December - Melbourne

Seminar on Integrating Business Schools into University Strategy through Interdisciplinary Initiatives

Steve Maguire, talked about his work on crossing disciplinary boundaries at McGill University as a result of his roles as co-Chair of McGill University’s Innovation Steering Committee, which advises the Vice-Principal (Research & Innovation) on the formulation and implementation of McGill’s innovation agenda, and as the Founding Director of the Marcel Desautels Institute for Integrated Management, overseeing the conception, championing and implementation of a range of novel programming to connect the Faculty of Management to other faculties.

The seminar reflected on how business schools that are part of large, diversified, research-intensive universities often fail to leverage the research and education opportunities that their unique contexts present. It reported on some successful efforts to break down disciplinary silos at McGill University and position the Management more centrally in the University’s strategy through the Marcel Desautels Institute for Integrated Management, which has become an important hub of interdisciplinary programs focusing on transversal themes, such as sustainability, social innovation and entrepreneurship.

October - Melbourne

Masterclass on Organizational Risk

Departmental academics and doctoral scholars with an interest in discursive and qualitative approaches to organizational risk were invited to participate in a Masterclass conducted by Professor Steve Maguire of McGill University, Montreal Canada. Professor Maguire's work on organizational risk has been published in leading journals, including the Academy of Management Review and the Academy of Management Journal.

The aim of the Masterclass was to help participants to develop a critical understanding of risk in organizational life, as well as learn how discursive approaches can be used to study this phenomenon.

Participants reviewed key concepts, discuss ideas from the readings, consider ways of studying risk, and develop new insights.

May - Sydney

Seminar on Top Management Teams in a Refugee Advocacy Organization

Gaia Grant presented her work on how top management teams (TMTs) increasingly experience contradictions and competing demands in strategizing. These demands can emerge as tensions that become salient when the senior team is going through a period of rapid change.

Through ethnographic observations and in-depth interviews this study observes how tensions influence how TMT leaders interact with each other and with other parts of the organisation. The study examines how paradoxical challenges in identity can be embraced as the organisation goes through transition and provides greater clarity around how TMTs can successfully negotiate times of change. The findings extend the paradox literature by showing how TMT leaders navigate paradoxical tensions.

March - Sydney

Seminar on The Practice of Broking in Competitive Markets: Reinsurance Brokers as Self-interested Organizations

Professor Paula Jarzabkowski, Professor in Strategic Management, Cass Business School, City University of London, presented studies examining the practices of brokerage work in competitive markets. Drawing on an ethnographic study of the two largest brokerage organizations in the global reinsurance industry, she showed the practices through which brokers enact the complex and contradictory work of both bringing parties with conflicting interests together to enable market exchange, and setting them apart in order to maintain the brokerage role of intermediating the market.

The study found that fluid iterations of four brokers’ practices - rationalizing, humanizing, expertizing and intervening - are performed interchangeably, enabling the duality of two contradictory brokerage approaches – ‘tertius iungens’ of bringing together and ‘tertius gaudens’ of setting apart.

Bringing these elements of the findings together into a conceptual framework has extended the organizational literature on brokers to account for the duality of practices in brokerage work and the dynamic relationship of the brokerage approaches of tertius iungens and tertius gaudens.

February - Melbourne

Research Workshop

This workshop began with a presentation by Professor Hari Tsoukas, who is a Distinguished Research Environment Professor of Organization Studies at Warwick Business School, UK and the Columbia Ship Management Professor of Strategic Management at the University of Cyprus, He presented his work on theory development aimed at simplifying complex organizational phenomena.

This presentation was then followed by a series of presentations of papers ‘in development,’ including Different Ways of Seeing: Imagery and Actorhood in the Anthropocene by Brett Crawford and Erica Coslor; Rebuilding The Iron Cage: A Network Conception of Institutions and Institutional Change by Franz Wohlgezogen and Vanessa Pouthier; Wrestling with Professional Halo: The Challenges and Management of Positive Professional Image by Camille Pradies & Vanessa Pouthier; Entrepreneurship, Materiality and Creativity: The Case of ‘Science Gallery’ by Paul Fin; and The Aftermath of Disaster: Sensemaking and Learning following Major Bushfires in Australia by Graham Dwyer & Cynthia Hardy.

The workshop was designed to give feedback to presenters on how they could enhance their papers for publication.

February - Sydney

Workshop on Organizational Paradox: Rethinking Discourse, Strategy and Change

This workshop brought together leading and emerging scholars on paradox, focusing on the areas of discourse, strategy and change and building on the emergence and growth of paradox theory within organizational studies.

The first day featured feature keynote speeches by Professor Marianne Lewis (Cass Business School) on paradox theory and its application, and by Professor Paula Jarzabkowski (Cass Business School) on paradox, practice and rhetoric. A panel discussion then featured Professor Haridimos Tsoukas (Warwick Business School and University of Cyprus).

The second day consisted of presenter papers, and a series of interactive, guided practical exercises and roundtable discussions around key themes at the intersection of paradox scholarship.