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Organisational Theory & Information Systems Seminar Series


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

12:30 - 14:00

Professor Christine Beckman, USC

Grand challenges are not confined to clear field boundaries and responses to these problems increasingly require actors from different fields to interact and organise their actions. We theorise how a boundary practice fosters inter-field interactions in the context of a grand challenge where no singular field actor has sufficient influence to guide the interactions. Building from theoretical discussions of fields and inter-field interactions, we conduct a qualitative study involving interviews and in-depth archival research to examine the bridging of the humanitarian and development fields in response to the problem of global displacement. We describe how a boundary practice, cash-based assistance, fosters flexible engagement and a shared structure for distributed field interactions while allowing each field to retain its separate functions. Cash-based assistance simultaneously enables deep inter-field engagements in situ and broad engagements in scale through three mechanisms: knotting, latching and mushrooming. These mechanisms work to bridge the humanitarian and development fields through ideational, pragmatic, and relational field bridging. Our study offers theoretical contributions to emerging studies on interactions between fields and to our understanding of grand challenges.



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

12:30 - 14:00

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

This paper analyses the role of authenticity in processes of technological innovation and new market creation. In 2005 Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University, supported by funding from Google’s Sergey Brin, created the world’s first cultured beef burger, a technological innovation by which embryonic stem cells of animals are engineered to induce the growth of muscle cells in a cell culture media, a process now known as cellular agriculture. The capacity to culture meat in a lab is an innovation that threatens to disrupt traditional animal husbandry in agriculture but holds the promise to solve many of the problems created by modern industrial meat production. It has initiated growing competition between incumbent agribusiness actors and upstart cellular producers. It has also initiated a less predictable, but equally important disruption in the value and identity claims of social groups whose mission is to contest traditional methods of animal husbandry because of the ethical, environmental and health issues created by traditional methods of animal food production. (more…)