Spotlight on new research publications in November
Are you a journalist, researcher or simply interested in academic articles on business and culture?
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The following is a rough list. If you need more information, please contact the researcher.
The academic articles have been peer-reviewed, which means they have been judged by other researchers within the same area.
This month, you can read about how students at Danish universities perceive sexual harassment and how knowledge of health and nutrition affects which products we choose in supermarkets.
THE FOLLOWING IS THIS MONTH’S PEER-REVIEWED RESEARCH – ENJOY YOUR READING:
Find the abstracts under each heading.
Sexual Harassment in Higher Education: Experiences and Perceptions among Students at a Danish University
ABSTRACT: Taking higher education to be an arena in which professional and social interaction has a special propensity to overlap, this paper investigates university students’ experiences and perceptions of sexual harassment. Based on survey data, we find varying responses according to their gender and nationality, indicating that men and Danish students are least likely to experience and perceive situations as sexual harassment. Further, we find a wide-spread normalization of certain potentially offensive acts and behaviours. In addition, students report varying degrees of acceptability of certain acts, depending on context. On this basis, we argue that normalization hinders individual students’ ability to recognize and denounce sexual harassment. The influence of social norms on individual experiences and perceptions, we assert, means sexual harassment is neither an objective category nor an individual responsibility. In consequence, issues of sexual harassment can only be dealt with if and when universities assume responsibility for the norms that prevail within their spheres of influence.
Board Diversity and Firm Performance: The Role of Business Group Affiliation
ABSTRACT: There is little consensus globally on the relationship between board diversity and firm performance. Using the resource dependence and agency views, this paper examines how business group affiliation influences the relationship between board diversity and firm performance as a contextual/confounding factor. Based on data for listed firms in India, we find that board demographic diversity is positively associated with the firm performance (Tobin’s Q) of standalone firms, but this association is negative for group-affiliated firms. This negative effect of group affiliation is confirmed in a test based on a novel measure of firm performance using the stock market reaction to the announcement of mergers and acquisitions. For both measures of performance, we show that business group affiliation impairs the positive firm value effects of board demographic diversity. These findings imply that the relationship between board diversity and firm performance requires re-examination in the many countries where group affiliation is common. Our results also provide evidence of a new cost of group affiliation and show in a fresh context that cross-country studies should account for international variations in ownership and institutional structures.
SEZs and Economic Transformation: Towards a Developmental Approach
ABSTRACT: This study presents a three-pillared analytical framework for the success factors and development outcomes of special economic zones (SEZs). The core argument is that countries that adopt a well-structured approach towards SEZs that they can align with the broader development strategy, executive effectively, and continuously evaluate and manoeuvre over time, are more successful in achieving SEZ-led economic transformation than others. This requires strategic bureaucratic competencies to make the right choices and set clear strategic directions; strategic bureaucratic learning to dynamically and interactively engage in adjusting the strategies when needed; and strategic bureaucratic strengths to implement the strategy effectively. These elements in turn need an effective political leadership with a strong development focus that can energise and motivate bureaucracies. The study revisits the experience of successful, not-so-successful and least successful countries across the globe within this framework and concludes by raising some pertinent concerns about SEZ-led development strategy that emerge from the analysis.
Uncertain Archives: Approaching the Unknowns, Errors, and Vulnerabilities of Big Data through Cultural Theories of the Archive
ABSTRACT: From global search engines to local smart cities, from public health monitoring to personal self-tracking technologies, digital technologies continuously capture, process, and archive social, material, and affective information in the form of big data. Although the use of big data emerged from the human desire to acquire more knowledge and master more information and to eliminate human error in large-scale information management, it has become clear in recent years that big data technologies, and the archives of data they accrue, bring with them new and important uncertainties in the form of new biases, systemic errors, and, as a result, new ethical challenges that require urgent attention and analysis. This collaboratively written article outlines the conceptual framework of the Uncertain Archives research collective to show how cultural theories of the archive can be meaningfully applied to the empirical field of big data. More specifically, the article argues that this approach grounded in cultural theory can help research going forward to attune to and address the uncertainties present in the storage and analysis of large amounts of information. By focusing on the notions of the unknown, error, and vulnerability, we reveal a set of different, albeit intertwined, configurations of archival uncertainty that emerge along with the phenomenon of big data use. We regard these configurations as central to understanding the conditions of the digitally networked data archives that are a crucial component of today’s cultures of surveillance and governmentality.
