Medici Summer School in Management Studies

The 8th edition of the Medici Summer School in Management Studies for doctoral students and young researchers will be held in Paris, June 6th – June 11th, 2016. The school is organized and sponsored by Alma GS (University of Bologna), HEC Paris (Society and Organizations Research Center and the HEC Foundation), and MIT Sloan School of Management (Economic Sociology PhD Program).  The theme this year is “Organizational Bases of Inequality.”


The Summer School is designed to promote doctoral education and research in organization theory and related fields (economic sociology, management studies, strategy) and contribute to the development of enlightened practice in the management of business organizations. The Medici Summer School advocates a special focus on cross‐fertilizing research across North American and European traditions. The Summer School is a unique educational program for qualified doctoral students interacting with thought leaders in the management field who have shared their knowledge and wisdom on frontier research topics.

The Medici School combines lectures and research seminars by prominent international scholars with active engagement by participating students. Every day of the one‐week program is scheduled to end with the presentation of students’ research related to the topic of the School, with a panel of senior faculty providing feedback. There is no fee to participate. Selected candidates will be fully covered in their accommodation expenses provided that they stay the full week. However, transportation is not covered by the organizers.

The Summer School will begin on Monday June 6th with a welcoming lunch and will conclude the morning of Friday June 11th.


The program of “The 2016 Medici Summer School” will focus on the organizational foundations of inequality. At the core of research in organization theory and practice lies the fundamental premise that organizations play a key role in generating and sustaining inequality. To date, significant progress has been made in identifying and testing the particular mechanisms that may account for how organizations affect social stratification. Prior research has documented the significance of organizations for understanding inequality and diversity, as they both determine the matching of individuals to positions in the labor market, and implement the evaluation and reward structures used to distribute power, wealth and prestige among individuals and groups. As such, organizations and organizational practices influence inequality at different stages of the employment process, given that employers manage hiring and job assignments, training and development possibilities, compensation, and promotion and termination processes. Consequently, the distribution of resources and opportunities in society cannot be fully understood without paying attention to the role that organizations and their practices and key organizational members play in contemporary stratification processes and employment outcomes.

The purpose of “The 2016 Medici Summer School” is to bring together a group of researchers who share a concern for advancing our knowledge about the impact of organizations on inequality and diversity. In particular, our goal is to discuss innovative research that sheds new light on the 3 theoretical mechanisms and processes that explain how organizations and decision makers acting on their behalf affect key outcomes such as assignment to jobs, wages, promotions, rewards, career advancement, etc. Because the nature of organizations and the boundaries of the firm are changing so rapidly as result of new social trends and dramatic shifts in the technological landscape, talking about “organizational practices” may not be the ideal way of thinking about these issues any more: Thus we would also explore how the blurring of organizational boundaries and procedures, the advent of new information and communication technologies, recent patterns of employment and employee mobility, as well as the spread of practices and routines across profit and non‐profit firms contribute to understanding current social inequality in employment. This topic is not only relevant for the advancement of theory and research in organization theory, but it also has important practical implications for employees, groups of individuals, communities and society as a whole.

Keeping in mind that workplace inequality is a broad phenomenon in the social sciences, we will discuss research from different disciplines at certain levels of analysis (individuals, groups, organizations, and even regions). Some of the topics and questions we will likely discuss include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • How do recruitment and hiring, training and development, as well as incentive systems within traditional and non‐traditional organizations affect inequality at the workplace?
  • How do new organizational forms as well as new employment arrangements (intermediaries, network‐based firms, etc.) influence disparities in key employment outcomes today?
  • What are the intended and unintended consequences of old and new organizational practices and routines, in particular as they favor some individuals or groups while constraining opportunities for others inside and outside work organizations?
  • How does technology affect social inequality and diversity in organizations and labor markets?

Overall, the goal of the 2016 edition of the Medici Summer School is to shed light on the organizational mechanisms underlying inequality and diversity. The 2016 Medici Summer School will therefore help students untangle a complex theoretical landscape, defining the questions, identifying open puzzles, and delineating the central ideas for a future agenda devoted to the understanding of the organizational bases of inequality. To this end, the 2016 Medici Summer School brings together interdisciplinary scholarship at multiple levels of analysis to understand the organizational bases of inequality. By learning from different theoretical and empirical approaches, we believe attendees will substantially enrich their particular research agendas within the broad topic of organizations and stratification.

Program and Faculty

The host faculty members include representatives from the three co‐ sponsoring institutions and those who have been organizing the Summer School over the years. Host faculty at this year’s summer school include Ezra Zuckerman, Emilio J. Castilla, and Roberto Fernandez (MIT), Simone Ferriani and Gianni Lorenzoni (Bologna), and Rodolphe Durand (HEC Paris). In addition to the host faculty, the Summer School will bring together guest faculty who consist of leading strategy, organizations, sociology, and social psychology scholars.

The five days of the Summer School will be tentatively organized in terms of the following themes, with the following guest faculty:

Day 1, June 6th: TBA Lead faculty: Roberto Fernandez, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.

Day 2, June 7th: TBA. Lead faculty: Trond Petersen, University of California, Berkeley, USA.

Day 3, June 8th: TBA. Lead faculty: Frank Dobbin, Harvard University, USA.

Day 4, June 9th: TBA. Lead faculty: Roxana Barbulescu, HEC Paris

Day 5, June 10th: TBA. Lead faculty: Michael Dahl, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Each faculty member will be in residence at the School for several days, allowing ample time for one‐to‐one sessions, knowledge sharing, and networking opportunities.

A typical day will feature a guest faculty member presenting on their research, an integrative session led by a host faculty member that explores links among the guest faculty research, and a workshop in which the host and guest faculty work with students to flesh out their own ideas, both theoretically and empirically.

Overall, students will advance in their own research via:

  1. Exposure to the cutting edge of research in this area.
  2. Open discussion of key research challenges experienced by the faculty in their own research.
  3. Direct feedback on how to tackle complex questions of both theory and empirics.

Application procedure

The School will admit 20‐25 student participants. Applications for these slots are welcome from current Ph.D. students in Management, Strategy, Organization Theory, Economic Sociology, and related disciplines from universities worldwide. Students for the Summer School will be selected in accordance with the quality of their doctoral curricula, research interests, and application materials. Applications from students who have completed at least two years of doctoral training will be considered, with preference given to those who have satisfied their course requirements and exams but have not yet embarked on their dissertation research. Applications from post‐docs will also be considered.

There is no application or participation fee. Student participants will be responsible for covering their own travel expenses to and from HEC Paris, but the Summer School will cover all accommodation and board expenses during the week of sessions provided that students attend the entire week. Applications should include:

  1. A simple statement declaring that the applicant is interested in being considered for admission to the Summer School together with the applicant’s contact information: email address, telephone, and mailing address. All of this should be in the body of an email sent to the address below.
  2. Curriculum vitae listing educational background, Ph.D. program, nationality, etc. 6
  3. A motivation letter (no longer than 1 page) indicating the applicant’s current research activities and his/her specific interest in the topic of the 2016 Summer School.
  4. A brief recommendation letter from a member of their dissertation committee.
  5. Applicants are also encouraged (but not required) to submit an extended abstract or discussion note that they will present during the Summer School.

The Selection Committee will evaluate the relevance of this paper to the 2016 School theme. All application materials should be sent by March 15th, 2016 exclusively via email to the following address: with application Medici Summer School in the subject of the email. For any specific inquiry or clarification please also contact

Admitted candidates will be notified by April 1st, 2016.

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