If you are attending this summer’s Academy of Management Conference in Chicago, here’s three events that I have organized, and which explore topics on finance within organization theory.

Financial crisis

First, a symposium titled “Organizational Lessons, One Decade After the Financial Crisis.” The year 2018 marks the one-decade anniversary of the global financial crisis. In the ten years that elapsed since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, research in economics and finance has developed a robust literature that informs public policy. Conversely, this symposium considers the body of organizational research published on the financial crisis: what have organizational scholars learnt about the crisis by now? What managerial implications and conclusions stem from such lessons? What are organizational scholars missing? This symposium addresses this question with presentations on the use of models in organizations, the intersection between politics and derivatives, wellbeing in investment banks, bank culture, and the institutional dimension of the crisis.

It will do so through four presentations:

“Regulating through Culture? Cultures of Culture in the UK Retail Banking Industry,” by Simon Parker, Nottingham U. Business School, and Andre Spicer, City U. London.

“Embodying the Market,” by Alexandra Michel, U. of Pennsylvania.

“The crisis that won’t go away: Retrospective commentary on institutional analysis of the crisis,” by Suhaib Riaz, U. of Massachusetts, Boston.

“Financial innovation as tool of statecraft: implications for organization theory,” by Andrea Lagna, Loughborough U.

“A Village on Wall Street: From Models to Norms in a Derivatives Trading Room,” Daniel Beunza Ibanez, Copenhagen Business School and City U.

When and where: Monday, Aug 13 2018 1:15PM – 2:45PM at Marriott Chicago Downtown – Magnificent Mile in Clark Marriott Ballroom

Securities analysts

Second, a symposium titled, The Future of Analysts’ Work: Importance and Challenges Ahead. This event aims at promoting debate on the analyst profession by bringing several leading scholars in the study of equity analysts. Our symposium shares papers that highlight the role of analysts as information intermediaries but also as self-interested individuals performing careers, the significant part of which is providing insight and guidance to investors. We do not propose to solve the debate on whether or how analysts can be useful for understanding publicly traded firms and financial markets; rather, we hope to use the symposium as a platform to examine different ways in which the work of equity analysts can provide insight into important organizational phenomena. Each scholar studies analysts from a unique perspective, which combined with our discussant creates an opportunity for lively debate on the role, power, and importance of analysts in modern organizational and strategy research. It will do so through four presentations, and the discussion by Todd Zenger, of the David Eccles School of Business.

It will include four presentations:

“Two sides to the story? Positive and negative aspects of securities analysts,” Mary J. Benner, U. of Minnesota and Daniel Beunza, Copenhagen Business School and City U.

“Analysts’ intertemporal evaluations of firms’ resources during radical technological change.” Ram Ranganathan, U. of Texas, McCombs and Wei Yang, The U. of Texas at Austin.

“Organization’s Centrality in the Employee Mobility Network and Individual Performance.” Matteo Prato, USI (Lugano) and Pino G. Audia, Dartmouth College

“Does playing to type make you a star? Gender and gender-based categories in analyst research.” Anne Bowers, U. of Toronto and Matteo Prato, USI (Lugano)

“When do employees pursue firm goals versus their career concerns?” Viktorie Sevcenko, London Business School and Sendil Ethiraj, London Business School

When and where: Tuesday, Aug 14 2018 9:45AM – 11:15AM at Marriott Chicago Downtown – Magnificent Mile in Clark Marriott Ballroom

Derivatives exchange

Finally, Andrea Lagna and I have organized a tour of the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe) as an OMT off-program event during the next AOM Annual Meeting. Cboe is one of largest options markets in the world. It was the first exchange to list standardized options in 1973 and, since then, it pioneered several financial innovations such as the Cboe Volatility Index and, more recently, Bitcoin futures. This visit is a great opportunity for OMT scholars to experience the fascinating world of derivatives trading in Chicago.

It includes:

  1. a) 1 hour tour of the Cboe trading floor during active trading.
  2. b) 1/2 hour Q&A session
  3. c) Cboe souvenir trading badges.

http://www.cboe.com/education/educational-tours

When and where: The tour will take place on 10 August 2018, 2-3.30pm. It is full already, but if you’d us to put you on the waiting list, please get in touch with me at dbe.ioa@cbs.dk

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Futures of finance and society, 2018
University of Edinburgh, 6-7 December

Organisers: Nathan Coombs, Tod Van Gunten
Keynotes: Donald MacKenzie, Annelise Riles, Gillian Tett
Sponsors: Edinburgh Futures Institute/University of Edinburgh

Call for papers available here


Ten years on from the global financial crisis, the settlement between finance and society remains ambiguous. Regulation has been tightened in traditional areas like banking, against a backdrop of fiscal austerity and the proliferation of new monies, financial platforms and investment vehicles. Building on the success of the Finance and Society Network’s previous ‘Intersections of finance and society’ conferences, ‘Futures of finance and society’ asks what new social, organisational and political forms are emerging and what direction they should take.

This two-day event, based at the University of Edinburgh’s historic Medical Quad, aims to deepen dialogue between the diverse disciplines contributing to the field of ‘finance and society’ studies. It seeks to develop new synergies between political, sociological, historical, and philosophical perspectives. In addition to providing a venue for presenting ongoing empirical and theoretical research, contributors are invited to propose and debate potential solutions for improving financial stability, expanding financial inclusion, and mitigating inequalities associated with financialisation.

