Newsletter June 2019

Dear RC17 members and Newsletter subscribers,

In our new newsletter you will find a brief report on the workshop “Meta-, Macro-, and Partial Organization: Advances in Research and Theory” that took place last month. The workshop was supported by RC17 and organized by RC17 board members Héloïse Berkowitz and Michael Grothe-Hammer. Moreover, you will find a call for chapters for the upcoming Research Handbook on the Sociology of Organizations and a reminder for the call for abstracts for the upcoming ISA Forum 2020.

If you have any suggestions, announcements, publications, or call for papers for the next newsletter, please contact our newsletter editor Michael Grothe-Hammer ( 

Workshop Report

Workshop “Meta-, Macro-, and Partial Organization: Advances in Research and Theory”, Toulouse School of Management, May 13-14, 2019

Supported by the ISA RC17

Co-organized by Héloïse Berkowitz (CNRS TSM-Research) and Michael Grothe-Hammer (Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg),

On the 13th and 14th of May 2019 was held the first Toulouse workshop on “Meta-, Macro-, and Partial Organization: Advances in Research and Theory” at Toulouse School of Management. It gathered more than thirty researchers in management, economy and sociology from France, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, & the United Kingdom. In a wonderfully benevolent, constructive and creative spirit, this forum constituted a unique opportunity to exchange about alternative concepts in organization theory, of their uses, validity and possible evolution. A delicious buffet dinner then allowed to continue discussion in a more relaxed atmosphere, at cozy restaurant Aux Pieds Sous la Table, in a privatized lounge.

The contemporary world is filled with a multiplicity of organizations. These organizations keep morphing into news forms to adapt to societal challenges and we still understand relatively little about these new dynamics. These organizations may be complete, in the sense of Swedish scholars Ahrne and Brunsson, that is, with a membership, hierarchy, rules, monitoring and sanctions. Or they may be partial organization, as in the case of standards. But organizations also increasingly create organizations, or meta-organizations (organizations of organizations). Meta-organizations then organize themselves at a macro level, resulting in an organizational milfoil that classic theories like institutionalism or network do not necessarily fully account for. A common feature to these forms is the central role played by decisions. The objective of this workshop was to develop the analytical power of these new concepts of meta-organization, partial organization and macro organization, in an interdisciplinary dialogue between economy, management and sociology centered on decision. 18 presentations were made on different topics: meta-organization formation, multi-stakeholder meta-organization dynamics, innovation, success and failure of meta-organizations, meta- and partial organization theory, tensions in and around meta-organizations.

The two-day workshop concluded on a collective discussion that identified several important areas of development for the meta-, macro-, partial organization literature. Integrating meta-organization with other similar relevant literatures (trade associations, international labor, etc.) appeared as a fruitful and necessary step to further theorize meta-organization. Another important point was to conduct population level studies in order to highlight similarities across the varieties of meta-organizational forms and categories. Better theorizing the crucial differences between individual, organization and meta-organization, and articulating these different levels in meta-organization studies, would also contribute not only to this field but also to sociology of organizations as a whole.  Shedding some light on what remains in the “shadow”, i.e. actions of meta-organizations that are not necessarily transparent, would also have both scientific and societal impact. Finally, we agreed that we should remain careful and critical regarding the development of these concepts, in order to ensure that they remain relevant.

Several future events are planned to continue this fruitful dialogue on these topics, notably EGOS 2019 in Edinburg, EGOS 2020 in Hamburg and ISA 2020 in Porto Alegre. Follow the RC17 website for all the calls for papers.

A special issue on meta-organization is also in preparation in the academic open access journal M@n@gement, with a call for papers in December 2019.

This meeting was made possible thanks to TSM Research, the MSHS Toulouse (2019 MSHS workshop grant application) and the ISA Research Committee 17 “Sociology of Organizations” at the International Sociological Association (ISA).

Workshop Scientific Committee:

Göran Ahrne (Stockholm University), Héloïse Berkowitz (CNRS TSM-Research), Sanne Bor (Hanken School of Economics), Frank den Hond (Hanken School of Economics), Michael Grothe-Hammer (Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg), Stefan Kirchner (Technische Universität Berlin), Dennis Schoeneborn (Copenhagen Business School), David Seidl (University of Zurich), Mikaela Sundberg (Stockholm University)

Partners of the workshop 

Call for Chapters

Research Handbook on the Sociology of Organizations

Mary Godwyn (Babson College) is looking for original chapters for the upcoming Research Handbook on the Sociology of Organizations published by Edward Elgar.

Though there is flexibility on the length and content of the chapters, she is especially interested in applications of critical management theory, and sociological theory, and in the examination of a range of diverse organizations around the world.

The scholarship need not be limited to corporate, formal, business organizations, but can be directed toward informal, grassroots organizations such as NGOs and online communities. Chapters focused on labor relations, ethical and sustainable environmental practices, race, gender, class, sexuality, leadership alternative economic models to capitalism, politics, and the media are especially welcome.

Ideally, the volume would represent a diversity of international researchers with an array of critical theory perspectives. Young scholars are encouraged to submit.

The video below provides more information on the Edward Elgar Handbooks:

Please send an abstract and chapter outline by June 23 to the editor Mary Godwyn (

ISA Forum Calls for Abstracts

Call for Abstracts for the 4th ISA Forum of Sociology, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 14-18 July 2020

Deadline for submission of abstracts (max. 300 words) is September 30, 2019

We are delighted to invite you to submit your abstracts to the forthcoming sessions on organizational sociology. RC17 will host 13 sessions on the following topics open for abstract submission:


The call for abstracts for each session can be found here:

For more information about the 4th ISA Forum of Sociology, please visit:

Spread the word and see you in Porto Alegre!

RC17 Program Coordinators:

Robert VAN KRIEKEN, University of Sydney, Australia,

Michael GROTHE-HAMMER, Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg, Germany,

Call for Contributions to our Newsletter

For the future issues of our Newsletter, we need your contributions. We are particularly interested in contributions on:

  • Relevant calls for papers for conferences, workshops, and special journal issues
  • Conference and workshop reports
  • New book publications
  • Brief reviews of books or seminal journal articles (approx. 200-300 words)
  • Reports from activities on organizational sociology in national associations

Please send your submissions to our Newsletter editor Michael Grothe-Hammer ( Do also not hesitate to contact Michael, if you have any other suggestions regarding our Newsletter. |