The Organizational Powers of (Digital) Media
ABSTRACT: Digital media are pervasive, ubiquitous and mundane constituents of organization. Organized life relies on, and is propelled by, technologies that store, transmit and process data and are based on networked computation. How can we understand and explore the fundamental mediatedness of organization? This article contextualizes and introduces the special issue on ‘The organizational powers of (digital) media’ by staging an encounter between organization theory and media theory. In provoking investigations of the power and effects of technological mediation in its many guises, not least in regard to digital or computational media, this encounter ushers in a ‘medial thought’ of organization.
Capturing Volatility Persistence: A Dynamically Complete Realized EGARCH-MIDAS Model
ABSTRACT: We introduce extensions of the Realized Exponential GARCH model (REGARCH) that capture the evident high persistence typically observed in measures of financial market volatility in a tractable fashion. The extensions decompose conditional variance into a short-term and a long-term component. The latter utilizes mixed-data sampling or a heterogeneous autoregressive structure, avoiding parameter proliferation otherwise incurred by using the classical ARMA structures embedded in the REGARCH. The proposed models are dynamically complete, facilitating multi-period forecasting. A thorough empirical investigation with an exchange-traded fund that tracks the S&P500 Index and 20 individual stocks shows that our models better capture the dependency structure of volatility. This leads to substantial improvements in empirical fit and predictive ability at both short and long horizons relative to the original REGARCH. A volatility-timing trading strategy shows that capturing volatility persistence yields substantial utility gains for a mean–variance investor at longer investment horizons.
A Systems Theory Perspective on the Translation Process
ABSTRACT: The translation process has often been described as a sequence of three steps, source text (ST) analysis, source-target transfer, and target text (TT) generation. We propose a radically different view, in which the human translation process consists of a hierarchy of interacting word and phrase translations systems which organize and integrate as dissipative structures. Activation of word (or phrase) translation systems is a non-selective subliminal process in the translator’s mind not restricted to one language. Depending on the entropy (i.e., the internal order) of the word translation systems, a human translator spends more or less time and energy during the translation process, which can be measured in the form of gaze patterns and production duration.
Business on Chain: A Comparative Case Study of Five Blockchain-inspired Business Models
ABSTRACT: Blockchain technology, despite its origins as the underlying infrastructure for value transfer in the era of cryptocurrency, has been touted as the main disruptive force in modern businesses. Blockchain has the capacity to chronologically capture and store transactional data in a standardized and tamper-proof format that is transparent to all stakeholders involved in the transaction. This, in turn, has prompted companies to rethink preexisting business practices, thereby yielding a myriad of fascinating business models anchored in blockchain technology. In this study, we advance contemporary knowledge of business applications of blockchain by drawing on the theoretical lens of the digital business model and value configuration to decipher how pioneers in this space are leveraging blockchain to create and capture value. Through a comparative, multiple case study approach, we analyzed five companies in mainland China that have rolled out blockchain initiatives. From our case analyses, we derived a typology of five blockchain-inspired business models, each of which embodies a distinctive logic for market differentiation. For each business model, we offer insights into its value creation logic, its value capturing mechanism, and the challenges that could threaten its longer-term viability. Grounded in our findings, we discuss key implications for theory and practice.
The Cranet Survey: Improving on a Challenged Research-Practice?
ABSTRACT: The Cranet-survey has mapped human resource management (HRM) practices for more than 25 years, and so it is timely to take a closer look at the significance of this unique multinational, longitudinal, empirical endeavor. How may we understand the inner workings and emergent practices of this ambitious research effort in order to better assess the value of the unique data-set and propose avenues for its improvement? This is of course a daunting task if the purpose is to make a general evaluation, as was the case in 2011 in the Human Resource Management Review issue on the Cranet International Network. Rather, the contribution of this article is to examine the established research practices of the Cranet Network from the point of view of incoming researchers to identify and assess fundamental challenges of design, measurement, and project management that underlie many of the more apparent and often-discussed issues relating to validity, comparability, and the multinational adaptation of standardized research tools. To accomplish this, the article analyzes the Danish Cranet project from its inception in 1991 until today, with particular emphasis on the effort to establish a longitudinally comprehensive Danish database with application in cross-country comparisons, exemplified here through comparisons with New Zealand. On this basis, the article discusses the ramifications for the Cranet Network and proposes opportunities and potentials for improving future consistency and comparability of the global research practice.
