Research Seminars

From Arms Length to Bear Hug: Theoretical Clarification and Test of the Value-Conversion Assumption

Speaker: Stoyan SGOUREV
Stanford University

14 December 2005 - From 10h30 to 12h00


Sustained Competitive Advantage -- Traits of Persistent

Speaker: Alfred MARCUS
Carlson School of Management - Minnesota

13 December 2005 - From 16h30 to 18h00

How common is sustained competitive advantage and disadvantage? What are the traits that distinguish between firms that achieve sutained competitive advantage and sustained competitive disadvantage? I report on research I have done on 9 pairs of companies half of which were consistent winners between 1992-2002 and half of which were consistent losers. I argue that what distinguished the winners from the losers is that they achieved a balance among traits -- they were in a sweet spot and showed agility, discipline, and focus. In contrast the losing firms were in a sour spot and showed rigidity, ineptness, and diffuseness. I provide detail about how the companies exhibited these contrasting sets of characteristics and speculate on what the findings may mean for a theory of competitive advantage. I also discuss the connnection between this research and work I have on corporate social responsibility.

Individuals as Institutional Entrepreneurs: the Enabling Role of Individuals'social position

Speaker: Julie BATTILANA

6 December 2005 - From 16h10 to 17h30


The Re-invention and Extinction of Tradition

Speaker: Tina DACIN
Queen's University-Canada

30 November 2005 - From 14h30 to 16h00

"The concept of tradition has been studied in sociology, anthropology, and cultural geography. Much of the work that examines traditions has tended to view them as being rather invariant in nature. In this historical case study, we draw upon ideas from work on culture, identity and institutional change to understand the evolving nature of traditions. More generally, we ask the following questions: How and why are traditions created? How are traditions re-invented? What is the process of extinction?

In order to answer these questions we focus on the changing character and potency of a single tradition over time and study the Texas A & M University tradition of Bonfire from 1909-2002. Our study of this tradition specifically examines the co-evolution of the university and the tradition over time by focusing on changes in identity, resource mobilization, custodians, contests and strategies. Our findings illuminate a number of important themes that provide an understanding of the boundaries and changing nature of traditions".

"Pulp and paper fiction:On the discursive legitimation of global industrial restructuring"

Speaker: Eero Vaara
Swedish School of Economics

12 October 2005 - From 16h30 to 18h00

Despite the central role of legitimacy in social and organizational life, we know little of the subtle meaning-making processes through which organizational phenomena such as industrial restructuring are legitimated in contemporary society. Therefore, this paper examines the discursive legitimation strategies used when making sense of global industrial restructuring in the media. Based on a critical discourse analysis of extensive media coverage of a revolutionary pulp and paper sector merger, we distinguish and analyze five legitimation strategies: (1) normalization, (2) authorization, (3) rationalization, (4) moralization, and (5) narrativization. We argue that while these specific legitimation strategies appear in individual texts, their recurring use in the intertextual totality of the public discussion establishes the core elements of the emerging legitimating discourse.