Sharing Economy, Grand Challenges & Refugees

sharingNew piece on the sharing economy, grand challenges, social movement, platforms, and refugees fresh out at Academy of Management Discoveries. My commentary on the article by Martin Kornberger, Stephan Leixnering, Renate Meyer & Markus Höllerer.

The sharing economy is frequently linked to companies such as Airbnb and Uber that enable “collaborative consumption” (Botsman & Rogers, 2010), that is people make their personal belongings (e.g., vehicles, homes) or services (e.g., workforce) available to virtual strangers through community-based online services (Hamari, Sjöklint, & Ukkonen, 2016; Mair & Reischauer, 2017). Platform companies are not sharing their resources, but share other people’s resources. In these cases, resources that were private like a home or car become goods or services. A novel reservoire of goods and labor is marketized and employed in the capitalist system through digital technologies. Sharing is an increase in the utilized capacity of resources.

However, these types of sharing have a bitter-sweet aftertaste, because they effectively sell – not share – temporarily resources through platform economies without a shared sense of caring. By combining two organizational types, platform and social movement, to a novel form of organzing, the authors potentially present a means to allow the sharing of resources without the surplus value being taken by few companies. Value and values are aligned into a value(s) pursuit (Gümüsay, 2017) and sharing becomes both a transaction and interaction as well as an economic and moral activity.

Hybrid organizing in the face of grand challenges

This CBS BOSarticle appeared on the Copenhagen Business School the Business of Society blog.

Sharing is not always caring

In 2015, thousands of refugees arrived in Europe. A recent paper by Kornberger and colleagues (2017) zooms in on the “Train of Hope”, a civil society organization that organically gained exclusive operational command at Vienna’s main train station during this refugee crisis. The paper is a critical reflection on much of the current sharing economy ‘hype’. In contrast to cases of “collaborative consumption”, where platform companies such as AirBnB or Uber offer (share?) other people’s resources, this is an exemplary case of engagement and sharing without expectations for direct individual return: a sharing of a concern for social well-being. Sharing then becomes caring. …

For the full article please visit the Business of Society blog.

Book Review: The Society of Singularities

New review of the book “The Society of Singularities” by Andreas Reckwitz published in Organization Studies.

“Reckwitz offers a grand social theory of late modernity. His quest is to comprehend and conceptualize the social present. The gist of the book’s argument is that in modernity a societal structural transformation has occurred: the societal logic of the particular has taken precedence over the logic of the general. Reckwitz denotes the distinctive character, which is neither changeable nor comparable, as singularity. Both individuals and collectives, such as groups, organizations, or social movements, may seek exceptionalism. We curate and perform our lives and strive for authenticity, attraction, and positive valuation to generate short-term affective experience and long-term cultural value. This fits squarely with core organization studies concerns and arenas of attention of ‘organizations, organizing and the organized in and between societies’ and has the potential to shape organization theories’ depiction and prediction of social reality.”Unfortunately, wonderful comments by Andreas Reckwitz himself, Daniel Geiger and Oskar Piegsa had to be taken out during the review process. So I’d like to share them here:

Andreas Reckwitz: “The motive of my book was to clarify which consequences the reversal of a phenomenon at the margin into a dominant structure has in society. What happens if the orientation towards the singular, the extraordinary, the authentic – which in classical, industrial modernity was a side-phenomena – turns in late-modernity into a structure everything and everybody strives for and expects?”

Daniel Geiger: “For me this book is a perfect example to prove the analytical richness and explanatory power of a practice lens for studying organizations, the organized and societies. Reckwitz manages to connect the texture of different practices which cannot be studied in isolation – something that is often forgotten in recent practice-based studies. The idea of singularization and the valorization practices that are practiced in economics, culture, and life-stiles have a great potential to explain late modern societies. For me the book holds up a mirror to my own life. In a sense I would argue it is the new “Social Systems” (Luhmann, 1995) for the 21st century.”

Oskar Piegsa: “In Reckwitz I discovered quite a few theories that have been floating around in journalism and in the humanities in recent years. I found traces of David Brooks’ (2000) bourgeois bohemians and of Boltanski and Chiapello’s (1999) ‘Le nouvel Ésprit du Capitalisme’, to name only two. This is not to suggest his work is a meta-study or epigonal. ‘Singularities’ is highly original and its greatest purpose is in providing a grand theory that seems to explain a lot of what is happening today in culture and society. Where others described parts of contemporary culture, Reckwitz tackles the whole thing, all of it. However, I wonder if Reckwitz doesn’t overestimate the value of narrative, originality, and creative work. He argues that every college graduate today works in some way creatively, adding immaterial value to material things. I doubt that. And I’m afraid that categories such as ‘creative work’ or ‘cultural industries’ will lose their descriptive value if we apply them to, well, everything.”

New scientific network “Grand Challenges & New Forms of Organizing”

The German Research Foundation has approveddfg funding for our scientific network. Over the next 3 years the network studies the relationship between societal grand challenges and new forms of organizing.

