a lump of text onto the Internet and expect anyone to pay attention if you have not been engaging with them in some ongoing way. You cannot put your work up on your website, or “do a blog”, or manufacture interest in your research like that. There is a demand side as well as a supply side to “content”, and most of the time the demand side does not care about what you have to say. This is why, in my view, one’s public work ought to be be continuous with the intellectual work you are intrinsically motivated to do. It is a mistake to think that there is a research phase and a publicity phase. Your employer might see it that way, but from a first-personal point of view it is much better—both intrinsically and in terms of any public engagement you might want—to think of yourself as routinely doing your work “slightly in public”. You write about it as you go, you are in regular conversation with other like-minded researchers or interested parties, and some of those people may have or be connected to larger audiences with a periodic interest in what you are up to.

Read the whole thing.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street

Written by fabiorojas

May 9, 2016 at 3:27 am

introducing a new orgtheory blogger: jeff guhin

To celebrate our 10th year, we are introducing a new blogger – Jeff Guhin. Jeff graduated from Yale with his Ph.D. in sociology and is the author of the upcoming The Problem of America: Practices of Moral Authority in Muslim and Christian Schools (Oxford University Press). He is a scholar of culture, religion, and education. This Fall, he will begin teaching at the sociology department at UCLA. Welcome aboard!!

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street

Written by fabiorojas

May 2, 2016 at 12:01 am

Posted in blogs, fabio, uncategorized

thank you from all of us for ten years of community

On April 21, 2006 (!), Teppo Felin wrote a post called “greetings – organizational world.” Since then, we’ve had a great time discussing management, sociology, economics, political science, and a whole lot more. Over 5,000 posts, 28,000 comments, 800, 000 visitors and over 5 million visits.

But people are more important than the discussions. We’ve made life long friends through this blog and we’ve been able to build a truly wonderful online community. That is the true legacy. So all I can say is “thank you” and I hope that our community continues to grow.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street

Written by fabiorojas

April 21, 2016 at 12:01 am

Posted in blogs, fabio, uncategorized

orgtheory’s greatest hits

What are the most commented on posts in the blog’s history? According to WordPress, they are:

  1. The critical realism affair. Technically, Kieran’s critical realism post only got 122 comments, but taken together, the three CR posts got about 160 comments. That was the hardest blogging I ever loved.
  2. Should I stop teaching post-modernism? (144 comments)
  3. Elizabeth Berman’s inequality in the skies. (101 comments)
  4. GRE scores are valid. Sorry, guys. (99 comments).
  5. You know who in Texas. (74 comments)
  6. Brayden and Eszter’s book on online reputation. (74 comments)
  7. How I pick grad students. (63 comments)
  8. Is academia meritocratic? (63 comments)
  9. Steve Vaisey on how to theorize motivation. (58 comments)
  10. World Cup Survey. (57 comments)

Great mix of serious debate on issues ranging from social theory to stratification to social psychology to teaching. Other contenders: Brayden thinks Gladwell is sometimes really, really wrong (54); what has been accomplished with math soc? (51); Kieran discovers that me and one of my PhD students gamed his soc rankings (54); Gabriel Rossman’s infamous “assumptions” post (50); Chris Martin on White privilege (46); a discussion of Jessica Collette’s impostor syndrome research (47); and Chris Winship discusses the ASA amicus brief in the Walmart case (44).

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street

Written by fabiorojas

September 3, 2015 at 12:01 am

Posted in blogs, fabio, fun

blogging will not ruin your career

A few years ago, a friendly senior scholar sat me down and warned me: “Fabio, you really have to stop this blogging thing. It’s not good for you.” This was a pretty serious conversation. He meant it as kind advice from a more seasoned friend and colleague. I smiled, mumbled, and said, “Um, ok, thank you.” Then, I proceeded to blog as usual.