Smart Generation System of Personalized Advertising Copy and Its Application to Advertising Practice and Research
ABSTRACT: Artificial intelligence in programmatic advertising constitutes fertile grounds for marketing communication with tremendous opportunities. Yet, despite its touted benefits, contemporary implementations of programmatic advertising do not harness self-generative technologies so much so that different consumers are exposed to identical content. Consequently, we advance a smart generation system of personalized advertising copy (SGS-PAC) that can automatically personalize advertising content to align with the needs of individual consumers. Analytical results from a user experiment involving about 80 subjects underscore that personalized advertising copies generated by SGS-PAC can bolster click rate in online advertising platforms. Findings from this study bear significant implications for the application of artificial intelligence in online advertising.
Smart Contracts: Reducing Risks in Economic Exchange with No-party Trust?
ABSTRACT: Our study on smart contracts, self-executing agreements based on blockchain technology, can be placed in the field of inquiry within law and economics of contracts which explores new modes of contract enforcement as sources of market creation. We lay the foundations by characterising contract enforcement and trust mechanisms underlying contracts. Considering that trust reduces risks in economic exchange, we explain how the particular trust mechanism underlying smart contracts’ enforcement (no-party trust) provides opportunities for creating new markets and changing existing ones. We explore, among other things, whether using smart contracts could be a path to increasing the autonomy of consumers and offering a solution for democratising trade.
Entry Mode Deviation: A Behavioral Approach to Internalization Theory
ABSTRACT: We explore when and why decision makers choose international entry modes (e.g., hierarchies or markets) that deviate from internalization theory’s predictions. By applying a cognitive perspective on entry mode decision making, we propose that the performance of prior international activities influences decision makers’ behavior in different ways than assumed in internalization theory. More specifically, due to a representativeness bias, underperforming (overperforming) past ventures influence the decision to change (continue using) the previous entry mode choice, which may result in an entry mode deviation. In addition, the propensity to deviate from theoretical predictions is stronger when the experience is recent and/or salient due to an availability bias. In conclusion, we argue that internalization theory can benefit from incorporating more systematically important behavioral assumptions on how firms enter international markets. In so doing, we contribute to the recent conversation on how variations in human behavior influence internalization theory.
The Aggregate Cost of Equity Underdiversification
ABSTRACT: We analyze equity diversification of all retail investors in a country (Denmark). We find that underdiversification is pervasive. We calculate the nationwide aggregate loss due to underdiversification and express it in absolute and expected‐return terms. The aggregate loss is large. We find that investors with low education, low income, and low wealth are more likely to underdiversify. Despite better diversification, the larger fraction of the aggregate loss nevertheless adheres to the top of the income/wealth distribution. Finally, our results indicate that underdiversification arises because investors have limited information about the benefits of diversification.
Priority and Proportionality in Bankruptcy
ABSTRACT: We study the problem of distributing the liquidation value of a bankrupt firm among its creditors (O’Neill, Math Soc Sci 2(4):345–371, 1982; Aumann and Maschler, J Econ Theory 36(2):195–213, 1985). Real-life distribution rules prioritize predetermined creditor groups, dividing the amount assigned to each group proportionally to claims. We provide the first axiomatic characterization of such rules. In addition to the classical consistency and continuity axioms, these rules are characterized by the following properties: (1) bankruptcy problems with the same claims and where each claimant’s award is positive in each problem can be solved either jointly or separately without altering the recommended awards, (2) a dual property specifying that bankruptcy problems with the same claims and where each claimant’s loss is positive can be solved either jointly or separately without altering the recommended awards.
