Member Publication: Seeking transnational social protection during a global pandemic: The case of Chinese immigrants in The United States

Please check out the recent publication by OOW members Xuemei Cao, and Ken Chih-Yan Sun:

Cao, Xuemei, and Ken Chih-Yan Sun. 2021. “Seeking Transnational Social Protection during a Global Pandemic: The Case of Chinese Immigrants in the United States.” Social Science & Medicine 287, Online First.

Abstract

Drawing on in-depth interviews with Chinese immigrants in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, this article examines the construction of immigrants’ transnational social safety net and its gaps as the pandemic struck their home and host societies successively. Building upon the scholarship on transnational migration and transnational social protection, we argue that understanding how immigrants manage moments of crisis requires a cross-border optic. As we show, transnational connections can be translated into valuable material and immaterial resources. However, such protections are contingent upon the reception of their local receiving communities. The perceived hierarchy between the sending and receiving society, coupled with the U.S.’ lack of experience with infectious disease outbreaks, limits the extent to which immigrants could put their transnational knowledge and resources to use. Our analyses shed new light upon the circumstances that empower and constrain immigrants as the global pandemic unsettles their daily routines.

Member Publication: Pharmacists Should Treat Patients Who Have Opioid Use Disorders, Not Police Them

Please check out the recent publication by OOW member Elizabeth Chiarello:

Chiarello, Elizabeth. 2021. “Pharmacists Should Treat Patients Who Have Opioid Use Disorders, Not Police Them.” Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. Online First.

Abstract

Pharmacists are caught in the throes of a relentless overdose crisis that has already claimed half a million lives and threatens to claim thousands more. The addiction treatment system is fragmented and inadequate to meet demand. Few physicians provide medications for opioid use disorder (MOUDs), the most effective form of evidence-based treatment, and insufficient treatment options leave patients vulnerable to overdose.

Pharmacists routinely interact with patients who have OUD but lack ways to treat them. The primary tools that pharmacists have received to curb the crisis are prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), big data surveillance technologies that they can use to track patients’ medication acquisition patterns. Pharmacists like PDMPs because they help them make decisions efficiently. However, PDMPs are enforcement technologies, not health care tools; therefore, pharmacists typically use PDMPs to police patients instead of treating them. Policing patients not only fails to help combat overdose, but can also exacerbate harm.

Informed by a decade’s worth of interviews with pharmacists before and after PDMP implementation, I argue that pharmacists should be better equipped to help patients with OUD. Specifically, clinical and community pharmacists should mobilize to provide MOUDs through collaborative practice agreements with physicians. Studies show that collaborative practice models are effective at reducing the risk of overdose and saving money and physicians’ time. And pharmacists have the clinical competencies necessary to provide MOUDs for patients. Pharmacists must overcome legal, economic, and interprofessional barriers to do so, but giving pharmacists the tools to treat patients will affirm their professional commitment to caring for patients and saving lives.

Member Publication: The Politics of Alignment and the ‘Quiet Transgender Revolution’ in Fortune 500 Corporations, 2008 to 2017

Please check out the recent publication by OOW member Apoorva Ghosh:

Ghosh, Apoorva. 2021. “The Politics of Alignment and the ‘Quiet Transgender Revolution’ in Fortune 500 Corporations, 2008 to 2017.” Socio-Economic Review, Online First.

Abstract

This study shows that when social movements achieve a general acceptance for the legitimacy of their cause in the institutional environment, they may start pursuing further demands by challenging their target entities through the ‘politics of alignment,’ meaning engaging these entities in professionally developed programs and demanding specific outcomes by introducing timed interventions in them. This study exemplifies this politics using the case of American LGBT workplace movement which used its Corporate Equality Index (CEI) program to extend reputational and economic benefits to its target entities—the Fortune 500 corporations—but also added an intervention to this program in 2011 to demand the adoption of gender transition-related health benefits by these corporations as a specific movement outcome which, if not met, would make these corporations lose the benefits they had been deriving through their performance in the CEI program. A longitudinal study of 456 Fortune 500 corporations from 2008 to 2017 conducted through hazard rate analysis indicates that corporations affected by this intervention, as well as by other movement factors, were the most likely to adopt these health benefits for their employees. Further quantitative analysis—using QCA—shows that early adoptions were explained largely by the LGBT workplace movement forces and the later adoptions by insider activism and isomorphic diffusion. These findings highlight that an incisive understanding of organizational change can be best gathered by examining social movements and institutional forces together.

Member Publication: The Logic of Quantification: Institutionalizing Numerical Thinking

Please check out the recent publication by OOW members Hyunsik Chun and Michael Sauder:

Chun, Hyunsik, and Michael Sauder. 2021. “The Logic of Quantification: Institutionalizing Numerical Thinking.” Theory and Society, Online First.

