Research Projects

Organizational Founding/Survival and Communities' Characteristics 

Why are some communities better at creating and sustaining social enterprises/alternative economic organizational forms than others? To answer this question, I examine the creation and survival of 'solidarity economy enterprises' (organizations that are collectively owned and democratically managed, with the purpose of addressing income inequality and poverty). I have constructed an original dataset detailing the economic, demographic, social, religious, and political characteristics of more than 5,000 Brazilian municipalities covering the period between1970 and 2014. I also collected more than 3,000 pieces of archival materials on the Solidarity Economy Movement in Brazil. Currently, I am examining the role of religion/religious organizations and poverty in these foundings. Conceptualizing religion as beliefs and spaces. Even though the Catholic Church was a main advocate of the movement, its influence is not disseminated through its congregations, but only when specific organizational spaces exists in a given community. Poverty influencing foundings. Using fQCA, I examine how the level of poverty of a community influences the founding and survival of the solidarity economy enterprises.

Cultural Entrepreneurship in the Legitimation of Contested Markets

How do radical technological fields become naturalized and taken for granted? In collaboration with Mike Lounsbury (Alberta) and Joel Gehman (Alberta), this projects considers how the management of negative hype surrounding new technologies is crucial for their survival. We study the emergence and commercialization of the US nanotechnology market to uncover the mechanisms by which leaders of the National Nanotechnology Initiative leaders managed negative hype on the toxicity of nanoparticles which threatened its commercial viability. Our longitudinal case study, we argue that the construction of a naturalizing frame—a frame that focuses attention and practice on mundane, “rationalized” activity—is key to legitimating a novel and uncertain technological field. Building upon insights from our case study, we further develop a staged process model of how a naturalizing frame may be constructed, and subsequently used to pave the way for the institutionalization of new technologies and markets.

Women Entrepreneurship and Emancipation in Impoverished Contexts 

How can collective entrepreneurial ventures be constituted and managed to enable women’s socio-cultural emancipation? In this collaborative study with Asma Zafar (Alberta) and Jennifer Jennings (Alberta), we investigate how entrepreneurial activity influences the gendered division of household chores. Specifically, we are examining four enterprises' elements that we would expect to affect women experience in voicing their views, being empowered, and more proactive. The elements are: the enterprise's team composition, the extent of decision-making in participatory mechanisms within the enterprise, training and participation in social movements related to gender, and the importance of the enterprise for the women’s family income. We deploy a unique cross-sector data comprising of over 4,000 solidarity economy enterprises. 

Collective Action and Non-market Strategy in Emerging Economies

Together with Liz McKenna (UC Berkeley), I aim to understand the characteristics of collective action in Brazil and the relationship between firms' actions and performance. We use Natural Language Processing (NLP) and text mining to build a database of over 5,000 contentious political actions spanning two decades in Brazil. Using this database, we developed two studies. The first, "When Boycotts Backfire," considers when do boycotts bring positive outcomes for the targeted firms. Drawing on a case study of one boycott that backfired and all major boycott events in Brazil (1998-2018), we investigate how values and the institutional environment might backfire on social movements' intentions, bringing benefits to the targeted firm. The second study, "The Boycott that Never Was," asks why do citizens repeatedly sanction certain targets, while other known-culprits escape reproach. To answer this question, we conducted a multi-method study using in-depth interviews, comparative historical research, and analysis of our database.

Foreign Investment and its Economic and Environmental Consequences in Bottom-of-the-pyramid Economies

In this collaborative project, led by Emily Block (Alberta) we aim to understand how the country source of foreign investment influences the host-country economic opportunities, development, and environmental performance. We propose that there is a new institutional logic of Chinese financial investment that has been prominent in the countries on the bottom of the bottom of the pyramid (our case looks at Sub-Saharan Africa). Using institutional logics theory and a longitudinal dataset, we found that the new aid logic increased economic growth in those countries, but led to mixed environmental consequences and negative social development. Our findings demonstrate that some of the concerns around Chinese investment are well founded, though the relationships are complex. We discuss implications for the institutional logics, strategy, and base-of-the-pyramid literatures, seeking to understand the conditions under which foreign aid is likely to benefit recipients.

Implicit Corporate Political Activity and Elite Formation

In my dissertation in Public Administration and Government (EAESP - FGV - Brazil) I consider how diverse actors (e.g. businesses, social movements, parishes, unions, and universities) formed a network organization (Rede Nossa São Paulo – Our São Paulo Network) to demand accountability from the municipal government of São Paulo. Specifically, one study looks at how social movements are able to take advantage of this initiative even though the main actors are corporations. The other study explains how a elite group creates organizations in different sectors (civil society, business, and, lastly, government) that leave institutional pieces and legacies that in turn allow this elite to enter different fields. From a well-known civil society organization for the rights of children and youth, the elite group becomes the primary organization in corporate social responsibility in Brazil, and later forms a new political party.

Publications

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