Entrepreneurship, alternative practices, and the (dis)organization of cultural and institutional arrangements 11th CERI annual colloquium

Entrepreneurship, alternative practices, and the (dis)organization of cultural and institutional arrangements 11th CERI (Centre d’Etudes et de Recherche de l’ISTEC) annual colloquium

CERI Colloquium 2018 – Call for papers VA MAJ 09.03.18

Over the last few years, we have witnessed a regained interest in the study of individuals or groups who purposefully or unintendedly open-up potentialities by organizing differently, at the margins of widely accepted cultural and institutional arrangements (Barin Cruz, Alves, & Delbridge, 2017; Cheney, Cruz, Peredo, & Nazareno, 2014; Swann & Stoborod, 2014).

Researchers working on different disciplines of management and organization theory have shed light on a large diversity of initiatives and innovations that disrupt, subvert or simply avoid prevailing institutional arrangements and, by the same token, create new organizational forms and possibilities. Such initiatives are to be found for instance in democratic organizations (Leach, 2016; Rothschild & Leach, 2008), pirate organizations (Durand & Vergne, 2012; Parker, 2009), makers and hackers spaces (Lallement, 2015), anarchist groups (Riot, 2014), feminist organizations (D’Enbeau & Buzzanell, 2013; Martin, 1990; Springer, 2005), etc.

Very often, a deliberate, purposeful intention is implied in such practices, in which participants actively engage in the production of alternative cultural, political, and institutional arrangements that challenge dominant paradigms (Farias, 2017; Kokkinidis, 2014) and/or in the prefiguration of alternative socio-political landscapes in the here-and-now (Leach, 2013; Maeckelbergh, 2011; Yates, 2015). But in some cases, individual and collective practices taking place “below the radar” within or around organizations are not meant to disrupt existing institutional arrangements. They might however participate in creating “moral gray zones” (Anteby, 2008) in which alternative meanings and practices are produced and sustained and even social and political change in the case of mundane, infra-political forms of actions (Fernández, Martí, & Farchi, 2017; Scott, 2008). Such endeavors – be they intentionally driven towards institutional change or not – can be seen as entrepreneurial (Bureau, 2013, 2014; Courpasson, Dany, & Martí, 2016) in the sense that they shape new organizational and cultural practices which depart from accepted institutional arrangements (Courpasson, 2016; Courpasson, Dany, & Clegg, 2012; Hjorth & Holt, 2016).

This leads us to consider the motivations stemming behind entrepreneurial actions that could be qualified as “subversive” as they produce new meanings and cultural practices. To which extend intended or unintended alternative practices taking place below the radar open-up potentialities for social and institutional change? What kind of change are we talking about? How can we assess the desirability and legitimacy of such changes? Do subversive activities engender institutional uncertainty (Bylund & McCaffrey, 2017) detrimental to their legitimacy? What forms of organizing do they produce, and on which cultural meanings and moral underpinning do they rest on? Does technology impact the nature, size, and strength of subversive networks? How do innovations at the fringe of existing institutional arrangements might become normalized? Do decentralization and denationalization enabled by IT promote institutional and cultural change?

If some scholars claim for a definition of alternative organizations as inherently positive attempts at producing more personal autonomy, solidarity and responsibility (Parker, Cheney, Fournier, & Land, 2014), and consider such organizational forms as necessary for social justice within democratic societies (Parker, 2017), we ask here for unpacking and questioning the cultural practices and moral underpinning that are produced in the making and organizing of such entrepreneurial practices. Since the productive, unproductive, or destructive character of entrepreneurship largely depends on the existing institutional arrangements (Baumol, 1996), the same concerns apply even more so when entrepreneurs aim at subverting the rules of the game (Douhan & Henrekson, 2010; Garud, Hardy, & Maguire, 2007; Sobel, 2008).

In this colloquium, we invite papers that question and challenge the ethical, moral, economic, and cultural aspects of organizations and entrepreneurial actions and innovations emerging at the margins of accepted institutional arrangements, and their potential (positive and negative) impacts.