I figured that blogging wasn’t bad as long as (a) you did not let it displace your actual job and (b) your blog posts were professionally written and not shrill in tone. I only seriously blogged once my book on Black Studies was published and had a solid list of articles under my belt. Also, I made sure that the bulk of my blogging was about sociology, org studies, and professional issues (e.g., the Grad Skool Rulz). I have never regretted my choice to continue writing in this format. People still like reading it and I get lots of positive feedback.

As I look down the orgtheory crew list, I see that I’m not alone. Other orgtheory crew members are doing quite well despite their association with this blog. Omar, most famously, is now an editor of ASR, our flagship journal. Brayden is doing well at the leading b-school in the US. Kieran not only blogs here on occasion, but also his personal blog and at Crooked Timber. He’s doing quite well at Duke and his data visualizations are often picked up my major news media. Katherine has written an award winning book and Elizabeth is graduate chair at Albany. Sean directs the MA program at Sciences Po in France and Teppo has just become chair of his department at Oxford.

This is obviously a selection effect. I think it’s silly to think that these folks weren’t already top notch when they participated in this blog. It speaks well, though, of Teppo and Brayden, who founded this blog and reached out to so many people who have excelled in the profession.

The lesson I have for early career readers is this: When there is something new, something that doesn’t fit the mold, you shouldn’t run away from it. Don’t be scared to reach out and develop your voice. Surround yourself with good people. As long as you write from a position of integrity and respect for the reader, it will be ok.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street

Written by fabiorojas

August 6, 2015 at 12:01 am

Posted in blogs, fabio

howard, this is what i listen to when i write this blog

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street!!

Written by fabiorojas

April 26, 2015 at 12:01 am

blogging is like exercise

Blogging is like exercise. It feels great as long as you stay in the habit. But once you stray, for whatever reason, boy is it hard to get back in the saddle.

Not only have I been a bad blogger, I’ve been cheating on you with another blog. But I swear it was just a one-time thing. Dan Hirschman and I wrote a piece on “The Influence of Economists on Public Policy” for the Oxford University Press economics blog.

Although we wrote it last week, it ended up being pretty timely given the chatter over Justin Wolfer’s recent Upshot piece about how economists came to dominate the conversation. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, Philip Cohen’s piece over at Contexts does an excellent job at contextualizing the Wolfers article, particularly with regard to ways sociologists might have somewhat more voice than the NYT chart gives them credit for.

Anyway, I have a growing list of things to blog about, not all of them involving economists, I promise, but an incredibly busy schedule at the moment — thank you, graduate admissions season. But I’m not planning on checking out just yet. This post is just me reminding myself that blogging isn’t really all that hard. More to come soon.

Written by epopp

January 29, 2015 at 2:50 am

party in the street: the first podcast

New Books in Political Science has dedicated their first podcast of the year to Party in the Street:

Heaney and Rojas take on the interdisciplinary challenge at the heart of studies of interest groups and social movements, two related subjects that political scientists and sociologists have tended to examine separately from one another. What results is a needed effort to synthesize the two social science traditions and advance a common interest in studying how people come together to influence policy outcomes. The particular focus of this work is on how the antiwar movement that grew in the mid-2000s interacted with the Democratic Party. They ponder a paradox of activism that just as activists are most successful – in this case supporting a new Democrat controlled House and Senate in 2006 – the energy and dynamism of the movement often fades away. Heaney and Rojas look to the relationship between antiwar activists and the Democratic Party for answers. They find that in a highly polarized partisan environment, party affiliations come first and social movement affiliations second, thereby slowing the momentum movements generate in their ascendency.

Please click on the link for the podcast.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($1!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street!!

Written by fabiorojas

January 12, 2015 at 12:01 am

send us your posts

If you have an idea for a post on sociology, management, political science or a related topic, please send us a message. We’d love to hear from you. Self-promotion of articles and books is welcome.

