The Organisational Theory and Information Systems subject group

Overview 

The Organisational Theory and Information Systems group focuses on organisational theory and the dynamic relationship between information technologies and organisations. 

The group’s  research tackles questions that are not just theoretically generative but address issues that matter to real people in challenging situations.

It is distinctive for championing qualitative methods, including novel approaches to ‘old fashioned’ fieldwork.

Organisational Theory and Information Systems concept.

Key research areas

Group members have focused on:

  • Organisational and institutional creation, maintenance and change 
  • Information systems and organisational change 
  • Digital innovation 
  • Corporate social responsibility 
  • Knowledge translation and service innovation 
  • People and organisational effectiveness 
  • Entrepreneurship and innovation 
  • Extreme contexts 

The group is engaged with cross-disciplinary themes including health management, financial services, public sector, international development, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Research centres 

Group members have leading roles in the following research centres:

Teaching

Faculty members of the Organisational Theory and Information Systems subject group teach on the MBA, the EMBA, the MPhils, the MSt in Social Innovation and MSt in Entrepreneurship, and other masters and executive education programmes.

Members

Meet our members including faculty, research and teaching staff, PhD students, and honorary appointees.

View faculty

View research and teaching staff

View PhD candidates

View honorary appointments

Subject group head

Jennifer Howard-Grenville

Diageo Professor in Organisation Studies

PhD (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Publishing output

Group members have published widely in leading journals, including:  

  • Academy of Management Discoveries 
  • Academy of Management Annals 
  • Academy of Management Journal 
  • Academy of Management Review 
  • Administrative Science Quarterly 
  • Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 
  • Human Relations 
  • Information Systems Research 
  • Journal of Business Venturing 
  • Journal of Management Studies 
  • Journal of Marketing Research in the Sociology of Organizations 
  • MIS Quarterly 
  • Organizational Research Methods 
  • Organization Science 
  • Organization Studies 

Several group members have editorial appointments in leading journals in their research areas.

Selected publications

Industry and policy engagement 

Organisations

The Organisational Theory and Information Systems group is very active in engaging with businesses. The group develops research that provides companies with practical and helpful information to handle technological change, enhance diversity and inclusion and to improve innovation. 

The research agenda of the group is stimulated by regular contacts with senior personnel of large national and international organisations such as:

  • ABB 
  • Allen & Overy 
  • American Express 
  • Arm 
  • Ascential 
  • BAE Systems 
  • Bank of China 
  • British Telecom 
  • Cadbury 
  • Cambridge University Hospitals 
  • Daikin 
  • Diageo 
  • EDF 
  • EY 
  • Google 
  • Infosys 
  • International Business Machines (IBM) 
  • KPMG 
  • Linklaters 
  • Lloyds-TSB 
  • Matsushita 
  • McKinsey 
  • Moody’s 
  • OfCom 
  • Oracle 
  • Procter and Gamble 
  • PWC 
  • Rolls Royce 
  • Samsung 
  • Sealed Air 
  • Shell 
  • SIAM 
  • Siemens 
  • Shell 
  • Sky 
  • Slaughters & May 
  • Statoil 
  • Stonehage Fleming 
  • TCL 
  • The Church of England 
  • The Economist 
  • The NHS 
  • Total 
  • UK Government 
  • UNICEF 
  • Unilever 
  • United Nations 
  • White & Case 
  • World Health Organization 
  • World Economic Forum 

Examples of engagement projects

Examples of recent impact and engagement projects carried out by faculty members of the OTIS group include: 

