The beginning: What is this a theoretically interesting case of……..? 3 Cambridge University Boat Club (CUBC) as an extreme case of institutional stability –185 years old with very little change –Closed, secretive, elitist, with very strong socialization processes Yet ethnographic data showed regular instances of divergence from institutionalized scripts throughout the season How can we explain divergence in the absence of ambiguity, logic pluralism, external shocks, or weak socialization?
Version 1: Putney to Mortlake: On the microprocesses of endogenous agency 4 STRATEGIC RELATIONAL AFFECTIVE RELATIONAL AFFECTIVE Reproductive INSTITUTIONAL Disruptive Categories of Endogenous Agency
Reactions to the first version: No process contribution We all think that what you do here holds promise. Your data is rich, your grasp of the literature is solid, and your overall approach promising To put it simply, your framework for making sense of endogenous agency in highly institutionalized environments, as it currently stands, is not clear what new brings to the relevant literature. Currently, your account is not a sufficiently process account – in R1´s (#5a) words, “your findings are static“. You give us snapshots of the three types of agency rather than provide an account of how they jointly unfold. 5
Version 2: Putney to Mortlake: Maintenance processes in greedy institutions 6 Practical Rationality Socialization Mending Restoration Dissonance Memory Traces Escalated Dissonance Institutional Maintenance as a Multi-Layered Process
Reactions to the second version: Insufficient theory development In general, the majority of reviewers and I were pleased with several aspects of your revision. (…) Reviewer 3, however, is critical (…) He/she is of the opinion that “rich examples and tales from the field” have been lost”. Along with R1 and R2, I do not see much of a contribution to the literature on institutional work or to routines. With your rich data at hand, you need to generate (not merely induce) theory, by drawing on appropriate bodies of research, which will both capture the phenomenon you have described and advance our theoretical understanding of it. You need to engage with the ethnomethodological tradition and the Chicago School studies of work, that have focused on the reproduction of institutional order. 7
Version 3: On the plasticity of institutions: Containing and restoring practice breakdowns at the CUBC 8 Institutionalized script Actual practice Practice Breakdown Containment Work Ignoring Tolerating Reinforcing Containment Work Ignoring Tolerating Reinforcing Restoration Work Exception/coopting Reversing Self-correcting Formal disciplining Restoration Work Exception/coopting Reversing Self-correcting Formal disciplining when minor triggers when major triggers temporarily smooths over when untenable triggers resolves T1T2 temporarily stretches whilst preserving structural integrity of
Reactions to the third version: Success! All reviewers share the view that this version represents a significant improvement to the previous one. All of them congratulate you on the seriousness with you which you took the task of revising the paper, which shows in the outcome. I share this view. The paper is lucidly written and confidently argued. It has a clear focus, presents fascinating data, and theory development has significantly improved. Based on reviewers’ comments and my own reading of your paper, I am delighted to conditionally accept the paper for publication in the Special Issue. 9
Key takeaways from publishing ethnographic process research in a top journal 1)Find a central theoretical puzzle or ‘mystery’ in the data –What is this a theoretically interesting case of? 2)Be willing to re-imagine the central theoretical puzzle based on the reviews – Be prepared for a complete rewrite! 3)Find a balance between showing, telling, and theorizing –VERY challenging but not impossible 4)Be as responsive to the reviewers’ comments as you can –Carefully explain what you have done and why in the response letter 5)Persistence and hard work are key –Don’t give up and be prepared to set everything else aside 10