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

Written by fabiorojas

December 20, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Posted in blogs, fabio

the Q words

Regular orgtheory commenter Howard Aldrich has an interesting and provocative piece up at the OOW blog, Work in Progress, and the LSE Impact blog. His plea is that we should abandon the Q words — qualitative and quantitative — in describing our research. They aren’t terribly descriptive of what we’re actually doing, they create unnecessary divisions within social science, and using them inappropriately devalues qualitative work:

I’ve endured this distinction for so long that I had begun to take it for granted, a seemingly fixed property in the firmament of social science data collection and analysis strategies. However, I’ve never been happy with the distinction and about a decade ago, began challenging people who label themselves this way. I was puzzled by the responses I received, which often took on a remorseful tone, as if somehow researchers had to apologize for the methodological strategies they had chosen. To the extent that my perception is accurate, I believe their tone stems from the persistent way in which non-statistical approaches have been marginalized in many departments. However, it also seemed as though the people I talked with had accepted the evaluative nature of the distinction. As Lamont and Swidler might say, these researchers had bought into “methodological tribalism.”

Having recently argued that Sociological Science needs more “qualitative” work, I read this with interest. Certainly the terms are not the most descriptive, and they do reinforce a division within sociology that might better be blurred post-Methodenstreit.

But I think the distinction is likely to persist, despite Howard’s good intentions, for two reasons.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by epopp

November 28, 2014 at 5:58 pm

asq blog – fully operational!!!!

ASQ has a wonderful blog and they are looking for people to help out:

We invite anyone who is interested to check out the blog and join our facebook page–we’ve published several new interviews recently, and plan to add more soon. We also encourage any students who would like to participate in the project to contact us at

Check it out!!!!

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

Written by fabiorojas

November 12, 2014 at 12:15 am

Posted in blogs, fabio

john danaher explains why he blogs

I often wonder: why should someone blog? Philosopher John Danaher explains that it helps him:

2. It helps to generate writing flow states: I appreciate that the term “flow” state is something of a buzzword. Still, it has a basis in psychological science and it is something that blogging can help generate. The psychological barriers to writing a blog post are much lower than the psychological barriers to writing an article for peer review. Yet, when writing the former you can get into a flow state that can then be leveraged into writing the latter. Many is the time that I have finished writing a blog post and jumped straight into writing a more serious article.

Agree. Writing a blog post is like a warm up. The whole post is worth reading. The rest of the blog is fascinating as well.

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

Written by fabiorojas

November 1, 2014 at 12:05 am

um, about that edited volume…

In the world of academia, the edited volume chapter doesn’t get a lot of love. For good reason, a blog post by Dorothy Bishop, a professor of neuropsychology at Oxford, shows that edited volume chapters almost never get cited. She scraped Google scholar and ranked all her dozens of pubs (she’s a full prof in a biomedical science). The result:


Yup, edited volumes might as well not exist. And, yes, there are caveats. In *some* humanities areas, they are cited. And yes, even in other areas, edited volumes occasionally have an impact. Organizational theory has been profoundly shaped by the 1991 Powell & DiMaggio anthology and the 1965 Handbook of Org Studies. But still, the lion’s share of scholarly reward goes to other publication formats. In addition to their reputation, they are not indexed, they are not accessible, and often prohibitively expensive.

When I advise graduate students and younger colleagues, I recommend against the edited volume but I never say never. I myself will do the occasional chapter – but only for a very specific reason. For example, if I think the volume has a serious chance of being high impact, I’ll give it a shot. I will also do it as an outlet for an idea that simply doesn’t fit in a journal or part of a book. But, the presumption, the default view, is that effort is best spent on other forms of publication. As Professor Bishop wrote, publishing in an edited volume is like taking your best work and burying it in the garden.

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

Written by fabiorojas

September 17, 2014 at 12:01 am

Posted in academia, blogs, fabio

blog review: randal collins

Nicolai “The Postmodernist” Foss recently drew my attention to the blog of sociologist Randall Collins. I had never read it before, but I’ve been missing out. My guess is that it documents Collins’ recent thoughts on topics that he’s working on. Examples:

Infrequent, but always good. Recommended.

