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Entrepreneurship, alternative practices, and the (dis)organization of cultural and institutional arrangements

Special issue call for papers from Society and Business Review

Guest Editors
Carine Farias, ISTEC Paris
Loïc Sauce, ISTEC Paris

Aims & Scope
Over the last few years, we have witnessed a regained interest in the study of individuals or groups who purposefully or unintendedly open-up potentialities by organizing differently, at the margins of widely accepted cultural and institutional arrangements (Barin Cruz, Alves, & Delbridge, 2017; Cheney, Cruz, Peredo, & Nazareno, 2014; Swann & Stoborod, 2014).

Researchers working on different disciplines of management and organization theory have shed light on a large diversity of initiatives and innovations that disrupt, subvert or simply avoid prevailing institutional arrangements and, by the same token, create new organizational forms and possibilities. Such initiatives are to be found for instance in democratic organizations (Leach, 2016; Rothschild & Leach, 2008), pirate organizations (Durand & Vergne, 2012; Parker, 2009), makers and hackers spaces (Lallement, 2015), anarchist groups (Riot, 2014), feminist organizations (D’Enbeau & Buzzanell, 2013; Martin, 1990; Springer, 2005), etc.

Very often, a deliberate, purposeful intention is implied in such practices, in which participants actively engage in the production of alternative cultural, political, and institutional arrangements that challenge dominant paradigms (Farias, 2017; Kokkinidis, 2014) and/or in the prefiguration of alternative socio-political landscapes in the here-and-now (Leach, 2013; Maeckelbergh, 2011; Yates, 2015). But in some cases, individual and collective practices taking place “below the radar” within or around organizations are not meant to disrupt existing institutional arrangements. They might however participate in creating “moral gray zones” (Anteby, 2008) in which alternative meanings and practices are produced and sustained and even social and political change in the case of mundane, infra-political forms of actions (Fernández, Martí, & Farchi, 2017; Scott, 2008). Such endeavors – be they intentionally driven towards institutional change or not – can be seen as entrepreneurial (Bureau, 2013, 2014; Courpasson, Dany, & Martí, 2016) in the sense that they shape new organizational and cultural practices which depart from accepted institutional arrangements (Courpasson, 2016; Courpasson, Dany, & Clegg, 2012; Hjorth & Holt, 2016).

This leads us to consider the motivations stemming behind entrepreneurial actions that could be qualified as “subversive” as they produce new meanings and cultural practices. To which extend intended or unintended alternative practices taking place below the radar open-up potentialities for social and institutional change? What kind of change are we talking about? How can we assess the desirability and legitimacy of such changes? Do subversive activities engender institutional uncertainty (Bylund & McCaffrey, 2017) detrimental to their legitimacy? What forms of organizing do they produce, and on which cultural meanings and moral underpinning do they rest on? Does technology impact the nature, size, and strength of subversive networks? How do innovations at the fringe of existing institutional arrangements might become normalized? Do decentralization and denationalization enabled by IT promote institutional and cultural change?

If some scholars claim for a definition of alternative organizations as inherently positive attempts at producing more personal autonomy, solidarity and responsibility (Parker, Cheney, Fournier, & Land, 2014), and consider such organizational forms as necessary for social justice within democratic societies (Parker, 2017), we ask here for unpacking and questioning the cultural practices and moral underpinning that are produced in the making and organizing of such entrepreneurial practices. Since the productive, unproductive, or destructive character of entrepreneurship largely depends on the existing institutional arrangements (Baumol, 1996), the same concerns apply even more so when entrepreneurs aim at subverting the rules of the game (Douhan & Henrekson, 2010; Garud, Hardy, & Maguire, 2007; Sobel, 2008).

In this colloquium, we invite papers that question and challenge the ethical, moral, economic, and cultural aspects of organizations and entrepreneurial actions and innovations emerging at the margins of accepted institutional arrangements, and their potential (positive and negative) impacts.

Some possible perspectives and topics might include:

-    What kind of organizational and cultural practices emerge from attempts at challenging, subverting or simply avoiding existing institutions?
-    How do such practices materially translate into their environment?
-    How can we unveil and make sense of the potential “dark side” of alternative organizations and entrepreneurship?
-    What kinds of epistemologies could help us understanding the unfolding of “subversive” entrepreneurial actions?
-    How can we make sense of individual and collective actions that produce organizational changes unintentionally?
-    Etc.

Deadline for full paper submission: June 15, 2019.
Papers will be reviewed according to the double-blind review procedure of the Society and Business Review. Please use our ScholarOne submission portal to submit your paper:

Colloquium information
In line with this Special Issue, a colloquium organized by the CERI (Centre d’Etudes et de Recherche de l’ISTEC) will take place on December 7, 2018 at ISTEC, 128 quai de Jemmapes 75010 Paris.

This colloquium offers the possibility for researchers to present their work, to receive written feedback from a scientific committee, and to engage in constructive discussions with their peers.

For more information, please visit the webpage:

The selection of papers for this special issue will not be limited to the papers presented at the colloquium.