Offsetting, Insetting, or Both? Current Trends in Sustainable Palm Oil Certification
ABSTRACT: Private environmental standards attempt, in part, to internalize environmental externalities. Offsetting firms’ environmental externalities by buying credits is one option. Another is insetting, in which firms attempt to address externalities and provide positive benefits within their own supply chain. These two approaches to internalizing externalities can be in tension, leading toward different types of sustainable markets. Firms adopting private standards as way of avoiding reputational risks may be more likely to support insetting than offsetting strategies if their primary goal is to distinguish themselves from the rest of their industry, but these strategies can also risk separating the market into niche, high-quality producers alongside a low-quality majority. These tensions play out in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), where offsetting and insetting exist side-by-side. Strategic pressures promoting insetting strategies lead firms to exit the system’s offset market, but this comes with the cost of losing some of the flexibility and lowered entry barriers the offset approach offers. New technologies might allow standards to combine the benefits of both approaches, keeping the reputational benefits of insetting and the flexibility of offsetting.
(Mis)taking Social Responsibility? Implementing Welfare State Reform by Private and Non-profit Organizations
ABSTRACT: This article relates institutional theory to the concept of organizational legitimacy with cognitive, moral, and pragmatic dimensions, to analyse how a Dutch national policy reform – aimed at expanding the social responsibility for sick leave and disability toward non-state organizations – is understood and enacted locally. Based on interviews in 52 organizations, the study highlights that implementing welfare state reform is predominantly based on pragmatic reasoning, and justified by specific moral and cognitive interpretations. The findings reveal that implementing reform is active institutional work by – paradoxically – restricted local agency, with disciplinary effects on a narrow range of actors.
When Do Employees Choose to Be Represented on the Board of Directors? Empirical Analysis of Board-level Employee Representation in Denmark
ABSTRACT: Drawing on transaction costs economics and longitudinal data on Danish corporations, we analyse the distribution of board-level employee representation (BLER) and the characteristics of employee directors in a context where workers have the possibility (but not also an obligation) to nominate representatives to the board of directors. We show that BLER is less likely instituted in firms with CEO or family-related members on the board, but more likely observed in larger, older firms and in those with high firm-specific human capital and union density. Firm-specific human capital, qualifications and union membership also determine individual worker's probability to become a board member.
Organizational Design Choices of High-tech Startups: How Middle Management Drives Innovation Performance
ABSTRACT: Innovative products and services are the inspiration for many startups. However, founders find that the management of existing operations competes with the attention that they can devote to innovation. We investigate whether and how establishing a middle management level frees up attention for innovation when firms are newly started. We argue that middle management is positively related to introducing product innovations and that the effect is stronger when founders have larger stocks of pre-existing knowledge and when the startup's industry provides more innovation opportunities. These hypotheses are supported by an analysis of 2,431 German high-tech startups founded between 2005 and 2012.
Productive and Unproductive Competition: A Unified Framework
ABSTRACT: Conventional theories of competition classify contests as being either “productive”, when the competitive efforts generate a surplus for society, or “unproductive”, when competition generates no social surplus and merely distributes already existing resources. These two discrete categories of competition create a division of real-world situations into analytical categories that fails to recognize the entire spectrum of competitive activities. Taking the existing models of productive and unproductive competition as benchmark idealizations, this paper revisits the relationship between the privately and socially optimal levels of competition in the full range of intermediate cases, as well as in the extremum cases of destructive and super-productive competition.
New Media and Strategy Research: Towards a Relational Agency Approach
ABSTRACT: A rapidly growing body of literature focuses on the relationship between new media and strategy, and offers recommendations regarding appropriate strategic actions in relation to new media. This paper systematically reviews 130 articles with a focus on the diagnoses they provide and the directions they offer strategists regarding the role of new media in strategy. The analysis identifies four main ways of conceptualizing new media in the literature: as forces in an increasingly turbulent strategic environment; as changing the role of strategists; as tools for strategically engaging stakeholders; and as both increasing and decreasing the control necessary for strategy making. These conceptualizations are based on often‐implicit assumptions about ‘agency’ in strategy: new media are seen either as forces influencing strategy or as tools in the hands of humans, who are portrayed as the agents of strategy. In both cases, new media are black‐boxed, such that their specific properties and ways of becoming embedded in particular contexts are rarely examined. After discussing these assumptions and a limited number of studies that challenge them, the paper develops an approach to strategy and new media based on a relational understanding of agency, an attention to technological affordances and a methodological sensitivity to tracing strategy‐making assemblages of human and non‐human elements. We argue that future research based on this approach will advance our knowledge of strategy making in ways that do not take new media for granted and ways that are attentive to different kinds of agency.