The conference is organised through the Finance and Society Network (FSN), in association with the journal Finance and Society, the Edinburgh Futures Institute, and the University of Edinburgh’s School of Social and Political Science (SPS).

Confirmed keynotes:

  • ‘Finance studies twenty years after Callon’, Donald MacKenzie (University of Edinburgh)
  • ‘Financial citizenship: Experts, publics, and the politics of central banking’, Annelise Riles (Cornell Law School)
  • ‘Financial cultures and financial crises’, Gillian Tett (Financial Times)

Contributions are invited in two formats:

  • Papers; abstract of up to 300 words
  • Panels; abstract of 100 words plus 3-4 paper abstracts up to 300 words

Themes on which we encourage contributions include:

  • Sociology of financial markets
  • Finance and social theory
  • Finance and inequality
  • Heterodox economics and finance theory
  • Gender and finance
  • Derivative and structured finance
  • Central banking and shadow banking
  • Financial crises, past and present
  • Financial regulation and state activism
  • Temporality, historicity, futurity, fictional expectations
  • Financial modelling and forecasting
  • Theology and finance
  • Finance and social reproduction
  • Finance and neoliberalism
  • New perspectives on financialisation
  • Financial markets and the digital economy
  • Financial technology
  • Money, financial markets, and psychoanalysis
  • Popular cultures of finance
  • Financialisation and contemporary art markets
  • Contemporary art practice in the age of finance

Please submit abstracts and proposals by 1 September 2018 to Nathan Coombs and Tod Van Gunten at the following address: futuresfinancesociety-at-gmail-dot-com

The editors of Finance and Society are encouraging paper submissions from conference participants.
For more information on the journal please visit: http://financeandsociety.ed.ac.uk

More information on last year’s FSN event is available on the 2017 conference website: https://intersectionsfinancesociety.wordpress.com/

We invite contributors to submit an extended abstract of 2-3 pages (incl. references) to markets2018.mpp@cbs.dk. Proposals should indicate topic, theoretical positioning, methodology and outline findings, if appropriate. Inquiries about the workshop can be made to the workshop organisers. We will notify contributors about acceptance in early March. As in previous years, in order to facilitate discussion at the sessions, we will make papers available beforehand. Full papers should therefore be emailed by Monday May 7th, at the very latest. Information about the workshop, local arrangements, affordable local hotel accommodation, the final programme, etc. will be uploaded on the conference webpage: www.tilmeld.dk/Markets2018.

 

The Theme

 

The 5th Interdisciplinary Market Studies Workshop will take place in Copenhagen, a city which derives its name from the harbour and the associated place of commerce that existed there from the 11th century. Købmannahavn translates as ‘chapman’s haven’ and ‘merchants’ harbour’ (portus mercatorum), and as such the city is a living example of how markets and cityscapes have always tended to co-create each other. Copenhagen’s history reveals another insight. Recent critics of the neoliberal city have argued that the privatization of public spaces and the redefinition of the built environment as the object of speculation have led to a privileging of the needs of wealthy investors, for whom shopping malls and luxury hotels matter more than affordable housing and places of recreation (Sassen, 2014). From that perspective, Copenhagen seems to have been a city of speculators, projectors and investors long before we started to speak of neoliberalism: a metropolis thriving on risk, expansion, and even appropriation, of geography and temporality.

 

From its very beginnings, Copenhagen existed as a market: the place was permanently settled by fishermen and traders, and it developed around the needs of traders and merchants. In the early 17th century, the now famous district of Christianshavn was built by King Christian IV to accommodate a new generation of global merchants who needed modern docks for their ocean-going ships that transported goods between China, India, Africa and Northern Europe. More recently, Copenhagen has become one of Europe’s largest consumers of steel because of the building of Nordhavn, a harbour area that is home to ferry and cruise-ship berths, a container terminal, marina, and industrial companies. With its various harbour areas, canals and inner-city bridges, ‘Merchants’ Harbour’ shows that it was planned from the beginning to enable market-based interactions.

 

With this in mind, the workshop organizers invite participants to reflect on the ‘situatedness’ and the ‘sitedness’ of markets. It has long been recognized that it is only within specific historical, spatial, cultural and power-mediated contexts that market actors are able to construct, negotiate and contest the meaning of their actions (Aspers, 2011: 40-56; Tucker et al., 2015). But what is it precisely that makes a social situation ‘a market’; what infrastructure – formal and informal – is needed to bring about and stabilize markets; and what kind of new social situations in turn are brought about by those who take part in markets? While papers on all aspects of market-related phenomena, both empirically and conceptually, are welcome, we invite participants to consider the idea more closely that markets exist in the form of concrete situations, zones and sites (Finch and Geiger, 2010). When approaching market situations and situated markets, we also encourage participants to reconsider recent changes in the nature of political language in North America and in Europe, and in particular the continuous production of homelands and strangers in response to the ongoing migration crisis. Finally, 2018 will mark the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehmann Brothers. This should raise questions as to the contributions of market studies to the analysis of the financial crisis (Mackenzie, 2011). The conveners therefore particularly welcome papers dealing with any of the following three aspects of the situatedness of markets and of market situations:

 

  1. Language and Imaginations. Market actors need and produce their own genre of concepts, metaphors and rhetoric. Like the term ‘crisis’ (originally denoting a fork in the road), ‘liquidity’, ‘capital’, ‘finance’, and ‘bubble’ are not just economic terms, but also metaphors. We are interested in research that studies the market-building work that economic and managerial concepts are involved in (Chiapello and Gilbert, 2014). What do the changes in the language used by market actors reveal about market-related imaginations, strategies and disappointments (Bakhtin, 1984: 145-195; Tribe, 2015)? This question also points to the fact that markets are not just situated in a concrete site understood as space, but also within the framework of language, that is within word plays, metaphors and allegories.

