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Haack Paper Earns Honor at 2015 Sustainability, Ethics and Entrepreneurship Conference

Photo Julie Haack

Julie Haack

UO Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty Julie Haack is among the authors of the work selected as “Best Paper” at the 2015 Sustainability, Ethics and Entrepreneurship (SEE) Conference held in Denver, Colorado, April 28 – May 1, 2015.

The paper, titled “Insider-Driven Change in Fields of Practice: Exploring the Case of Green Chemistry,” is a collaboration between chemistry and the UO business school.  Authors include Jennifer A Howard-Grenville (UO Business), Julie Haack (UO Chemistry), Doug Young (UO PhD Alum, now at LCC), Andrew Earle, and Andrew Nelson (UO Business).  It was presented at the conference by Andrew Nelson.

Abstract: Insiders can be effective at mobilizing to bring about change in organizations or professions, yet we know little about how they work to influence change in a less structured field of work practice. Drawing on interview, observational, and archival data, we inductively investigate the emergence and growth of “green chemistry,” an effort within the chemical sciences to improve the health, safety, and environmental impacts of chemicals through changing practices associated with chemical synthesis and design. We find that advocates mobilized other chemists through a multivocal discourse and flexible principles, as opposed to a cohesive resonant frame. A pluralistic community resulted, which demanded ongoing efforts to both check and sustain this pluralism. The trajectory of green chemistry suggests that insiders can leverage the very elements that structure a field – shared expertise and work practices – in service of change, but that these same elements are threatened by such change. We discuss implications for theory on insider- driven change in fields of practice, the strategic use of multivocality, and the challenges of social change among those bound by common expertise, including members of occupations.



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