The aim of this post is to capture and summarise the current research interests and activities of ESA and so [in no particular order] the members contribute their research aims for the year 2017.
Philip: This year I will be focused on my ongoing project, a ‘historical sociology’ of London’s smaller company stock markets, 1995 to 2012. The emphasis will be on writing up: I’m hoping to contribute to the literature of the sociology of markets, studies of valuation and performativity. There’s some other work in progress: a study of private investors in Taiwan, and ongoing work in performativity, including an empirical paper about Santa Claus.
Aly: This coming year I will continue my PhD research into the creation of regulation aimed at reducing CO2 emissions from international shipping. I draw on actor-network theory to better understand this process and hope that my thesis will contribute to both the fields of regulation and governance and the sociology of markets. In addition, I am becoming increasingly interested in political CSR and valuation literatures and hope to begin some work incorporating these interests in the later part of the year.
Lori: In 2017 I aim to submit my PhD thesis on the Kimberley Process (KP) tripartite international regime (government, civil society/NGO, diamond industry) initiative, endorsed by the UN, to stem ‘conflict diamonds’ with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. My PhD is a rhetorical analysis and criticism focusing on the persuasive appeals made by the participants and observers of the KP and will provide new insight into organisational communication and contribute to KP literature.
François: In 2017 I would like to work on interview data collected from managers (supervising at least 15 people) who are also serious runners (participation in at least 1 marathon a year) in order to try to add to the literature on self-discipline by exploring how they connect the intensive demands both from training and from work into their identities. I would also like to carry on working on historical data to contribute to the literature on accounting history by exploring what the evolution of bookkeepers’ profile (from slaves in Roman times to members of professional bodies from the late 19th century) tells us about the role assigned to accounts in society. Lastly, I hope to work on two novels (1984 and The Grapes of wrath) as powerful texts about management and address through them the literature on the role of images in leadership (1984) and on the agency of networks of humans and technology (“monsters” in The Grapes of wrath).
Kelly (Ana Carolina): My current research focuses on the U.S. Child Support Enforcement Program’s performance measures and incentive system. Drawing from Callon’s (1998) performativity framework and the sociology of quantification (Espeland and Stevens 1998, Espeland and Sauder 2007, Espeland and Stevens 2008), I examine how measures become operable and what supports their operability by exploring their articulation, mobilization, and representations through material, technical, and legal devices. I consider how activities are prioritised, transformed, and challenged as the valuation of ‘good performance’ is negotiated in the process. My aim for 2017 is to focus on progressing this work towards the completion of my PhD.
Lucy: This year I have plans to disseminate the findings from my PhD research on the governmentality of zero waste in Scotland with a particular focus on the role of post-normal technologies in enhancing zero waste debate. I will continue to examine resource management strategies (like the circular economy) using critical perspectives on knowledge and power, and to use waste and resources as a lens through which to refine theories which seek to explain how we (might) organise a more sustainable society.
Sam: This year I will be exploring the philosophy of the corporate responsibility, in the following contexts: the constraints of charity law on the capacity of charities to act with conscience; the understanding of ‘corporate membership’ (today often limited to shareholders) in medieval Europe and implications for employee participation today; and theories of the corporation in the development of the modern state (e.g. in the philosophy of Hobbes). I will continue writing on Hobbes’s theory of resistance in the context of scholastic theories of natural law.
Rhona: I am investigating Community Benefit Funds (CBF) gifted by energy developers to communities; these Funds are those connected to onshore wind developments in Scotland that are voluntarily provided. Nationally there is no complete picture of what these CBF arrangements look like. My research seeks to create a typology of CBFs, and to understand the complexities of how they are designed (from development, agreed by stakeholders, implemented, distributed), and the impact(s) of funds in communities.
I have developed a communities capitals framework (based on other capital-livelihood frameworks) to understand how CBFs impact in communities; my literature base comes from a variety of sources, from Government and industry papers (grey literature) to academic readings on Community, Energy, Energy Justice, Planning, and Sustainability Science.
For the first part or 2017 I am collaborating with one of the UK’s largest energy suppliers and providers of CBFs. I am obtaining desk-based data for examination and conducting qualitative research with community groups in receipt of this company’s CBFs. After this I will be working towards the completion of my PhD.
Andreea: My research focuses on how self control influences pro-environmental behaviours and how this insight can be used in marketing, through the marketing application of strategies to increase people’s self control in the pro-environmental domain. I will continue this in 2017 towards the completion of my PhD thesis.
Kirsty: I am currently doing my PhD in the area of community water governance. That means that I study situations where local people play a role in water management. The literature on this topic is dispersed across disciplines. I aim to pull together work from political ecology, organisational studies, anthropology and science and technology studies to understand how people make decisions about water in decentralised water systems, as well the impacts of this way of organising, for example how a close engagement with water can affect social relations and water practices.