The Interlinking Theorization of Management Concepts: Cohesion and Semantic Equivalence in Management Knowledge
ABSTRACT: This article develops the idea of ‘interlinking theorization’ in the context of management knowledge. We explain how management concepts are theorized through their direct co-occurrence with other management concepts, on the one hand, and their embeddedness in general business vocabulary, on the other. Conceptually, we extend a semantic network approach to vocabularies and suggest both cohesion between management concepts (i.e. a clustering in bundles) and their semantic equivalence (i.e. similar patterns of connectivity to general business vocabulary indicating specific types) as core dimensions of interlinking theorization. Empirically, we illustrate and further develop our conceptual model with data collected from magazines targeting management practitioners in the Austrian public sector. Our article contributes to existing literature by extending theorization to include different kinds of relationships between management concepts and focusing on direct and indirect relations across populations of management concepts as characteristics of the overall ‘architecture’ of management knowledge.
Justifying Public Sector Accounting Change from the Inside: Ex-post Reflections from Three Countries
ABSTRACT: Looking at accounting reforms in central government, the paper investigates how key actors (senior managers responsible for developing and/or implementing change) account for the related change outcomes subsequent to implementation. Using aggregated data from three countries (the UK, Italy, and Austria), and a mixed‐methods approach, the study investigates which rhetorical strategies are used to construct ex‐post legitimation or delegitimation of the changes, and how these strategies are associated with different perceived outcomes of change. Building on previous literature, possible strategies for ex‐post (de‐)legitimation and outcomes of change are identified. The study finds that radical change (leading to new accounting systems bedding down with accompanying new interpretative schemes) is associated with ex‐post legitimation based on rationalization. In contrast, incremental change (introducing new accounting tools, but not resulting in changed interpretative schemes) is often connected with narratives criticizing (or delegitimating) the change. The study contributes to the scant body of literature focusing on ex‐post legitimation of accounting change. How managers justify change in relation to its outcomes provides useful insights for the current situation when, as a consequence of crisis and austerity, new roles and relevancies for accounting and control systems continue to emerge. It is argued that for change to be substantive, it is not only essential that the actual systems and structures of accounting are adjusted, but it is critical that the way people interpret and make sense of accounting information (and consequently take decisions) is also modified. The particular challenges of achieving this in a period of crisis are highlighted.
Followership in an Open-source Software Project and Its Significance in Code Reuse
ABSTRACT: Code reuse is fundamental to the development of open-source software (OSS). Therefore, understanding how and why it occurs is important. To date, researchers have examined code reuse in OSS largely from the perspective of leaders. We show why followers must be considered as well. “Followers” are people who have had previous contacts with an individual from another project and who continue to associate with him or her. We consider two types of followers: developers (those directly involved in software development) and observers (those indirectly involved in it). We conduct a series of empirical investigations by using a longitudinal dataset of OSS projects hosted in GitHub, along with a survey and qualitative data. We find that followership can affect code reuse, but the effect depends on the nature of the follower (developer or observer). Overall, our study suggests that followership is important for code reuse in OSS because it enables participants to learn, and learning promotes code reuse.
The ‘Factory Manager Dilemma’: Purchasing Practices and Environmental Upgrading in Apparel Global Value Chains
ABSTRACT: Economic and environmental upgrading in global value chains are intertwined processes. The existing global value chain literature has so far articulated the relationships between economic and social upgrading but has only recently started to explore the challenges of environmental upgrading from the perspective of suppliers in the Global South. In this article, we examine the ‘factory manager dilemma’ as a way of conceptualising the purchasing practices and environmental upgrading requirements faced by suppliers in their dealings with lead firms in global value chains. Specifically, we analyse the environmental upgrading challenges experienced by Pakistani apparel firms. We conclude that Pakistani apparel suppliers are required both to absorb the consequences of global buyers’ unsustainable purchasing practices and to reduce their own profitability – all in the name of sustainability.