Anteby, M. (2008). Moral gray zones : side productions, identity, and regulation in an aeronautic plant. Princeton University Press.
Barin Cruz, L., Alves, M. A. ;, & Delbridge, R. (2017). Next steps in organizing alternatives to capitalism: toward a relational research agenda. [email protected]@gement, 20, 322–335.
Baumol, W. (1996). Entrepreneurship: productive, unproductive, and destructive. Journal of Business Venturing, 11, 3–22.
Bureau, S. (2013). Entrepreneurship as a subversive activity: How can entrepreneurs destroy in the process of creative destruction? [email protected]@gement, 16, 204–235.
Bureau, S. (2014). Piracy as an avant-gardist deviance: how do entrepreneurial pirates contribute to the wealth or misery of nations? International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 22, 426.
Bylund, P., & McCaffrey, M. (2017). A theory of entrepreneurship and institutional uncertainty. Journal of Business Venturing, 3, 461–475.
Cheney, G., Cruz, I. S., Peredo, A. M., & Nazareno, E. (2014). Worker cooperatives as an organizational alternative: Challenges, achievements and promise in business governance and ownership. Organization, 21, 591–603.
Courpasson, D. (2016). Impactful Resistance: The Persistence of Recognition Politics in the Workplace. Journal of Management Inquiry, 25, 96–100.
Courpasson, D., Dany, F., & Clegg, S. (2012). Resisters at Work: Generating Productive Resistance in the Workplace. Organization Science, 23, 801–819.
Courpasson, D., Dany, F., & Martí, I. (2016). Organizational Entrepreneurship as Active Resistance: A Struggle Against Outsourcing. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 40, 131–160.
D’Enbeau, S., & Buzzanell, P. M. (2013). Constructing a feminist organization’s identity in a competitive marketplace: The intersection of ideology, image, and culture. Human Relations, 66, 1447–1470.
Douhan, R., & Henrekson, M. (2010). Entrepreneurship and second-best institutions: going beyond Baumol’s typology. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 20, 629–643.
Durand, R., & Vergne, J.-P. (2012). No territory, no profit: The pirate organization and capitalism in the making. [email protected]@gement, 3, 265–272.
Farias, C. (2017). Money is the Root of All Evil – Or Is It? Recreating Culture through Everyday Neutralizing Practices. Organization Studies, 38, 775–793.
Fernández, P. D., Martí, I., & Farchi, T. (2017). Mundane and Everyday Politics for and from the Neighborhood. Organization Studies, 38, 201–223.
Garud, R., Hardy, C., & Maguire, S. (2007). Institutional entrepreneurship as embedded agency: An introduction to the Special Issue. Organization Studies, 28, 957–969.
Hjorth, D., & Holt, R. (2016). It’s entrepreneurship, not enterprise: Ai Weiwei as entrepreneur. Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 5, 50–54.
Kokkinidis, G. (2014). Spaces of possibilities: workers’ self-management in Greece. Organization, 1–25.
Lallement, M. (2015). L’Âge du faire: Hacking, travail, anarchie.
Leach, D. K. (2013). Prefigurative Politics. In D. A. Snow, D. della Porta, B. Klandermans, & D. McAdam (Eds.), The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social and Political Movements. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Leach, D. K. (2016). When Freedom is Not an Endless Meeting: A New Look at Efficiency in Consensus‐Based Decision Making. The Sociological Quarterly, 57, 36–70.
Maeckelbergh, M. (2011). Doing is Believing: Prefiguration as Strategic Practice in the Alterglobalization Movement. Social Movement Studies, 10, 1–20.
Martin, P. Y. (1990). Rethinking Feminist Organizations. Gender & Society, 4, 182–206.
Parker, M. (2009). Pirates, merchants and anarchists: Representations of international business. Management & Organizational History, 4, 167–185.
Parker, M. (2017). Alternative enterprises, local economies, and social justice: why smaller is still more beautiful. [email protected]@gement, 20, 418–434.
Parker, M., Cheney, G., Fournier, V., & Land, C. (2014). The question of organization: A manifesto for alternatives. Ephemera, 14, 623–638.
Riot, E. (2014). “Anarchy by the book? Forget about it!”: The role of collective memory in shaping workers’ relations to anarchism and work today. Ephemera, 14, 811–834.
Rothschild, J., & Leach, D. (2008). Avoid, Talk, or Fight: Alternative Cultural Strategies in the Battle Against Oligarchy in Collectivist-Democratic Organizations (pp. 346–361). Springer US.
Scott, J. C. (2008). Weapons of the Weak : Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. Yale University Press.
Sobel, R. (2008). Testing Baumol: Institutional quality and the productivity of entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Venturing, 23, 641–655.
Springer, K. (2005). Living for the revolution : Black feminist organizations, 1968-1980. Duke University Press.
Swann, T., & Stoborod, K. (2014). Did you hear the one about the anarchist manager? Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization, 14, 591–609.
Yates, L. (2015). Rethinking Prefiguration: Alternatives, Micropolitics and Goals in Social Movements. Social Movement Studies, 14, 1–21.

Affiliation and Contact Details

Carine Farias, Assistant Professor, ISTEC Ecole de commerce et de marketing, [email protected]
Loïc Sauce, Assistant Professor, ISTEC Ecole de commerce et de marketing, [email protected]