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

Written by fabiorojas

July 1, 2014 at 12:01 am

Posted in blogs, fabio, sociology

the orgtheory psychological contract

At orgtheory we’ve tried to develop a loose environment for scholarly discussion. By loose, I mean a place where people can feel comfortable talking about serious ideas in a fun way, without the formality of a colloquium and more open and inclusive than most professional settings. For the most part we’ve been successful I think at facilitating that sort of feeling among contributors. Over the years we’ve had great conversations that have not been constrained by status, rank, or other forms of exclusivity. A community has formed around orgtheory that, while including a lot of sociologists, is fairly interdisciplinary and broad. Personally, that’s why I keep coming back and, even if I’ll go weeks without posting anything, I place a lot of value on this blog and the people who come here to speak their mind.

Our discussions frequently veer from their intended targets and most of the time that is totally okay and within the norms of orgtheory. This place would be boring if people were required to stay on point all the time. It’s consistent with the loose, collegial atmosphere we’ve tried to create. But occasionally (and I mean very infrequently) discussions turn in a sour direction. This wasn’t a problem for the first few years of the blog, perhaps because in those early years we knew almost everyone who came online to connect with us. We had a small community and it was easy to enforce norms with each other. But in the past couple of years, we’ve had a few posts where commenters have become a little snippy with each other. We’ve talked internally about how best to handle those outbursts. As I see it two ideals compete with each other. On the one hand, we value inclusiveness and believe that the best way to encourage real discussion and debate is not to censor. We want people to feel that their input is valued, regardless of status, rank, expertise, etc. On the other hand, we value civility and believe that if people treat each other according to the “golden rule” a greater variety of people will be more likely to participate. And it does seem to be true that when discussions get especially rancorous, many people drop out of the debate and the more impassioned voices surge to the front line.  The rules of discussion that Fabio posted a few months ago were a response to the rising tide of incivility that we observed on the blog.

And this leads me to the incident lurking behind this post. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by brayden king

March 5, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Posted in blogs, brayden

you can end gender inequality on orgtheory – today!!

During Festivus, a commenter complained about the gender inequality on this blog. This comes up from time to time. Trust me, I’ve tried to remedy the situation. In the past, I’ve made a conscious effort to invite comparable numbers of guests from all genders. And we’ve had excellent female bloggers. Our permanent crew member Katehrine Chen, Hilary Levy Friedman, Jenn Lena, Leslie Hinkson, Mito Akiyoshi, Brandy Aven, Rhacel Parrenas, Karissa McKelvey, and others. But usually, men are much more likely to accept invitations and post, that’s why the imbalance remains. In Spring 2013, I even put out an open call and I posted *everything* that was sent to me. The result? Two men and one woman.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t try even harder. So here’s the deal: send me something to post. You have a commitment from me. If you send me a post that is social science/management or related to the academic profession (orgtheory’s two main topics), I will post it contingent on light editing and meeting our admittedly low intellectual standards. This helps me by bringing fresh ideas to the blog and it will bring new voices to the soc blogosphere. So if there’s a book you want to comment on, or an article you hate, or a theoretical point that needs to get out there, send it in!!

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

Written by fabiorojas

January 11, 2014 at 12:03 am

Posted in blogs, fabio

blogs, twitter, and finding new research

Administrative Science Quarterly now has a blog – aptly named The ASQ Blog. The purpose of the blog is a bit different than your typical rambling academic blog. Each post contains an interview with the author(s) of a recent article published in the journal. For example, there are interviews with Chad McPherson and Mike Sauder about their article on drug court deliberations, with Michael Dahl, Cristian Dezső, and David Ross on CEO fatherhood and its effect on employee wages, and András Tilcsik and Chris Marquis about their research on natural disasters and corporate philanthropy. The interviews are informal, try to get at the research and thought process behind the article, and allow reader comments. I think its innovative of the ASQ editorial team to come up with this in an effort to make research more open and to draw more eyes to the cutting edge research at ASQ.