  • Professor Mark de Rond recently completed 3 years of embedded fieldwork with one of the UK’s most active paedophile hunting teams to answer a question put to him by police: “Why do paedophile hunters persist with extreme methods given that less harmful alternatives to keeping children safe are readily available?” This research feeds into a UK task force to combat child sexual abuse comprising all UK Police Chiefs and senior representatives of the Home Office, Crown Prosecution Service, National Crime Agency and College of Policing.
  • In the last few years, Professor Jennifer Howard-Grenville has been working with British Telecom and Huawei to help them address sustainability issues through suppliers’ engagement. The work led to the publication of Engagement for Supply Chain Sustainability: A Guide, which presents a “spectrum” of approaches that companies can adopt to engage with supply chains on sustainability, depending on their practices, specific circumstances and issues.
  • Dr Thomas Roulet has engaged in several collaborations. He is currently working with Vitality on evaluating the impact of remote and hybrid work on health – collecting large scale survey data. He also worked on a large mixed-method empirical project, together with consulting firm Altermind, to capture the culture of Suez (a waste and water company in France) for its defence in a hostile takeover by competitor Veolia. In 2021, he ran seminars for HM Treasury for their transition to hybrid work and a session on remote working for the law firm Gide.
  • Dr Helen Haugh is involved in a collaborative research project with the Diocese of Ely to help communities make fuller use of their historic churches through social entrepreneurial approaches. She also serves on the Diocese of Ely Buildings Oversight Board.
  • Professor Michael Barrett is working with the Moorfields Eye Hospital and Sheba City of Health in Israel to digitalise some of their healthcare services through telemedicine technology, following the changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, he worked with Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge to understand how their restructuring affected clinical leadership and accountability.
  • Dr Karla Sayegh examined how 2 of Canada’s largest tertiary care hospitals merged their people, technologies and operations into one university-affiliated ‘superhospital’. Additionally, she recently researched how a university health network in Canada relocated its hospitals from older facilities to a newly built and equipped state-of the-art campus, and how a tertiary-level emergency department (ED) in a Canadian university health network adapted its organising processes following an unanticipated shift in patient population.
  • Professor Paul Tracey and Dr Neil Stott are supporting many social innovators through the Master’s in Social Innovation delivered by the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation that they direct, and have been working with several social enterprises and charities to help them foster local development.
  • Dr Stella Pachidi recently conducted an ethnographic study at a business implementing a new technology to manage customers and partners, to understand what worked well and what didn’t.
  • Dr Matthew Jones has been working with Royal Papworth Hospital, evaluating their use of clinical information systems in critical care. Recently he has also studied the effect of the hospital’s relocation to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus on work practices in critical care.
  • Through the Cambridge Judge Entrepreneurship Centre Professor Matthew Grimes is engaged with a wide range of entrepreneurial startups, accelerators, angel investors and other ecosystem partners from across Cambridge and beyond to support IP commercialisation, venture development and growth, and ecosystem design.
  • Dr Virginia Leavell conducted a 3-year field study of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) at 2 water agencies in the Western United States. AMI is an important technology that can enable greater water conservation, supply planning, and customer service for water users. During her research she provided support to agency workers and management in many ways, including conducting and synthesising case studies of comparable agencies that had already adopted similar technologies, consulting on digital transformation strategies, collecting organisational social network data and providing feedback, and advising on the quantification of water usage on monthly customer billing. At the national level, Virginia helped produce a report and guide for practitioners with the American Water Works Association (AWWA) entitled “Increasing consumer benefits and engagement in AMI-based conservation programs”.

Honours and awards 

  • Distinguished Scholar Award, OCIS Division, Academy of Management 2016 (Michael Barrett) 
  • OMT Best Published Article Award, 2020 (Mark de Rond) 
  • Academy of Management Annals Best Article Award, 2019 (Mark de Rond) 
  • EGOS Book Award (for Doctors at War), 2018 (Mark de Rond) 
  • Finalist, George R. Terry Award (for Doctors at War), 2018 (Mark de Rond)  
  • Emerging Scholar Award, ENT Division of the Academy of Management, 2018 (Matthew Grimes)
  • Presidential Responsible Research in Management Award, co-sponsored by the Community for Responsible Research in Business and Management and The International Association for Chinese Management Research, 2017 (inaugural year) (Matthew Grimes)
  • Presidential Responsible Research in Management Award, co-sponsored by the Community for Responsible Research in Business and Management and The International Association for Chinese Management Research, 2022 (Helen Haugh)
  • Best Paper Award, Academy of Management Discoveries), Academy of Management, 2019 (Helen Haugh)
  • IACMR Presidential Award for Responsible Research in Management, 2017 (Jennifer Howard Grenville)
  • Best 40 under 40 Professors, Poets & Quants (Stella Pachidi)
  • Runner-Up, George R. Terry Book Award, Academy of Management, 2021 (Thomas Roulet)
  • Best 40 under 40 Professors, Poets & Quants (Thomas Roulet)
  • Best Theory to Practice Paper Award, HCM Division, AOM Annual Meeting, 2018 (Karla Sayegh)
  • University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Award, 2017 (Neil Stott)
  • Academy of Management Journal 2021 best article award (Paul Tracey)
  • European Group of Organization Studies 2021 best paper award (Paul Tracey)
  • Runner-up, William H. Newman Award, AOM Annual Meeting, 2022 (Karla Sayegh)
  • Best Paper Award, HCM Division, AOM Annual Meeting, 2022 (Karla Sayegh)
  • Best Dissertation Award, HCM Division, AOM Annual Meeting, 2022 (Karla Sayegh)
  • Responsible Research in Management Award
The ceiling of the atrium at CJBS.

Research seminars

The Organisational Theory and Information Systems subject group hosts a seminar series of distinguished visiting scholars. Please contact Luke Slater, if you would like to be added to the mailing list.

Upcoming seminars

Join our Organisational Theory and Information Systems seminar with Professor Natalia Levina, New York University.

Past seminars

2024

Join our Organisational Theory and Information Systems seminar with Professor Samer Faraj, McGill University.

