2014-15 COR Visiting Scholar: Katharina Dittrich
Katharina Dittrich is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Business Administration at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. She completed her dissertation in September 2014, which focused on how particular organizational practices—that is, organizational routines and meetings—are accomplished and changed. Other research interests include practice theory, strategy as practice and qualitative research methods, in particular ethnography. In 2012 she has been a Visiting Scholar at the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford in England.
During her stay at UCI, Katharina is working with Prof. Martha Feldman on a project investigating the ecology of organizational routines. Drawing on a one-year ethnographic study at a start-up company, she examines how a set of production and operations routines interacts and works together. Given the central importance of quality at the start-up, the project will also investigate how quality as an organizing pattern shapes and is shaped by the ecology of routines.
2014-15 COR Visiting Scholar: Torsten Schmid
Torsten Schmid is an Assistant Professor of Qualitative Research and Strategic Man-agement at University of St. Gallen, a leading European business school, located in Switzerland. In his research, he aims at understanding and informing the fundamental transformation and re-structuring of large, complex corporations. His current research interests center around the question of how these organizations enact and cope with related power dynamics. For this, he combines various practice theories with extended, ethnographically informed, longitudinal and collaborative, field studies of strategic change programs at leading European firms. His work is motivated by the potential of practice theory to develop alternative relational conceptualizations of power that integrate the functionalist concern for effective strategic leadership with the critical agenda of human emancipation. Following a pragmatist tradition, he aims for research that has a human orientation and is practically useful. His interest in power dynamics in the context of large-scale strategic change is, therefore, also motivated by a concern for learning from and educating employees and executives on how to maintain a collective capacity to act in current conflictual settings.
This practice orientation also informs his teaching that comprises innovative practice-based formats in strategic management and qualitative methods, including graduate and PhD courses at various universities. He is also in charge of consulting qualitative research projects at his university.
2014-15 COR Visiting Scholar: Daniel Geiger
Daniel Geiger is a Professor at the Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Science at the University of Hamburg, Germany where he holds the chair for Organization Studies. After completing his Ph.D. at the Freie Universität Berlin he was a Research Fellow of the Advanced Institute of Management Research (UK), and held positions as Assistant/Associate Professor at the Johannes Kepler University Linz (Austria).
His main research interests center around processes of organizational change with a particular emphasis on routines and practices. In this vain he studies the structural and processual antecedents of organizational dynamics, which contributes to a better understanding of processes of organizational (structural) inertia and the role of rules and routines in complex coordination processes. A specific focus builds the question how organizations cope with and manage unexpected events. Of interest are the structural dispositions how so called high reliability organizations like firefighters or rescue operators prepare for and deal with extreme situations like catastrophes or crisis.
In his research he draws upon a practice-perspective to understanding of the processual and communicative antecedents underpinning organizational change, routines and knowledge sharing processes. In his current research project he is interested in the dynamics of rule-following and rule-breaking in extreme contexts.
2013-14 COR Visiting Scholar: Mikko Laamanen
Mikko Laamanen is a doctoral student at the Department of Marketing at the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland. His dissertation examines the practices of value creation in the labor movement from a membership perspective. This qualitative ethnographic inquiry looks at the strategic and everyday organizing practices that unions engage in and their ramifications to the union, current and potential members as well as the overall revitalization of the labor movement.
From March to December 2013 Mikko is a visiting scholar at the Paul Merage School of Business at UCI. During his stay he is working with Prof. Alladi Venkatesh as well as taking part in doctoral seminars on social movements and industrial relations at the Department of Sociology.
Beyond his dissertation research Mikko is engaged in further interdisciplinary research combining consumer research, organization theory, and social movement theory. These other projects include a study of collaborative consumption as a transformative marketplace phenomenon; resource mobilization in voluntary associations, and practice theoretical research to changes in higher education and doctoral studies.
2012-13 COR Visiting Scholar: Anja Schroeder
Since October 2010 Dipl.-Kffr. techn. Anja Schröder is a PhD-student and Research Assistant at the Department for International Management at the University of Kaiserslautern (Germany). From January till March 2013 she was a visiting researcher at the UCI working with Prof. Martha Feldman. During that time she worked on a project researching how a catastrophe management organizations use routines (standard operating procedures). The research contributes to the discussion if and how organizational routines bring about stability and/or change in organizations. The research is based on an ethnographic case study analyzing routines in the context of catastrophe management after severe earthquakes. This extensive ethnographic field study shows that especially high-reliable organizations are tremendously dependent on persistent, stable routine applications in order to deal with highly dynamic environments. The preliminary findings show that stability is achieved by the enactment of two different routine types: instruction-based routines are characterized by a relatively stable performance whereas task-based routines exhibit a high degree of flexibility in the observed performance.
2009-10 COR Visiting Scholar: Monica Worline, Ph.D.
I view my mission as a scholar as one of introducing high quality, rigorous, academic research to the study of positive dynamics and organizational excellence. My general approach to research draws upon the underlying notion of life as a fundamental aspect of organizing. My main research assumption is that organizations have the potential to enliven or deaden the people who live and work within them, and that this is a central property in our experience of organizing. Once scholars and managers see organizations as sites of life, we begin to ask new questions about people in organizations, about systemic properties of organizations, and about the generative intersection between people and structures.
Three interrelated themes are woven through all of my research and develop directly from asking questions about life.
- The first of these themes is emotion. Organizational research is enjoying a renewed emphasis on understanding the role of emotion and the ways that it shapes people’s experiences in organizations. My work builds on this growing emphasis, placing emotion at the very core of concepts such as courage and compassion.
- The second of these themes is the aesthetic. I draw upon work that views organizations as aesthetic and symbolic systems, just as they have been conceptualized as rational and economic systems.
- The third of these themes is narrative. My work builds strong links between the stories people tell and the ways that we understand organizational processes.
Courses taught at UCI:
- Strategic Communication, Spring 2010
- Qualitative Research Design and Writing, Fall 2009 – Winter 2010
- Organizational Change, Winter 2010
- Management of Organizations, Fall 2009