A couple of years ago I served on an ASQ task force (with Marc-David Seidel and Jean Bartunek) to explore different ways that the journal could better use online media to engage readers. At the time, ASQ was way behind the curve. It was difficult to even find a permanent hyperlink to its articles. Since that time ASQ and most journals have greatly improved their online accessibility . The blog is just one example. ASQ’s editor, Jerry Davis, said in a recent email to the editorial board that they recognize that “younger scholars connect with the literature in ways that rarely involve visits to the library or print subscriptions.” To maintain relevance in today’s academic “attention economy” (for lack of a better term), journals have to be active on multiple platforms. ASQ gets it; Sociological Science’s (hyper)active tweeter (@SociologicalSci) gets it too. In the end, everyone hopes the best research will float to the top and get the attention it deserves, but if the best research is hard to find or is being out-hyped by other journals, it may never get noticed.

It made me wonder, how do people most commonly find out about new research? I know that orgtheory readers are not the most representative sample, but this seems to be the crowd that Jerry referred to in his email. So, below is a poll. You can choose up to three different methods for finding research. But please, beyond adding to the poll results, tell us in comments what your strategy is.

Written by brayden king

January 9, 2014 at 6:59 pm

ok, kids, out of the pool – we need to talk about the commenting rules

Everybody get on the bench. Yes, that includes you, Ramirez. I know you have to use the bathroom, but you can hold it for a little while I talk – ok?

Alright, this is about the comment policy. Ever since we started in 2006, our policy has been to let people say whatever they want. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself. I have always felt that intellectual life should be based on evaluating the merits of argument, not the rank of the person. So I always hate it when one guy hogs up the class discussion, or people pull back just because the speaker is a fancy chair at some big university.* That’s why we generally let most comments stand. High school students and full professors all sit at the same table.

But we occasionally edit comments or delete them. Here are the rules. Follow them and no one gets hurt:

  1. We delete all spam.
  2. We will ban commenters who obsessively repeat the same points over and over, regardless of context.
  3. We delete comments that are personal attacks on individuals.
  4. We delete comments that use profanity or sexually explicit/offesnive material.
  5. The Sherkat Exemption: Professor Sherkat of Southern Illinois University is exempt from Rule #4.
  6. Each orgtheory crew member reserves the right to delete comments as they see fit.

It’s not a hard rule, but I’ve also deleted a few comments that were nothing more than grousing. If you hate this blog, go read another one. Write your own. It’s not a required class.

I don’t censor for political opinions, genuine academic disagreements or anything else that is a real engagement with the topics we cover at orgtheory.

Agree? Good. There’s little cups of Gatorade on the table by the Pepsi machine.

* Yes, IU groupies, I’m referring to the Bobo incident.

Stocking Stuffers for the Scholar in Your Life: From Black Power/Grad Skool Rulz


Written by fabiorojas

December 10, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Posted in academia, blogs, fabio

cohen in the ny times

Sociologist and blogger Phil Cohen has an op-ed in the NY Times on gender inequality. Here’s a key clip:

The assumption of continuous progress has become so ingrained that critics now write as if the feminist steamroller has already reached its destination. The journalists Hanna Rosin (“The End of Men”) and Liza Mundy (“The Richer Sex”) proclaimed women’s impending dominance. The conservative authors Kay S. Hymowitz (“Manning Up”) and Christina Hoff Sommers (“The War Against Boys”) worried that feminist progress was undermining masculinity and steering men toward ruin.

But in fact, the movement toward equality stopped. The labor force hit 46 percent female in 1994, and it hasn’t changed much since. Women’s full-time annual earnings were 76 percent of men’s in 2001, and 77 percent in 2011. Although women do earn a majority of academic degrees, their specialties pay less, so that earnings even for women with doctorate degrees working full time are 77 percent of men’s. Attitudinal changes also stalled. In two decades there has been little change in the level of agreement with the statement, “It is much better for everyone involved if the man is the achiever outside the home and the woman takes care of the home and family.”