Join our Organisational Theory and Information Systems seminar with Professor Trish Reay, University of Alberta School of Business

Join our Organisational Theory and Information System seminar with Professor Stefan Haefliger, Bayes Business School.

2023

Michaelmas term

An Organisational Theory and Information Systems seminar with Professor Paul Leonardi, UC Santa Barbara.

Easter term

9 June 2023 | 12:45-14:15, Room W4.03, Cambridge Judge Business School

Sight unseen: the visibility paradox of informal economy entrepreneurship

Dr Joel Bothello, Concordia University

Lent term

13 January 2023 | 12:30-14:00, Room W4.05, Cambridge Judge Business School

Strategic sensemaking in a digitalised firm: how digital structures shaped an airline’s response to COVID-19

Professor Henri Schildt, Aalto University

8 March 2023 | 12:30-14:00, Room W2.02, Cambridge Judge Business School

When justice is blind to algorithms: institutional blackboxing of algorithmic decision-making and its consequences

Professor Henri Schildt, Aalto University

2022

Michaelmas term

22 September 2022 | 13:00-14:30, Castle Teaching Room, Cambridge Judge Business School

Going beyond optimal distinctiveness: a machine-learning approach to strategic positioning for gaining an audience composition premium

Eric Zhao, Associate Professor, Indiana University

6 October 2022 | 12:30-14:00, Room W4.03, Cambridge Judge Business School

Mind the gap: responding to the grand challenge of displacement through field bridging

Professor Christine Beckman, USC

13 October 2022 | 12:30-14:00, Room W2.02, Cambridge Judge Business School

Rhetorical strategies of authenticity: social value judgements in the emerging contest over cellular meat

Roy Suddaby, Professor, University of Victoria, Washington State University and University of Liverpool

3 November 2022 | 12:00-14:30, Room W4.05, Cambridge Judge Business School

When everyone and no one is a leader: constructing individual leadership identities while sustaining an organisational narrative of collective leadership

Laura Empson, Professor, Bayes Business School

Easter term

10 June 2022 | 11:00-12:30, Room W4.05, Cambridge Judge Business School

Point break? The process of creative vitrification and its impacts on the careers of creative leaders

Spencer Harrison, Associate Professor, INSEAD

2021

Michaelmas term

19 November 2021 | 14:45-16:15, Lecture Theatre 3, Cambridge Judge Business School

Ratings, reactivity and the paradox of recognising responsibility

Ben Lewis, Associate Professor, Brigham Young University

23 November 2021 | 13:00-14:30, Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School

Some organisational antecedents of evil

Professor Freek Vermeulen, London Business School

Lent term

19 April 2021 | 15:30-17:00, Online

Scaling impact: developing capabilities for institutional work

Charlene Zietsma, Associate Professor, Pennsylvania State University

2020

Michaelmas term

4 November 2020 | 16:00-17:30, Online

Dreams of the overworked: living, working and parenting in the digital age

Dr Melissa Mazmanian, Associate Professor, University of California Irvine

19 November 2020 | 16:00-17:30, Online

The spread of recycling in universities

Professor Michael Lounsbury, University of Alberta School of Business

Lent term

11 February 2020 | 15:00-16:30, Room W4.03, Cambridge Judge Business School

Bringing institutional logics into effect through interactions: negotiating the relevant story in decision-making

Professor Tammar B. Zilber, Jerusalem School of Business

13 March 2020 | 15:00-16:30, Room W2.02, Cambridge Judge Business School

Institutional disruption through the redesign of space

Professor Sabina Siebert, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow

2019

Michaelmas term

11 October 2019 | 12:00-13:30, Room S3.04, Cambridge Judge Business School

When the thought doesn’t count: how identity concerns drive unhelpful helping processes in organisations

Dr Colin Fisher, University College London

Easter term

23 April 2019 | 12:00-13:30, Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School

Bounded imagination: how history and tradition shape strategy in Japanese ultra-centenary firms

Professor Davide Ravasi, UCL School of Management

23 May 2019 | 11:45-13:30, Fadi Boustany Lecture Theatre, Cambridge Judge Business School

Expert-audience disconnects and the reshaping of expertise: US puppeteers move from stage to screen

Dr Michel Anteby, Boston University Questrom School of Business

11 July 2019 | 12:30-14:00, Room W4.03, Cambridge Judge Business School

Jekyll and Hyde: between outrage and optimism in studying the business-society interface in South Africa

Professor Ralph Hamann University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business

2018

Michaelmas term

9 October 2018 | 12:00-13:30, Room W4.03, Cambridge Judge Business School

Green to gone? The impact of regional institutional logics on hybrid venture survival

