The first meeting of our Scientific Network mainly served the purpose of getting to know each other and developing a cross-disciplinary understanding of the concept of field-configuring events (FCEs) as a basis for the work of the network. With two international guests from different disciplines, business studies scholar Prof. N. Anand from IMD Lausanne and Prof. Dominic Power, an economic geographer from Uppsala University, we started our collaboration with a joint dinner in the “Mädchenitaliener” in Berlin Mitte on Sunday evening.
Our workshop day started with a detailed introduction by Elke Schüßler regarding the aims and purpose of the Scientific Network. Network members then had time for introducing their research interests regarding FCEs. Subsequently, we jointly discussed the research agenda on FCEs outlined in Lampel and Meyer’s (2008) seminal article and defined a core set of issues that this network would like to work on at future meetings. For instance, we discussed whether Lampel and Meyer’s definition of FCEs is too actor-centric and concluded that the concept of “field configuration” is relatively fuzzy, requiring more precise ways of measuring fields and field structuration dynamics.
After a coffee break, our first keynote speaker, Anand Narasimhan, presented his research on events, rituals, and organizational field formation and thereby introduced us to an organization sociology perspective on FCEs. Anand has published important articles on field structuration dynamics and his talk was informative and stimulating both in conceptual and methodological terms.
Afterwards we had a session dedicated to different types of events, since it is one of the aims of our network to explore which kinds of events could be considered as field configuring from the perspective of different disciplines. Joachim Thiel presented his research project on the London Olympics, a "big event" much in line with the FCE framework, whereas Bastian Lange introduced small-scale parties and happenings as micro-events in urban scenes with a nonetheless field-configuring potential.
After lunch, Dominic Power, our second keynote speaker, introduced us to the economic geographers’ take on FCEs and presented his work on trade fairs as temporary and cyclical clusters. His talk gave important impulses to us regarding the spatial dimension of FCEs, again one of the aspects that our network aims to bring forward in more detail.
The next session focused on different disciplinary perspectives on events, specifically an institutional theory lens (Guido Möllering) and an innovation research perspective (Katharina Hölzle). Katharina, for instance, outlined an interest in understanding how companies can benefit from events such as innovation barcamps. Guido argued that we need to better understand the temporal and social dynamics around events and think about other, i.e. non-institutional ways in which fields can be configured.
We ended our workshop with a final discussion on different outcomes of FCEs and brainstormed about the form and contents of our next meetings. We discussed, for instance, the option of inviting “devils’ advocates” as keynote speakers, and not just scholars working on FCEs. Our long day ended with a second joint dinner.
(by Elke Schüßler)
28.04.2013 - 29.04.2013
Freie Universität Berlin