After two steps forward, we were unprepared for the abrupt slowdown on the road to gender equality. We can make sense of the current predicament, however — and gain a better sense of how to resume our forward motion — if we can grasp the forces that drove the change in the first place.

Read the whole thing.

The Family that Reads Together, Stays Together: From Black Power/Grad Skool Rulz



Written by fabiorojas

November 26, 2013 at 12:22 am

more teaching sociology blogs

My attention was drawn to the blog of Stephanie Medley-Rath, who focuses on teaching sociology. She is also very active on Twitter.

Adverts: From Black Power/Grad Skool Rulz

Written by fabiorojas

August 10, 2013 at 12:03 am

Posted in blogs, fabio

two new sociology blogs

1. The group blog Bad Hessian, which focuses on computational issues. Includes guest stars Alex Hanna and up and coming sociologists Dan Wang, Trey Causey, Benjamin Lind, Adam Slez, Matt Moehr, and others.

2. Todd Beer, a former Fabologist, teaches at Lake Forest College in Chicago. He now has a blog called that focuses on teaching.

Adverts: From Black Power/Grad Skool Rulz

Written by fabiorojas

August 3, 2013 at 12:34 am

Posted in blogroll, blogs, fabio

christakis 1, gelman 0

The plaintiff: Andrew Gelman – fellow blogger and poli sci pugilist. The defendantNicholas Christakis – sociologist, physician, tweeter.  The claim: Christakis wrote the following, which made Gelman, like, really mad:

The social sciences have stagnated. They offer essentially the same set of academic departments and disciplines that they have for nearly 100 years: sociology, economics, anthropology, psychology and political science. This is not only boring but also counterproductive, constraining engagement with the scientific cutting edge and stifling the creation of new and useful knowledge. . . .

I’m not suggesting that social scientists stop teaching and investigating classic topics like monopoly power, racial profiling and health inequality. But everyone knows that monopoly power is bad for markets, that people are racially biased and that illness is unequally distributed by social class. There are diminishing returns from the continuing study of many such topics. And repeatedly observing these phenomena does not help us fix them.

Gelman’s complaint? It’s a little hard for me to understand, but he doesn’t like the fact that Christakis said that we have really beat some topics into the ground and that maybe we should expand a little:

Regarding the question of illness being distributed by social class: Is it really true that “everybody knows,” for example, that Finland has higher suicide rates than Sweden, or thatforeign-born Latinos have lower rates of psychiatric disorders. These findings are based on public data so everybody should know them, but in any case the goal of social science is not (just) to educate people on what should be known to them, but also to understand why. Why why why. And also to model the effects of potential interventions.

Christakis is making a point about the maturity of research topics, not public knowledge of specific results. For example, the “SES gradient” is one of the most well established results in all of health research. It appears in every single sociology of health class and it is not easy (though certainly not impossible) to find a health condition where SES (or income or status) doesn’t affect the likelihood of contracting the condition or recovering. In other words, if you know anything about sociology or health, you know this finding and it is very, very, very well established.

Of course, within any field, there are notable puzzles, like the finding that immigrants (in the US) tend to be healthier than second generation people. I’m a bit puzzled by the importance of  the suicide fact. Perhaps suicide is an exception, but I believe the SES gradient enough that I’d wager that for many important health conditions that (a) SES within Finland (or Sweden) makes a big difference or (b) that wealthy countries do better on the condition that poor countries (e.g., Finland v. Sweden is probably not as important as Finland v. Gambia or Guatemala).

Gelman raises the issue of causation, and once again, it seems like he’s missing the point. Christakis is not suggesting that people stop investigating causes. Rather, it’s about the relative amount of effort. Hundreds of papers have attempted to explain the SES gradient in one way or another. In fact, it’s come to the point that if I see a talk that is about SES and health, I can nearly always predict the tables and coefficients – and I’m not even a specialist on the topic. This suggests that the marginal benefit of yet another study on the SES gradient is likely to be small. Instead, maybe people should look into new areas of inquiry unless you have a really, really, really amazing way to get at causation.