Grand challenges represent fundamental, global societal challenges of ecological or social nature that require coordinated and collective efforts of multiple actors, including business firms, governments, civil society, and academia. Solving problems like global poverty, climate change or precarious working conditions that emerged as an effect of digitalization and the “sharing economy” are key challenges both for researchers as well as practitioners. At the same time, opportunities arise when considering the role of new technologies and approaches to address grand challenges. They enable the emergence of new forms of temporary, flexible and fluid organizing that may be necessary to discern possible solutions. Yet, academic research that examines the reciprocal relationship between grand challenges and new forms of organization is still nascent.

This network takes an organizational theory perspective on the reciprocal relationship by asking two interdependent research questions. The first question is: What is the relationship between new forms of organizing and grand challenges? Our aim to theorize this relationship is not without complications: On the one hand, examining new forms of organizing in light of grand challenges requires a high degree of theoretical and methodological pluralism in our research. On the other hand, devising practically and managerially relevant solutions requires some degree of consensus among the academic community. The second research question that this network therefore seeks to address is: How can scientific research develop consistent practical implications despite the theoretical and methodological pluralism that pervades organizational research?

Graphical overview:graphical overview

Further information:

Project Duration

June 2018 – May 2021

Funding Agency

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Principal Investigator

Dr. Ali Aslan Gümüsay

Cooperation Partners

Dr. Emilio Marti
Prof. Dr. Hannah Trittin
Dr. Christopher Wickert

Network Members

Dr. Marlen de la Chaux
Prof. Dr. Anja Danner-Schröder
Dr. Katharina Dittrich
Prof. Dr. Leonhard Dobusch
Dr. Sascha Friesike
Prof. Dr. Thomas Gegenhuber
Michael Grothe-Hammer
Dr. Ali Aslan Gümüsay
Dr. Arne Kroeger
Dr. Emilio Marti
Prof. Dr. Dennis Schoeneborn
Prof. Dr. Elke Schüßler
Prof. Dr. Hannah Trittin
Dr. Matthias Wenzel
Dr. Christopher Wickert

Religions in moral theories of leadership

New article “Embracing religions in moral theories of leadership” published in Academy of Management Perspectives.

Abstract: Religions are social constituents of present AMP_coversocieties that need to be integrated into theories of leadership. In this article, I outline how three distinct characteristics, particularly present in Abrahamic religions, can significantly impact leadership principles and practices: a belief in the existence of and relationship to a God, the faith in and pursuit of a hereafter purpose, and the belief in and attempted adherence to a sacred scripture. Subsequently, I classify two approaches to examine their impact on leadership: a scripture-based and an empirical-based lens. I then highlight how the distinct characteristics can either inform and blend into or transform and modify moral theories of leadership.

This figure offers a graphical summary:


The Religious Institutional Logic

Happy to announce that the article “The Potential for Plurality and Prevalence of the Religious Institutional Logic” has been published at Business & Society.

Religion is a significant social force on organizational practice yet has beenBAS1 relatively underexamined in organization theory. In this article, I assert that the institutional logics perspective is especially conducive to examine the macrolevel role of religion for organizations. The notion of the religious logic offers conceptual means to explain the significance of religion, its interrelationship with other institutional orders, and embeddedness into and impact across interinstitutional systems. I argue for intrainstitutional logic plurality and show that specifically the intrareligious logic plurality has been rather disregarded with a relative focus on Christianity and a geographical focus on “the West.” Next, I propose the concept of interinstitutional logic prevalence and show that the religious logic in particular may act as a metalogic due to its potential for uniqueness, ultimacy, and ubiquity. Through illustrations from Islamic Finance and Entrepreneurship, I exemplify implications of logic plurality and prevalence for organizations and societies.bas


Inhibitors to entrepreneurial competencies

Delighted to announce that the article “Individual and organizational inhibitors to the development of entrepreneurial competencies in universities” co-authored with Thomas Bohné finally got published at Research Policy.ResPolThe article:

  • Studies inhibitors to nascent academic entrepreneurs’ development of entrepreneurial competencies.
  • Classifies inhibitors into relational, structural, and cultural-cognitive categories.•
  • Shows that inhibitors exist both at individual and organizational levels.
  • Advances theoretical understanding of the interrelated and multilevel functions of inhibitors.
  • Suggests as policy implications a comprehensive yet decentralized approach for the development of entrepreneurial competencies.


Unpacking entrepreneurial opportunities

The paper “Unpacking entrepreneurial opportunities: an institutional logics perspective” has just been published in Innovation: Organization & Management. The article can be found here.

Abstract: Taking into account the institutional context, I refine and broadenRIMP the concept of entrepreneurial opportunities by introducing micro-level evaluative criteria based on underlying macro-level institutional logics. The existing focus on so-called lucrative opportunities, which is implicitly based on a market logic, narrows the overall actual set of potential opportunities, and neglects what I call the opportunity–entrepreneur desirability nexus. Enterprising individuals evaluate and pursue entrepreneurial opportunities based on various and frequently combined underlying institutional logics. The extensive institutional theory literature on managing diverse and sometimes contradictory institutional demands, for instance in the pursuit of hybrid ventures, thus offers theoretical insights that are appropriate and expedient for the analysis and theoretical advancement of the entrepreneurial opportunity notion.