O sentido do político na concepção do transconstitucionalismo: Perspectiva sociológica
ABSTRACT: The question whether constitutions exists orcan exist at all beyond the state has been a central themeof academic dispute in the last decades. This contributiondeparts from the historical insight that extensive forms ofordering possessing constitutional qualities always haveexisted beneath, beside and above the state. In the lastdecades the debate on constitutionalism beyond the statehas however unfolded in two separate discourses: Onewhich focuses on public international organizations andanother which focuses on private structures. The former ismainly driven by political scientists and public lawyers andis characterized by an attempt to rework nation stateconcepts of the political in order to make themcompatible with transnational developments. The latter is,on the other hand, systematically downplaying thepolitical dimension of transnational structures. In order tobridge this gap a number of key dimensions of a specifictransnational concept of the political is being fleshed out.
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Transforming Stability into Change: How the Media Select and Report Opinion Polls
ABSTRACT: Although political polls show stability over short periods of time, most media coverage of polls highlights recurrent changes in the political competition. We present evidence for a snowball effect where small and insignificant changes in polls end up in the media coverage as stories about changes. To demonstrate this process, we rely on the full population of political polls in Denmark and a combination of human coding and supervised machine learning of more than four thousand news articles. Through these steps, we show how a horserace coverage of polls about change can rest on a foundation of stability.
Tyveri ved højlys dag: Majoritetsmisbrug i fåmandsselskaber
ABSTRACT: The article examines the scope of minority protection with focus on the prohibition of majority abuse in the Danish Companies Act’s general clauses. The analysis shows that shareholders in close corporations are to some extend obliged to act with loyalty towards each other. This is due to the nature of the firm that stipulates an underlying implicit agreement, which is covered by the contractual duty of loyalty. However, the duty of loyalty is not stated in corporate law and is neither clarified in accompanying case law, which creates an uncertain position for the minority. The general clauses only include qualified types of abuse that constitute an »obvious« and »unjust« benefit. Even though »unjust benefit« is limited by the duty of loyalty, the literal interpretation is inconsistent with the purpose of the clauses, as they aim to protect the minority from hidden discrimination. In general, the minority has a low incentive to prosecute the majority for suspected majority abuse, as the chances of winning is low due to the difficult burden of proof, as well as the litigation costs. Thus, the majority has a high incentive to commit abuse, as the risk of lawsuit is low, and the majority only risks having to pay litigation costs and a compensation equal to his profit gained from the abuse.
Applying and Advancing Internalization Theory: The Multinational Enterprise in the Twenty-first Century
ABSTRACT: Internalization theory has provided a resilient analytical framework that explicitly or implicitly underlines much of International Business scholarship. Internalization theory is not a monolithic body of knowledge; instead, it has devolved into several ‘streams’, each of which focuses on the interests of particular epistemic communities, while also acting as a more generic organizing framework for those more broadly interested in its application to real-world challenges. Following a review of the various streams, we trace the frontiers of current research of the broader internalization framework and identify emerging themes raised by the papers in the special issue. These include transaction cost considerations in the bundling and recombination of assets across diverse contexts, the growing relevance of quasi-internalization, the theoretical challenges of (bounded) rationality for internalization theory, and the increasing disconnect between ownership, control and responsibility. These developments point to new research frontiers for scholars looking to apply or advance internalization theory.
Central Bank Target Rates and Term Structure of Interest Rates: A Study of Six Asia-pacific Countries
ABSTRACT: Granger causality tests find that the official interest rate (OIR) changes made by the central banks of Australia, China, India, South Korea, Philippines, and Taiwan cause OIR changes at other central banks, but no central bank dominates in its impact. Event study tests show that OIR announcements impact short-term market interest rates more than long-term market interest rates in their own countries. Our study shows that announcements by India and China have the largest impact on the other four countries. Markets anticipate OIR changes consistent with the objective of transparency by monetary authorities to reduce economy uncertainty for market participants.
Recontextualizing Scandinavian Practices in a Latin American Regional Office
ABSTRACT: Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore how Danish and Mexican communication and management practices are recontextualized at the Latin American office of a Scandinavian multinational corporation (MNC) located in Mexico.
Design/methodology/approach: A case study based on interviews, observations and company documents was conducted.
Findings: Well-educated Mexican middle managers appreciate the participative communication and management practices of Scandinavian MNCs, which transcend most experiences at local workplaces, but their interpretations and meaning system are influenced by the colonial legacy and political and socioeconomic context framing their working conditions.