Judgment: The Court of Orgtheory finds against the plaintiff and in favor of meeting some new people.

Adverts: From Black Power/Grad Skool Rulz  

Written by fabiorojas

July 22, 2013 at 4:53 am

Posted in blogs, fabio, research, sociology

comment note

Brief technical note – if your comments are delayed or don’t appear, please send Orgtheory Headquarters a note. We’ll look into it. Thanks.

Adverts: From Black Power/Grad Skool Rulz

Written by fabiorojas

June 28, 2013 at 5:03 am

Posted in blogs, fabio

needed: orgtheory guest stars

I will be on blogcation from July 1 to July 15. If you have ever wanted to write a post for a blog, send me an email. Topics: management, sociology, related social sciences, research methods, current events, jazz/metal/classical/West African or Ethiopian/alt- or psychedelic folk, academia/the profession, Finland.

Adverts: From Black Power/Grad Skool Rulz

Written by fabiorojas

June 24, 2013 at 3:34 am

Posted in blogs, fabio

top ten orgtheory posts by comments

Written by fabiorojas

June 21, 2013 at 12:11 am

Posted in blogs, fabio

sociology blog list

The website “Best Sociology Programs” has a list of 30 soc blogs. The list covers some of the usual suspects (like this blog, Kieran’s blog, or Phil Cohen). I also learned about some bloggers that are new to me, like Deborah Lupton (“This Sociological Life“), Zero Anthropology, which focuses on postcolonial communities, and Neuroanthropology, which is self-explanatory and run by PLoS  One.

Adverts: From Black Power/Grad Skool Rulz

Written by fabiorojas

June 16, 2013 at 12:39 am

Posted in blogs, fabio, sociology

why activism and academia don’t mix

Over Eric Grollman’s blog, there is a nice essay on blogging, academia, and activism. Eric provides an interesting note about the differences between white graduate students and students of color:

In a 2009 sample of 1,473 doctoral students, African American and Latina/o doctoral students ranked as their number 1 and number 3 reason to attend graduate school, respectively, to “contribute to the advancement of minorities in the US”; “contribute to my community” was number 2 for Latina/os. The top three reasons for white doctoral students were to “grow intellectually,” “improve occupational mobility,” and “make a contribution to thefield.”  All these years of feeling my work was urgently needed to make a difference, while my white colleagues were merely curious about the social world, now had confirmation.

This passage raises a number of different issues. For example, students of color often come from financially strapped backgrounds, so academia is a step up. In contrast, white students likely come from more comfortable backgrounds so mobility isn’t the issue.

The big issue, and one that captures Eric’s attention on his blog, is the divide between activism and academia, one that student’s of color don’t accept so much. Why do we “beat it out’ of graduate students? The answer, in my view, is that academia and activism are simply different things. Every activity has a bottom line. In politics, it’s votes. In business, it’s money. In religion, it’s souls. Activism is about promoting social change, which is a different bottom line than academia, which is knowledge generation.

And look around – academia is built for scholarship. We are cloistered on our campuses and  in our laboratories. We pore over journals that few people read. Our main ritual is the seminar, not the protest. To be blunt, we simply don’t have the tools that you need for social change.

Social change is a wholly different creature. If you want to influence policy, you need money, or you need a bloc of voters, or you need to sue someone. You may need friends in the media. Or a few thousand friends to show up at a rally. The work of social change is about these activities, not pumping your CV with articles in the right journals.

I’ll conclude with a few comments about the relationship between activism and academia, which is the topic of my book on the Black Power movement and its impact on the academy. What I learned is that academia is about itself and that people who enter it are under great pressures to conform. Much in the same way that an executive is only rewarded for bringing in the next account, academics are rewarded for scholarship. The Black Power movement tried to change that dynamic and experienced very little success. The main reason is that people pay money to university for prestige, which follows research, not activism.

