British Journal of Management

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  • Dash for Gas: Climate Change, Hegemony and the Scalar Politics of Fracking in the UK

    This paper investigates the political contestation over hydraulic fracturing of shale gas, or ‘fracking’, in the UK. Based on an analysis of four public inquiries, it shows how both proponents and opponents of fracking employed scaling to mobilize interests by connecting (or disconnecting) fracking to spatial and temporal scales. The analysis explains how a fossil fuel hegemony was reproduced by linking local and specific benefits to nationally or globally recognized interests such as employment, energy security and emission reductions. The paper contributes to recent debates on environmental political contestation by showing how scaling enables the linkage of competing interests by alternating between spatial (e.g. local vs. global) and temporal (e.g. short term vs. long term) horizons. The authors argue that scaling allows dominant actors to uphold contradictory positions on climate change, which contributes to explaining the current disastrous political climate impasse.

  • Bricolage and Identity Work

    Lévi‐Strauss’ concept of bricolage has been used widely in a variety of management and organizational studies to highlight creative ‘situational tinkering’. Yet, we know little about ‘the bricoleur’ beyond the assumption of a functional agent responding to conditions of resource scarcity or environmental complexity. As such, studies offer limited possibilities in explaining the occurrence of bricolage in the absence of external demands, or much about who the bricoleur is. Drawing on 136 in‐depth interviews with management consultants, this study argues for a richer understanding of bricolage by exploring the identity of the bricoleur. In doing so, the paper achieves three outcomes. First, it uses the original symbolic and cultural insights of bricolage made by Lévi‐Strauss to detail how bricoleur identities are constructed; Second, it highlights how different organizational strategies enable and constrain the pursuit of bricoleur identities; Finally, it emphasizes the bricoleur's status as primarily an aspirational elite identity in the context of consultancy work, in contrast to its usual treatment as a ‘low status’ activity.

  • Insurance and Climate Change Risk Management: Rescaling to Look Beyond the Horizon

    Climate change represents a significant financial risk to the insurance industry, but research has yet to assess whether the industry is managing this risk. Through the application of scale as a vertically nested hierarchy of relationships, this paper seeks to evaluate whether insurers are ‘rescaling’ risk management practices to accommodate the temporal and spatial uncertainty associated with climate change. This framework is applied to a content analysis of 178 (183) firm responses to the 2012 (2015) U.S. National Association of Insurance Commissioners Climate Risk Disclosure Survey to detect evidence of rescaling through climate change risk management (CCRM). The results reveal that the majority of companies do not integrate climate change into their risk management practices, but reinsurers are rescaling in a greater proportion than primary insurers. This finding confirms that a nested spatial and temporal scale in the insurance industry creates resistance to CCRM. The use of scale contributes to emerging scholarship on organizations and climate change by offering a framework for measuring organizational responses and justifying a research agenda on rescaling strategies as a means of risk management.

  • Enabling Social Identity Interaction: Bulgarian Migrant Entrepreneurs Building Embeddedness into a Transnational Network

    Bulgarian migrant entrepreneurs (MEs) approaching diaspora networks (i.e. ethnic spaces in host countries) provides a unique context for exploring the processes by which peripheral actors achieve embeddedness. The study considers how in‐group social norms and expectations influence out‐group candidates’ network standing. The integration of the social identity perspective with embeddedness research allows the identification of the sequence of intergroup actions and the circulation of identity signals between groups. Traditionally, the social identity perspective focuses on the act of constructing identity through positively stereotyping in‐groups and negatively stereotyping out‐groups. Nevertheless, an empirical study of 12 cases of Bulgarian MEs indicates that the circulation of identity signals that facilitate inter‐group comparison can result in complementarity and brokerage. The study suggests the existence of a novel strategy (i.e. social circulation), to add to already known social identity strategies (i.e. social mobility, social creativity and social change). In contrast to previous constructs, the new one does not occur at the expense of either in‐groups’ or out‐groups’ identity. Thus, it adopts an integrative logic, currently missing from the social identity perspective.

  • Big Egos Can Be Green: A Study of CEO Hubris and Environmental Innovation

    This paper examines whether and to what extent CEO personal traits (hubris, in particular) affect firm environmental innovation. Using the overarching theoretical framework of upper‐echelons theory, the paper builds on the insights from the corporate strategy, innovation, and corporate social responsibility literatures. We also examine the moderating role of firm‐specific features (e.g. organizational slack) and the external environment (e.g. market uncertainty) in this context. Based on a sample of UK companies operating in sensitive industries, we find that CEO hubris facilitates the engagement in green innovative projects. We also find that CEO hubris does not have a uniform effect: its effect on environmental innovation increases with the organizational slack, but weakens with the extent of environmental uncertainty. Our findings suggest that availability of resources per se is not enough to produce environmental innovation. Instead, it requires a stable external environment that enables the CEO with a hubristic personality to make a correct use of them.