Given that this is year 1 of my PhD, I will be working to firm up my research questions, do a literature review and pass my upgrade. I am also working on a couple of papers with colleagues from the James Hutton Institute, Sheffield Hallam University and The University of Luxembourg. I hope to get these submitted this year.
Jan: My aim for 2017 is to more fully explore the impact of organisations operating in the global marine fisheries industry and how accounting, reporting and finance scholarship can support the movement to sustainable marine ecosystems (the aim of the Sustainable Development Goal 14). In addition I will be working on completing papers in a variety of other areas – focusing primarily on carbon accounting/accountability and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Rod: Through my research and teaching, I am concerned to extend knowledge of and for sustainability transitions. As a sustainability sociologist, my work spans the terrain of organizational, environmental, cultural, and political sociology. Substantively, I seek to better understand cultural-political aspects of organization-society-nature interactions, in contribution to debates around continued human flourishing within an ecologically-finite and resource-constrained planet. My work is located within two distinct (yet sometimes overlapping) empirical contexts: community-owned organizations, and arts organizations. I pursue qualitative approaches to explore empirical phenomena through post-structuralist and practice theoretical lenses, and interpret those phenomena against post-growth political economy theories.
My work plan for 2017 includes (first) a series of academic and practitioner journal articles emerging from my doctoral research, (second) articulating, in collaboration with practitioner-partners, details of the research programme flowing from the findings of my doctoral research, and (third) seeking funding to support that programme. My future research promises to extend conversations around sustainability transitions, and alternative organization and critical management studies, while also contributing to community empowerment policy discourses and informing teaching.
Shona: In 2017 my work will span two areas. First, I aim to contribute to understanding of the ways in which sustainability transitions are framed and enacted in educational institutions and the paradoxes encountered by those involved. This will contribute to a growing body of work about the roles and responsibilities of schools and universities in leading sustainability transitions and is of relevance to those working in the fields of sustainability science, education for sustainable development and organisation studies as well as those working in the educational policy and practice. I intend to explore the relevance and possible insights process theory and paradox theory may provide to this field of study. Second, I will be finalising the editorial of the Ecological Accounts special issue of Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal which examines the underpinning conceptualisation of human-nature relations that inform much of environmental scholarship in order to map out a research agenda concerning the intersection of critical and interpretative perspectives on accounting, sustainability and conservation.
John: My first aim for this year is to complete a paper that has been on the back burner for a few of years which looks at the development of CSR reporting in the EU. More specifically, the paper will explore the institutional politics and dynamics behind the formation and evolution of CSR within the EU between 2001-2006. In addition, I have also made a commitment to develop a paper around the theme of ‘convergence’ in relation to business and human rights. Although in the very early stages of development, it is anticipated that this paper will draw on the international relations literature concerned with deliberative and polycentric governance.
Lorna: My research aims for 2017 are to finish papers that have been around for a wee while and then develop some other, more embryonic ideas. One paper near completion (with colleagues) is an institutional analysis of the arena emerging from the EU’s 2001 Green Paper on CSR. Another is an institutional analysis of the arena emerging from the UK’s Company Law Review process which began in 1997 and led to the 2006 Companies Act – I’m keen to explore the discourses deployed in the competing arguments around the question of ‘in whose interests should companies be run?’. I’m also keen to finish a paper (with colleagues) describing the extent to which major quoted oil and gas companies around the world report the carbon embedded in their oil and gas reserves, and to locate that in a discussion of how and why emerging issues result – or do not result – in new corporate reporting.
KEY CONCEPTS: Sociology of markets, valuation, performativity, historical sociology, international and national regulation and governance, actor-network theory, Callon, sociology of quantification, socio-technical connection, governmentality, post-normal technologies, circular economy, sustainability, resource management, zero-waste Scotland, Corporate Social Responsibility, philosophy of CSR, corporate membership, employee participation, philosophy of Hobbes, communities capital framework, energy justice, self-control, pro-environmental behaviours, marketing strategy, political ecology, organizational studies, STS studies, sustainable development, carbon accountability, alternative organization and critical management studies, community empowerment policy discourses, process theory, paradox theory, conceptualisation of human-nature relation, critical perspectives, interpretive perspectives, deliberative and polycentric governance and corporate reporting.
KEY CONTEXTS: Stock markets, private investment, international shipping industry, the global environment, the diamond industry, conflict diamonds, international organisations, athlete-managers, historical book-keeping, literary works, U.S. Child Support Enforcement Program, waste management, medieval