Does this mean that I think academia should abandon activism? Absolutely not! But my views do have consequences. First, most professors (and graduate students) will continue to be rewarded to research and teaching. Academic jobs that reward activism are rare. Second, understand that until one gets tenure, most of one’s time will be spent doing academic work. Third, if you are serious about social change, you will do things that get you no reward in the academy. Activism will be done because you care about it even though your boss won’t.

Academics do have a role in social change. And I don’t mean the Chomsky’s of the world who sit around and speechify about the man. Rather, I mean the academics whose work leads to tangible improvements. I think of people like Kenneth Clark, who helped litigate Brown and desegregate  American schools. Or someone like Norman Borlaug, the biologist who helped the green revolution get off the ground by creating high yield crops that helped millions escape starvation. Academics do have a role in social change, but if you look at those who were successful you’ll see that they mastered their discipline and built a foundation of knowledge. In other words, professors who create social change aren’t the activists, they’re the ones who are really good professors and spent most of their time creating knowledge.

Adverts: From Black Power/Grad Skool Rulz

Written by fabiorojas

March 31, 2013 at 12:52 am

blog-worthy blog posts

If you’re needing new orgtheory related content and we’re too slow to provide it (I keep telling Fabio he needs to post more!!), then I have a couple of suggestions for you. Over at Charisma – a new-to-me blog about consumer studies – David Stark has a post about how people’s unique standpoint relative to the market influences their reactions to and valuation of market assets. He points to three papers, two of which he coauthored and another by Elena Esposito, that focus on different aspects of people’s observation of markets.  In the last paper, he and Matteo Prato refer to the “viewpoints effect” as the tendency for people’s attention to certain salient attributes to determine how they’ll react to other assets.

One’s assessment of an issue is shaped by one’s viewpoint, given by one’s contingent portfolio of attention. We hypothesize, specifically, that two actors who assess a given situation vis-à-vis a similarly (differently) composed portfolio of other situations are more likely to autonomously converge (diverge) in their interpretations of the given situation.

Over at the very new Organizations and Social Change blog, my coauthor Ed Carberry writes about the relationship between executive compensation and corporate tax deductions, noting that Facebook received a tax refund by simply deducting executive stock options as an expense.  He notices that this is a standard accounting practice that allows companies to get a big tax break. He also, rightly I think, observes the unfairness of this particular tax deduction.

Interestingly, three leading scholars of compensation, in conjunction with the Center for American Progress, have put forward a very simple proposal relating to taxes and stock-based compensation practices like stock options. They call it “inclusive capitalism.” Essentially, the idea is that if a company does not provide stock-based compensation for most of its employees, it cannot deduct any gains that any of its employees receive from this type of compensation, including executives. Sounds like a socialist plot to intervene in the free market? Think again. Health care and retirement benefits currently operate according to the same rules. If a company wants to grant health care to only its executives, that is completely legal. However, if it does so, it cannot deduct that cost from the company’s taxable income. We can do the same exact thing with stock-based compensation. This will either dramatically increase federal tax revenues or propel a more equitable distribution of stock-based pay.

Both posts are worth reading.

Written by brayden king

March 17, 2013 at 10:28 pm


Posting will be light until January 2, 2013. If you want to write a post or two, send me an email with a short description. Long as it is is academic and fun, I’ll seriously consider it. In the Winter, we’ll have posts on the following:

  • a new book forum will be annnounced
  • digital natives vs. computer literacy
  • my endless anxiety about neo-institutionalism
  • progress in network analysis
  • The Hobbit was no Phantom Menace, but I’m still disappointed
  • a possibly cool research result
  • historians and the antiwar movement
  • the tragedy of the Fabios

Have a happy Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/Winter Solstice/Hibernation.

Adverts: From Black Power/Grad Skool Rulz

Written by fabiorojas

December 21, 2012 at 12:01 am

Posted in blogs, fun