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P8: Governance of Creativity: Distributing Uncertainty in Collaboration Practices

Creativity is no longer regarded as an individual achievement, but as an outcome of a social process of collaboration.   Collaboration is a common practice in both the arts and sciences. Despite its promise, however, collaboration per se is no guarantee for creativity as an outcome: rather, collaboration must be organized and governed.

The project draws upon economic geography and organizational theory to examine an unresolved issue: How can collaboration be coordinated to leverage socially and spatially distributed resources in ways that foster creativity? We approach this challenge by examining the role of governance as institutionalized in ideal-typical modes: market, hierarchy, community, network, association, or state. We seek to reconcile disparate findings on the governance of creative collaboration by understanding the paradoxical role of uncertainty. Namely, creative collaboration must balance under- and over-organizing, or enacting surprise and directing the process.

This project focuses on how governance shapes the distribution of uncertainty among different actors engaged in collaboration. Uncertainty may exist with respect to participation (‘who’ participates in collaboration), content (‘what’ is the targeted outcome?), process (‘how’ are the desired objectives achieved?), and place (‘where’ collaboration takes place). Across these dimensions, uncertainty is both a resource to be employed and at the same time controlled as a threat. Empirically, the governance of creative collaboration will be studied in the fields of music and pharmaceutical research. The project will contribute to a process-oriented theory of organizing creativity.

P7: Corporate Governance and Inequality

Rising inequality is closely associated with changes in corporate organization, such as rising executive salaries, new forms of work and pay, vertical disintegration, and downsizing. This project investigates how different mechanisms of corporate governance influence inequality-generating processes, such as exploitation or social closure, in different countries. Corporate governance refers to the structure of rights and duties among different stake holders in corporate decision making. The exercise of corporate control is linked closely to the distribution of value created by the corporations. This project will also examine how company-level processes are reinforced or countered by other institutional adaptations, particularly issues of corporate taxation. Finally, how has the global emulation of corporate governance practices and institutions contributed to cross-national trends in inequality?

 The project is the focus of Prof. Gregory Jackson’s Einstein Research Fellowship at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center research unit “Inequality and Social Policy.” The project will utilize a large cross-national dataset on corporate governance practices, and draw on relational theories of inequality from sociology.

  • Supported by Einstein Foundation Berlin

  • Period: April 2016 to March 2018

  • Award Holder: Prof. Gregory Jackson

P6: Understanding Institutional Change in Asia: A Comparative Perspective with Europe (INCAS)

The project INCAS aims at creating a top-level research and advanced training network on institutional change in Asia, in comparative perspective with Europe. The coordinator, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (France), promotes this network together with Oxford University, Freie Universität Berlin, in collaboration with Waseda University (Japan). The partners have chosen Japan as a reference point because of its comparability with Europe as shown by previous studies, its historical influence on development and further institutional changes in Asia, and the expertise accumulated within our research team.

Our approach, which refers to the literature on comparative capitalism, is fundamentally interdisciplinary by nature, as it aims at gathering economists, economic historians, political economy specialists, sociologists, and lawyers, who are specialized in various fields such as finance, labor economics and sociology, Asian studies, etc. Our major aim is to propose a new theory of institutional change that better takes into account diverse dimensions that have been overlooked by previous attempts such as: the historical experience of institutional change in Asia that went hand in hand with growth and development; the relations between (especially financial) liberalization and corporate diversity; the interaction between political economy, socio-economic and legal variables. It requires not only the interdisciplinary approach described above but also an empirical investigation that mobilizes a database for corporate characteristics. Each institutional member of INCAS has developed its own research strategy on a similar object (institutional change in Asia and Europe) and the goal of this project is to organize a knowledge transfer within our team (and later outside the research team) in order to build a comprehensive research program.

P5: Corporate Social Responsibility in Different Varieties of Capitalism: Exploring How National Institustions Shape CSR

The project explores how corporate social responsibility (CSR) is shaped by diverse economic, social and political institutions from an internationally comparative perspective. Since comparative understanding of CSR remains fairly limited to date, the aim of the project is two-fold: first, we will map and compare cross-country patterns of CSR adoption in relation to specific issue areas and second, we will explore whether and how key institutional differences in distinct “varieties of capitalism” shape patterns of CSR adoption and implementation.