 

  1. Strangers and Borders. There exists of course a long-standing debate whether markets need, produce or ameliorate estrangement. According to Max Weber, economic action turns even closest friends into calculating strangers (Weber, 2013: 80-93; Roscoe, 2014). By contrast, Viviana Zelizer and Eva Illouz have argued that even the most intimate relationships are often market-mediated. According to both Zelizer and Illouz, love outside the market would be grey and lifeless (Illouz, 2007; Zelizer, 2007). Following on from that, we are interested to hear about work that studies more closely the kind of borders that markets require and erect; and in turn, what kind borders – physical and metaphorical – do markets undermine, and why and how do they tend to do so.

 

  1. Time and Fortune. Developing visions and imaginations of future events are key aspects of all economic action (Beckert, 2013). This insight points to the fact that markets also exist in time as a form of context and situation. What’s more, the temporal nature of markets extends from the present into the appropriation of the past (Samman, 2012). Historical projectors and contemporary entrepreneurs enrol future possibilities into present value, employing narratives of possibility (Parker and Hamilton, 2016) and sophisticated accounting techniques (Muniesa et al., 2017) to capitalise on these imaginations. Market time zooms through the material, the technological, rhetorical and the social. We are therefore interested in receiving proposals that employ time as an analytic category.

 

Our Keynote Speakers

 

Jens Beckert is Professor of Sociology and Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne. His research interests include the sociology of illegal markets, wealth and inequality, and the role of imaginaries and narratives in the economy. His most recent book, Imagined Futures: Fictional Expectations and Capitalist Dynamics (Harvard University Press, 2016), received an Honourable Mention for the 2017 Zelizer Award for Best Book in Economic Sociology.

 

Eve Chiapello is Professor of Sociology at the Centre d’Étude des Mouvements Sociaux at EHESS Paris. Her research examines the phenomenon of the financialisation of our economy and the tools used for said financialisation. She became widely known for her study (with Luc Boltanski) of The new Spirit of Capitalism (2006). Currently, she leads an international research project on financialisation and the fabrication of intangible assets, funded by the Humboldt Foundation in collaboration with the University of Hamburg.

 

How to Submit

 

We invite contributors to submit an extended abstract of 2-3 pages (incl. references) to markets2018.mpp@cbs.dk. Proposals should indicate topic, theoretical positioning, methodology and outline findings, if appropriate. The revised deadline for submissions is Friday, February 9th, 2018. Inquiries about the workshop can be made to the workshop organisers. We will notify contributors about acceptance in early March. As in previous years, in order to facilitate discussion at the sessions, we will make papers available beforehand. Full papers should therefore be emailed by Monday May 7th, at the very latest.

 

Workshop Venue and Programme

 

The Workshop will be organized in collaboration between the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (Stefan Schwarzkopf) and the Department of Organization (Trine Pallesen, Christian Frankel, José Ossandón) at Copenhagen Business School. It will take place at the Kilen Building of CBS, right next to the Metro Station ‘Fasanvej’, which is a convenient 20-minutes underground train ride from the airport. For further information see:http://www.cbs.dk/en/about-cbs/contact/maps/kilen-kilevej-14-ab.

 

The workshop will begin at 5pm on Wednesday 6 June with a wine reception at the old Stock Exchange Building in the heart of Copenhagen (http://english.borsbygningen.dk/). The two main conference days are 7 and 8 June, and we expect to finish at around 4.30pm on Friday.

 

Conference Fee and Webpage

 

We expect the conference fee to around DKK 1,700 (ca. GBP 200; EURO 230). Please note that this is an approximation only. The fee includes access to the full papers via the conference webpage, two lunches, a conference dinner, and a wine reception. Information about the workshop, local arrangements, affordable local hotel accommodation, the final programme, etc. will be uploaded on the conference webpage: www.tilmeld.dk/Markets2018.

 

Organizing Committee

 

Lotta Björklund-Larsen, Linköping University (lotta.bjorklund.larsen@liu.se

Alexandre Mallard, Ecole des Mines ParisTech (alexandre.mallard@mines-paristech.fr)

Philip Roscoe, University of St Andrews (pjr10@st-andrews.ac.uk)

Stefan Schwarzkopf, Copenhagen Business School (ssc.mpp@cbs.dk)

 

Local Arrangements

 

Stefan Schwarzkopf, Copenhagen Business School (ssc.mpp@cbs.dk)

Trine Pallesen, Copenhagen Business School (tp.ioa@cbs.dk)

Christian Frankel, Copenhagen Business School (cf.ioa@cbs.dk)

José Ossandón, Copenhagen Business School (jo.ioa@cbs.dk)

 

 

Reposted from Estudios de la Economía at the request of José Ossandón

Call for Papers: Market Situations – Situated Markets. 5th Interdisciplinary Market Studies Workshop, Copenhagen Business School, June 6 – 8, 2018. Keynote speakers: Jens Beckert (Professor of Sociology and Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne) & Eve Chiapello (Professor of Sociology at the Centre d’Étude des Mouvements Sociaux at EHESS Paris). We invite contributors to submit an extended abstract of 2-3 pages (incl. references) to markets2018.mpp@cbs.dk. Proposals should indicate topic, theoretical positioning, methodology and outline findings, if appropriate. The deadline for submissions is Monday, January 29, 2018. Inquiries about the workshop can be made to any of the workshop organisers. We will notify contributors about acceptance by early March, and full papers will be due early May.