Some possible perspectives and topics might include:

  • What kind of organizational and cultural practices emerge from attempts at challenging, subverting or simply avoiding existing institutions?
  • How do such practices materially translate into their environment?
  • How can we unveil and make sense of the potential “dark side” of alternative organizations and entrepreneurship?
  • What kinds of epistemologies could help us understanding the unfolding of “subversive” entrepreneurial actions?
  • How can we make sense of individual and collective actions that produce organizational changes unintentionally?



Professor of sociology at EMLYON Business School and Director of OCE- EMLYON Research Center; he is also Professor at Cardiff University (UK). He has published numerous articles on political dynamics in organization, resistance and new forms of work and management in journals such as Organization Science, Organization Studies, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice and Organization. He has also published several books. He has recently edited (with Steven Vallas) the SAGE Handbook of Resistance. He was editor-in-chief of the journal Organization Studies between 2008 and 2013.


Ignasi MARTI

Professor of organization theory and entrepreneurship at the EMLYON Business School and permanent visiting professor at ESADE-Ramon Llull University. He received his PhD from the IESE Business School at the University of Navarra. His research focuses on dignity, resistance, entrepreneurship, power and politics, and other institutional processes. He has published articles in journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Business Venturing, Organization Studies, Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, and Journal of Management Inquiry.



  • Deadline for abstract submission (from 500 to 1000 words in English or in French): May 15th, 2018
  • Notification to the authors: June 15th, 2018
  • Deadline for full paper submission: September 15th, 2018
  • Reviewers’ feedbacks to authors: Mid-November 2018


The scientific committee will gather a selection of the most promising full papers presented at the colloquium for consideration for a Special Issue in Society and Business Review.

(for more information about this journal, please visit the website: http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/journals.htm?id=sbr).

Abstracts and full papers must be addressed to the following mail address: colloqueceri@istec.fr

For further information, please contact:

Carine Farias, c.farias@istec.fr

Loïc Sauce, l.sauce@istec.fr



BENCHERQUI Dominique, Head of Research, ISTEC, Prism-Sorbonne

DARMON Véronique, Head of Pedagogy, ISTEC




REY FERRER Anne, Head of Communication, ISTEC



ACQUIER Aurélien, ESCP Europe, Paris

ALOUI Adel, ISTEC, Paris

BAZIN Yoann, EM Normandie, London

BEAU Gaëlle, ISTEC, Paris

BECHE Jérôme, ISTEC, Paris

BENCHERQUI Dominique, Head of Research, ISTEC, Prism-Sorbonne, Paris

BEZES Christophe, ISTEC, Paris

BOUCHER Ronald, ISTEC, Paris

BOTHELLO Joël, Concordia University, Montreal

BUREAU Sylvain, ESCP Europe, Paris

BYLUND Per, Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma

BYRNE Janice, IESEG, Paris


CHABOUD Mathieu-Claude, Burgundy School of Business, Dijon



FARIAS Carine, ISTEC, Paris

FERNANDEZ Pablo, IAE Business School, Buenos Aires

GIACOMONI Gilbert, Agro Paris-Tech and ISTEC, Paris

GIMENEZ-ROCHE Gabriel, NEOMA Business School

HUDSON Bryant, IESEG, Paris

ISLAM Gazi, Grenoble Ecole de Management, Grenoble

KEFI Mohamed Karim, ISTEC, Paris

PESQUEUX Yvon, Lirsa, CNAM, Paris

PICARD Hélène, Grenoble Ecole de Management, Grenoble

SAUCE Loïc, ISTEC, Paris



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Bureau, S. (2013). Entrepreneurship as a subversive activity: How can entrepreneurs destroy in the process of creative destruction? M@n@gement, 16, 204–235.

Bureau, S. (2014). Piracy as an avant-gardist deviance: how do entrepreneurial pirates contribute to the wealth or misery of nations? International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 22, 426.

Bylund, P., & McCaffrey, M. (2017). A theory of entrepreneurship and institutional uncertainty. Journal of Business Venturing, 3, 461–475.

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