Originality/value: This paper provides a contextualized analysis of a rich case study to further illustrate the challenges faced by MNCs in their quest to establish a regional office in a Latin American context and offers a theoretical model of the elements involved in complex recontextualization processes.
The Weatherman: The Making of Prepared Farmers and the Postcolonial Predictive State in Kenya
ABSTRACT: This article explores weather forecasting as an emergent technology of governmentality through a detailed ethnography of the ways in which the relationships between weather and crops are rendered knowable in a two-day “participatory scenario planning” (PSP) workshop in Naromoru in the Central Highlands of Kenya. Farmers were “made into meteorologists” and developed their preparedness for hazards, impacts, opportunities, strategies, and responsibilities within the context of facing El Niño. The ethnography targets seemingly novel ways of preparing farmers for El Niño. I argue that the PSP served two principal functions: (1) to redistribute responsibilities of the farmers themselves by making them into “meteorologists”; and (2) to integrate “scientific expertise” with “local knowledge” to generate public trust in the metrological institutions of the postcolonial predictive state.
Introduction: Agri-cultures in the Anthropocene
ABSTRACT: Today when we think about climate change and Greenland, we do not think about agriculture, but of the melting ice. Perhaps the most evocative articulation of this connection was made in December 2015, when Paris was hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP21. At this event, artist Olafur Elisasson and geologist Minik Rosing exhibited their art installation Ice Watch at the Place du Pantheon: a circle of icebergs with a circumference of twenty meters, which resembled a watch ticking and/or a compass providing orientation for the world’s leaders in the palm of Paris. The ice had been transported by tugboat from the harbor of Nuuk—Greenland’s capital—to France. The captain of the tugboat was Kuupik Kleist, former prime minister of Greenland, who was quoted saying: “Ninety per cent of our country is covered by ice. It is a great part of our national identity. We follow the international discussion, of course, but to every Greenlander, just by looking out the window at home, it is obvious that something dramatic is happening” (Zarin 2015).
Can They all be ‘Shit-heads’? Learning to be a Contrarian Investor
ABSTRACT: This article seeks to explain one of the sensibilities or dispositions that novices learn in the process of becoming financiers, namely, to be a contrarian. We will review investment pitches from an American undergraduate collegiate investment fund, interviews with some members of the club, and field notes from a few of their outings, and treat instances of their contrariness as moments in their process of going from non-investors to investors, moments in which they experiment with and learn new social habits, identities and practices. Moreover, we connect this contrariness with a much longer tradition in the formation of an identity and subjectivity as an investor. More than any simple technology of thought to be deployed in a particular situation, contrarianism is a thoroughgoing mode of framing and understanding life, both in investment contexts and beyond, which we suggest was born between the 1880s and 1940s and has persisted in various forms to this day. This paper offers two instances of how someone becomes contrary, and suggests that contrarianism may be a fairly typical way for humans to make sense of financial markets.
From Social Gospel to CSR: Was Corporate Social Responsibility Ever Radical?
ABSTRACT: Critics lament that corporate social responsibility has failed to significantly change business practices and that it became ‘de-radicalized’ once embraced by corporate business management. Using historical analysis, this article reevaluates this de-radicalization thesis, questioning whether corporate social responsibility ever was as inherently radical as the thesis assumes. The article demonstrates that early corporate social responsibility was already invested with a strategy of pragmatism, an investment that traces back to a group of late 19th and early 20th century American Christian reformists, also known as the social gospel movement. They promised that industrialism would unify Christian ethics and capitalist production, thereby reconciling the conflict between profitseeking and social solidarity. The discourse they advanced already contained what would later become key corporate social responsibility components, including (1) the notion of ethical businessmen, (2) the corporation as a morally conscious being and (3) collaboration as the pathway to ‘industrial peace’. Theoretically, the analysis finds inspiration in Luc Boltanski’s and Eve Chiapello’s thesis on modern capitalism’s capacity to assimilate the critiques it faces, supplemented by Michel Foucault’s fine-grained analyses of the transformation and ‘tactical polyvalence’ of discourse. The two positions complement each other in their assumptions regarding the dialectical relationship between capitalism/critique (Boltanski and Chiapello) and power/resistance (Foucault). Tracing the origins of corporate social responsibility’s pragmatism further back in time than the conventional starting point in the 1950s casts new light on the de-radicalization thesis. In particular, corporate social responsibility emphasizes personal ethics as the key to industrial peace, a social gospel legacy that has steered corporate social responsibility away from demands that fundamentally challenge corporate capitalism.
