BAM2019 - Keynote Prof Paula Jarzabkowski

We are delighted to announce that Paula Jarzabkowski, Professor of Strategic Management at Cass Business School, City University London, UK and University of Queensland, Australia will be delivering a keynote session at the British Academy of Management Conference at Aston University in September 2019.

Paula Jarzabkowski is Professor of Strategic Management at Cass Business School, City, University of London and at University of Queensland Business School. Paula’s research focuses on the practice of strategy and markets in complex and pluralistic contexts.

She has held several prestigious fellowships and grants that have enabled her to conduct ethnographic research in a range of industries, including an Advanced Institute of Management Ghoshal Fellowship, an Insurance Intellectual Capital Initiative fellowship, and a European Framework Marie Curie Fellowship. She 'enjoys' the challenge of publishing ethnographic, practice-theoretical work in leading journals, including Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management Studies and Organization Studies. In 2005, she published the first book on strategy-as-practice, Strategy as Practice: An Activity-Based Approach (Sage) and her latest co-authored book, Making a Market for Acts of God was published by Oxford University Press in 2015. She is also co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Organisational Paradox 

Abstract: Grand challenges are large-scale, complex, enduring problems with a strong social component, such as endemic poverty and climate change. These challenges are inter-organisational, extending beyond the boundaries of a single organisation or community.

Effective organisational responses to grand challenges are problematic because of the multiple competing strategic interests of these organisational actors. For example, studies show that the multiple different types of actors involved in climate change, including corporations, policy makers, climate scientists, inter-governmental, and environmental organisations, have competing strategic interests, which pull them in different directions.

The interests of any single organisation cannot be considered in isolation, but are interdependent with wider contemporaneous actions of other actors and over time. Grand challenges thus often appear intractable as the actions of some actors generate unintended consequences that compound the problems experienced by other actors. 

In this keynote, I will argue for the value of a paradox lens in order to address grand challenges as a problem of interdependent yet often contradictory actions across distributed organisational actors. The ongoing resolution and recurrence of these interdependent and contradictory actions shape how the specific grand challenge unfolds  I will illustrate my argument with reference to my research on the use of market mechanisms as a means of development and humanitarian response to the increasing incidence of natural disasters in vulnerable countries.