Abstract

Quantification, in the form of accountability measures, organizational rankings, and personal metrics, plays an increasingly prominent role in modern society. While past research tends to depict quantification primarily as either an external intervention or a tool that can be employed by organizations, we propose that conceptualizing quantification as a logic provides a more complete understanding of its influence and the profound transformations it can generate. Drawing on a 14-month ethnographic study of Korean higher education and 100 in-depth interviews with key actors in this field, this study demonstrates four pathways through which the logic of quantification is embedded into organizations. Specifically, we show how this new logic reshaped organizational structure, practices, power, and culture—changes that in turn buttress and reproduce the logic. Theoretically, this study provides a new perspective on the deep institutionalization of quantification: why quantification is often intractable and “de-quantification” so rare. In addition, this work contributes to the organizational literature on institutional logics by demonstrating how prevailing logics build defenses to resist challengers and thus maintain their influence. Most generally, we consider how the self-reinforcing nature of this logic contributes to the intensification of rationalization in contemporary society.

Member Publication: Labor in the Age of Finance

Please check out the recent book by OOW member Sanford M. Jacoby:

Jacoby, Sanford M. 2021. Labor in the Age of Finance: Pensions, Politics, and Corporations from Deindustrialization to Dodd-Frank. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Here is a short description of the book:

Since the 1970s, American unions have shrunk dramatically, as has their economic clout. Labor in the Age of Finance traces the search for new sources of power, showing how unions turned financialization to their advantage.

Sanford Jacoby catalogs the array of allies and finance-based tactics labor deployed to stanch membership losses in the private sector. By leveraging pension capital, unions restructured corporate governance around issues like executive pay and accountability. In Congress, they drew on their political influence to press for corporate reforms in the wake of business scandals and the financial crisis. The effort restrained imperial CEOs but could not bridge the divide between workers and owners. Wages lagged behind investor returns, feeding the inequality identified by Occupy Wall Street. And labor’s slide continued.

A compelling blend of history, economics, and politics, Labor in the Age of Finance explores the paradox of capital bestowing power to labor in the tumultuous era of Enron, Lehman Brothers, and Dodd-Frank.

You can find more about the book and purchase a copy at the Princeton University Press website.

Member Publication: Bound by Creativity: How Contemporary Art is Created and Judged

Please check out the recent publication by OOW member Hannah Wohl:

Wohl, Hannah. 2021. Bound by Creativity: How Contemporary Art is Created and JudgedChicago: University of Chicago Press.

Here is a short description of the book:

What is creativity? While our traditional view of creative work might lead us to think of artists as solitary visionaries, the creative process is profoundly influenced by social interactions even when artists work alone. Sociologist Hannah Wohl draws on more than one hundred interviews and two years of ethnographic research in the New York contemporary art market to develop a rich sociological perspective of creativity. From inside the studio, we see how artists experiment with new ideas and decide which works to abandon, destroy, put into storage, or exhibit. Wohl then transports readers into the art world, where we discover how artists’ understandings of their work are shaped through interactions in studio visits, galleries, international art fairs, and collectors’ homes. Bound by Creativity reveals how artists develop conceptions of their distinctive creative visions through experimentation and social interactions. Ultimately, we come to appreciate how judgment is integral to the creative process, both resulting in the creation of original works while also limiting an artist’s ability to break new ground. Exploring creativity through the lens of judgment sheds new light on the production of cultural objects, markets, and prestige.

You can find more about the book and purchase a copy at the University of Chicago Press website

OOW Members Receive the International Institute’s Best Book Award

International Institute’s Best Book Award for 2021 goes to Thomas Janoski and Darina Lepadatu 

The Cambridge International Handbook of Lean Production by Thomas Janoski and Darina Lepadatu is the culmination of almost 20 years of work, an NSF grant, and the author’s fourth book on lean production in organizational and industrial Sociology.  Darina Lepadatu said that: 

“It was close to a miracle that we have accomplished this project working with 40 authors from all over the world in the middle of the worst pandemic of the century. The co-editor’s collaborators were on lockdowns, got divorces, received cancer diagnoses, retired or moved to other countries, but they still worked with us until it was finished.” 

The Handbook recently won “The 2021 ILSSI Best Book Award” presented by John Dennis and Constantin Stan of the International Lean Six Sigma Institute in Cambridge, UK. They said the book “will help new generations to develop a greater understanding of the power and importance of lean principles and techniques.” The award committee also commented on the quality of the chapter authors including James Womack and Daniel Jones of early bestseller The Machine that Changed the World fame. We will make a presentation on May 20th to the Institute and its members in a webinar.

The International Handbook has three parts. Part I is unique in that it presents the very diverse theoretical viewpoints on lean production from five disciplines: management, industrial engineering, industrial relations, the social sciences, and labor process theory. As we indicate in the social science chapter, sociology is split between conventional work on the sociology of work who have a negative view toward lean production, and specialists in the areas of Toyotism and Japan who have a more positive view. Surprising to sociologists is that industrial engineering is the discipline most involved with lean production. In many ways “lean production” is an unfortunate description of this division of labor, and Toyotism is the better term. Part II is about lean production across industries: automobiles, product innovation, telecommunications, healthcare, public services, mass merchandizing, finance, and software. Part II also incudes an essay from the practitioner approach in industrial engineering with the True Lean Toyota Production System approach.  Part III is about the implementation of lean in different countries: Korea, the US, UK, Germany, France, China, India, Australia, Mexico and Russia. There are major differences with successes and failures in these countries with very different cultures, capitalisms, and labor relations. Part III starts out with an analysis of survey data showing that lean production has become the dominant form of the division of labor in Europe and the United States. There are many unsuspected surprises: the encounter of lean and the Chinese Communist Party; Toyota’s difficulties in India, and Russian worker suspicions and resistance. Based on massive surveys in the West, Toyotism is three times more frequent than Taylorist methods, but a close relative called ‘learning methods’ (i.e., socio-technical theory) also has a large presence. 