The Theme

The 5th Interdisciplinary Market Studies Workshop will take place in Copenhagen, a city which derives its name from the harbour and the associated place of commerce that existed there from the 11th century. Købmannahavn translates as ‘chapman’s haven’ and ‘merchants’ harbour’ (portus mercatorum), and as such the city is a living example of how markets and cityscapes have always tended to co-create each other. Copenhagen’s history reveals another insight. Recent critics of the neoliberal city have argued that the privatization of public spaces and the redefinition of the built environment as the object of speculation have led to a privileging of the needs of wealthy investors, for whom shopping malls and luxury hotels matter more than affordable housing and places of recreation (Sassen, 2014). From that perspective, Copenhagen seems to have been a city of speculators, projectors and investors long before we started to speak of neoliberalism: a metropolis thriving on risk, expansion, and even appropriation, of geography and temporality.

From its very beginnings, Copenhagen existed as a market: the place was permanently settled by fishermen and traders, and it developed around the needs of traders and merchants. In the early 17th century, the now famous district of Christianshavn was built by King Christian IV to accommodate a new generation of global merchants who needed modern docks for their ocean-going ships that transported goods between China, India, Africa and Northern Europe. More recently, Copenhagen has become one of Europe’s largest consumers of steel because of the building of Nordhavn, a harbour area that is home to ferry and cruise-ship berths, a container terminal, marina, and industrial companies. With its various harbour areas, canals and inner-city bridges, ‘Merchants’ Harbour’ shows that it was planned from the beginning to enable market-based interactions.

With this in mind, the workshop organizers invite participants to reflect on the ‘situatedness’ and the ‘sitedness’ of markets. It has long been recognized that it is only within specific historical, spatial, cultural and power-mediated contexts that market actors are able to construct, negotiate and contest the meaning of their actions (Aspers, 2011: 40-56; Tucker et al., 2015). But what is it precisely that makes a social situation ‘a market’; what infrastructure – formal and informal – is needed to bring about and stabilize markets; and what kind of new social situations in turn are brought about by those who take part in markets? While papers on all aspects of market-related phenomena, both empirically and conceptually, are welcome, we invite participants to consider the idea more closely that markets exist in the form of concrete situations, zones and sites (Finch and Geiger, 2010). When approaching market situations and situated markets, we also encourage participants to reconsider recent changes in the nature of political language in North America and in Europe, and in particular the continuous production of homelands and strangers in response to the ongoing migration crisis. Finally, 2018 will mark the tenth anniversary of the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehmann Brothers. This should raise questions as to the contributions of market studies to the analysis of the financial crisis (Mackenzie, 2011). The conveners therefore particularly welcome papers dealing with any of the following three aspects of the situatedness of markets and of market situations:

  1. Language and Imaginations.Market actors need and produce their own genre of concepts, metaphors and rhetoric. Like the term ‘crisis’ (originally denoting a fork in the road), ‘liquidity’, ‘capital’, ‘finance’, and ‘bubble’ are not just economic terms, but also metaphors. We are interested in research that studies the market-building work that economic and managerial concepts are involved in (Chiapello and Gilbert, 2014). What do the changes in the language used by market actors reveal about market-related imaginations, strategies and disappointments (Bakhtin, 1984: 145-195; Tribe, 2015)? This question also points to the fact that markets are not just situated in a concrete site understood as space, but also within the framework of language, that is within word plays, metaphors and allegories.
  2. Strangers and Borders.There exists of course a long-standing debate whether markets need, produce or ameliorate estrangement. According to Max Weber, economic action turns even closest friends into calculating strangers (Weber, 2013: 80-93; Roscoe, 2014). By contrast, Viviana Zelizer and Eva Illouz have argued that even the most intimate relationships are often market-mediated. According to both Zelizer and Illouz, love outside the market would be grey and lifeless (Illouz, 2007; Zelizer, 2007). Following on from that, we are interested to hear about work that studies more closely the kind of borders that markets require and erect; and in turn, what kind borders – physical and metaphorical – do markets undermine, and why and how do they tend to do so.
  3. Time and Fortune. Developing visions and imaginations of future events are key aspects of all economic action (Beckert, 2013). This insight points to the fact that markets also exist in time as a form of context and situation. What’s more, the temporal nature of markets extends from the present into the appropriation of the past (Samman, 2012). Historical projectors and contemporary entrepreneurs enrol future possibilities into present value, employing narratives of possibility (Parker and Hamilton, 2016) and sophisticated accounting techniques (Muniesa et al., 2017) to capitalise on these imaginations. Market time zooms through the material, the technological, rhetorical and the social. We are therefore interested in receiving proposals that employ time as an analytic category.

