Category: Organizational Change

Boundary Labeling During Field Emergence: Inclusion and Exclusion in Nanotechnology

May 14th, 2012 in Organizational Change, Research Day

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Stine Grodal

Strategy and Innovation

Author: Stine Grodal

Field emergence is a pivotal question in organizational theory. Yet, how the boundaries of organizational fields emerge has received little attention. In the literature examples occur of both boundary contraction and expansion during field emergence, but the mechanisms that facilitate this change are still uninvestigated. I address this gap in the literature through an in-depth longitudinal study of the emerging nanotechnology field. I show that boundary labeling plays a pivotal role in field emergence. In particular I show that the oscillation between expansion and contraction within nanotechnology happened through two boundary processes, which relate to the symbolic and social boundary respectively: amending the definition and conferring membership. I identify the mechanism underlying these two boundary processes to account for the change in the boundaries of nanotechnology over time. Lastly, I discuss how the boundary labeling mechanisms place the locus of institutional change both within the mundane everyday actions of regular field participants and dedicated institutional entrepreneurs.

Liminality as Cultural Process for Cultural Change

May 14th, 2012 in Organizational Change, Research Day

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Karen Golden-Biddle

Organizational Behavior

Authors: Jennifer Howard-Grenville, Karen Golden-Biddle, Jenn Irwin, and Jina Mao

This paper offers a revised understanding of intentional cultural change. In contrast to prevailing accounts, we suggest that such change can take place in the absence of initiating jolts, may be infused in everyday organizational life, and led by insiders who need not hold hierarchical power. Drawing on data from field studies and in-depth interviews, we develop a model of cultural change in which everyday occurrences such as meetings or workshops are constructed symbolically as ‘liminal’ phenomena, bracketed from yet connected to everyday action in the organization. The construction of these occurrences as liminal illuminates the symbolic realm, creating possibilities for people to experiment with new cultural resources and invite different interpretations that hold potential for altering the cultural order. Our analyses contribute to the literature on culture by developing liminality, a process that brings forward the symbolic and invites recombination, as a cultural explanation of cultural change, to complement prevailing political or social structural explanations. We discuss implications and boundary conditions for this type of intentional cultural change.

Does Fraud Pay in China?

May 14th, 2012 in Organizational Change, Research Day

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Yanbo Wang

Strategy and Innovation

Author:Yanbo Wang

This paper documents the extent of fraudulent reporting in a sample of 148 Chinese SMEs. We compare the financial statements of companies that simultaneously apply for grants from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and that file statements with the local Bureau of Industry and Commerce (BIC), which is a municipal authority. MOST grants, for which the submission of audited financial statements is a requirement, are similar to Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards in the US. We document a systematic gap in profitability in the two sets of financial statements. We find: (i) only 25% of the companies in the sample report the same level of profitability across the two sets of books; the remaining 75% of companies misrepresent their profitability, most likely by over-reporting their profits in their MOST grant applications; (ii) there is strong evidence of an insider effect in fraudulent reporting: companies led by individuals with close ties to the government are far more likely to commit fraud, and (iii) it pays to cheat; net of ties to the government, we estimate that companies which file discrepant books because they (most likely) exaggerate their profitability in the MOST grant applications have at least 50% higher odds of being awarded a MOST grant.
Boston University School of Management