In summer 2009, while finishing my bachelor's degree in sociology, I checked out a book on "Knowing in Organizations: A Practice-Based Approach" which I had found by serendipity in the university library. The book led me to discover the field of organization studies and launch myself into graduate studies in this area exploring themes like knowledge (and knowing), collaboration, expertise, and eventually organization structure, and bureaucracy. And in this process, I discovered the work of an author named Max Boisot.
Fast forward, and ten years later, I am genuinely delighted and touched to have received an award in honour of Max for work related to the knowledge-based study of complex organizations and systems by the European Group of Organization Studies (EGOS).
Academia is a unique social world filled with uncertainties and re-starts (not to mention being in 'school' for so long!). There is no single path; no boilerplate; and milestones are not always clear. As the expression goes, we find our way by walking it; create the harbor from which to sail. In the midst of all this, I am thankful for the support I have received from so many wonderful colleagues — including Davide Nicolini, one of the editors of that book, who eventually became my doctoral supervisor. And I am thankful for this award which makes me look back at this past decade of scholarship and think that albeit uncertain, this walk has led me somewhere.
I had a wonderful time at WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business) which has a fascinating architecture. I presented my ongoing work on knowledge, expertise, and bureaucracy and got very enriching feedback. The visit was also an excellent occasion to meet and catch up with academics working in great themes in organization studies; and I was particularly happy to see a lot of great work related to bureaucracy, public administration, formal organization, and even expertise! Also, maybe it is all this organizational knowledge, but the visit was brilliantly orchestrated. Especially love the welcome package with the formal agenda of meetings! The only issue is that the heatwave in Vienna melted the chocolate truffles I brought to those who came to the seminar...
Very thankful for the opportunity to share my work on the constitutive role of bureaucracy on expertise in complex settings at the MOTI seminar in the Grenoble Ecole de Management. I receive wonderful feedback to help me push the paper forward. It is great how an attentive audience really helps you clarify research ideas!
An article at Quartz at Work examines Maslow and the pyramid that he never built but that is usually attributed to him. The piece cites some insights I shared previously in a "Talking About Organizations" podcast episode as well as the work of other great academic colleagues published in the Academy of Management Learning & Education Journal.
Together with some colleagues from Alberta, we explored the main modes through which qualitative data is presented in organization and management journals in an attempt to stress the importance of avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach and embrace creativity in the way we organize and showcase our data. The paper has been recently published as part of a Research in the Sociology of Organization on "The Production of Managerial Knowledge and Organization Theory: New Approaches to Writing, Producing, and Consuming Theory." Check it out!
Sharing your work and receiving feedback is always great. But it has a unique flavor when you have the chance to dialogue with colleagues from your institution. I presented at emlyon a working paper on how bureaucracy shapes the organization of knoweldge work and got constructive comments on how to push the work further. The occasion was celebrated with an "I heart bureaucracy" cake made by me!
Sometimes it seems that all factors come together to create a great academic event - dazzling nature, good company, great food, inspiring ideas, sharp debates, etc. The emlyon workshop in Chamonix had all this and more. In it, PhD and postdocs discussed each other's papers with also the benefit of comments from senior academics. It was super enriching for my work and overall just very fun.
In the end of march, I had the wonderful opportunity to present my academic work on Bureaucracy and Knowledge Work at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) following an invitation from Professor Paul du Gay from the Department of Organization (IOA). The event brought together members of the VELUX and POVI groups at CBS and also included a presentation by Bernardo Zacka on his work on street-level bureaucracy. My talk examined how bureaucratic structures shape what counts as expertise and knowledge work dynamics in organizations. The comments were superb and it was energizing to meet fellow scholars interested in formal organization in my field! Full details here: https://cbs.nemtilmeld.dk/44/it-5CPW8RM7,19867,30726/
I am thrilled to learn that I am a finalist for the EGOS Max Boisot Award for my paper on "Back to the Future: Bureaucracy as an infrastructure for Collaborative Knowledge Work" together with other great scholars. I am particularly delighted because EGOS has been central in my academic career and the first papers I read about knowledge work were the ones published in its flagship journal. Special thank for all my wonderful colleagues who continuously help me during my journey! While the paper/nomination is individual, scholarship is always a team sport. See you in Edinburgh this summer at the awards ceremony when the winner will be announced.