Our Keynote Speakers

Jens Beckert is Professor of Sociology and Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne. His research interests include the sociology of illegal markets, wealth and inequality, and the role of imaginaries and narratives in the economy. His most recent book, Imagined Futures: Fictional Expectations and Capitalist Dynamics (Harvard University Press, 2016), received an Honourable Mention for the 2017 Zelizer Award for Best Book in Economic Sociology.

Eve Chiapello is Professor of Sociology at the Centre d’Étude des Mouvements Sociaux at EHESS Paris. Her research examines the phenomenon of the financialisation of our economy and the tools used for said financialisation. She became widely known for her study (with Luc Boltanski) of The new Spirit of Capitalism (2006). Currently, she leads an international research project on financialisation and the fabrication of intangible assets, funded by the Humboldt Foundation in collaboration with the University of Hamburg.

How to Submit

We invite contributors to submit an extended abstract of 2-3 pages (incl. references) to markets2018.mpp@cbs.dk. Proposals should indicate topic, theoretical positioning, methodology and outline findings, if appropriate. The deadline for submissions is Monday, January 29, 2018. Inquiries about the workshop can be made to any of the workshop organisers. We will notify contributors about acceptance by early March, and full papers will be due early May.

Venue

The Workshop will be organized in collaboration between the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (Stefan Schwarzkopf) and the Department of Organization (Trine Pallesen, Christian Frankel, José Ossandón) at Copenhagen Business School. It will take place at the Kilen Building of CBS, right next to the Metro Station ‘Fasanvej’, which is a convenient 20-minutes underground train ride from the airport. For further information see: https://www.cbs.dk/en/about-cbs/contact/maps/kilen-kilevej-14-ab.

Organizing Committee

Lotta Björklund-Larsen, Linköping University (lotta.bjorklund.larsen@liu.se)

Alexandre Mallard, Ecole des Mines ParisTech (alexandre.mallard@mines-paristech.fr)

Philip Roscoe, University of St Andrews (pjr10@st-andrews.ac.uk)

Stefan Schwarzkopf, Copenhagen Business School (ssc.mpp@cbs.dk)

Local Arrangements

Stefan Schwarzkopf, Copenhagen Business School (ssc.mpp@cbs.dk)

Trine Pallesen, Copenhagen Business School (tp.ioa@cbs.dk)

Christian Frankel, Copenhagen Business School (cf.ioa@cbs.dk)

José Ossandón, Copenhagen Business School (jo.ioa@cbs.dk)

Guest blogpost by Ekaterina Svetlova, Diane-Laure Arjaliès and Philip Grant

Book by Diane-Laure Arjaliès, Philip Grant, Iain Hardie, Donald MacKenzie and Ekaterina Svetlova (2017), Chains of Finance: How Investment Management is Shaped, Oxford: Oxford University Press,

https://global.oup.com/academic/product/chains-of-finance-9780198802945?cc=gb&lang=en&

We may be entering ‘the age of asset management’, suggested the Bank of England’s Director of Financial Stability (now Chief Economist), Andrew Haldane, in an April 2014 speech. Investment management firms control assets equivalent in value to around a year of total global economic output—ca. $100 trillion. Yet the media and academic attention has been focused far more on banking or various types of ‘traders’ than on the investment management industry – despite the large impact of the latter on the economy and society more broadly.

Chains of Finance – How Investment Management is Shaped, published at the Oxford University Press, aims to address this gap. The book explores the inner workings of the industry, shedding light on the known but above all the unknown of investment management practices. The key message of the book is simple: The investment management industry is better understood as a chain of multiple intermediaries linking savers to the companies and governments that issue financial instruments, rather than as an addition of professional groups tied to a specific set of expertise, such as fund managers, securities analysts, and investment consultants. The investment industry today has actually little to do with individual savers choosing which shares or bonds to buy directly. Rather, most of their money flows through the investment chain, an often extensive sequence of interdependent go-betweens.

For example, savers’ decisions are frequently guided by financial advisers and ‘wealth managers’; they may also be influenced in their choices of mutual funds by specialist firms such as Morningstar and Standard & Poor’s that award these funds ratings. Furthermore, most ‘savings’ in fact take the form of contributions to workplace pension funds. These funds, with some variations across jurisdictions, usually have trustees responsible for investing the assets, an activity which they generally delegate to investment managers. Trustees’ decisions about which investment management firms to use are often guided by investment consultants. Following the chain in a different direction, fund managers (and traders in their firms acting on their behalf) need to choose where to execute their orders to buy or sell shares or bonds, and these decisions are strongly affected by fund managers’ relationships with brokers or dealers, in particular to those who work for big investment banks.

Chains of Finance explores how the intermediaries of the investment chain shape each other’s practices, channel the flows of savers’ money, and ultimately form audiences for each other’s performances of financially competent or expert selves. This performance of expertise is all the more important in an industry where performance is everywhere measured by putatively objective numbers, and where it is statistically almost impossible for an investment manager to consistently deliver above market returns—and yet where firms continue to charge clients substantial fees and individual fund managers are generally well remunerated. This generates a situation where links in the chain act as critical observers of others with whom they are linked—consultants and trustees critically observing and measuring fund managers, for example—and at the same time need these same others—trustees generally feel legally obliged to delegate investment management functions to professional firms, and consultants need managers for their own profession to exist.

