Many companies demonstrate a low level of corporate responsiveness to environmental safety issues. The existing literature indicates egoistic behavior of companies as the main cause. However, these conclusions are based on cases from the developed countries. What determines the low corporate responsiveness to environmental safety in developing and transition economies, for which the very concept of environmental business responsibility is new? Responding to this question, this paper explores the experience of a large Russian oil company in ensuring environmental safety in the development of an oil field located in Russia . Data were collected from the documented sources of information and 15 in-depth interviews with managers who make decisions on the environmental safety of the project as well as with external experts who cooperate with this company in the field of environmental safety. The study showed that the low responsiveness to environmental safety of Russian companies is not due to their selfish behavior, as it is suggested in the existing literature, but due to the illiteracy of their top managers and their lack of understanding of environmental safety issues. Following the approach of Richard Whitley, the author explains this illiteracy as a cognitive derivative of the national business system. The author shows that illiteracy of top managers regarding environmental issues is backed by the Russian culture, education, financial, and political systems. A theoretical explanation is offered for how environmental irresponsibility is formed within a context where the very concept of environmental business responsibility is new. Governmental intervention in decision-making on environmental safety issues and the activities of regulatory authorities are discussed.
The paper proposes a critical study focusing on the development of non-government higher education sector in Russia from new institutionalism perspective in economic sociology. Conditions under which private universities spread in other countries are identified. In some countries non-governmental universities successfully complement governmental ones, in some countries private universities displace state universities. Recent research shows that private sector produces some organizational divergences (especially under privatization and emerging liberal markets). However the presented paper argues that Russian case is specific. Governmental and non-governmental universities are initially intertwined. This fact provokes us into thinking about the Russian higher education system from the alternative point of view. Based on in-depth interviews with founders and lecturers from Moscow private universities and the survey of students the paper intends to trace structuration of non-governmental education field and to demonstrate impacts of institutional isomorphism mechanisms on private universities.
Prof. Mizruchi was interviewed by Igor Chirikov, senior research fellow at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow. In the interview, Prof. Mizruchi was asked about the evolution of his research interests and peculiarities of his approach to teaching organizational theory. Prof. Mizruchi also described how he became acquainted with organizational sociology. Within his winding career trajectory from Statistical Analyst at Albert Einstein College of Medicine to Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan, Mark Mizruchi has witnessed the development of both organizational theory and sociology of organizations and their division into institutionally separate subfields. Whether such fragmentation is methodologically important, it certainly affects the teaching process of organizational theories to students and the future of the whole field by shifting its research focus from broad and theoretical issues to more narrow and applied problems. In addition, Prof. Mizruchi shared the main ideas of his recent award-winning book (The Fracturing of the American Corporate Elite) and details of the creative writing process. In the final part of the conversation, Prof. Mizruchi told the story of how the Interdisciplinary Committee on Organizational Studies (ICOS) was established and how it influences research and teaching processes at the University of Michigan.
In the interview, Prof. Piketty expressed his skepticism about economists’ tendencies toward using formal models. Early on, he recognized the limits of an economic approach that was applied in ignorance of history. This profoundly affected his future academic career. He admits that his successful research on inequality was possible only in cooperation with other social disciplines.
In addition, Prof. Piketty talked about main ideas of his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century and its
restrictions. In particular, he pointed out that there has been insufficient attention toward economic growth.
In his opinion, in order to explain economic growth, one should take into account historical perspective and
analyze government’s policies toward public education and the health system. The French economist also
noted his intention to reconcile Karl Marx and Pierre Bourdieu’s conflicting views on a relationship between
economic and cultural forms of inequality.