  • Effect of Organizational Identity Change on Integration Approaches in Acquisitions: Role of Organizational Dominance

    The main focus of this study is the role that organizational dominance in organizational identity change plays in shaping integration approaches in acquisitions. Using four in‐depth case studies, this study categorizes the organizational identity change process into three stages: forms of resistance; conformation of new organizational identity; and integration approaches. The authors first identify two distinct roles of organizational dominance in organizational identity change after acquisition: multilevel resistance and power struggles, which are the prerequisites for developing integration approaches, according to the social identity theory. Second, they further investigate the conformation of new organizational identity with each of these two roles. They conclude that target firms completely lose their organizational identity when there is high organizational dominance after the acquisition. Conversely, target firms work with acquirers in developing integration approaches, and the power winner dominates the integration when there is low organizational dominance. Third, this study contributes to the understanding of integration approaches by connecting three specific integration approaches to the changed organizational identity. The study contributes to the literature on both organizational identity change and acquisition.

  • Reimagining the Scales, Dimensions and Fields of Socio‐ecological Sustainability

    This paper critiques the two‐dimensional (hierarchical–spatial) focus on scales evident in management and organizational studies, and the capitalist ecological modernization (CEM) paradigm that dominates current corporate and governmental approaches to sustainability. Our contribution is to propose a more complex and nuanced understanding of scale, which incorporates social, political, temporal and material dimensions. We propose a heuristic framework from Harvey, in order to evaluate different paradigms of socio‐ecological organizing: specifically, the dominant paradigm of CEM against a social ecology (SE) alternative. We explore the divergent conceptions of, and relative importance placed upon, concepts of scale, grain, level and field in these two contrasting paradigms. Our analysis highlights the limitations and contradictions of the CEM expression of scale, namely its predominant focus on measurement and expansion through ‘economies of scale’. By offering an alternative conception of the links between scales, grains, levels and social fields, we show how this enriches the conceptualization of potential forms of socio‐ecological organizing and opens up the potential for alternative modes of organizing socio‐ecological sustainability.

  • Scaling as an Organizational Method: Ethnographic Explorations of Two Danish Sustainability Organizations

    Organization studies have shown limited interest in the part that scaling plays in organizational responses to climate change and sustainability. Moreover, while scales are viewed as central to the diagnosis of the organizational challenges posed by climate change and sustainability, the role of scaling in meeting these challenges has not yet been recognized. By analysing two ethnographic case studies, conducted at Samsø Energy Academy and Farendløse Cider Works, respectively, the authors identify scaling as a core activity of the sustainability organization. The two organizations studied each situate their operations at the heart of the climate change problematic – one in organic farming, the other in renewable energy – and, employing what the authors term ‘the method of scaling’, they impose order on the world in which they operate. The method of scaling helps the organizations relate their actions to the ambiguous concepts of sustainability and climate change. The authors find that the two organizations’ scaling activities occur in three modes: rejection, innovation and conscious adoption of core concepts such as sustainability and climate change. These modes of scaling help organizations turn something as immense as the climate into a small and manageable problem, thus making abstract concepts part of concrete, organizational practice.

  • Issue Information
  • Scaling Sustainability: Regulation and Resilience in Managerial Responses to Climate Change

    This paper introduces the special issue of the British Journal of Management on ‘Scaling Sustainability: Regulation and Resilience in Managerial Responses to Climate Change’, providing an overview of the key issues in scaling sustainability, comprising an analysis of the six papers in the special issue. We discuss the complex relationship between micro, meso and macro scales, in the context of organizations’, managers’ and consumers’ complicity in the creation and intensification of climate‐changing conditions. In networking multiple sites into a ‘global’ scale, managers and organizations can lose sight of the situated, localized nature of the position from which they perform the global. We conclude that a key factor in the capacity and speed at which local actions can be scaled up is the connection of sustainability‐related activities by intermediary organizations that can generate resonance between multiple sites through association or alliance, rather than imposing a single logic. Thus, more resilient approaches, which acknowledge the significance of the interconnection between scales, are required to effectively scale sustainability strategies upwards or downwards.

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