We thus picture the investment chain as a series of relations that both constrain and enable. We show that investment managers’ decisions cannot properly be understood by focusing simply on a fund manager’s beliefs about particular securities or markets, but are co-shaped by clients, brokers, investment consultants, securities analysts, and even unions and politicians.

Importantly, the arguments and case studies presented in the book are built on ethnographic and auto-ethnographic work in the investment industry spanning several years in four cities (Paris, Zurich, Frankfurt, London) and 451 in-depth interviews with investment management industry employees in those locations as well as Edinburgh, New York, and other places in the US and Canada. Our ethnographic field research allows us to provide a thorough analysis of the asset management industry from a social science perspective and brings insights that could not be obtained by a purely theoretical work.

For example, one part of our study focuses on attempts by a number of links in the chain to pressure the US subsidiary of a French automotive manufacturer to recognize unions at its plants and improve working conditions there. In unprecedented meetings, fund managers, pension fund trustees, representatives of different French unions, French politicians, and US workers came together to try to work out a way to use a shareholding in the car company to bring about meaningful change in line with responsible investment objectives. What ensued, however, was a demonstration of the difficulty of moving the chain due to the constraints intermediaries impose on each other through their relationships. The fund managers would only act on instructions from the clients; the clients, as represented by the pension fund trustees, did not want to do anything that might contradict their legal duties; the politicians were unsure whether they could bring about pressure on an American subsidiary; the unions were focused on getting the best deal for French workers.

In another chapter we show how the investment management division of a Frankfurt bank formed a new ‘quant’ team. Reacting to the external expectations set by clients, investment consultants and competitors, the division’s managers decided they need a new, quantitative, ‘rigorous’, ‘scientific’ approach alongside their existing ‘fundamental’ method. In other words, the establishment of this quantitative department was driven by marketing, precisely because it could help to present the fund managers’ work as more rigorous and scientific. Clients such as pension funds, and the investment consultants who advise them, want to hear about rigour and ‘process’, a theme we came across time and time again in our research.

Elsewhere in the book we demonstrate that the client–fund manager relationship is not a simple principal–agent problem, but a multi-faceted, contextually dependent, malleable matter. Institutional investor clients such as pension funds have the power to set the terms of investment to constrain fund managers. Simultaneously, fund managers can also reshape what their clients imagine their interests to be, influencing their clients to align their goals with those of the managers. Moreover, relationships between clients and fund managers (and also brokers/traders and fund managers) are often characterized by reciprocity, loyalty and even amity, not by control and punishment.

Our analysis of an investment chain comes at a time when the view of financial markets as networks is influential. We do not see this as a rival theory. The chain is, however, a way of thinking about financial markets that helps make clearer the character of the various interactions. The concept of the investment chain also allows a complementary approach to the question of where influence resides within finance. The book shows that power lies in the chain and its multiple influences on investment decisions. Last, the book shows that the chain matters to outcomes in financial markets. These include a range of issues with broad societal consequences. Despite the investment chain’s importance, and its ubiquity in official reports across a variety of concerns with financial market operations, the chain is rarely the subject of explicit academic enquiry. It is even less often the subject of public debate. If a poorly functioning investment chain contributes to lower growth, inequality, poor workers’ rights, and a hotter planet, its functioning should be a matter of urgent academic and political enquiry. This book is a first step towards this direction, one we hope more researchers and practitioners will follow.

 

Dear colleagues,
If you study financial markets from an OMT perspective, the following EGOS sub-theme may be interesting for you (see below). The submission deadline for short papers is January 8, 2018, see www.egosnet.org/2018_tallinn/sub-themes_call_for_short_papers. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
All the best,
Paula, Emilio and Daniel
————————————————-

Sub-theme 38: Social Studies of Finance: Implications for a Financialized Economy

Convenors:
Paula Jarzabkowski
University of London, United Kingdom
Emilio Marti
University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Daniel Beunza
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

Call for Papers


Since the 2008 financial crisis, organization theorists have become increasingly interested in the social studies of finance. The social studies of finance use insights from economic sociology and science and technology studies to explore how financial markets are socially constructed through actors, norms, and material devices. Existing research within the social studies of finance has developed a detailed understanding of the inner workings of financial markets. For example, Beunza and Stark (2004) explored the organization of derivatives trading rooms and MacKenzie and Pardo-Guerra (2014) examined the role of trading algorithms.

Scholars within the social studies of finance, however, still need to draw out the implications that their research has for the “big questions” (Jarzabkowski et al., 2015: p. 185) that arise around the financialized economy that has emerged over the last 40 year. We define a financialized economy as an economic system in which financial firms (e.g., banks or hedge funds) play an increasingly important role and non-financial firms increasingly focus on financial markets in their business decisions (Tomaskovic-Devey & Lin, 2011, p. 539). In what follows we outline three avenues for research that link micro-level practices to macro-level implications.

