This is not a post about Ello. Because Ello is so last Friday. But the rapid rise of and backlash against upstart social media network Ello (if you haven’t been paying attention, see here, here, here) reminded me of something I was wondering a while back.
Lots of people are dissatisfied with Facebook — ad-heavy, curated in a way the user has little control over, privacy-poor. And it looks like Twitter, which really needs bring in more revenue, is taking steps to move in the same direction: algorithmic display of tweets, with the ultimate goal of making users more valuable to advertisers.
The question is, what’s the alternative? There have been a lot of social network flavors of the month, built on a variety of business models. Some of them, like Google Plus, are owned by already-large companies that would be subject to similar business pressures as Facebook and…
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This call for papers might be of interest to the social study of entrepreneurship, insofar as the relationship between routines and the breaking of routines is a core feature of the Schumpeterian definition of entrepreneurship as innovation, and routines can be thought of as the effects of collective, heterogeneous mechanisms.
Call for Papers: Special Issue on Routine Dynamics: Exploring Sources of Stability and Change in Organizations, Organization Science
- Luciana D’Adderio, University of Edinburgh
- Martha S. Feldman, University of California, Irvine
- Nathalie Lazaric, University of Nice, Sophia Antipolis
- Brian T. Pentland, Michigan State University
Submission Deadline: September 1, 2013
Also, the organisational routines literature has been developing an increasing interest in recent years in the role of artefacts in routines and the performativity of routines. See some relevant snippets below:
Actants and artifacts. What is the role of artifacts (material and immaterial), such as standard operating procedures, classifications, computer systems, and so on in the production and reproduction of routines? What is the role of artifacts as intermediaries and mediators (D’Adderio 2008, 2011) in the performance of routines? And how do they interact with the ostensive and the performative aspects? More generally, how are networks of action related to networks of actants (human and non-human, material and non-material)? How do different configurations—or sociomaterial entanglements—of actors and actants influence and shape routines?
Recombinations and mashups. Some argue that routines evolve through variation, selection and retention, but what is the role of recombination (e.g., recombining chunks of routines to create a new routine) and mashups (e.g., combining in ways not defined by predetermined chunks) in routine dynamics? When are recombination and mashups possible? Is there any evidence that they actually occur? What factors facilitate or limit recombination and/or mashups?
Performation. Routines are becoming increasingly distributed across projects and organizations. How do routines spread over time and space? How do the ostensive aspects and/or the formal or informal descriptions of a practice become instantiated at different points in time and across different locales? How are different spatial or temporal instantiations/enactments of the routine coordinated? What is the role of artifacts in this coordination?
Generativity and novelty. Some routinized processes (e.g., project management routines) are capable of producing significantly different substantive results each time they are performed. For example, an architectural firm may use a recognizable, repetitive process for designing buildings, yet each design is different. Other routines are focused on producing exactly the same result every time. What governs this difference? Are there limits to the generative power of routines? Can routines generate other routines in this manner? What is the role of formal descriptions of routines (such as standards or “best” practices) and templates (actual examples) in guiding and shaping actions in routines? At what point, and in which circumstances, does innovation/adaptation erase the value of the template or model? And what implications should we expect for innovation and adaptation when formal routines and models become embedded into artifacts?
In a BBC article today, Richard Reed, one of the founders of Innocent Drinks, is quoted on what it takes to become an entrepreneur (How to become your own boss):
Anyone, says Reed, could go home today, and for instance, make some jam and start selling it.
Earlier in the article,
“If you have ever organised a wedding or a holiday for a group of friends you have got what it takes to set up a business”, says Reed, who founded his company in 1998 with two friends from Cambridge University.
But later on he reveals
At the age of four my mum found me trying to sell jam jars with rose petals in as perfume for 2p to my neighbours. Aged seven I was going round cleaning their windows. At age 11, I was buying Smurf stickers and reselling them in schools.
This revelation somewhat undermines his argument that anyone can become an entrepreneur, as clearly he wasn’t just anyone then. Most kids don’t go around selling stuff at the age of four and then end up at Cambridge. On the basis of this biographical evidence one would be more likely to conclude that entrepreneurial capability is either innate (Richard had it at the age of 4 already) or that it is the result of one’s environment in childhood, such as specific socio-economic circumstances, existing socio-technical networks or specific incidents that shaped the child’s psyche and social skills.
Seeing this then makes me wonder, what compels a BBC journalist to write such an article about entrepreneurship? What’s the motivation here? As I take a closer look I realise that the article is meant to promote a new BBC series, Be Your Own Boss, which seems like a reality show in the footsteps of the Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice. As part of the drive to promote the show and its stars and makers, it obviously makes sense to put out statements like “anyone can be an entrepreneur,” as they are trying to attract the widest possible audience. Now the question is whether the show itself will be able to prove that proposition.
Starting salary from £26,779 – £31,020 per annum with further progression opportunities to £33,884
The Centre for Entrepreneurship is a new initiative within the Executive Business Centre that offers support to early stage and established businesses in the digital media sector. We are a growing Business School with a commitment to research, professional practice and teaching that aims to enhance our reputation as a practice based business school that makes a significant contribution to the regional economy with centres of international excellence.
The successful candidate will have a PhD and proven academic credibility, with a successful record of high quality teaching and research. You will have a good research profile, with evidence of publication in quality journals. This is a key supporting role to the Director and the development of the Centre.
For an informal discussion about the role please contact Professor Dean Patton on 01202 68747
A detailed job description and person specification are available from our website together with an online application form. Alternatively, please telephone 01202 961130 (24 hour answerphone) quoting the appropriate reference.
Closing date: Sunday 19 August 2012
Reviewed by Tudor Rickards
From time to time, a book for reviewing produces the response “Yes. That’s how it was for me too!” For me, this is one such book. It describes in rich detail and analysis a case study of the processes of innovative new product development. The environment of research and development (R&D) is beautifully captured.
Norway’s Blue/Green Strategy
The story has been described as a spin-off from the “Green Blue” strategy in Norway, which backed research into fisheries (blue) and agriculture (green). The specific innovations are traced to the research of a Professor Erik Slinde who was interested in industrializing Norway’s fish harvesting.
With entrepreneurial flair he hit on the idea of producing a fish-based salami. If you think that’s crazy get the book. If you think it’s a great…
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See the call for papers here [PDF]. Here is the journal website: Valuation Studies. H/t CHARISMA. How is this related to the social study of entrepreneurship? Entrepreneurs engage in a variety of valuation practices through the entire life cycle of a start-up, from evaluating the various elements they acquire for creating new combinations to valuing the firm when the owners exit their investment. Valuation happens every time entrepreneurs engage with markets.
Valuation Studies is a new open access journal connecting several vibrant research fields working on the study of valuation as a social practice. To engage scholars with various backgrounds and orientations in discussions about valuation, the journal welcomes papers in different forms, including papers that use or combine a variety of methods, from ethnographic accounts to quantitative appraisal to conceptual interpretation.
The overall aim of the new open access journal Valuation Studies is to foster valuable conversations in a new transdisciplinary and emerging field relating to the study of valuation as a social practice. The journal’s first issue will be available in the first half of 2013.
The journal will provide a space for the assessment and diffusion of research that is produced at the interface of a variety of approaches from several disciplines: sociology, economic sociology, science and technology studies, organisation and management studies, social and cultural anthropology, market studies, institutional perspectives in economics, accounting studies, cultural geography, philosophy, and literary studies. The project emerges out of the increasing synergies between these approaches around one particular ambit: valuation.