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Three Publications From Katherine Chen

In August, during the American Sociological Association annual meeting, faculty member Katherine Chen accepted an award for her article in a peer-reviewed journal:

Chen, Katherine K. 2012.  “Laboring for the Man: Augmenting Authority in a Voluntary Association.”  Research in the Sociology of Organizations 34: 135-164.

• Outstanding Author Contribution Award Winner at the Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2013.

Because of the award, the publisher has made her article free to download here

She has also recently published two articles:

Chen, Katherine K. 2013. “Storytelling: An Informal Mechanism of Accountability for Voluntary Organizations.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 42(5): 902-922.

Using observations, interviews, and archival research of an organization that coordinates the annual Burning Man event, I argue that storytelling is a mechanism by which stakeholders can demand accountability to their needs for recognition and voice. I identify particular frames, or perspectives and guides to action, articulated in members’ stories. Deploying a personalistic frame, storytellers recounted individuals’ contributions toward a collective endeavor. Such storytelling commemorated efforts overlooked by official accounts and fostered bonds among members. Other storytellers identified problems and organizing possibilities for consideration under the civic society or anarchist frames. By familiarizing organizations with members’ perspectives and interests, stories facilitate organizational learning that can better serve stakeholders’ interests. Additional research could explore whether (1) consistent face-to-face relations (2) within a bounded setting, such as an organization, and (3) practices that encourage participation in organizing decisions and activities are necessary conditions under which storytelling can enable accountability to members’ interests.

Chen, Katherine K., Howard Lune, and Edward L. Queen, II.  2013.  “‘How Values Shape and are Shaped by Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations:’ The Current State of the Field.Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 42(5): 856-885.

To advance understanding of the relationship between values and organizations, this review synthesizes classic and recent organizational and sociological research, including this symposium’s articles on voluntary associations. We argue that all organizations reflect, enact, and propagate values. Organizations draw on culture, which offers a tool kit of possible actions supported by institutional logics that delineate appropriate activities and goals. Through institutional work, organizations can secure acceptance for unfamiliar practices and their associated values, often under the logic of democracy. Values may be discerned in any organization’s goals, practices, and forms, including “value-free” bureaucracies and collectivist organizations with participatory practices. We offer suggestions for enhancing understanding of how collectivities advance particular values within their groups or society.

Submitted on: OCT 24, 2013

Category: Sociology