The engagement and valuation practices of shareholders
First, the social studies of finance can contribute important insights on how shareholder engagement creates pressure on corporations. For example, quantitative studies show that active and short-term investors, such as hedge funds, increase the likelihood that companies take shareholder-friendly business decisions (Cobb, 2015). However, we know little about the engagement practices through which shareholders create pressure on corporations. Similarly, quantitative studies document that securities analysts have difficulties in evaluating radical innovations of corporations (Benner, 2010). Such findings raise questions about the valuation practices of market participants that researchers could address by building on research that examines how value is socially constructed (e.g. Helgesson & Muniesa, 2013). Exploring these valuation practices could inform bigger debates about the informational efficiency of financial markets, the emergence of speculative bubbles, or shifts in valuation regimes toward more sustainability. – We thus invite contributions that address questions such as:

  • How do engagement practices vary across different types of investors?
  • How do different engagement practices create pressure on corporations?
  • How does financial regulation (e.g., Sarbanes-Oxley) and self-regulation (e.g., GRI) shape the valuation practices of investors?
How financial products and trading practices mitigate and create risks
Second, the social studies of finance can advance our understanding of risk in financial markets. Today’s financial markets enable investors and companies to mitigate more risks than ever before. For example, investors and companies can now buy financial products linked to the weather, terrorism, or other new “risk objects” (Smets, Jarzabkowski, Burke, & Spee, 2015). However, the increased interlinkage between different asset classes and new financial innovations also creates new risk, such as instances when high-frequency trading leads to so-called “flash crashes” in which stock prices drop substantially within seconds (Marti & Scherer, 2016). That is, secondary risks arise from using financial innovations. – Given these developments, we welcome contributions that address questions such as:
  • How do actors in financial markets create new risk objects?
  • How do companies use financial markets to deal with risks?
  • Do new trading practices or new financial products create new risks?
Investment practices and the growth of the financial sector
Third, the social studies of finance can expand our knowledge of how institutional investors—such as pension funds or mutual funds—invest their money. Existing research within the social studies of finance has focused mostly on the providers of financial services (banks, etc.) and intermediaries (brokers, etc.), while paying less attention to investment practices. Analyzing investment practices could provide a detailed understanding of different types of investors operate. Such an analysis could also help explain why investors in the United States spend more than $500 billion per year on financial services (Bogle, 2008) despite consistent evidence (e.g., French, 2008) that a simple buy-and-hold strategy would generate higher returns for most investors. Understanding why investors pay billions for financial services matters because these fees lead to an ever-growing financial sector. – We therefore invite contributions that address questions such as:
  • How do new investment practices gain legitimacy over time?
  • How do the investment practices of new types of investors – such as sovereign wealth funds or socially responsible investors – differ from established investment practices?
  • Can the social studies of finance help explain the growth of the financial sector?

 

References

  • Benner, M.J. (2010): “Securities analysts and incumbent response to radical technological change: Evidence from digital photography and internet telephony.” Organization Science, 21 (1), 42–62.
  • Beunza, D., & Stark, D. (2004): “Tools of the trade: The socio-technology of arbitrage in a Wall Street trading room.” Industrial and Corporate Change, 13 (2), 369–400.
  • Bogle, J.C. (2008): “A question so important that it should be hard to think about anything else.” The Journal of Portfolio Management, 34 (2), 95–102.
  • Cobb, J.A. (2015): “Risky business: The decline of defined benefit pensions and firms’ shifting of retirement risk.” Organization Science, 26 (5), 1332–1350.
  • French, K.R. (2008): “Presidential address: The cost of active investing.” Journal of Finance, 63 (4), 1537–1573.
  • Helgesson, C.-F., & Muniesa, F. (2013): “For what it’s worth: An introduction to valuation studies.” Valuation Studies, 1 (1), 1–10.
  • Jarzabkowski, P., Bednarek, R., & Spee, P. (2015): Making a Market for Acts of God: The Practice of Risk Trading in the Global Reinsurance Industry. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • MacKenzie, D., & Pardo-Guerra, J.P. (2014): “Insurgent capitalism: Island, bricolage and the re-making of finance.” Economy and Society, 43 (2), 153–182.
  • Marti, E., & Scherer, A.G. (2016): “Financial regulation and social welfare: The critical contribution of management theory.”Academy of Management Review, 41 (2), 298–323.
  • Philippon, T., & Reshef, A. (2012): “Wages and human capital in the U.S. finance industry: 1909–2006.” Quarterly Journal of Economics, 127 (4), 1551–1609.
  • Smets, M., Jarzabkowski, P., Burke, G.T., & Spee, P. (2015): “Reinsurance trading in Lloyd’s of London: Balancing conflicting-yet-complementary logics in practice.” Academy of Management Journal, 58 (3), 932–970.
  • Tomaskovic-Devey, D., & Lin, K.H. (2011): “Income dynamics, economic rents, and the financialization of the U.S. economy.”American Sociological Review, 76 (4), 538–559.

 

Paula Jarzabkowski is a Professor of Strategic Management at Cass Business School, City, University of London, UK. Her research focuses on strategy-as-practice in complex contexts, such as regulated firms, third sector organizations and financial services, particularly insurance and reinsurance. Paula’s research in this regard has been foundational in the establishment of the field of strategy-as-practice. Her work has appeared in a number of leading journals including ‘Academy of Management Journal’, ‘Organization Science’, ‘Strategic Management Journal’, ‘Journal of Management Studies’, and ‘Organization Studies’.
 