 Several concepts will be used to understand the relationship between institutions and CSR. CSR may sometimes develop as a substitute for more institutionalized forms of coordination or state regulation. A number of studies find that CSR may be a reaction to deregulation and liberalization or state failure, where CSR seeks to address stakeholder demands in the absence of well-functioning institutions. However, CSR will be limited to firms that occupy very niche markets for quality products or develop as largely symbolic measures as a form of “impression management” or at worst “greenwashing”. Consequently, scholars have become interested in the conditions under which CSR may complement regulatory institutions or more broadly institutionalized forms of stakeholder involvement.

P4 (P40):  Service Networks in the Aviation Industry

The German aviation industry is in the headlines: Continued and repeated industrial disputes, security gaps and low cost carriers. At the same time, business research has revealed a considerable organizational fragmentation of Human Resource Management (HRM) within service production networks. Against this background, our research project examines the service networks in the German aviation industry by focusing on inter-organizational HRM practices and labor relations. Research questions include the following: How does management enact and shape the interorganizational dimension of work in networked value-creation? How do networked firms sustain the consistency of HR practices within the tension of collaboration and competition? What are the consequences for labor relations? With the aim of examining these questions empirically, the project deploys a qualitative approach to network research, in which data collection and analysis starts with the core firms of the service networks and then continues to include the typical business-to-business and management-labor relationships. The German aviation industry is comprised of airport authorities, airlines, and various ground handling services from security to aircraft main­tenance. The research basically aims at delivering insights into the management of service networks by examining whether and how the various configurations of interorganizational value creation allow or constrain an interorganizational dimension of various HRM functions.

P3 (P38): Institutionalisierung von kollektiven Arbeitsbeziehungen in der deutschen Windenergiebranche?

Über die personal- und arbeitspolitischen Besonderheiten in den Unternehmen der erneuerbaren Energiewirtschaft ist vergleichsweise wenig bekannt. In interdisziplinärer Kooperation zwischen dem Forschungszentrum für Umweltpolitik und dem Management-Department des Fachbereichs Wirtschaftswissenschaft (FU Berlin) zielt das von der Hans-Böckler-Stiftung geförderte Forschungsprojekt darauf, diese Lücke zu füllen, indem insbesondere die soziale Nachhaltigkeit in der Windenergiebranche in den Blick genommen wird. Im Einzelnen wird erkundet, auf welche Weise sich im Zuge ihrer emergierenden Personalpolitik auch arbeitspolitische Institutionen herausbilden und inwieweit inner- und überbetriebliche Kontextbedingungen sowie die energiepolitischen Rahmenbedingungen auf diese Entwicklung einwirken.

Leitung: Prof. Jörg Sydow, Prof.Markus Helfen (Management-Department) und Prof. Miranda Schreurs, PD Lutz Mez (Forschungszentrum für Umweltpolitik)

P2: BOARDEQUALITY: Women in the Boardroom: Institutional and Organizational Approaches to Gender Equality

The key objective of the BOARDEQUALITY project is to develop a better understanding of women’s access and contribution to corporate boards, drawing on institutional and organizational theories. The project combines quantitative and qualitative research designs.

The project is funded by the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) and it runs from March 2013 to March 2018.

Principle investigator: Dr. Anja Kirsch

P1: Institutional Change and Trajectories of Socio-Economic Development Models (ICATSEM)

The main focus of the project is to understand the socio-political dynamics of institutional change across a range of socio-economic models in different parts of Europe. The diverse institutional arrangements across Europe and elsewhere are associated with different capacities to combine and meet economic, social and environmental objectives in a sustainable fashion. Since these objectives may conflict, institutions emerge from and are sustained by different sets of socio-political compromises.  The project has two main objectives. First, the project will identify the social and political antecedents of institutional diversity across different key types of socio-economic models. Second, project participants will examine the relationship between socio-political compromises and the trajectory of change in different socio-economic models.  In particular, a key focus of WP3 concerns the role of politics in the process of institutional change. 

The primary research method adopted is the development of national case studies.  In order to represent the diversity of socio-economic models in Europe, we selected two countries from within five different broad ‘types’ of models:  Anglo model (Ireland, UK), Continental model (Germany, France), Mediterranean model (Italy, Spain), Nordic model (Sweden, Denmark) and transition economics (Hungary, Slovakia).  In addition, the project will include a case study of the USA, which has similarities to the Anglo model in Europe but a potentially very different set of political dynamics being a non-EU country.  For these case studies, each research team will look at major institutional developments and legal reforms in each country during the period 1979 until 2009. 

Special Issue of the Journal of European Public Policy: Changing models of capitalism

  • Supported by the European Union, FP7 Project
  • Period: January 2009 to December 2011
  • Award Holder: Prof. Gregory Jackson
Social-Economic Review
British Journal of Industrial Relations
Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics
Organized Creativity