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These slides accompanied a talk I gave at the 2017 Academy of Management Annual Meeting, August 7, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA as part of a symposium on "Addressing Grand Challenges with Institutional Research: The Critical Role of Power." The session was organized by Florian Ueberbacher (University of Zurich), Giuseppe Delmestri (WU Vienna University of Economics and Business), and Elizabeth Goodrick (Florida Atlantic University). Presenters included: Joel Gehman (University of Alberta), Johanna Mair (Hertie School of Governance), Kamal Munir (University of Cambridge), and Florian Ueberbacher (University of Zurich). Discussants were Royston Greenwood (University of Alberta) and Andreas Georg Scherer (University of Zurich). The Symposium was sponsored by the Organization and Management Theory Division and co-sponsored by the Social Issues in Management and Critical Management Studies Divisions.
This symposium focuses on how grand challenges can be addressed by taking an institutional theory perspective, and it puts particular emphasis on the role of power in this regard. Taking an institutional theory lens for the study of grand challenges has the advantage of both improving our understanding of grand challenges and of further developing theory. In this symposium, we will focus on the role of investigating different forms of power for making institutional theory particularly appropriate and relevant for the study of grand challenges. In particular, we will critically evaluate (1) what the types and constellations of systemic forms of power are that underpin grand challenges, and (2) what types and constellations of episodic forms are necessary to tame and resolve grand challenges. The format we are proposing will create an environment of active debate among scholars from the fields of organization theory, business and society, and critical management studies.