Category: Sociology of Organizations & Work

The Power in Writing a Good Note

Why study bureaucracy? Institutions and practices that we have tended to take for granted have recently been subjected to a new awareness and interest. For instance, Timothy Snyder, in his recent book On Tyranny (2017) argued for the importance of government institutions and their capacity to preserve the rule of law when faced with the rise and coming to power of authoritarian populist parties. Others, including key political scientists such as Francis Fukyama, Bo Rothstein, Paul DuGay add to this and point...

Mirror, mirror on the wall… which one of the healthcare team am I? Understanding healthcare practitioners’ professional identities and what role professional regulation plays

In this article, Policy Adviser Michael Warren outlines some of the themes and challenges that arise from the Professional Standards Authority’s work on understanding professional identity and regulation. The research can be found here. Think of it, someone comes up to you and asks: “who are you?”. Where do you start? It’s a query that calls into question your entire identity. One place to start is your occupation, or ‘professional identity’. You may even have more than one professional identity,...

Interview with Professor Alison Pullen, Editor-in-Chief of Gender, Work and Organization

  Alison  Pullen  is  Professor  of  Management  and  Organization  Studies at Macquarie  University,  Australia,  and  at the time of the interview, Otto Mønsted  Visiting Professor at Copenhagen  Business  School,  Department  of  Organization. Over the course of her career, Alison’s work has been concerned with analyzing and intervening in the politics of work as it concerns gender discrimination, identity politics, and organizational injustice.  Alison is joint Editor-in-Chief of Gender, Work and Organization, Associate Editor of Organization and sits on the editorial...

Employee well-being and versions of corporate-driven orthorexia

Context In 1997, Steven Bratman [2] launched the concept of ‘orthorexia’, derived from the Greek “orthos”, meaning “correct or right” and “orexis”, meaning “hunger or appetite”. He described his own “pathological fixation on eating proper food”; including ritualized eating of vegetables picked no more than 15 minutes before consumption, and chewing each mouthful at least 50 times before swallowing. Following this, social discourse [1, 5, 12] has defined healthy nutrition as eating simply, ‘pure’, ‘clean’, wholesome, non-processed diets; diets which...

Corruption, Formal and Informal

In a 2014 review article for Sociology Compass, David Jancsics outlined a ‘minimal consensus’ on what constitutes corruption, drawn from his survey of literature on corruption in sociology, economics, organizational studies, political science and anthropology. The four poles of this consensus, Jancsics suggests, are that corruption is the “informal/illegal and secret exchange of formally allocated resources”; that “at least one corrupt party has to have formal membership/affiliation or at least a contractual relation with the organization from which the resources...

Responsibility in Recognition

Officials need to be held responsible for recognizing and acknowledging systems of inequality and injustice within their organizations. As leaders, as deans, as CEOs, as presidents, as the heads of operations for companies, educational institutions, governments, etc. individuals and teams of individuals holding leadership positions should be held accountable for the systems of inequality that are allowed to persists under their leadership. A now infamous example of such an instance is the University of Missouri’s former president Timothy Wolfe. Wolfe’s...

The VA Backlog

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs handles the claims, benefits, and memorial services for veterans as well as provide services for their spouses and dependents. However a long-standing problem with this office is the expected turn around with claims processing that often leaves many veterans and their families without adequate healthcare or other benefit support. Given the debate in the United States with the Affordable Care Act and its comparability to other Western Hemisphere countries that have initiated universal healthcare,...

What does ‘disruptive innovation’ disrupt?

At the end of last week, Ellen MacArthur’s second Disruptive Innovation Festival came to a close, having dedicated the first three weeks of November “to exploring the ideas and innovations which are shaping our changing economy, connecting participants directly with the world’s most forward-looking start-ups, entrepreneurs, designers, thought-leaders and policymakers via a unique collaborative online format.” While the Festival was in full swing (although not apparently in response to it), Lee Vinson, a Science & Technology Studies professor at Stevens...

Buying Time: Stefano Sgambati’s Sociology of Money, Debt & Finance

Writing for the Guardian’s Comment is Free blog yesterday, David Graeber warned that we may be heading towards yet another crisis of the kind we saw in 2007–08. In his Comment, Graeber takes to task George Osborne’s 2015 Mansion House speech (or rather the logic underpinning it), in which Osborne made a commitment to run a budget surplus in ‘normal times’, much to the consternation of dozens of academic economists. It seems that the utterly misleading and moralizing analogies so...

Selected Politics Concerning Natural Hair

The term “natural hair” is used in the African American community to differentiate between hair that has been left in its natural state and hair which has been permed (which is to permanently straighten the hair follicle with chemicals). African American hair in its natural state appears tightly coiled or kinky and is often socially stigmatized. Social stigmas are any idea that individuals associate with negative connotations. Many individuals would agree that hair is a prevailing symbol of one’s self...

Making sense of the ‘social’ in social media (and social enterprise, social marketing, social analytics…)

Doubtless I am not alone among the contributors to Sociology Lens in having been exposed, during my first year as an undergraduate, to an array of foundational thinkers in sociology (and anthropology) who present human history as a movement away from ‘traditional’, ‘face–to–face’ or ‘kinship–based’ societies, towards those in which interaction and identity is less relational, and more individualized. Such theorizing is not only limited to the classical sociologists who wrote in the 1900s, like Ferdinand Tönnies and Émile Durkheim;...

The Rising Burden of Affording College and Undermatching

I recently came across an article on my Facebook feed about high school senior Ronald Nelson, who was accepted into all 8 ivy league colleges (among other highly competitive schools). The article discussed how, despite this amazing opportunity for Nelson to attend arguably one of the better colleges in the nation, he ultimately chose to attend University of Alabama (which is still a decent school). According to Business Insider, “After some thought and consideration of all the schools’ offers, Nelson decided...

Considering Big Data Analysis as a Social Science

In early April, 2015, a self-driving car completed a 9 day cross country tour from San Francisco to New York City.  During the 9 day adventure, the car was fully automated for 99% of the trip – relying on its humans only to enter and exit the interstates.  The Audi car supported technology made by Delphi which uses a combination of advanced features already on the market including collision mitigation, integrated radar and camera systems, forward collision and lane departure warning. ...

Focused Fatigue: Parenting Equally in Graduate School

I am a traditional parent and I began my parenting journey while in graduate school.  I am traditional in that boring two-parent household, two incomes, one dog, two children and a whole mess of bills, kind of way.  What makes us interesting however is how we partner in our parenting and household maintenance.  I know, I know – what’s new or progressive about being partners, isn’t that more of the same old style?  Not quite.  I’m serious when I say...

Five Things I Wish I had Known Before Starting My PhD

 Graduate Student Advice Month   Nobody really knows what is like to do a PhD until they do one. I am half way through mine and I still only half know what it is like to do one very specific PhD: my own. Everyone’s experience is unique to their own research topic, their own field site and their own personality, but many of the challenges, pressures and anxieties we encounter are more similar than we realise. We all seem to...

Who might run the show in a post-cash world?

Is cash on the way out? In my own daily routines, I find myself using coins and notes less and less, to the point when I am often stuck for a pound coin to use the lockers at the swimming pool, or I audibly ‘tut’ when shopkeepers tell me there’s a charge for using my card. I just don’t carry cash very often. In fact, I don’t even physically use my debit card very often. I’ve got so used to...