Who Buys Products with Nutrition and Health Claims? A Purchase Simulation with Eye Tracking on the Influence of Consumers' Nutrition Knowledge and Health Motivation
ABSTRACT: Nutrition and health claims are seen as a way of promoting healthy aspects of food. However, the results of previous studies have been contradictory regarding the effect of these claims on purchase. This study aims to achieve a better understanding of how the consumer characteristics ‘nutrition knowledge’ and ‘health motivation’ influence the purchase of products with nutrition and health claims and what role gaze behavior plays. We included gaze behavior in our analysis, as visual attention on the claims is a precondition to its influence on the purchase decision. In a close-to-realistic shopping situation, consumers could choose from three-dimensional orange juice packages labeled with nutrition, health, and taste claims. In total, the sample consisted of 156 consumers. The data were analyzed with a structural equation model (SEM), linking the purchase decision for products with claims to gaze data recorded with a mobile eye tracker and consumer and product-related variables collected via the questionnaire. Results showed that the variables in the SEM explained 31% (8%) of the variance observed in the purchase of products with a nutrition (health) claim. The longer a consumer looked at a specific claim, the more likely the consumer would purchase the respective product. The lower the price and the higher the perceived healthiness and tastiness of the product further heightened its likelihood of being purchased. Interestingly, consumers with higher nutrition knowledge and/or higher health motivation looked longer at the nutrition and health claims; however, these consumer characteristics did not show an effect on the purchase decision. Implications for policy makers and marketers are given.
The Paradox of Roots and Wings: Labor Mobility between Local Firms and MNEs in North Africa
ABSTRACT: Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore employees’ knowledge- and learning-related experiences in moving between local firms and multinational enterprises (MNEs) and to examine the nature of paradoxes of labor mobility that local talents face in their career in the North African country of Algeria. In doing so, this paper explored the multifaceted experiences of employees who left local firms and joined MNEs.
Design/methodology/approach: The authors use a qualitative study, in-depth interviews with 12 employees from various industries, and apply an interpretive phenomenological approach to explain labor mobility between local firms and MNEs in the North African country of Algeria. The authors specifically focus on personal experiences of employees who worked in both local firms and MNEs.
Findings: The findings report a paradoxical situation and suggest that despite talented individuals grow their capabilities in MNEs through reward and personal growth incentives, the grass is not always greener, and they face the paradox of nurturing their capabilities (wings) or empowering their roots by returning local firms to seek stability, security and flexibility.
Originality/value: This study contributes to the research at the intersection of human resource management, knowledge management and the paradox of management in emerging markets. Its value stems from empirically explicating the paradox of roots and wings as a complementary, learning type of paradox that individuals at local firms and MNEs in Algeria experience.
Envisioning the ‘Sharing City’: Governance Strategies for the Sharing Economy
ABSTRACT: Recent developments around the sharing economy bring to the fore questions of governability and broader societal benefit—and subsequently the need to explore effective means of public governance, from nurturing, on the one hand, to restriction, on the other. As sharing is a predominately urban phenomenon in modern societies, cities around the globe have become both locus of action and central actor in the debates over the nature and organization of the sharing economy. However, cities vary substantially in the interpretation of potential opportunities and challenges, as well as in their governance responses. Building on a qualitative comparative analysis of 16 leading global cities, our findings reveal four framings of the sharing economy: ‘societal endangerment,’ ‘societal enhancement,’ ‘market disruption,’ and ‘ecological transition.’ Such framings go hand in hand with patterned governance responses: although there is considerable heterogeneity in the combination of public governance strategies, we find specific configurations of framings and public governance strategies. Our work reflects the political and ethical debates on various economic, social, and moral issues related to the sharing economy, and contributes to a better understanding of the field-level institutional arrangements—a prerequisite for examining moral behavior of sharing economy organizations.
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