The Moral Foundations of Management Research

(In preparation for submission to Academy of Management Review)

In a collaboration with Professors Klaus Weber and Jim Walsh, we categorize, review and advance research on the moral foundations of management and organizational scholarship. The main contribution is two-fold- [1] to empirically analyze a longitudinal corpus (composed of the full-text of 16,000 articles from 5 organizational and management journals) to establish patterns of moral content (and their impact) over time and [2] to theorize how these moral dynamics might shape scholarly approaches to pressing contemporary challenges (for instance, climate change, refugee crises, and sexual harassment). We employ the framework of Moral Foundations Theory (MFT) (Graham, Haidt, and Nosek 2009) to examine the moral domain encapsulated by management research. MFT adopts a functional view of morality and seeks to examine the ‘interlocking set of values, practices, institutions and evolved mechanisms’ that ‘make social life possible’ (Haidt 2008:70). While MFT has primarily been employed at the individual-level, we argue that the framework is well suited to study the moral systems underpinning management research. In particular, the framework allows us to achieve three contributions: to parsimoniously characterize the moral thrusts of scholarly texts based on a dictionary created by Graham and Haidt (2009); to examine the proportions and combinations of moral foundations in texts (as opposed to solely focusing on the primary theme of the article)- providing a valuable vantage on the ways in which scholars integrate moral concerns in studies that may not be directly related to morality; and to offer a typology that captures the interplay between moral foundations and the empirical phenomena studied by management researchers.

The Creative Industries - Arts and Materiality Redux

Professor Paul Hirsch and I (Hirsch and Bajpai, Research in the Sociology of Organizations 2018) review the scholarly literature on creative industries. We argue that with the advent of digitization, the study of the cultural production is increasingly reverting to its original focus on material features of cultural objects. While early scholars (Peterson 1976) adopted a material perspective to fit in with structuralist norms of scholarship of the time, this focus was increasingly sidelined by the pre-eminence of the cultural turn in sociological research. In more recent years, the semiotic and material aspects of cultural production have increasingly been juxtaposed in scholarship. Overall, we argue that the re-emergence of material considerations is driven by three primary reasons, [1] the digitization of cultural products, which allow for fine-grained computational explorations of material features, [2] the development of the ‘categories’ literature (Vergne and Wry 2014) which focuses on how material features of objects relate to industry and market categories, and [3] emergence of scholarship that explains changes in social structure through variations in cultural consumption (Lizardo and Skiles 2012).