On the 13th and 14th of May 2019 was held the first Toulouse workshop on “Meta-, Macro-, and Partial Organization: Advances in Research and Theory” at Toulouse School of Management. It gathered more than thirty researchers in management, economy and sociology from Toulouse, France and Europe (Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, Denmark). In a wonderfully benevolent, constructive and creative spirit, this forum constituted a unique opportunity to exchange about alternative concepts in organization theory, of their uses, validity and possible evolution. A delicious buffet dinner then allowed to continue discussion in a more relaxed atmosphere, at cozy restaurant Aux Pieds Sous la Table, in a privatized lounge.
The contemporary world is filled with a multiplicity of organizations. These organizations keep morphing into news forms to adapt to societal challenges and we still understand relatively little about these new dynamics. These organizations may be complete, in the sense of Swedish sociologists Ahrne and Brunsson, that is, with a membership, hierarchy, rules, monitoring and sanctions. Or they may be partial organizations, as in the case of standards. But organizations also increasingly create organizations, or meta-organizations (organizations of organizations). Meta-organizations then organize themselves at a macro level, resulting in an organizational milfoil that classic theories like institutionalism or network do not necessarily fully account for. A common feature to these forms is the central role played by decisions. The objective of this workshop was to develop the analytical power of these new concepts of meta-organization, partial organization and macro organization, in an interdisciplinary dialogue between economy, management and sociology centered on decision.
This meeting was made possible thanks to TSM Research, the MSHS Toulouse (2018?? grant application) and the Research Committee 17 “Sociology of Organizations” at the International Sociological Association (ISA). Several future events are planned to continue this fruitful dialogue on these topics, notably EGOS 2019 in Edinburg, EGOS 2020 in Hamburg and ISA 2020 in Porto Alegre.
Boundary conditions and the formation of meta-organization to mitigate weak bargaining power in French dairy food systems, the MilkyWay Experience, by Emilie Bourlier-Bargues, Bertrand Valiorgue & Xavier Hollandts, Discussant: Pierre Garaudel
Hierarchy/ heterarchy from ‘either/or’ to ‘both/and’: Managing interdependencies in Meta Organisations, by Ruth McDonald, Simon Bailey, Kath Checkland, Damian Hodgson, Lisa Riste, and Sharon Spooner, Discussant: Claire Anaïs