Emilio Marti is currently a visiting scholar at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, UK, on a scholarship from the Swiss National Science Foundation. He received his PhD from the University of Zurich. His research interests include corporate social responsibility, financial regulation, performativity, and socially responsible investing. Emilo’s work has been published in the ‘Academy of Management Review’ and the ‘Journal of Management Studies’.
 
Daniel Beunza is an Associate Professor at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Denmark. His research in sociology explores the ways in which social relations and technology shape financial value. Specifically, his research focuses on financial analysts, algorithmic trading, and shareholder engagement. His articles have been published in journals such as ‘Industrial and Corporate Change’, ‘Organization Studies’, and ‘Socio-Economic Review’.

CFP: Interpreting and questioning finance as social relationships. Toronto 15-21 July 2018. Deadline 9/30, 24:00 GMT.

Dear Colleagues,

I am organizing a panel of possible interest to readers of this listserv, entitled “Interpreting and questioning finance as social relationships” at the International Sociological Association’s World Congress next summer in Toronto, Canada, 15-21 July 2018 (details below).  This will be one of 23 sessions organized by the Economy & Society research committee (RC02).  Although the conference is next summer, the deadline for submitting abstracts is fast approaching:  September 30, 2017, 24:00 GMT.

You can find Economy & Society’s Call for Abstracts here:  https://isaconf.confex.com/isaconf/wc2018/webprogrampreliminary/Symposium439.html

And below is the CFA for “Interpreting and questioning finance as social relationships”

Sociologists frequently understand finance in essentialist terms—as the creation and brokerage of capital.  However, in line with other relational approaches in sociology, numerous scholars have investigated debt, credit, bonds, and other debt-like financial instruments as social relationships.  And of course, equity relationships have long been understood in transactional terms.

Building on sessions at the ISA Forum in Vienna in 2016, this open call for papers seeks theoretically-driven empirical research that investigates finance as social relationships, as well as papers that directly refute this framing.  For example, if financial instruments, products, and services are social relationships, how are they embedded in racial and gender systems, and with what consequences?  If financial products are conceived of as commodity chains—a string of interorganizational relationships stretching across time and space—how is finance racialized and gendered?  Conversely, how is financialization changing racial and gender systems?  More broadly, how does culture, moral beliefs, norms, habit, imitation, strategic behavior, social networks, or social institutions shape ongoing financial relationships?  At the level of organizations, how does viewing debt and equity as relationships alter our understanding of the behavior of households, firms, corporations, municipalities, states, or transnational regions?  At the level of financial instruments and markets, how are bonds, mortgages, and equity products created, marketed, and consumed?  These broad questions are merely indicative of the wide range of research welcome in this panel.

Two types of theoretically-driven empirical papers will be given preference.  First, research that addresses gender and/or racial systems.  Second, research conducted outside of the North Atlantic.

To submit an abstract, go to:

https://isaconf.confex.com/isaconf/wc2018/webprogrampreliminary/Session8662.html

If you have any questions, please contact the organizer:
Aaron Z. Pitluck, Illinois State University, Aaron.Pitluck@IllinoisState.edu

 

CFP: Price, value and worth: conceptualizing social practices of (e)valuation. Toronto 15-21 July 2018. Deadline 9/30 24:00 GMT.

We are organizing a panel entitled “Price, value and worth: Conceptualizing social practices of (e)valuation” at the International Sociological Association’s World Congress next summer in Toronto, Canada, 15-21 July 2018 (details below).  This will be one of 13 sessions organized by Research Committee 35 Conceptual and Terminological Analysis, and one of 23 sessions organized by the Economy & Society research committee (RC02).  Although the conference is next summer, the deadline for submitting abstracts is fast approaching:  September 30, 2017, 24:00 GMT.

Price, value & worth: Conceptualizing social practices of (e)valuation

Valuation and evaluation are widespread social practices. Investigating these practices is essential to understanding how social order comes about and changes over time. With the spread of capitalism, (e)valuations have come to be understood primarily in economic terms. And with the spread of neoliberalism and market fundamentalism, governments and organizations are increasingly turning to valuation mechanisms to quantify the worth of people, processes, and outcomes. For example, credit rating agencies evaluate individuals’ creditworthiness, bank stress tests evaluate banks’ stability, and stock markets evaluate corporations’ worth. One of the striking characteristics of such market valuations is that they create commensurations that are interpreted as objective, informed, depersonalized, apolitical and expert. Despite such apparently successful abstracting, a leitmotif in a number of research programs (e.g., the New Economic Sociology, and current reformulations of Critical Theory) is that the economy and social life are not separate spheres with distinctive values and practices. Exploring this productive tension, this joint session of RC02 and RC35 calls for conceptual as well as theoretically-informed empirical papers that investigate the beliefs, values and practices embedded in diverse social practices of (e)valuation and the role and functions of (e)valuations as well as devaluations for the reproduction and development of contemporary society.  We particularly encourage papers that unpack social processes of price formation, valuation, and the assessment of worth.

To submit an abstract, go to:

https://isaconf.confex.com/isaconf/wc2018/webprogrampreliminary/Session10685.html

If you have any questions, please contact either of the organizers:

Aaron Z. Pitluck, Illinois State University, Aaron.Pitluck@IllinoisState.edu

David Strecker, University of Jena,  david.strecker@uni-erfurt.de