This is a friendly reminder that we welcome submissions to our EGOS 2019 sub-theme on Formal Organization Today. Our goal is to bring together people interested in formal organization broadly understood. That is, empirical or theoretical papers exploring aspects of formal organization (e.g., organization structure, formalization, hierarchy, bureaucracy, etc), as well as organizational dynamics, theorized in relation to formal organization (e.g., coordination, control, socialization, learning, innovation, etc), including the link between 'informal' and 'formal' organizing. We are open to studies in any setting or industry (corporations, public sector, cooperatives, activist groups, etc). We promise a constructive and pleasant session — with homemade baked goods to boot!
European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS)
35th EGOS Colloquium, Edinburgh (UK), 4-6 July 2019
Formal Organization Today:
Reconnecting with the Classics (subtheme 45)
Pedro Monteiro, emlyon business school, France, email@example.com
Paul du Gay, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK, Paul.duGay@rhul.ac.uk
Signe Vikkelsø, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, firstname.lastname@example.org
Call for Papers
Concepts and discussions on classic organizational authors currently seem to be relegated to the pages of manuals and history books (Adler, 2009). In particular, formal organizational dynamics (e.g., bureaucracy, staff-line relations, work formalization) occupy a secondary role in the current literature (du Gay & Vikkelsø, 2016). Most contemporary studies explore societal matters, work interactions, and new organizational forms, while leaving formal organizational aspects — which were once core in our discipline — in the background. In part, this state of affairs is due to the development of the field which has been enriched by new themes and approaches (Lounsbury & Beckman, 2015). Yet, we also suffer from a ‘novelty bias’ and at times do not pause to explore how new ideas fit within the canons of our discipline (Barley, 2015).
The goal of this sub-theme is to stimulate an appraisal for our fundamental object of inquiry: formal organizations. In light of the theme of EGOS 2019, we believe that we can “enlighten the future” by (re)connecting with the classics (Blau & Scott, 1962; March & Simon, 1958). For example, bureaucracy is still central in the modern workplace (Adler 2012; Walton, 2005). Yet we know little about how technical and social innovations are re-shaping it, and its relationship with emerging organizational forms (Bernstein, Bunch, & Canner, 2016; Turco, 2016). Similarly, although we might be living in an age of experts, there is still much to be learned about the interplay between formal organizational mechanisms, informal/emergent dynamics and professional/knowledge work (Bechky & Chung, 2017; Brivot, 2011; Langfred & Rockmann, 2016; McEvily, Soda, & Tortoriello, 2014). Also, we know that some companies today only with a few dozen workers are able to occupy an economic position which was once reserved to corporate giants (Davis, 2016). Yet this does not mean that vertical firms — and the challenges associated with them — have disappeared. Finally, despite many changes in society, coordination and control (classic organizational themes) remain a key concern for both online and offline work (Dahlander & O'Mahony, 2014; Huising, 2014).
This subtheme thus seeks to stimulate scholars to explore formal organizations both as an empirical phenomenon, as well as a source of theoretical problematics. High-quality, novel contributions in both early and later stages of development are warmly invited. In particular, papers may address issues related (but not limited) to the following topics:
EGOS is organized as a collection of workshops in which participants spend all three days of the conference in the sub-theme in which their paper has been accepted. This allows for an immersive experience with ample space for conversations.
For further information about the conference, please check: https://www.egosnet.org/2019_edinburgh/CfP. For information on sub-theme 45, please check: https://bit.ly/2xdstK5. The schedule for submissions is as follows:
Deadline Short papers (3,000 words) to be submitted via EGOS site: January 14, 2019
Notification of acceptance, rerouting, or rejection of papers: End of February, 2019
Full papers to be uploaded to the EGOS website: Mid-June, 2019
For further information, please contact Pedro Monteiro at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org