Demystifying the Dark Side of Organizations
Panel Presentation: 12:00 – 1:30 PM
Social Science Plaza A, Room 2112
Discussion: 2:00 – 3:30 PM
Social Science Plaza B, Room 4206
Professor of International and Public Affairs, and Sociology
School of International and Public Affairs
Department of Sociology
Professor of Public Policy and Political Science
School of Public Affairs
Pennsylvania State University – Harrisburg
Professor of Business Administration
Harvard Business School
Department of Sociology
Department of Policy, Planning and Design
Organizations provide us with many benefits, but they are not all goodness and light. Indeed, organizations are also responsible for or involved in various forms of deviance, ranging from accidents and mistakes to illicit and criminal behavior. How we understand this “dark” side of organizations is the topic for our symposium. Our three panelists have all conducted extensive field research on various aspects of organizational deviance. They present their various approaches to and understandings of the “dark side” illustrated by examples from their research and discuss the challenges and tradeoffs that are involved in studying the dark side. The symposium will be followed by an opportunity for in-depth discussion among the panelists and interested faculty and students.
About the Panelists
Diane Vaughanis Professor of Sociology and International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Her work combines organization theory with the deviance literature to examine how things go wrong in organizations. Using analogical comparison of cases of failures in organizations that vary in size, complexity, and function, she has found common patterns. For example, in misconduct between two organizations, deteriorating intimate relationships, and NASA’s two space shuttle accidents, the outcomes were preceded by long incubation periods typified by early warning signs that were either misinterpreted or ignored. Her current work examines the negative case: ethnography and interviews in four air traffic control facilities escapes the problems of retrospective analysis, examining how people make decisions when they are trained to identify anomalies early and correct them so that small mistakes do not turn into big ones with harmful outcomes. She is also interested in how the experience of mistakes in research leads to productive new directions and interpretations.
Michael Kenney is assistant professor of political science and public policy at Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg. Dr. Kenney received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Florida in 2002. Since
then he has held research fellowships with the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and the Center for International Studies at the University of Southern California. He recently
published a book-length study on drug trafficking and terrorism called From Pablo to Osama: Trafficking and Terrorist Networks, Government Bureaucracies, and Competitive Adaptation. His published work has also
appeared in Survival, Global Crime, the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Transnational Organized Crime, and the Wall Street Journal. Dr. Kenney is currently conducting research on Islamic extremism in Spain and the United Kingdom funded by the National Institute of Justice. He has also conducted research in Colombia and Israel. At Penn State Harrisburg, Dr. Kenney teaches courses on international relations, U.S. foreign policy, terrorism and crime, drug control policy, and Latin
Michel Anteby is an Assistant Professor in the Organizational Behavior Area at the Harvard Business School. His research focuses on how individuals derive meaning at work and how moral orders get created. A main locus of study has been organizational gray zones at work and their implications on participants’ identities. The project analyzed craftsmen in an aeronautics plant and the illegal behaviors they engaged in to maintain their sense of worth. Findings have been published in Ethnography, Organization Science, and Sociologie du Travail. A book, titled Moral Gray Zones, is also due in August at Princeton University Press. More recently, he started looking at the morality of markets, in particular the U.S. demand and supply of cadavers for medical research and education (see article with Mikell Hyman in Social Science & Medicine). Michel earned a joint Ph.D. in management from New York University and in sociology from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). He also holds a master’s in economics from the Sorbonne, and a master’s of public administration from Harvard.