Dr Jeffrey York, University of Colorado

1 November 2018 | 12:00-13:30, Room S3.04, Cambridge Judge Business School

How machine learning can enhance theory-building

Dr Florian Ellsaesser, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management and Eric Tsang, University of Texas at Dallas

19 November 2019 | 12:00-13:30, LT4, Cambridge Judge Business School

Keeping an industry alive: the role of tinkerers in maintaining a legacy technology

Dr Rene Wiedner, Cambridge Judge Business School

Easter term

23 April 2018 | 13:00-14:30, Room KH107, Cambridge Judge Business School

Meanings of theory: clarifying theory through typification

Professor Jorgen Sandberg, University of Queensland Business School

25 April 2018 | 12:30-14:00, Room W2.02, Cambridge Judge Business School

Re-contracting for the implementation of algorithms in professional work in a US academic medical centre

Professor Kate Kellogg, MIT Sloan School of Management

16 May 2018 | 12:00-13:30, Room W2.02, Cambridge Judge Business School

Diversity and performance in the multinational firm: evidence from the ships of the Dutch East India Company, 1700-1796

Professor Filippo Carlo Wezel, Universita’ della Svizzera italiana (USI Lugano)

23 May 2018 | 12:00-13:30, Room W4.03, Cambridge Judge Business School

Harnessing passion for competitive advantage: conceptualising work passion as a strategic resource

Dr Wesley Helms, Brock University, Canada

13 June 2018 | 12:15-13:45, Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School

Managing Despair: The Work of Extreme Coordination in the Midst of Refugee Emergencies

Dr Maja Korica, University of Warwick and Dr Yoann Bazin, École de management de Normandie

Lent term

31 January 2018 | 17:00-18:30, Fadi Boustany Lecture Theatre, Cambridge Judge Business School

Time matters to business sustainability

Professor Pratima (Tima) Bansal, Western University

21 February 2018 | 12:15-13:45, Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School

Staying alive: processes of enacting novelty and quality for keeping novel ideas alive

Dr Sarah Harvey, University College London School of Management

6 March 2018 | 12:00-13:30, Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School

Distributed sense-making: split updating in the Baltic ferry industry

Professor Claus Rerup, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management

14 March 2018 | 12:15-13:45, Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School

Beyond jurisdictional control: how evaluative expertise diminishes professional autonomy

Professor Ruthanne Huising, EM Lyon

2017

Michaelmas term

11 October 2017 | 13:30-15:00, Room W2.02, Cambridge Judge Business School

Academia’s emerging crisis of relevance and the consequent role of the engaged scholar

Professor Andrew Hoffman, University of Michigan

17 October 2017 | 12:15-13:45, Room W4.03, Cambridge Judge Business School

Acceleration as mitigation: whether and when process solutions can address gender bias in entrepreneurship

Professor Sarah Kaplan, University of Toronto

15 November 2017 | 12:15-13:45, Room KH107, Cambridge Judge Business School

Competing for good: how organisational hybridity challenges inter-organisational categorisation and cross-sector value creation

Dr Matthew Grimes, Indiana University

Easter term

26 April 2017 | 12:15-13:45, Room W2.02, Cambridge Judge Business School

Transcending the formalisation dilemma: how communities formalise without subverting founding values

Dr Marya Besharov, The ILR School, Cornell University

17 May 2017 | 12:15-13:45, Room W2.01, Cambridge Judge Business School

Tensional fit: a dialectical model of firm’s internal consistency, contradictions and strategy

Professor Moshe Farjoun, York University (and CJBS Visiting Research Fellow in 2017)

25 May 2017 | 14:45-16:15, Room KH107, Cambridge Judge Business School

Appeals for a professional tomorrow: the role of emotion in discursive institutional work

Dr Trish Reay, Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta

16 June 2017 | 12:00-14:30, Room CTR, Cambridge Judge Business School

Getting in the set: the counter-intuitive effects of impact investing in global microfinance

Dr Tyler Wry, The Wharton School

Lent term

1 February 2017 | 14:00-15:30, Room W4.05, Cambridge Judge Business School

Cumulative advantage and the status-quality link

Professor Jerker Denrell, Warwick Business School

24 February 2017 | 13:00-14:30, Room W4.05, Cambridge Judge Business School

Enacting fairness in organisations: handling morally puzzling requests for exceptional funding in the English health system

Dr Emmanouil Gkeredakis, Warwick Business School

28 February 2017 | 12:30-14:30, Room W4.05, Cambridge Judge Business School

Family firms as institutions: a study of multi-centenary Japanese shinise

Professor Davide Ravasi, Cass Business School
with Professor Royston Greenwood, University of Alberta Business School, as discussant

2016

Michaelmas term

9 November 2016 | 12:15-13:45, Room W4.05, Cambridge Judge Business School

Building meaning: city identity and the built environment

Dr Candace Jones, University of Edinburgh

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