The larger purpose of the International Handbook and the authors’ recent book Framing and Managing Lean Organizations (Routledge, 2020) is to bring lean production and Toyotism to sociology as the dominant division of labor in the capitalist production system. We emphasize many of the positive aspects of lean production including participation in teamwork and higher product quality, but also the negative aspects like temporary employment, outsourcing, and offshoring. In our three chapters in the handbook and previous books, we emphasize that there are three forms of lean production: Toyotism as the fullest form of lean production; Nikeification with its split between Toyotist innovation and Fordist production (e.g., Apple in the US versus Apple subcontractors in China); and Waltonism (from Matt Vidal) with Walmart’s use of only just-in-time inventory and little attention paid to worker participation. More broadly, we point out that Toyotism — like Fordism before it with unionism, Keynesianism, and the welfare state — also has political implications that often converge with neoliberalism, anti-unionism and some high-tech tax avoidance. But Thomas Janoski, who was a piston-shooter on an automotive engine line in the late 1960s, said: 

“The involvement of workers in quality control, design processes, and job rotation gives many workers a sense of respect and participation that they did not have under Fordism. Also, consumers no longer have to fear the dreaded “lemon” that would haunt their driving for years.”

Member Publication: Normalized Financial Wrongdoing

Please check out the recent publication by OOW member Harland Prechel:

Prechel, Harland. 2020. Normalized Financial Wrongdoing: How Re-Regulating Markets Created Risks and Fostered Inequality. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Here is a short description of the book:

In Normalized Financial Wrongdoing, Harland Prechel examines how social structural arrangements that extended corporate property rights and increased managerial control opened the door for misconduct that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis and historically high levels of inequality. Beginning his analysis with the financialization of the home-mortgage market in the 1930s, Prechel shows how pervasive these arrangements had become by the end of the century, when the banks created political coalition with other economic sectors and developed strategies to participate in financial markets. The book examines political and legal landscapes in which corporations are embedded to answer two questions: First, how did banks and financial firms transition from being providers of capital to financial market actors in their own right? Second, how did new organizational structures cause market participants to engage in high-risk activities?

You can find more about the book and buy it on the Stanford University Press website.

Member Publication: Wealth

Please check out the recent publication by OOW member Yuval Elmelech:

Elmelech, Yuval. 2021. Wealth. Cambridge: Polity.

Here is a short description of the book:

The pursuit of wealth has captivated people’s attention for centuries. Yet, as a topic of social research, the way in which wealth is accumulated and unequally distributed has largely been neglected, remaining hidden beneath data on income inequality. Wealth aims to address this blind spot in the academic discourse.

In accessible prose, Yuval Elmelech explains how personal wealth differs fundamentally from other conventional measures of socioeconomic status and why it has become increasingly important to our understanding of social mobility and stratification. Crucially, Elmelech presents a dynamic sociological framework of wealth attainment that illuminates the effects of cumulative advantages and disadvantages over the course of an individual’s life, and across generations. He describes how these advantages and disadvantages are in turn shaped by a complex interplay of multiple markets, changing demographic landscapes, and persistent inter-group wealth disparities.

Blending theoretical approaches with empirical evidence and macro-level contexts with micro-level processes, this book is an astute guide for thinking about wealth as a key determinant of social and economic wellbeing and for interrogating the role of wealth accumulation in social inequality.

For 20% off the paperback version, go to www.politybooks.com and use code EL731 at checkout (valid from 3/30/2021 until 7/31/2021).

Member Publication: Choosing Bad Jobs: The Use of Nonstandard Work as a Commitment Device

Please check out the recent publication by OOW member Laura Adler:

Adler, Laura. 2020. “Choosing Bad Jobs: The Use of Nonstandard Work as a Commitment Device.” Work and Occupations, Online First.

Abstract

With nonstandard work on the rise, workers are increasingly forced into bad jobs—jobs that are low-paying, part-time, short-term, and dead-end. But some people, especially in cultural industries, embrace this kind of work. To understand why some might choose bad jobs when better options are available, this paper examines the job preferences of aspiring artists, who often rely on bad day jobs as they attempt to achieve economic success in the arts. Using interviews with 68 college-educated artists, I find that their preferences are informed not only by utility and identity considerations—two factors established in the literature—but also by the value of bad jobs as commitment devices, which reinforce dedication to career aspirations. The case offers new insights into the connection between jobs and careers and enriches the concept of the commitment device with a sociological perspective, showing that these devices are not one-time contracts but ongoing practices.