The Department of Sociology presents
"Routines for Generating Financial Deals: Performing Interdependence between Artifacts,
Actions and Outcomes"
with Paula Jarzabkowski, Professor, City University, UK, and Cornell University
Friday, March 14, 2014
Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway, Room 1321
Paula Jarzabkowski is a professor of strategic management at City University and,
from 2012-14, holds an EU Marie Curie Fellowship at Cornell University. Paula’s research
focuses on strategy-as-practice in complex and pluralistic contexts, such as regulated
infrastructure firms, third sector organizations and financial services, particularly
insurance and reinsurance. She focuses primarily on qualitative and ethnographic research
methods as a means of studying business problems. In this endeavour, she has been
fortunate in winning a series of prestigious fellowships that have enabled her to
conduct detailed ethnographic studies
in different industries. For example, from 2009-2012, she held the inaugural Insurance Intellectual Capital Initiative (IICI) fellowship, under which she conducted a 3-year audio and video ethnography of the global reinsurance market, which extended her skills from organisational to industry-level ethnography. She 'enjoys' the challenge of publishing such work in leading journals. Her work has appeared in a number of such journals including Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Journal of Management Studies and Organization Studies and in 2005, she published the first book on strategy-as-practice, Strategy as Practice: An Activity-Based Approach (Sage).
Her talk is based on the routine of appraising financial deals in the reinsurance
industry where we had in-depth access to observe the unfolding deal appraisal routine.
Reinsurance is a finance industry that takes risks on large-scale catastrophes, such
as the tsunamis, earthquakes, floods and droughts that have brought major losses around
the world in recent years. Specifically, reinsurance provides insurance for insurance
companies, in the form of financial deals that cover the risk of potential loss from
such major catastrophes. Financial deals are a salient context for examining routines;
because they constitute a recognizable pattern of actions that are performed by knowledgeable
professionals. The research team had in-depth access to eleven firms operating in
London and/or Bermuda. Our findings illustrate how the deal appraisal routine is performed
with artifacts, and the way the deal appraisal routine intersects with other routines.
In a second order analysis, she presents three ostensive-performative cycles (technical
analysis, contextual analysis and market analysis) that comprise the deal appraisal
routine. The performance of each cycle involves the incorporation and knowledgeable
use of artifacts that are handed over from related routines, such as the broking routine,
client meeting routine and business planning routine, in order to perform the deal
appraisal routine. The talk contributes to understanding about the coordination of
interdependence within routines. It shows that knowledge codified in artifacts feeds
into the performance of tasks within the routine. Artifacts are distinguished by the
type of handover. Some artifacts are at the intersection of the deal appraisal routine
with related routines, e.g. the information pack handed over from the broking routine,
whereas other artifacts are created within the deal appraisal routine, e.g. the technical
rate that demarcates the completion of an ostensive-performative cycle. Second, each
action and its associated artifacts may comprise a performative-ostensive cycle, in
which the action performs an element of the pattern that is the routine. There are
thus multiple interdependent performative-ostensive cycles that need to be coordinated
through handovers within the overarching performance of the routine. This coordination
is complex because such cycles may not be
strictly linear, but rather may iterate, as some cycles are repeated before performing a subsequent step in the routine.
For further information, please contact Ekua Arhin, firstname.lastname@example.org or 949-824-6800.